Having a Fashion Business in the Midst of Covid-19: Discussion with Zack Hurley
Are you struggling having a fashion business in the midst of Covid-19? Learn what you should be doing NOW to build a strong business in our live discussion with Zack Hurley from clothing manufacturer, Indie Source.
Zack: I guess one question that has come up a lot that we should try to talk about is COVID-19 and the brands themselves. How has COVID-19 affected the way I should start my business? Is there anything different that I wasn’t needing to do before but now that this has happened? As a new business that’s going to be launching I need to do ‘X’ differently?
Christine: I think messaging and marketing is really important at this time. Make sure you’re acknowledging what’s going on. It’s important that you have empathy and compassion for all the different things going on. Having a fashion business in the midst of Covid-19 is very chaotic; especially with all the other things going on too. There’s so much happening right now with political issues and racial injustice. It’s a very crazy time.
I think being sensitive to that and being appropriate with your marketing message is key. Learn how to draw your customer in, how to build a relationship with them, and make them feel like they are a part of a larger community is a topic of conversation that you really need to consider.
It’s difficult and it’s a touchy subject for a lot of people–especially the black lives matter racial injustice side that has been going on. This is not a new issue, it’s just now very much in the media.
I was having this conversation with my husband the other day, who happens to be black. I personally think that businesses are going to start to change in one way shape or form. It might not be the large companies like Amazon and Uber, but I think smaller companies are going to start to change a little bit and do something different. For instance, I believe smaller companies will start to implement things. For instance, making sure they have at least two people of color on the team could start to happen more. Or things like making sure that our marketing shows an image of white women and people of color so that you’re making people feel more inclusive.
So I think there’s going to be a lot of changes in that sense. We’ve already seen it over the years with advertising on television–first you see the black couples, then you see the interracial couples and now you see the gay couples, the trans couples, etc. These big brands are all slowly catching on. But as a small brand it’s something that you really need to be conscious of too because people will call you out on it. Someone might say ‘I’m not going to buy from you because you showed four white women altogether in your image’.
Zack: It’s true. It’s not always the intention that matters when you’re a brand. Sometimes you can put something out and you can have the best intention. You might not be thinking about race at all and just happen to have three white models. I think what you’re saying is, at the minimum, think about it so that you can go into it with intention.
The models and who is the person wearing the clothing–many brands want to be inclusive–so we have to figure out a way to be inclusive in the shoots that we’re doing and all the different marketing. That can be as simple as outlining the kinds of people you want to reflect your brand–from the beginning even.
You should market as early as you can. Even when we’re just making samples it’s good to keep in mind so we are not having to make even more samples that you don’t need. These are some of the things that just a little bit of foresight can really help with. Anybody that’s consulting with you, since you do have a perspective on this and how you want it to ultimately look, make sure you tell them.
Christine: Definitely. I think it’s a conversation you have to have with yourself and your team–if you have a team or a partner–and really go into planning. I think a lot of entrepreneurs just jump in and they just get super excited saying ‘I have an idea, I want to make it’. They come to you, Indie Source, and they sit down with you wanting to make this cool thing but they’re not really planning. They’re not really thinking about what’s the bigger picture and what’s the uniqueness.
You have to ask yourself certain questions. Where do you want to be in 5 years? Where are you going to be in 10 years?
I think what we’ve all learned from COVID-19 is that while we can’t plan for these things to happen. We can do things to try to prepare ourselves as much as possible so you’re at least in a good place if something like this were to ever happen again. It’s important to know how to stay on top of having a fashion business in the midst of Covid-19.
I specifically had clients where we were scrambling last minute to try to get everything together before things shut down. We’re trying to start production, we’ve got fabric stuck in Italy that we now can’t get–we can’t start our production. It really makes you realize that you better have your ducks in a row and have things planned out properly. Don’t wait till the last minute to do things–that’s one of my biggest pet peeves.
Zack: How do you know if they’re waiting until the last minute?
Christine: I mean I always just say try to prepare as much as possible. If something’s due in 2 weeks, get it done in one week. Why wait the two weeks to get it done?
Zack: But I feel like these people don’t have anything due, like they’re their own boss in this scenario and they’re trying to determine how to push themselves forward in the right kind of ways. So how would they manage that?
Christine: This is exactly why they need to work with you (Indie Source) and me. It’s why they work with good players because if you don’t have a good team guiding you in the right direction you’re like a chicken without a head trying to figure things out on your own.
If you enjoyed this, stay tuned for Part 2 and 3 of this conversation where we discuss differences between producing locally and overseas as well as how to build a following for your brand. If you want more FREE information and tips on your fashion business, be sure to join our Fearless Fashionpreneur Facebook Group!
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