Something nobody told me when I find started this business is how difficult it is to get people (namely buyers and journalists) to believe in your small business and your product offering.
Understandably, if I were to put myself on the other side of the table, I would likely do the same. I probably would not take the risk on every new designer that pitches their brand to me, after all, creative people have a reputation of being in the flow, chasing their heart desires and if their heart starts chasing something else abruptly midstream, I will be stuck with a brand and product with no continuity, no foresight, and no variety.
(Credits to Haya Magazine for the portrait photo)
But, there are always those -especially in the world of fashion- that developed a reputation of having the eye, the eye for up and coming designers and betting on them before they get up there, I call them pioneer buyers and I -amongst many other designers- are ever so grateful to them.
It would be safe to say that most new designers and small businesses take a good beating of trial and error, pitching, and chasing before they make it to their first showroom, and it has somehow become part of the process and expectation. However, one does get weary after so many turn downs and too many doors shut. I think it is extremely important to disassociate people’s acceptance of your products (or rejection for that matter) from how you see and value your creations. Your creations in essence are an expression of the artist in you, and if you have been true to that artist and have delivered your message with less regard and calculation of how to commercialize your production, you should in the end have a product that is a work of art, and an expression of a sentiment or a feeling you experienced while making it, and therefore how you feel about it is strictly for you and could not be tainted by whether or not it was received well in commercial terms.
When you believe in your business, everything changes and below are a few from my experience:
Conversations Take a Whole Different Dynamic
Ideally, you want to sell your products to retailers and not consign them. However, I think it is important for designers to be up to date with what is happening in the market, and be realistic and wear the hat of buyers. The market of luxury goods is going through a rough patch which we all hope would be over soon, in that light, I think it is important for designers to develop the flexibility to work on consignment(*) basis. I find consigning a really safe place for store buyers because they get to experience your product and its sell-ability, it is a great relationship starter and keeps everyone happy.
When you are a new business though, a lot of larger buyers over-negotiate consignment terms beyond market standards, I find that difficult to work with or discuss mainly because I always look for the win-win in any business deal. If it doesn’t make sense for you as a business, you should be comfortable and happy to walk away. It is difficult to champion this degree of comfort of leaving something behind if you do not truly, completely, and utterly believe that you have a good product in hand. Believing in your product and business gives you the superpower of saying No, my product deserves better. That’s your superpower No.1
Are you Mentally Strong or Weak?
Your belief system can either make you mentally strong, or weak. It is inevitable that we see dark days and days full of sunshine, and the same is correct for your business and your creations, 2020 was the biggest example of “out of my control” scenario for business owners.
It is so easy to believe in your business and offering when everything is going great, but when the going gets tough, you’ll see everything you’ve built falter away, and if you’re lucky you might have some things to hold on to. As a small business owner, you need to be your own biggest champion and cheer leader, not only for the sake of your business, but for those who are part of your working team. Your belief system will be the fuel that will keep everything going, and everyone working hard and you will realize that hard work pays off, even if it takes years to see it. Believing in your product and its worth might be just the thing that will save your business in times of difficulty. That’s your superpower No.2
Far From Work, Close to Home
Valuing your creations starts from home, from you. It is difficult to appreciate something you’ve created if you do not have the convictional belief that you are worthy, and therefore what you create is worthy. You cannot expect the buyer to see the value in what you’re pitching if you -yourself- aren’t convinced, one hundred percent, that this is worthy. Your belief will inspire people, and make them bet on your success, and your success is fully dependent on how to speak to yourself.
Speak to yourself like a champion, and you will be one.
Consignment is when a shop sells goods for an owner. The owner keeps ownership of his item until it sells, if it sells. As the owner, you’d pay a small fee to the shop as compensation for them selling your item. … Generally, when they sell your bicycle, they take their 50% or $10