Whenever I read an interview about Madonna she talks about reinventing herself. It may sound clique but it is true. As a kid who grew up in the 1980’s I remember Madonna was gyrating on the floor dressed in crazy ripped dresses, gloves, and giant plastic neon hoop earrings. Now at 58, she is still putting on major sold out shows in concert venues around the globe. Why? Because she reinvented herself every few years.
In the fashion industry if you don’t evolve you die out. It seems like once a year I have to reinvent myself. What worked 5 years ago does not work today.
Digital Marketing has changed the way people shop and the way we do business. Before the Great Recession, I could sell $10,000 worth of leather handbags a month using Facebook. Today you cannot sell anything without spending hundreds of dollars on Facebook ads.
Every week we hear about how companies are shuttering stores. (Macy’s and Pacific Sunwear to name a few) Even Unicorn brands groovy girl brands like Nastygal.com have recently filed bankruptcy. Consumers are not flocking to malls anymore when they can just go to Amazon.com and click and have an item delivered to their door for free.
What is hot now is direct to consumer brands like www.Everlane.com and major department stores like Nordstrom have bought up e-commerce websites in the past five years to be competitive.
I quit doing trade shows in 2015. I took a new innovative brand to one of the most popular Las Vegas fashion trade shows, Project Las Vegas and we did not get one order after 3 days. We had many looky-loos stop by our booth but no orders! That has never happened before. I used to go to the trade shows in Las Vegas and New York and we would write $50,000 per show.
As a fashion industry guru, I have had to change how I market myself just to stay productive. In the past year, I have worked directly for China factories, which would have never happened a few years ago. That business model has its limitations, and I am currently reinventing how I do business again.
The culture of fashion has gotten so competitive that people who you thought had your back will actually stab you if they feel the slightest bit of envy! (even if you do completely different jobs!). Colleagues in the fashion industry easily forget all about their alliances when they feel that they are losing something. If anything we need to stick together and reinvent ourselves. The Fashion Industry is like the “Survivor” show except we wear Prada instead of ripped bikinis and bandanas.
I don’t fear change, I embrace it. The fashion industry is an industry where you either love it or leave it. You also have to have integrity and ambition just to make a meager income in this industry. I am still around because fashion is my passion.
No matter what your industry is, you have to evolve or get out. I am still trying to figure out what that next evolution looks like. Stay tuned.