Monday, March 9, 2009

The Bead Stylist: Designer's are Changing Their Strategy in This Economy and Positioning for Better Times Ahead

Although we may consider ourselves small-time, niche designer's, remember, that's where many of the larger designers got their start; so there are clearly some lesson's to be learned here.

Technically, in the beading world - from jewelry design to bead weaving, it's all about Fashion; so why not take what these designer's are saying about how they are positioning themselves to face the challenges in this down economy and see how that can help the survivors survive.

The past few weeks I've come across forum posting, Wall Street Journal articles, and email newsletters weighing the pro's and con's of what it takes to make it in this down economy, if your your a small entrepreneur on Etsy and you question the economy, then your told you have a negative attitude or outlook; if your in major department stores and your designs have been marked down to prices you never dreamed of selling your creations for then it's the department stores that have caused you this malaise.

But the last article I read on is what prompted me to finally be able to write about this subject; because it does show how, despite the truth in all of the aforementioned, there are some ways to benefit during this  these challenging times.

  • Find out what your customer is looking for during this economic down turn - believe it or not, people are willing to spend; but perhaps they have certain conditions.
  • Stay on top of what your customer wants.
  • Keep your quality consistent - after all that's probably what got your customers in the first place.
  • Flexibility in your designs - fashion designers are noticing that their customers are still willing to pay BUT they want different and functional clothing.
  • Develop your Niche or go back to your roots if that's what worked for you originally.
  • Cut costs where you can that won't show up in your designs.

Several fashion designers are not cutting back on the decision to expand; however, they are being more focused on how they go about expanding.

Having a niche product and designs, and keeping things fresh seems to be the going theme as these designers share how they intend to this time period:


"Without people buying your clothes, you are not going to have a business anymore," said designer Rebecca Taylor, who added she had to make sure each of the 33 pieces she put on the runway stood out. "It's very important to bear that in mind when you are designing."

Newness, while always critical, has become the latest industry buzzword and now carries a sense of urgency.....After the carnage of the holiday season, newness, everybody agrees, is what's needed to spur shoppers to look past what's in their closets and start buying again. -- or better yet, to start paying full price again, after being pampered with deals of at least 70% off during the holidays.

"Designers are definitely stepping up their game and giving people a reason to buy," said Claire Hamilton, a retail analyst at trend-consulting and information firm WGSN. "You need to make every piece as distinctive as possible. Everyone is so much more conscious of the real commercial nature of the fashion industry. Designers are aware that if they make beautiful clothes that don't sell, they won't survive."


OK, it's time to get back to work!

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