Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Age is NOT a Demographic

When someone asks, "Who is your customer?," and you answer: Men between 25-40, what does that actually tell anyone? A customer has absolutely no idea whether your brand will appeal to them. I'm a 29 year old man, so I fall in this demographic, but so do millions of others. I'm no more likely to investigate the brand now than I was before the interview! 

A fashion company often starts with an idea or a problem which was exciting and motivated the team, but operational needs tend to overshadow the original reason for founding a fashion company. By the time you have your product in hand and are ready to sell you've totally forgotten who you are and why they're in business to begin with. 

It's understandable, but it's detrimental to growth.

A young brand needs to attract customers, and customers have immense choice in the market. If your brand struggles to define its niche then you will always have an uphill battle to move products. Define your customer by identifying cultural or emotional traits.

How you should define your customer:
  • People who love to be outdoors.
  • People who feel best when they're dressed up.
  • People who love to try new things.
What you're really saying (sales translation):
  • People who want to buy rain coats.
  • People who want to buy suits and ties.
  • People who want to buy a watch with changeable bands.
Age as a demographic is a largely irrelevant metric and oversimplifies the people your brand aims to serve. People are not numbers, they are opinions and preferences; they are psychographics. Talk about them as such and it will be much easier to gain their interest.

In Short: don't define your demographics by gender and age. Define them by what they like to do or how they wish to feel.

As always, wishing you great success. —TT

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

How to Avoid Interview Clichés

So many times when you ask a brand what differentiates them from their competition you get the same answer: "We have exceptional quality and craftsmanship." 

Okay, that's great, but who are you? 
Why don't you talk about your brand's style or the story that sparked the idea for the brand? Why don't you talk about who your customer is? So many brands think that customers want quality—and they do—but quality alone neither excites nor evokes strong emotions to associate with your brand. You need to inspire your customer to dream!

How you should answer the question: "What is your brand best known for?"
  • We're known as the go-to brand for people who love the coast.
  • We're known as the brand worn by high-achievers.
  • We're known for garments that never age.
When you don't talk about cliché topics you enable conversation that dives deeper into what makes your brand different. The interviewer will have a jumping-off point from which to ask further questions: 
  • Why do beach-lovers love your brand?
  • How does your brand attract high-achievers? How do you define a high-achiever?
  • How do your garments never age?
There is an immense amount of competition so don't waste your press time by talking about your unparalleled quality (unless it's truly remarkable and can protect you from flying objects). Instead, describe who you are, why you were established, and why your customers keep coming back. If you don't know why your customers keep coming back, then answer by saying what you hope draws them back. 

In Short: the next time someone wants to know what your brand is known for tell them something unique, not a cliché sound-bite, and you'll actually begin to stand out.

As always, wishing you great success. —TT

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The New Luxury Accessory: Stone

Roxxlyn phone case made of stone.
When I was introduced to luxury stoneware brand, Roxxlyn, earlier this year I wanted to collaborate with the great blogger behind Geek Q. I interviewed Mark Schlegel, the Director of Sales & Marketing, and Geek Q shot some awesome styling photos (which you may enjoy here). Together we're happy to present both the people and the products of Roxxlyn and offer a special promo code!

What was your very first job?
My very first job after college was an internship with Mercedes-Benz in the Real Estate Management department. 

How did you get into fashion?
I had my own boutique. It had always been a childhood dream of mine. We had women’s and men’s pieces that weren’t available anywhere else in Berlin. We had sneakers, dresses, shirts. Our concept was that everyone who shopped in our store would be able to afford something. I did that for two years. That steered me more and more into the fashion industry. 

Mark Schlegel, the director of sales and marketing, gives an interview to Marcus Aton.

How did you end up joining Roxxlyn?
While I still had my own boutique I would help Andreas [the Roxxlyn founder] with trade shows because he wasn’t as familiar with them as I was. We share many of the same ideals when it comes to design and work. He then asked if I would like to join him. I knew that we worked well together and I had too many of my own projects going so I was ready to focus on one thing again – back then I was running around with three cell phones! So yes, we divided the responsibilities and I joined him. I thought it was great because he had a product that was completely new to the market. If he had said, “I’m making basic white tees,” I think I would’ve said, “No thank you,” but as it was truly a unique product I said, “I’m super excited to build this up!”

What is a goal you have for the next few years?
My goal is to establish Roxxlyn as a strong brand. So we’re more present in the market. We have many ideas for additional products and want to see stone become more of a lifestyle product. This summer at Pitti Uomo in Florence we’re planning to introduce 3 new product categories.

How do you strike a work-life-balance?
It’s honestly not that stressful of a work place. We’re like a family here at Roxxlyn and we’re a good team. When we’re at a trade show, and travelling a lot, then I do tack on one, two, or three days of vacation to the end of that trip. When we were last in America at a trade show in Las Vegas I took three days to visit Los Angeles and to enjoy the beach. But by and large my work doesn’t feel like work because it’s fun.

For failsafe styling tips and to learn more about the products check out the partner post from Geek Q!

Hector Diaz, of the blog Geek Q, styles Roxxlyn accessories in Seattle.

Was war dein allerersten Job?
Mein aller erster Job nach dem Studium war ein Praktikum bei Mercedes-Benz im Immobilienmanagement also in der Verwaltung der ganzen Mercedes-Benz Niederlassung. 

Wie bist du in der Moderichtung gekommen?
Ich hatte ein Modeboutique selber gemacht. Es war immer ein Kindheitstraum zu machen. Wir hatten Herrn und Damen Sachen die es sonst in Berlin irgendwie nicht gab. Wir hatten von Sneakern, und Kleider, Hemde. Unser Ziel war dass jeder der reinkommt sich etwas leisten könnte. Das habe ich zwei Jahre gemacht. Darüber bin ich mehr und mehr in der Moderichtung gekommen. 

Roxxlyn brand stone iphone cases in the Berlin shop.

Wie ist es dazu gekommen dass du bei Roxxlyn eingestiegen bist?
Als ich mein Modeboutique noch hatte, habe ich Andreas [der Roxxlyn Gründer]unterstützt zuzusagen beim ersten Anstaltungen in dem Bereich von Modemessen weil er sich damals nicht so auskannte. Wir teilen viele Ansichten was Design angeht und Arbeitsweise. Dann hat er mich gefragt ob ich irgendwie einsteigen möchte. Ich wusste dass ich gut mit ihm zusammenarbeiten kann und hatte zu viele Projekte gleichzeitig und wollte mich gerne auf einer Sache konzentrieren – ich bin damals mit drei Telefonen herum gerannt! Ja, dann haben wir die Bereiche aufgeteilt und ich bin eingestiegen. Ich fand es total Toll weil es ein Produkt war was komplett neu in Vertrieb war. Das war so für mich das wenn er mir jetzt gesagt hätte, "Ich mache einfach weiße T-shirts," ich glaube dann hätte ich gesagt, “Nein danke,” aber dadurch dass es wirklich ein eigenständiges Produkt ist, habe ich gesagt, “Das reizt mich total dass mit aufzubauen!”

Was ist ein Ziel das du in den nächsten Jahren erreichen möchtest?
Mein Ziel ist Roxxlyn als Marke stärker zu etablieren. Wo wir mehr und mehr dabei sind. Wir haben ganz viele Ideen für weitere Produkte und wollen mehr den Stein als Lifestyle Objekt einfließen lassen. Im Sommer werden wir wahrscheinlich drei neue Produktkategorien auf den Markt kommen und auf dem Pitti Uomo in Florenz vorstellen. 

Wie schaffst du eine gute Vereinbarkeit von Beruf und Privatleben?
Es ist eigentlich nicht so ein stressiger Arbeitstag. Es ist halt wie eine Familie hier bei Roxxlyn und wir sind ein gutes Team. Wenn wir auf einer Messe sind, und viel reisen, dann ist es auch so dass ich gerne ein-zwei-drei Tage Freizeit noch daran hänge. Als wir in Amerika in Las Vegas auf der Messe waren, habe ich auch drei Tage in Los Angeles daran gehängt und am Strand die Freizeit genießen habe. Großteil der Arbeit fühlt sich garnicht als Arbeit an, so es macht wirklich Spaß.

Get 20% off at Roxxlyn online with code TTGEEK20.

To see more products from Roxxlyn, and to take advantage of the 20% code, you may visit the brand's website, or view their Instagram.

As always, wishing you great success. —TT

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Do This #6: Products on the Aisle

Fashion buyers browsing rack of clothes on the trade fair aisle.
A casual layout for the stand, and also very approachable, is to have a small rack of clothes that buyers can touch from the aisle. While not right for all brands this could be a good way for an emerging brand to get their clothes closer to the browsing buyers. 

Benefits of Products on the Aisle
Product sells itself
Even if a buyer doesn't know your brand, they know what products they're looking for. By placing some of your goods within arm's reach of the aisle a buyer might see a color or pattern that they're looking for that they'd miss if it was in the stand. 

Draw attention
If one buyer has stopped to look it can draw the attention of other buyers. If several people have stopped in the aisle, everyone up and down the aisle can see that there's a stand with activity. An active stand looks better than an empty stand.

Feel the fabric 
Sometimes a fabric looks interesting and by making it easy for a buyer to reach out and touch the fabric they may want to talk to you.

Browse before entering
Buyers sometimes just wanna look without navigating a sales rep. Putting a few teaser pieces on the aisle allows them to have a first glimpse at the product before being asked questions by the brand rep. Giving the buyer a moment to form questions and opinions makes them feel more comfortable when they speak with the brand rep.

Hannes Roether stand at Premium Berlin 2017.

Also Consider 
Optimize the impact of the aisle-facing product by curating a few select pieces which showcase your brand's style or new products. While there are benefits to having a rack on the aisle, a full rack could be too cluttered for some buyers. 

In Short: products on the aisle are an easy way to increase the chance of attracting a new buyer. 
As always, wishing you great success. —TT

Friday, July 28, 2017

Do This #5: Interactive Display

One of the most memorable stands at Premium this season was by Handstich. They froze some garments in a big block of ice which attendees could touch. Over the days the ice slowly melted so you could touch the clothes and it was a great attraction! 

Why you should use an interactive display
  1. Entertain the buyers.
  2. It is an opportunity to further differentiate yourself.
  3. Make a memorable impression - most don't think beyond displaying product. 

1. Entertain the buyers
If you can elicit an emotional response among the buyers, they're more likely to spend time exploring your product. If they feel excited, maybe their customers will feel excitement. Every person who walked by the ice block reached out to touch it. Handstich was able to give them a real emotional response.

2. Differentiate yourself
Most brands hang their clothes on the racks and then stand there smiling. An interactive feature shows that your brand has more depth and is able to offer an experience in addition to a product. Another very interesting presentation was a brand who chose to display 10 outfits on mannequins. They were the only brand to do a presentation-style stand and it instantly stood out when I walked that aisle.

3. Be memorable
After a few weeks have past, I still remember the surprise of stumbling upon a block of ice and a stand full of dressed mannequins. Even if a buyer doesn't place an order right away, by doing another interactive display next season the buyer will remember you much quicker. The more they think about you, the more likely they are to order from you.

In Short: an interactive display adds energy to your stand, makes you more memorable, and increases your chances to sell.

As always, wishing you great success. —TT

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Faux Pas #4: Eating

We all need to eat. But we don't all need to eat in the middle of a sales opportunity. It's easy to turn a blind eye to the business owner who is at the stand alone and needs to eat, but if a brand is big enough to have 8 brand reps it just looks unprofessional to have a team lunch in the stand. Also, why is no one greeting that buyer in the background?

What this says to a buyer
  • These brand reps may not be in a mood to answer questions I have.
  • Is it appropriate for me to browse while they're all eating?
  • Maybe I should come back later.
  • The smell of their food is really distracting.
  • I hope they clean their hands before they come shake mine.
  • If I set my bag on the meeting table I'll probably get food on it.
What you should do instead
Schedule your lunch breaks
The above pictured brand has 8 brand reps! Eight! It would look much more professional to send them out of the stand in 2s or 3s to go eat. This keeps most of the team available to speak to buyers.

What you stand to gain
The team will stay more focused because they know exactly when their lunch break is.

In Short: eating in the stand does not make a buyer feel comfortable so eat anywhere else.
As always, wishing you great success. —TT