Monthly Archives: March 2011

All About Fashion Design (Part 1) – Fashion Design, Fashion Structure and Fashion History

Fashion design

Fashion design is the art of the application of design and aesthetics or natural beauty to clothing and accessories. Fashion design is influenced by cultural and social lattitudes, and has varied over time and place. Fashion designers work in a number of ways in designing clothing and accessories. Some work alone or as part of a team. They attempt to satisfy consumer desire for aesthetically designed clothing; and, because of the time required to bring a garment onto the market, must at times anticipate changing consumer tastes.

Fashion designers attempt to design clothes which are functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. They must consider who is likely to wear a garment and the situations in which it will be worn. They have a wide range and combinations of materials to work with and a wide range of colors, patterns and styles to choose from. Though most clothing worn for everyday wear fall within a narrow range of conventional styles, unusual garments are usually sought for special occasions, such as evening wear or party dresses.

Some clothes are made specifically for an individual, as in the case of haute couture. Today, most clothing is designed for the mass market, especially casual and every-day wear.

Fashion designers can work in a number of ways. Fashion designers may work full-time for one fashion company, known as ‘in-house designers’ which owns the designs. They may work alone or as part of a team. Freelance designers work for themselves, selling their designs to fashion houses, directly to shops, or to clothing manufacturers. The garments bear the buyer’s label. Some fashion designers set up their own labels, under which their designs are marketed. Some fashion designers are self-employed and design for individual clients. Other high-fashion designers cater to specialty stores or high-fashion department stores. These designers create original garments, as well as those that follow established fashion trends. Most fashion designers, however, work for apparel manufacturers, creating designs of men’s, women’s, and children’s fashions for the mass market. Large designer brands which have a ‘name’ as their brand such as Calvin Klein, Gucci, or Chanel are likely to be designed by a team of individual designers under the direction of a designer director.

Structure

Designing a garment

Fashion designers work in different ways.Myriam Chalek, Owner of Creative Business House states it in Vogue Magazine: Each fashion designer is unique hence the uniqueness of the sample’s development. Nevertheless the mainstream is pretty similar: From a sketch to a sophisticated illustrated CAD design, fashion designers before using any fabric put their ideas on paper. It’s only once they have the concept of the wanted design that they will use fabric. Myriam Chalek explains that the first steps of the garment production are very important: once the designer is in sync with whats in his head and whats on paper, he will either create a muslin prototype of the sample and once satisfied he will have the pattern done and then the final sample. Or he will create a pattern and then work directly with the fabric to produce the sample. This second method is usually not recommended if the designer is going to modify the sample as it is being created in so far as the fabric can be wasted and the final sample not being the true representation of the original designer’s concept. The pattern production is the most crucial part of the garment’s production because job the fit of the finished garment/sample depends on the pattern’s accuracy. Samples have to be perfect because that’s what the fashion designer present to potential buyers.

History

Fashion design is generally considered to have started in the 19th century with Charles Frederick Worth who was the first designer to have his label sewn into the garments that he created. Before the former draper set up his maison couture (fashion house) in Paris, clothing design and creation was handled by largely anonymous seamstresses, and high fashion descended from that worn at royal courts. Worth’s success was such that he was able to dictate to his customers what they should wear, instead of following their lead as earlier dressmakers had done. The term couturier was in fact first created in order to describe him. While all articles of clothing from any time period are studied by academics as costume design, only clothing created after 1858 could be considered as fashion design.

It was during this period that many design houses began to hire artists to sketch or paint designs for garments. The images were shown to clients, which was much cheaper than producing an actual sample garment in the workroom. If the client liked their design, they ordered it and the resulting garment made money for the house. Thus, the tradition of designers sketching out garment designs instead of presenting completed garments on models to customers began as an economy.

READ ALSO:

ALL ABOUT FASHION (PART 2) – TYPES OF FASHION, INCOME, SCHOOLS

ALL ABOUT FASHION (PART 3) – FASHION STAR SYSTEMS, WORLD FASHION AND THE GLOBAL FASHION INDUSTRY

Source: Wikipedia.com

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Creating a Green Fashion Label

When consumers shop for groceries, they tend to review the nutrition label and ingredients list on the food package to obtain dietary information. This food label system helps people make an informed decision and lead healthier lifestyles. Shouldn’t consumers have resources for making similar choices when shopping for apparel products? According to the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act (TFPIA), all apparel products should have a label that includes: fiber content, country of origin, manufacturer identification, and care instructions.

 

However, the clothing label may not be informative enough to educate consumers regarding what processes were used to make the product and what environmental impacts those processes may have. One of the common myths consumers may believe regarding apparel products is that natural fiber products are more environmentally friendly than synthetic fiber products. Considering the fact that the textile and apparel industry is a major contributor to environmental degradation, it is important to provide more informative, easy-to-read labels for apparel products, responding to consumers’ growing concerns about environmental issues related to their consumable products.

From interviews with five apparel design personnel in two companies (although these opinions cannot represent all designers’ and merchandisers’ opinions), our research team found that they were aware of the environmental problems associated with dyeing and textile processing. However, interestingly, they did not regard themselves as responsible for correcting these problems.

They also indicated that the biggest determining factor for apparel designers and merchandisers when deciding where to obtain materials for production is the availability of materials from suppliers who have had a long–term relationship with the company. It seems that environmentally friendly materials were not their main concern. They added that if they were sure that their target consumers would be willing to purchase environmentally friendly products, they would practice sustainability. Without certainty, they did not want to take the risk because using green materials costs more. The industry personnel felt that there was nothing they could do as designers or merchandisers to address environmental issues, believing that environmentally friendly production was beyond their ability.

Do consumers agree with these opinions? To explore consumer opinions about green apparel products and purchasing behaviors, a serious of focus group discussions were conducted with 32 consumers. Although organic fibers and other green apparel options are already available in the market, participants demonstrated a lack of knowledge about these products. Interestingly, several respondents knew of organic clothing only in terms of simple items, such as T–shirts, while others did not even know that organic or green apparel was an available option.

In addition, the respondents agreed that if there were more information about green apparel products available, they would be more prone to buy them. They felt skeptical about current eco–claims because labeling of green apparel is voluntary and no general rules have been implemented for apparel product labeling. They added that current labels on green clothing did not offer an adequate amount of information to consumers. They were unsure of exactly what “environmentally friendly” meant and how the products they had seen were environmentally friendly. Additionally, most of the participants agreed that a well–established eco–label for apparel products would increase consumers’ knowledge of environmental impacts from apparel production and foster consumers’ green apparel purchasing behaviors.

Regarding willingness to buy green apparel products, they mentioned that they would be more likely to purchase green apparel products if they were cheaper and more readily available. Respondents indicated that they would not buy a less attractive environmentally friendly garment with the label attached to it over a more attractive conventional product. Therefore, before emphasizing green aspects, products should meet the quality expectations of consumers.

Based on these two investigations, the research team suggested that a labeling system could be used to reduce the information gap between producers and consumers. Green labels for textile and apparel products can facilitate choices for consumers making environmentally responsible purchasing decisions by motivating and/or educating them (D’Souza, et al., 2006).

As mentioned earlier, just as the nutritional facts and ingredients are listed on food packages, the apparel label can include customized information on how the content of a specific product and its production processes impact the environment. Our research team identified six sustainability aspects of apparel products as the key information that would be beneficial for consumers to know from the green apparel label: organic, biodegradable, safely dyed, fair trade, carbon footprint, and recycled. Creating eye–catching symbols accompanied by brief explanations for clarification, which convey the key aspects of sustainability within the apparel industry, will be necessary. This design will make the labels easy to read and serve as a convenient reference for consumers.

If the standardized and easy–to–read label is commonly used in the textile and apparel industry in the future, it will educate consumers about green products and their effects on our surrounding environment. By becoming more knowledgeable about green products, consumers will be able to make more informed purchases of environmentally responsible products. In addition, educated consumers will drive businesses to practice more sustainability. Adopting the easy–to–read, informative green label will help retailers promote their eco–friendly strategies. As people continue to show interest in green products through purchases, the availability of various green products will increase, resulting in growing diversity in the retailing industry.

This educational research brief is from the University of Delaware (Fiber Online Journal).
Creating a Green Label for Reducing the Gap

Authors:
Dr. Hae Jin Gam is an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at Illinois State University. She was a fashion designer in South Korea until 2001. Her doctoral research was in the area of sustainable apparel design and production development and was funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. Her current research interests include sustainability in the apparel and textile industry, apparel product development, consumers’ eco–friendly purchasing behavior, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Dr. Yoon Jin Ma is an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at Illinois State University. Her research interests include social responsibility in apparel consumption, manufacturing, and retailing; consumer behavior; services marketing; and scale development. She received the Student Best Paper Award at the doctoral level from the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA) in 2008, the Best Track Paper Award in the textile and apparel/international track from ITAA in 2009, and the Paper of Distinction Award in the consumer behavior track from ITAA in 2010

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Face-to-Face Networking

CONNECTING AT NETWORKING EVENTS

PREPARATIONS:

  • If possible, make one or two connections before the event and arrange to meet at the event.
  • Go to the event alone! Don’t hang out with friends or people you already know.
  • Set a goal before the event, for example, I will connect with six new people tonight. A goal should not be to see how many business cards you can collect.
  • Dress appropriately for the occasion.
  • Pick up a nametag. Put your career/job goal on your resume as well as your name.
  • Keep one hand free to allow yourself to shake hands with people without juggling drink, food, or other items.
  • Be prepared to offer help as well as receive. Be ready to tell others what you can do for them, and then follow up and do it.
  • Bring business cards and a pen in a pocket or easily accessible. You can create virtually free business cards from various internet sites. When you give someone your card, personalize it! for example, handwrite your cellphone number on it. write notes on the back of business cards you collect about the contact.

Making the Connection

  • Initiate a conversation with someone who is standing alone.
  • Have a few great conversation starters. Compliments work well! Have a one-liner to use when joining a group.
  • Don’t barge into a larger group. Ease in, make eye contact and gradually join the conversation.
  • When you introduce yourself, include what you do and why you are attending the event (what you are looking for). Be concise. Ask follow up questions about to information shared with you.
  • Be well-prepared to answer “What do you do?” with a concise, positive response. For example, respond that you are in transition and seeking a great new opportunity in the (your career) field.
  • During a conversation with a new contact, use the other person’s name two or three times. Ask them questions. Make good eye contact. Listen carefully to what they have to say.
  • Have a few good questions you could ask anyone in the room to jump-start a conversation that has gone dead.
  • Politely excuse yourself when leaving a conversation.
  • Know when to stop talking!

Follow Up

  • Send follow-up e-mails within 48 hours, preferably the day after the event.
  • Organize collected business cards. Add date and where you met the contact on each, along with notes about any special interests as an additional reason to keep in touch.

IMPROMPTU NETWORKING

You never know whom you’re going to run into on the bus, the train, at a party, or other unexpected setting. Suddenly you find yourself speaking to an expert in your desired career field, or the head of the most prestigious employer in industry.

How do you introduce yourself? What do you tell him/her about yourself? What kind of questions do you ask?

The best tactic is to be well-prepared in advance! Prepare and practice a short summary of who you are, what you would like to do in the future, and the type of help that you need to get you there:

I’ll be graduating from Loyola University Chicago this spring with my degree in English. I’d ultimately like to use my technical writing skills in trade magazines, particularly relating to the travel industry. I would really appreciate any advice you can give me. Would you consider setting up a short appointment for an informational interview to help me explore my career goals?


PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE & MEETINGS

Join a local professional association and volunteer to work at one of their conferences or meetings. Many associations have special student memberships.

VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES

Volunteer activities bring you in direct connection with people in your chosen career, particularly in the nonprofit industry.


Source: luc.edu

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Top 10 Networking Tips for Savvy Networkers


  • .  Be Prepared. Savvy Networkers always have their networking tools with them at all times.  The Networking tool kit includes: an ample supply of business cards, your name badge, any collateral material (flyers, brochures, etc), and your marketing message (often referred to as your elevator speech).

    .  Arrive early. Savvy Networkers arrive early and have their business cards readily available and can relax and focus on learning about the other people in the room.  As an early, Savvy Networker, you can pause to calmly gather your thoughts and your intentions so that your time spent networking will be of benefit to you and your goals.  Preparation goes a long way in making you appear to be someone that other people will want to get to know.  People do business with people they like.  And you will be judged by others, like it or not, based on their first impression of you.
  • .  Have a plan. Savvy Networkers always have an idea of what the goal is for each event they attend.  Know, before going in, what the outcome is that you want for yourself or for the people you meet at each event.  Do you want to meet 3 people and focus on getting to know them really well?  Are you looking for an introduction to a certain type of client?  Are you looking for information or connections that will get you that information?  When you have a plan, it is easier to stay focused and achieve your expected outcome.  It also helps you to keep on track to help others in achieving their goals when you remind yourself to be generous with your own knowledge and connections.  And, when you have a plan it is easier to stay on task as you meet with people.
  • Be a Giver and/or a Connector. When you focus on “giving” and being helpful to others, the “getting” will come later … and it will come in unexpected ways.  Foremost to remember, is that no one likes a person with a “taker” mentality.  When you are generous, people will notice and repsect you for your kind nature.  And, people generally do business with people that they respect, trust, and like.  Act like a host at every event you attend by connecting people.  This can be a simple act of intruducing 2 people to each other or as elaborate as giving a testimonial about 1 person and their services to the entire group.  All of these acts allow you to focus on the “other” and grows your social capital in the room.
  • Leave your troubles behind. Put on a happy face at the door and remind yourself that it is “show time”.  This is your time to sparkle and shine.  People will look forward to seeing you and meeting you if you are energetic, positive, and outgoing.  Again, people enjoy doing business with people that they like.  BE a person that others will like.  Hopefully you’ve heard the zen expression “Be the ball” … well, whenever you have the chance, “Be the ball of the ball!”  Do not burden or bore people with your troubles or your problems.  Everyone has enough of their own, and, trust me on this, they do not need or want to hear about yours.
  • Listen with focus. When someone is speaking with you, give that person your entire focus.  LISTEN.  Really hear what the person is saying.  Keep your eyes and ears focused and keep your self talk and thoughts focused too.  The greatest gift that you can give to another person is to truly hear what that person is saying.  You’ve seen this before and it bears repeating: you have 1 mouth and 2 ears for a reason.  Listen twice as much and talk 1/2 as much and everyone you treat this way will think you are a genius!
  • Be Genuine. Everyone knows when someone is “schmoozing” on or at them.  And, no one likes being “primed” for the pump.  Be genuine in your interactions with others at an event.  Again, it comes back to building trust,  to building “brand YOU”.  There is a huge difference between being INTERESTED and in trying to be INTERESTING.   When you are interested in learning about someone and their business entirely for the sake of learning about the other person, you will leave a lasting impression as someone who genuinely cares.  On the other hand, when you are interested only so that you can take what you learn and then use it to make yourself or your products interesting to this person … well, my friend, you have slipped into the category of “scorched earth networking” and it is not a good place to be.
  • Do Teach/Don’t Sell. The Savvy Networker knows that the immediate sale of a product is not the goal in networking.  Networking is about building relationships with people who will be happy to tell others about who you are and what you do.  Word of mouth advertising is the most cost effective and powerful advertising.   At every opportunity, teach others about who you are, as a person, and what it is that you do.  Always present a clear emphasis on the type of client that you are looking for.  In doing this, you will be building a salesforce that can reach far wider than you can on your own.
  • Follow up. After the event, send a thank you card to each person that you had direct contact with.  Mention something from your discussion in the thank you card (it helps if you jot notes on the back of each person’s business card that you collect).  If there is a referral that you can supply to someone you’ve just met, include that in the follow up note.  Showing up and following up are the two most important parts of networking.  Showing up, in most cases, is the easy part.  The follow up is, sadly, the most neglected part of networking.  Since so many people fail to follow up, you can really stand out by just doing this simple act of reaching out to remind someone of who you are and what you do … and that you are interested in exploring a relationship.
  • Follow up some more! Depending on where you look, marketing statistics state that it takes 7 to 12 impressions for a consumer to make a buying decision.  It also take somewhere between 5 to 12 impressions to become “top of mind”.  AND those are the OLD numbers.  Because of the overload of information that we are all faced with every day, the number of impressions is actually quite higher.  It is more likely to take 15 – 20 impressions before you make the connections that you are looking to build! Meeting face to face is the 1st impression.  An email, a phone call, another card, a lunch date … don’t stop after 1 or 2 impressions.  Keep going.  Savvy Networkers know that to build strong relationships they must dig deeper and make the continued effort to build ongoing relationships!

Source: Top10networkingtips.com

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Networking Tips: How to Work a Room

Networking can serve as a valuable strategy for getting a lead on a job, gathering information, or catching the special attention of a company recruiter.

Most of us are not born minglers. Practice and preparation will help you develop the skills it takes to be effective at an Employer Info Session, a Career Fair, or other serendipitous opportunities. As difficult or awkward as it may feel at first, the ability to meet and make a positive, professional impression on people will become ever more important as your career advances and develops. Here are some tips to get you started.

Check your attitude

Many of us are shy or reluctant to approach strangers in new social situations, so understandably it’s not always easy to muster the energy to try and connect with people at networking events. That’s why it’s key to get mentally geared up before you even show up. Because your attitude often guides your behavior, you must overcome any negative self-talk that could hinder you from reaching out to others. Do these outlooks sound familiar?

  • “Why should I bother trying to impress this person? I’m only one of a hundred students this recruiter is going to see today.”
  • “I don’t think I know enough to engage the company reps in an intelligent conversation.”
  • “I’ve never really been good at meeting people. That’s just my personality.”

Such negative thoughts prevent you from pushing past any social roadblocks standing in your way. The truth is that many, if not most, people have similar thoughts in group situations and are just as hesitant to initiate conversations. But if you change your attitude from negative to positive, you can instead take the lead. Remember:

  • People enjoy talking about themselves. Ask them questions to get them started.
  • People feel flattered when you show an interest in them and their work/organization. And they will reciprocate your demonstrations of sincere interest.
  • You have more to offer others than you might think; just believe it.

Redefine what it means to interact with “strangers”

When you join a new student organization or club, you share certain interests with the members. When you go to a party, you run into people you’ve seen in class or around your dorm. A networking event is not really all that different if you view it as an occasion to find what you have in common with other people there. Commonalities help “strangers” connect more easily.

  • Take the initiative to approach others, introduce yourself, and share a piece of information that could reveal the common thread you share with them.
  • During conversations, listen carefully to discover shared interests or goals.
  • Use your shared background or interests as the basis for sustaining conversations.

Prepare and practice your self-introduction

To avoid being tongue-tied when you try to start a conversation with someone you don’t know, prepare a self-introduction that is clear, interesting, and well delivered. What you say about yourself will depend on the nature of the event, but in any case, it shouldn’t take longer than 8-10 seconds. Although practicing your introduction might at first seem silly and artificial, it will eventually help you make an introduction that sounds natural, confident, and smooth. Here are a few examples:

  • “Hi, my name is Catherine Lee. I’m glad to have this chance to meet you and learn how a psychology major can break into the pharmaceutical industry.” [Employer Information Session]
  • “Good morning, I’m Bryan Sampson, a former summer intern at your Los Angeles branch.” [Career Fair]
  • “Hello, my name is Jessica Garcia. I’m a junior rhetoric major looking to find out what it’s like working in public relations and marketing.” [Career Speed Dating Event]

Risk rejection – it’s not the end of the world

It happens. Some individuals may not respond to your introduction in the way you would like. If that takes place, don’t take it personally and just move on. As long as you maintain an outgoing and friendly attitude, you can plan for continued networking success by:

  • Identifying the goals you want to achieve at the networking event before you go (e.g., to learn more about a career, to develop internship leads, etc.)
  • Keeping a healthy sense of humor.
  • Treating everyone as you would want to be treated. Aside from being the courteous thing to do, you don’t know who might be helpful to you in the future.

And last, but not least, don’t forget how important it is for you to physically move around and about when you’re at a networking event. You can’t work a room when you’re sitting down! So get in there and show them what you’ve got.

Source: Career.berkeley.edu

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10 Tips for Successful Business Networking

Effective business networking is the linking together of individuals who, through trust and relationship building, become walking, talking advertisements for one another.

  1. Keep in mind that networking is about being genuine and authentic, building trust and relationships, and seeing how you can help others.
  2. Ask yourself what your goals are in participating in networking meetings so that you will pick groups that will help you get what you are looking for. Some meetings are based more on learning, making contacts, and/or volunteering rather than on strictly making business connections.
  3. Visit as many groups as possible that spark your interest. Notice the tone and attitude of the group. Do the people sound supportive of one another? Does the leadership appear competent? Many groups will allow you to visit two times before joining.
  4. Hold volunteer positions in organizations. This is a great way to stay visible and give back to groups that have helped you.

  5. Ask open-ended questions in networking conversations. This means questions that ask who, what, where, when, and how as opposed to those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. This form of questioning opens up the discussion and shows listeners that you are interested in them.
  6. Become known as a powerful resource for others. When you are known as a strong resource, people remember to turn to you for suggestions, ideas, names of other people, etc. This keeps you visible to them.

  7. Have a clear understanding of what you do and why, for whom, and what makes your doing it special or different from others doing the same thing. In order to get referrals, you must first have a clear understanding of what you do that you can easily articulate to others.

  8. Be able to articulate what you are looking for and how others may help you. Too often people in conversations ask, “How may I help you?” and no immediate answer comes to mind.
  9. Follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given. When people give you referrals, your actions are a reflection on them. Respect and honor that and your referrals will grow.
  10. Call those you meet who may benefit from what you do and vice versa. Express that you enjoyed meeting them, and ask if you could get together and share ideas.

Source: Businessknowhow.com

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5 Proven Ways to Create a Successful Niche Business

Too many business owners fish in the widest and deepest pools’ trying to be all things to all people. Offering a broad range of products and services to a broad audience and never really create the waves that lead to tremendous profits. By positioning yourself at the top of a smaller, well defined pool (or niche) you will set your business apart from the competition and create a profitable business.

Here are five proven ways to create a profitable niche business.

1. Define Your Market

Research the needs and challenges of your target audience and capitalize on those needs. Understand the community and develop solutions that appeal to a specific group. For example – Understanding Social media in Small Business is a need of the small business community, a niche market would be to develop a product or service that teach small business owners how to use social media in their business.

2. Create Your Product or Service

Based upon the needs of your target audience, you want to create a product or offer a service that addresses those needs. Many start with developing their products first without researching if there is a market for it. First define your audience and establish there is a demand for a new product and then develop it.

3. Create Your Brand Promise

The brand promise is a statement of what your customers can expect every time they engage with your company and is the center of your business. When a brand stands out with a strong promise that deliver value consistently, the value of your offering increases and customers will be willing to whip out their wallets and pay for your products.

4. Become the Expert

Position yourself as an expert in your niche and become the “go to guy” for this product of service. Showcase your knowledge and expertise by writing articles, participating in forums and providing tips, techniques and strategies in short, succinct messages via popular social networking sites.

5. Create specific messages direct to your niche

Business is conducted on an emotional level. Now that you have identified your market, built a community around your offering, you must communicate with your target market frequently. Develop specific messages targeted towards your niche market appealing to their emotions and demonstrating your benefits. It takes 7 times before somebody is comfortable enough with you and your expertise to buy from you so be specific, be credible and offer extraordinary value.

No matter if you are a retailer, service professional, internet marketer or mom and pop shop, you stand for something. There is a reason that you went into business and a reason why you want your business run a certain way. Building a brand starts with defining what is your core purpose and the inherent promise you are making to your customers and delivering value every time. Isolating your niche in your area of expertise and bringing solutions to a targeted group will keep the cash registers ringing every time.

Source: Nicebusinesssecretsrevealed.com

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