If you run a clothing, jewellery or fashion business, you need to keep up with the latest trends. Your customers come to you expecting fresh looks, and if you can't provide them, they'll go elsewhere. These are some tips on keeping one step ahead of your competitors, and making sure you always have the newest styles.
Glossy magazines such as Vogue make it their business to research and even set fashions, so buying a copy is a great start. They'll have the latest catwalk and design news, along with professional photography of clothing and jewellery. Don't forget that your customers might buy these magazines too, so offering them something they've recently seen is a great way to make your business feel like a personalized service.
They're also a great place to spot celebrity styles so you can make sure you stock what the latest fashion diva is wearing.
Fashion Trendsetter is a huge online resource for the fashion-conscious. It forecasts and reports on the latest styles and colours to come off the catwalks. If your discerning customers know anything about designers and fashion awards, this is the place to go to make sure you know everything too. Being able to talk with confidence about the market inspires confidence in those you sell to.
Research Your Market
You probably sell to a certain type of consumer, be it the youth market, those with a disposable income, or people looking for a bargain. Whoever it is, there's no better way to find out what they want than to ask them. You could hold private viewings where people look over your new ranges, or hand out a comment form with every purchase asking what level of satisfaction customers got from your products and what they'd like to see next.
This might sound like a lot of effort if you're a small business, but attending fashion or trade shows really is invaluable. You'll get to talk to other traders and see products first-hand before you choose to source them.
If you sell boutique items from local designers, attending local shows is an excellent way to get to know your artists. Building a good relationship with them means they're more likely to oblige when it comes to making custom pieces or special runs.
Find a Good Supplier
If you source wholesale jewellery or clothing, make sure that your supplier keeps up with the trends too. Don't go with a supplier that's offered the same range for the last few years. A frequently updated range means that you have far more choice and you can change your stock to reflect demand. If your customers want to see that ring Nicole Kidman was wearing on the red carpet last night, make sure you can get hold of a copy.
Keeping up with trends is an ongoing process, and you should set aside some time at least every season to catch up with the latest fashions. Reassuring your customers that you have the newest styles will make them come back to you again and again.
Sylvia Kittens lives in Harrogate, England