Guest speakers;

Philip Start Director at START London.

Philip Start is the Director and Co-Owner of START London, an emporium of 3 branches filled with emerging designer brands, based in the heart of up-and-coming Shoreditch.  In 2008, Philip launched his own eponymous menswear label, Mr Start, specialising in formal menswear; truly “the definition of Shoreditch Luxury”.

Laura Jean PR/Marketing at START London.
Responsible for Promotion, Marketing and Press at START London, Laura Jean was the perfect mentor to provide invaluable advice on the business-side of branding, sales, press, and pricing.

     Pricing
  • The current instability of the economy requires you to be even more meticulous with your market research; be aware that your customer may be less-willing to spend as much as in previous years, so price accordingly. 
  • Create a pricing strategy and stick to it.  Remember that price is an aspect of your brand, so don’t be tempted to cost something sky-high for the sake of it; you’ll price yourself out of the market.  Try to align yourself with an established designer who shares a similar aesthetic to you, and take influence from their business strategy, but don’t mirror them exactly. They are established and can afford to charge a greater premium.
  • Make savings by spending time and researching around for affordable-yet-quality fabrics. This can be invaluable when starting out as a new designer and don’t be afraid to use overseas suppliers.
  • Retail pricing is relative to an outlet; when pitching to buyer, instead of estimating how much your piece will retail for, have a reasonably definitive idea of your wholesale price

Marketing yourself/your stock

  • Present potential buyers with a pre-collection, including less expensive examples of your work that reflect a similar aesthetic to your final product.  Within this collection, broaden your appeal and scope by creating multiple entry points such as scarves.
  • Maintain a familiar relationship with potential or current buyers; always keeping them abreast of your product with photos and price lists.  Approach a buyer with plenty of time before your target season; if a season is imminent, or has already started, a buyer will have already compiled a group of designers they are interested in and therefore be unwilling to take on any more.
  • If you are approached by an internet store or stockist, particularly if it’s in the process of establishing itself, be aware that their primary aim is to source risk-free items.  When money hasn’t exchanged hands, the urgency or incentive for them to market your product is lost.  Rather than waiting for such companies to approach you, it is more valuable to focus your efforts on outlets who respect your aesthetic and will represent your brand.
  • Direct networking and self-promotion is always effective; however, if a respected, or influential, individual is championing your work, others are guaranteed to take note and in turn expand your profile in the industry.

Abigail Gurney-Read         

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