It’s no secret the Nigerian Fashion industry is the fastest growing in Sub-Saharan region, no thanks to inflation and weakness of local currencies in Africa. More folks are now looking to Africa for their fashion outfits and accessories, leading to a boom in the global market, but how can our ‘tailors’ take part in this booming industry?
Below are some suggestions in how to tap into this opportunity:
• Create a personal and business brand – It is no longer strange for fashion designers to be the face of their brand. For consumers, this lend some comfort knowing a ‘stylish’ designer that knows what looks good on themselves can deliver on a dream attire for them. So, if you’ve been shying away from this, now is the time for you and your business to become one brand.
• Deliver on experience – Humans; no matter the race or tribe, love being listened to and given adequate attention when patronizing a business, this is how repeat purchase, and word of mouth are generated. Ensure from the point of Hello, to Goodbye or Thank You, your customers are satisfied and their choice designs delivered with utmost professionalism.
• ‘Tailor’ your Market – We see this all too often, a fashion designer starts out by sewing for friends and family, and use this audience to project on a larger, unfamiliar audience. News flash, No⛔ ! Your friends and families are not your real market; unless they are the only one you intend to service. They won’t give you an honest feedback, nor will they help you to improve on your business. If you’re aiming for a larger market, don’t jump in too quickly, experiment with a smaller sample audience and grow big from there. For example, if your designs are hippy, trendy, and affordable, you might want to start with college students or young workers.
• ‘Tailor’ your Pricing – It goes without saying, experiment with Pricing. Not only does it differentiate your brand, but it helps you scale up in your target market.
Below are some suggested Pricing Tactics:
o Budget Pricing – This pricing approach is best suited for consumers seeking low prices when shopping for clothes. Serving this market can yield significant sales volume at the expense of lower per-unit profitability. Customers in this segment are willing to sacrifice quality for affordability and are less likely to be loyal to specific brands. This approach is best for designers trying to scale up in volume and stake out a brand name in this target market.
o Cost Plus Pricing – This is similar to budget pricing, but much simpler. You add a define %margin to your total cost to arrive at your price.
o Premium Pricing – This is for consumers’ who are price sensitivity and associate pricing with a brand’s image rather than the product quality or market value. Products are closely tied with self-expression and social status in consumers’ minds, so consumers in this segment are often more concerned with the social image of their apparel than the durability of the materials.
o Value Pricing – The value pricing strategy sits somewhere between the budget and premium. The key to value pricing is to strike a balance between cost and quality. Value shoppers are not willing to sacrifice quality for extremely low prices, but they also are not willing to pay more than what the outfit is worth simply for a popular brand.
o Promotional Pricing – Price promotions can be an effective means of increasing sales and customer loyalty; however, it should be use cautiously, least it drives a risky consumer behavior. You don’t want to run promotion every month, else your sales might be limited to the only time you run a promotion, as your customers have grown accustom to it, and expect it.
• Your pricing is a powerful too that communicates your market position and brand – Luxury or Affordable.
• Be mindful of the cost vs. volume loop. In some instances, having high volume can lower your overall cost, but the reverse can also occur. For example, if you have just 1 machine and 1 employee, and the maximum you can produce is 5 dresses daily, and you get an order for 6 dresses daily, you can still produce this within your existing cost. However, if you get a request for 8, your cost will go up, you might have to rent a bigger space, hire an extra hand, and buy a new equipment, which will lead to total cost increase.
• Lastly, include all cost related items in your total cost calculation; cost of fabrics, employee salaries, rent, power bill, equipment, regulatory fees, etc. This helps when you’re crunching the numbers to determine if you’re profitable or not.