Every day I speak with fashion business owners (most of all women) who have a fashion store, who are designers, who are stylists, etc. They started their own business because of their passion for fashion. In the past, you could do amazing business without being much innovative. Anno 2019, the fashion industry has completely changed. We are in a digital age where you can buy clothes online 24/7, where you can be inspired by outfits all day long (social media) and where customers have all the knowledge in the world (via internet). How can you still be successful as fashionpreneur in such evolution?

The evolution in buying fashion today will continue to develop and change.

The evolution in buying fashion today will continue to develop and change. The market will keep on innovating and becoming more and more digital. It’s important that the fashion retailer and brands don’t remain static but dynamic. They don’t have to be active, but PRO-active. As a fashionpreneur, you have to focus on the future. How will the client buy in 2020 and further, what will they like, what are their needs, etc. In the upcoming years, you have to be FIT as fashionpreneur. I call it; ‘the survival of the fittest in fashion’.

What do you have to do, to be “FIT in FASHION”?

First, you have to focus on a modern way to run and to lead your business. You have to be modern as an entrepreneur, modern in the way you organize your company, modern as a leader, modern is your way of thinking. There are a lot of trends and innovations going on. For example, we don’t have real seasons anymore in fashion. All year long you have to offer all-season looks. People are travelling a lot, the climate is changing and it’s winter in spring and summer in autumn. But still, a lot of brands and retailers are offering real season wear when the market is not ready to buy.

On the other hand, the future of fit fashionpreneurs will be no longer focusing on products as you can find them all online in clean (boring) webshops, but the focus has to be on the values. Why are you doing what you do and what are the values of your brand/company? Customers have to have a feeling about your brand. When I say MATUVU, immediately people think about fashion, inspiration and empowerment. These are the values my company stands for. We offer fashionbrands to retailers, we work with brands, we show stylings and fashion inspirations to our customers and we help fashionpreneurs in building their biz and empower them to grow themselves & their businesses. Our customers connect with these values and not with our products. The products are in the second place.

Next, to the values, the entrepreneur or starter in fashion has to focus on experience and the personalization. In a digital age, people live in 2 realities; the real and the virtual. Sometimes they get lost in this virtual world and miss the connection of the real world. This causes the need for engagement and connection again. That’s why you don’t have to focus anymore these days on B2B or B2C business, but H2H business. By H2H, I mean, Human 2 Human. People love to do business with people. That’s why experience is more important today. People are looking to experience a brand. The best way to do this is by building communities, organising events (offline), focusing on experiential retail, etc. Consumers are looking for this, instead of looking for products online.

If you add the personal touch on the experience, you have a WIN-WIN situation. For example, you start from a shopping profile of someone and you add to this profiles of great looks, clothes and accessories. People will buy these products but it wasn’t their first need. If you are aware of this new way of doing business, you’ll survive.

This social aspect is very strong, that’s why you can’t live anymore without using social media for your fashionbiz. You can use social shopping, working with influencers, telling stories, using videos and being ‘live’ with your customers. Too often I still see fashionpreneurs using social media as an informative canal. They announce discounts on these canals, as well as new collections,…but they don’t give value to the clients. It’s just information which consumers can all find by themselves online. So they won’t connect with your business and brand.

Customers today don’t choose anymore between online or offline.

Customers today don’t choose anymore between online or offline. It’s no longer an omnichannel way of doing business but an omnipresent way. As a fashion entrepreneur, you have to be (pro)active on all channels. In the past, we noticed some small war between online shops and offline shops, but this no longer exists. It all flows. For online shopping, people choose when they need to be on their own and just the easiest way to order things. For offline shopping, people choose to enjoy, to experience and to connect with the brand. If you want to be a ‘fit fashionpreneur’ you have to develop all these channels and make it one business.

The evolution is there and it’s totally different when we speak about changes. Something that changes is just for a short period. Evolution is for always. It will keep on changing. You need to do much more in 2019 to grow clientele & sales as in the past. But this will never go back, so it’s better not to complain about it, but be pro-active and stay flexible in what the market needs. Being pro-active is something we share with our starters and entrepreneurs who are following coachings in the MATUVU Fashion Academy. A ‘fit-fashionpreneur’ stays open to learn, to create and to collaborate. My question to you: are you FIT in FASHION?

Ils Sterckx
Founder of MATUVU Fashion Agency & Academy – Fashion Business Development Coach – International Speaker – Fashion Guru in business. Linkedin: Ils Sterckx Instagram: @ils_sterckx Facebook: Ils Sterckx More info contact: ils@matuvufashionagency.be

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