Target Audience | Identifying Your Customer

Who is your customer?

This is the number one question for any designer who hopes to take their work and turn it into a successful business. By understanding who your target audience is you can execute your product design and marketing messaging with precision and a definitive strategy enabling you to make strong business decisions and generate sales for growth. Essentially, the more specific you are about who your ideal customer is, the easier it will be to attract them.

Customer Profile

The key to customer acquisition is finding your niche.

In order to identify your ideal customer you need to be exactingly specific, focusing on explicit attributes and using this information to create your best client. Once you have become established, you may choose to expand your brand and attract a wider consumer base, the in the initial stages, it is critical to remain focused.

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Initially, as a designer you should identify the following factors:

Demographics: age; gender; income; profession etc.

Psychographics: values; attitudes; belief systems etc.

Lifestyle: geographic location; leisure activities; travel etc.

Buying Habits: brand loyalty; price awareness; paying attention to the other brands they buy from

However, the most critical element is to define the specific needs of your ideal customer.

Does your client want to wear a dress to a wedding that they know no one else will have? Are they a mum of three who needs comfortable, easy to wash clothing? Are they a wealthy business woman who needs office wear that she can carry through to social events in the evening time?

What do they need and why are you the best option for them?

A successful business relies on one factor – a customer base who are willing to part with they money for your product because it meets their need, it really is as simple as that. By understanding why your customer is buying from you, it will make it much easier for you to give them the clothing or accessories they want.

How to Identify Your Customer

Some designers see themselves as their ideal customer, inspired by a desire to satisfy their own needs. If this is true for your brand, it will be to identify the specifics about your customer.

However, if this is not the case for your business, you will need to carry out some customer research. It is critically important that you do not try create a customer profile based on assumptions or guesswork because you will inevitably end up wrong about some aspect, no matter how easy you think it will be to build your customer profile.

Talk to your current customers or people you would consider to be your ideal customer. Find out the information regarding the attributes listed above as well as information regarding their needs. Spend time in your competitors stores, watching how the customer shops, the other bags they carry, how much they spend etc. Approach people as they shop and explain who you are and what you are trying to do. Research brands like yourself online to get a grasp of their customer base and then use this knowledge to inform your own. Start up designers sometimes prefer to do this themselves or you have the choice of hiring a company to do the research for you, the choice is really up to you based on what your budget can allow.

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The fashion retail industry is an over saturated market place as it stands right now, with only more and more brands emerging every week. It is a highly competitive arena and without a loyal customer base, your business will flounder. An attempt to appeal to everyone will leave you constantly chasing your tail as you try to attract sales.

By defining your ideal customer, you can provide focus for your business, enabling your merchandise, branding, marketing and message to be consistent and which will target a customer who is somewhere out there, waiting and willing to hear what you have to say.

If you are a young designer looking to make your mark in the retail sector and start your own fashion business, check out the following blog post for a strategy in negotiating the various challenges of going from a hobby-designer to a successful fashion business.

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The Galway Designers Network are looking to make our own mark in the fashion retail sector. Our current project the Galway Designers Studio House has been established by Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs and Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing but they need your help to make their dream a reality. Follow the Galway Designers Studio House Facebook Page  to read all about the project and how you can take part.

The Galway Designers Network are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

Hey Designers!

We want to invite you all to come along to our June Meet-up on Friday 23rd, in the Workbench Bank of Ireland.

This is an opportunity for us to catch up with what everyone is doing at the moment, meet new faces, have a chat, and tell you about news from our end!

Topics which will be covered:
– Details on the upcoming September Fashion Show
– News on our membership offer
– Update on the Studio House progress
– A meet & greet of each of us, with everyone getting a chance to introduce themselves and tell about their design business
– Sounding board for any issues as a designer which you would like to address in a future workshop/talk

There will be nibbles and drinks, and we will have quite a structured meeting in order to get everything covered..

If you want to attend, please email us @galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com or Message us on Facebook and we will send you more info.

We need to know definite numbers, so please be sure to confirm your place!

Looking forward to seeing and meeting you all!

Gayle & Ann xxx

Fashion: a Female Game?

Following from last week’s blog post an interesting thought struck me. While female empowerment is one of the biggest fashion trends for Summer 2017, why is it that female empowerment in the industry itself is such a rarity. Why is it a current trend rather than an eternal staple?

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Image via Dior

Currently, the majority of creative directors for luxury fashion brands are men. Why? Is it that men are more talented, more deserving? No.

Women are miles ahead of the game in other areas: two of the arguably most powerful figures in the industry are women: Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, and Linda Fargo, senior vice-president and women’s fashions director for Manhattan based department store Bergdorf Goodman.

However, in the design field, women are still trailing behind their male counterparts. Let’s take take the three biggest luxury fashion conglomerates: LVMH Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton, Kering and Richemont, and examine them. Out of over 15 fashion and leather good’s brands owned by LVMH, only 4 of them are led by women. They are Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior, Phoebe Philo at Céline, Carol Lim at Kenzo, a shared position with Humberto Leon, and Silvia Venturini Fendi who is the creative director for accessories & men’s for Fendi. Within Kering, there are only 2 women heading the 8 brands: Stella McCartney is the creative director for her own label and Sarah Burton helm’s Alexander McQueen. Finally, within Richemont, there is only Natacha Ramsay Levi, the creative director for Chloé.

Major fashion colleges such as Central Saint Martins and New York’s Fashion Institute boast a huge majority of female students who win exceptional placements and excellent graduate jobs. LVMH, Kering and Richemont all boast excellent relationships with leading business schools around the world. In terms of these fashion conglomerates, Delphine Arnault of LVMH is a lone she-wolf among male executives.

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Delphine Arnault, LVMH

While many of the world’s fashion houses were established by women many of them have since been taken over by men: Coco Chanel, Jeanne Lanvin, Madeleine Vionnet, Elsa Schiaparelli, Nina Ricci and Marie-Louise Carven.

There are exceptions that prove the rule. We have the likes of Miuccia Prada, Rei Kawakubo, Tory Burch, Angela Missoni, Donatella Versace, and Consuelo Castiglioni, all of whom either achieved their success by inheriting a family business or by starting their own.

It is a thought that leaves us with many questions. Perhaps it is that female designers are seen as less pioneering or innovative than their male counterparts? Is it that idea that women are incapable of balancing family and work life? Are women more interested in the glamorous side of the industry rather than the business? Is it sexism and male privilege?

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Image via NY Times

The appointments of Maria Grazia Chiuri for Christian Dior, Natacha Ramsay Levi at Chloé, Claire Waight Keller at Givenchy and Bouchra Jarrar for Lanvin show that the tide is turning, but is it soon enough?

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Supporting women in the fashion industry is of particular importance to us here at the Galway Designers Network. Our current project the Galway Designers Studio House has been established by three women, Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs, Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing and Virtue Shine of Emerald & Wax, but these women need your help to make their dream a reality. Follow the link to read all about the project and how you can take part.

The Galway Designers Network are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved in the Network. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

Upcoming Event | May Gathering

***UPDATE – May 22nd***

Unfortunately, with great regret, we have to cancel this weekends gathering. There was a double booking and mix up in the venue so sadly, we found out today it cannot go ahead this weekend. We are looking to still have the brunch on Sunday to meet and chat and see where we all are at!
Please let us know asap if you want to attend that so we can confirm booking.
We will rearrange another date for the gathering, and will be back in touch soon with further details.
Those of you who already booked, will be refunded.
Our sincere apologies, please pm if you have any issues or queries.
Gayle & Ann xxx

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The Galway Designers Network is happy to announce our next event: May Gathering.

This is a 3 day event taking place from Friday May 26th to Sunday May 28th. It will be aimed at helping current and prospective members of the Network in the art of building connections and learning more about how to start or grow your business.

On Friday evening there will be a Seminar from the knowledgeable Graham Clarke. Graham Clarke is the manager of the Workbench in Galway and is heavily involved in the Network and was an amazing resource and help for us during our Galway Fashion Showcase in March. The seminar will take place in from 6-8pm in the Workbench, located in the Bank of Ireland premises on Mainguard Street  here in Galway City.  With years of practical experience and degree in business and finance, Graham has a wealth of knowledge regarding start up businesses.  Graham will be giving his insight into what you need to do as a start-up business, providing the where, what & how to knowledge necessary. The Seminar will provide a great opportunity to learn, ask questions and get to know other designers in Galway and the surrounding area.

On Saturday, The Workbench and Bank of Ireland have kindly offered us the space to have a Pop-Up Market. There from 12-6pm, the Market will be open to the public, offering designers the opportunity to utilize the space and set up a table or rail where they can showcase and sell designs.

On Sunday, there will be a delicious Brunch for designers and members of the Network. The brunch will take place in 56 Central, on Shop Street, from 12pm. The Brunch will offer designers the chance to come together, chat, enjoy some good food and coffee. This will just be an opportunity for us all to get together and share impressions about the weekend, provide everyone with the chance to offer feedback, reviews, new ideas for the Network going forward while enabling us to get to know one another a bit better.

To take part in May Gathering, we encourage designers to purchase a ticket for €25. This price covers all events from the weekend, including the Brunch. To book your ticket, email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com and we will send you Paypal invoice with details.

May Gathering is just the start of what the Network hopes will be series of similar events.  We are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved in the Network. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetworkor email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

 

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P.S.

Have you heard about one of the Network‘s current projects, Galway Designers Studio House? Find out what you can do to help make this dream a reality.

Taking the Next Step

Galway Designers Studio House: Providing a space for you to grow your business.

The Galway Designers Network are delighted to announce some incredibly exciting news: Galway Designers Studio House.

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Galway Designers Studio House: Providing a space for you to grow your business.

The Galway Designers Studio House will be a venue, rather than a store, created for the purpose of offering a solid space for designers to sell their merchandise, whilst also offering a designated hub for people to come together, collaborate and learn something new as well as promote themselves and their business.

The vision for Galway Designers Studio House has grown from a need to create a new shopping experience, enabling consumers to step away from high street and department stores, from faceless fast fashion, and towards supporting local industry and ethical fashion.

A Store & A Studio.

The structure of Galway Designers Studio House will be two-fold: a store and a studio.

Within the store, local designers will have the opportunity to ‘rent’ a rail/table/window display, which will give them the much needed chance for exposure and getting their designs and their names into the minds of the wider public.

This studio is a space onsite will enable designers to work in a professional environment, helping you to get your designs/work stations out of your spare room. The studio will also serve as a venue for information evenings, networking events, courses and showcases to not only boost the profits of a designer’s business but also to offer education, tools and support to take the business to the next level.

The hardest part of being an independent designer is having your voice heard and your creative vision seen; Galway Designers Studio House offers you the chance to achieve just that!

Gayle, Ann & Virtue: The 3 women behind the idea.

This is an idea that has been created by three members of our Network, Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing, Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs and Virtue Shine of Emerald & Wax. All three women have a desire to come together and combine their passion and experience to create a new avenue for their respective businesses. Each of these women have been designers and members of the fashion industry for a long time, and have gained extensive, essential experience in not only design, but also styling, marketing, event management and merchandising.

Below are some photographs of the three ladies so you can put faces to names and some thumbnail images of examples of some of their own stunning design work:

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Help make this dream a reality!

Gayle, Ann and Virtue have set up a crowdfunding campaign, to not only raise the much needed funds to back such an ambitious project, but to encourage everyone to get involved and support your local fashion industry. Galway is a hub of talented designers, innovators, crafters, stylists, models and photographers, and a project like the Galway Designers Studio House will be beneficial to everyone who wants to be a part of this special industry.

Gayle, Ann and Virtue have set a target of €11,000 in order to get the project up and running. This money will cover the costs of renting a secure premises, utilities, rates, fittings etc. The money will also go towards creating a strong and innovative marketing campaign which will help to spread the word, encourage more designers to join and ensure customers come flooding through the doors. With a detailed and extensive business plan in place, Gayle, Ann and Virtue can see the potential success this business will have, all they need is a little helping hand to get project off the ground.

You donate, we give you presents!

By donating some your money to this project, you will not only ensure that designers have the chance to achieve the dreams they have always longed for, you will also receive some special gifts as a reward to show you all our appreciation. We know you work exceptionally hard for your money, and we do not want you to think that we take your kindness for granted.

Donations of varying values will receive the following gifts from Gayle, Ann and Virtue:

  • €10+ : A specially designed thank you card & a specially designed tote bag.
  • €25+ : A specially designed thank you card & tote bag along with a 10% discount card to use in store.
  • €50+ : A specially designed thank you card & tote bag, along with a voucher for €20 to use in the store, a front row invitation to our networks bi-annual fashion shows, and a personal invite to the launch of the shop.
  • €100+ : All of the above, with an increased voucher of €50, along with a token gift and a VIP invite to the launch of the shop.
  • €250+ : All of the above, with an increased voucher of €75 to use in store along with a hamper of goodies worth €100.
  • €500+ : A very personal specially designed thank you card, a special mention on our website as a sponsor, VIP membership card which provides VIP invites to all our events, workshops and courses along with the store opening launch event. You will also receive 3 x €100 vouchers to spend on our in-house designers clothing lines.

Let’s make this happen!

If everyone gives, even a little, we can soon make this dream a reality, a dream that not only will benefit the designers involved, but also any potential designers who see that they too can have their individual voices heard and become successful, fulfilled and happy in their work.

Why Buy Local?

It will always inevitably end up costing more than purchasing from fast fashion or franchised stores.
So why is it important?

Why buy local Irish design?

What is the benefit? It will always inevitably end up costing more than purchasing from fast fashion or franchised stores. So why is it important?

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Small businesses are vital to the success of a community.

By supporting local designers, you are ensuring the longevity of Irish design. They give character to a community. They give Irish design an identity and offer up and coming designers inspiration and a framework to follow.

Supporting local Irish design improves the quality of Irish design.

Yes, every high-street franchise is the same, which makes everyone feel at like they belong, but not everyone wants to or should belong in generic high street stores. Some people want to buy unique to feel unique. Independent designers give people that choice. It is where excitement and innovation happens, where new ideas can grow and trends can be made.

By supporting local design, you can ensure complete transparency.

If you purchase any item of clothing from a high-street brand, more than likely, it has been made in Asia. You do not know its history, who made it, how they made it, what conditions were they working in, were they paid adequate wages etc. Local designers make their merchandise accessible and offer a much needed clarity to a sometimes cloudy industry.

Buying Irish designs fosters a relationship between customer, clothing and designer.

Supporting the endeavours of designers in your area not only creates social capital and mutual goodwill but also strengthens social bonds. It gives personality to the brand and offers you a face to put to a name to ensure your opinions are heard. It offers an invaluable learning opportunity by allowing for curiosity, exploration and the learning of something new. You can identify the designer by name. We all feel like were in this together, on the same fashion journey.

Supporting locally owned businesses supports the the local economy.

The profits of a business are not being siphoned off to a head office somewhere else. Local businesses are more likely to use local suppliers and this in turn supports the local economy. This is a huge benefit to not only the local economy but also the environment by manufacturing locally, reducing their carbon footprint – always an added bonus.

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The Galway Designers Network hopes you will try to support our designers and the hundred others like us. We are always looking for new designers who feel they would love to be involved in the Network and make their mark in the local fashion community.

Please leave a comment below as we would love to hear from you, about what you do and where you would like to see your business develop to!

For more, visit Galway Designers Network on Facebook or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com