The pandemic has sped up many changes within most industries — some good and some not so. Adjustments to normal business practices are needed to address these new demands. Change has always been inevitable and constant, but the pandemic has accelerated demands for change. The apparel industry’s changes were already apparent before the pandemic hit, but this past year has magnified the need to incorporate new practices to serving customers’ changing buying habits.
For those wishing to start their own company, there are a few things to consider in this new business climate, including: the slowing down of brick-and-mortar sales, the increase of online sales, cross-marketing of brands online and social media marketing. There is also an increased demand for sustainable products and products that address social justice. New businesses will have to consider new technological options, such as on-demand manufacturing, 3D printing and 3D virtual sampling.
Manufacturing has also changed significantly over the past year, with many companies trying smaller orders more often, manufacturing in the U.S. and increasing speed to market. Recycling and upcycling are two big trends.
Additionally, online trade shows are here to stay. Even when the in-person shows are able to start up again, online trade shows will be an added benefit to sourcing and sales.
For any new potential seller wishing to launch their own line, most of the above can be incorporated into the planning process. For established companies, it will take time to adjust production and usual business practices to these new demands. But the important thing is to start incorporating as much as possible. The use of sustainable methods would be a good first move.
Incorporating 3D product development using some of the new software systems is another good first step to avoid over-sampling and the inevitable waste that this first step involves. The designer can virtually create samples that also show fabrication. Then, buyers can view and, if needed, suggest changes. This all can be done before any fabric is cut or samples made.
Using this type of software is also helpful for new companies who use contractors to develop their samples. It saves so much unnecessary time and money in creating first samples. The use of this software can also do on-demand production and smaller orders — another good point for new brands who would not be able to produce big orders.
Technology can also produce made-to-measure garments for customers through scanning them. Once a person is scanned, a pattern is adjusted to their personal measurements. Scan apps are now available to scan yourself or your customer. Then, those measurements can be sent to the manufacturers to make the adjustments to the pattern for a chosen design.
The other development that is good for new companies who are selling online is to incorporate cross-marketing practices. This is akin to retail stores that sell different brands in their store. Online brands can sell their own products but also merchandise their products with other brands to cross-market products. This opens opportunities for each brand to help each other with social media marketing methods, increasing traffic for each one’s website. It also allows new brands to stay up to date on trends.
Finally, please note that one especially important point is to take the time to check credentials of consultants or resources that are needed to create first samples or production. Please check them out, and get references!
Fashion for Profit Consulting