1. Understand your target market. Who will use the product you are selling? What age range are they? What kind of shopper are they? Where do they shop? Defining these specific questions will help push your business in the right direction to engage with a market that responds to your product.
2. Strategize the perfect price-point. After you understand your target market you can then aim your pricing structure to fit that demographic. When pricing take into account the raw material costs, labor cost, and overhead for full time staff, warehouse rental, equipment maintenance etc. Review existing product pricing once or twice a year to ensure you are keeping up with any rising costs or industry standards so you can be competitive in the market.
3. Synthesize your production calendar with key order and delivery dates. If your orders aren't delivered on time you are likely to have canceled orders or hit the retailers shelf later in the season and not have product sell through. These issues can mean smaller or no reorders. Having a company calendar with key unchangeable dates such as market dates (ex/ NYNOW), pre-orders, seasonal orders, and delivery dates will help keep your profits up and your buyers happy.
4. Engage your buyers. Did you recently receive a new certification (ex/ Fair Trade, Organic, etc)? Are you running a pre-order sale, promotional sale, or attending a trade show? Haven't received a re-order in a while? Stay connected to your buyers (only with new news) and be sure to leave them with an engaging action through your email or phone call.
5. Celebrate your staff daily. Since I have worked all over the world, I have experienced many different work environments that are shaped by the owner and the countries culture. Some of my favorite daily de-stress-rhythms included 15 minutes of yoga before lunch in Nepal, 15 minute afternoon chai break in India, afternoon bread and coffee (buna) break in Ethiopia. Taking some time to come together as a team and stretch or share a drink during a busy day helps refresh your team and reinforce a healthy work environment.
6. Express yourself through your branding. You are unique and your brand should be also. Creating a brand that reflects the spirit of your company in a clear way will help you rise to the top in a market full of reproductions. I have worked with a company who's owner has a hilarious perspective and sharp wit. She uses this in their social media and I'm always delighted and entertained to read what pertains to their brand. In fact, I look forward to it.
Lori Fox of foxLOR is based in the USA and is a member of the Ethical Fashion Forum (UK) Consultants Pool and Advisory Board. For the past 10 years she has offered artisan and fair trade businesses branding solutions and design services that are unique to each community and culture they serve. For more information visit her web site at www.foxLOR.net