When Your Favorite Designs Aren’t Selling: Every Designer’s Worst Nightmare
You have spectacular photos, a beautiful e-commerce shop, 4K followers, and thorough market research, but your designs still aren’t selling?!
Every fashion designer has experienced this at some point in their business. The disappointment that occurs after you’ve launched a product you adore and…crickets. As a creative being, it’s devastating. You want to produce designs you love but the sales are saying something else. What do you do??
*BREATH* The first part is accepting the fact that you are a business.
Once you cross that line from artist/hobbyist into a fashion business, your products are no longer all about you – they’re about the NEED of your customers.
In traditional business – specifically fashion business – we are taught to produce a product we love and THEN fit it into an existing market. And let’s be honest, the market you chose is probably over-saturated. Next, we push for sales. We are a small fish in a humongous ocean of designers, but we persist. We insist. We compete tirelessly in order to stay afloat.
This is typical entrepreneurship. But when you look at it from a broader point of view, it’s kind of backwards, isn’t it?
Vulnerability researcher, Brene Brown stated, “A business is only as good as its ability to address the evolving and changing needs of the market.”
Don’t trust in the product. Trust in the people you are serving.
The greatest entrepreneurs of our time didn’t push products simply because they were in love with them. Neither did they have to plead and prove their product’s worth. Their business ventures were commercially disruptive and quite serendipitous.
Instead of leaning on a product, they leaned into the needs of the cultures around them. They found voids that needed to be filled and people that needed to be heard. They LISTENED before designing instead of INSISTING on their designs. Great design and great business start with conversations.
“Yeah. That’s Nice, But I Already Own A Fashion Business”
If you already own a business, hope is not lost! If your designs aren’t selling, study your past sales and listen to your customer feedback. This doesn’t mean throwing your creativity out the door either – you still have creative authority!
Start by studying what products/categories are selling the most. When and where are they selling most often?
Now find creative ways to enhance your designs that are in highest demand. Innovative fabrics, novelty trims, and innovative construction are only a few creative updates to pre-existing bodies.
Are you pitching to the right people? If you live in New York but most of your fan-base is in LA, maybe open a few pop-up shops to engage those customers more directly. It’s also helpful to release products at the peak buying season. After February, it’s time to remove the coats from your shop. Product demand, pitch, and timing are crucial in the world of sales.
Only Mass-Produce Items that Sell
If you’re most passionate about dresses and outerwear but your shoes are selling the most, then you may want to devote more time and money on shoe development until your brand is popular enough to attract a broader audience. Pre-sales is another great model that’s worth looking into.
Lean On Your Editorials To Showcase Pieces You Love When Those Designs Aren’t Selling
Many designers interpret this as becoming a slave to sales records, but it isn’t. You still have the artist inside of you but instead of producing an entire run of dresses and outerwear, you produce just a few until the demand grows. You can also utilize photoshoots to flaunt the more fun pieces while simultaneously enhancing the products that sell – like the shoes. This way your shoes are styled nicely for e-commerce AND you were able to fully express yourself. As your brand expands, the demand for your products will too, and that may include the pieces you love! So don’t lose hope just yet.
Comment your favorite tip below! If you’re still insecure about your online sales, book our E-Commerce Shop Audit. One of our coaches will sift through your online store and point out areas for improvement. Our e-commerce audits improve overall user experience, and boost sales as a result!
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