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8 Secrets of Retail Success

Your idea for an amazing product line is waiting for you. You just need to express it by turning it into a business. Here are 8 secrets of retail success that will inspire you to take action.

Secret Number 8: There Are No Bad Ideas

Going from idea to tangible product is exciting, invigorating and challenging in the best way possible. The first step in doing so is to treat your idea like an actual business from the start. No ideas are bad ideas and putting a motivation behind them will only make them better! Silence your inner critic by telling yourself that there are no bad ideas.

Secret Number 7: Get Real

Once you have that fire in your soul to make your idea prosper, it’s time to do your research. Remember in the last paragraph I said there are no bad ideas? That was a little mind game to get you brainstorming. After you write down all those ideas that came to you in the shower, you owe to yourself to do some research to learn how to execute on those first-draft ideas. Analyze the market. Is there a need for your product? Is there a design like it already out there? Google can be a powerful tool to help answer those questions, along with searches on Instagram and other social media platforms. Crowdfunding on Kickstarter or Indiegogo is a great way to do some marketing testing. All you need is a prototype, a photo shoot, and a good copywriter to get started. You will quickly learn whether your idea will fly.

Secret Number 6: Walk the Walk

If you plan on raising money via crowdfunding, turning to private investors, or bootstrapping (using your own cash), you need to convince everyone that you are for real. Walking the walk of your brand means having branding, a logo, good copy, and amazing product shots. You’ll need a look book and line sheets. (A platform like Brandboom can help with that.) Why? People need to believe you have the goods, literally and metaphorically. Everything has to look great, but also has to be a true reflection of your brand. A brand is a promise. What you put out there – from your photo shoots, website, social media, even to your email signature – has to reflect who you are and what your brand means to your customers and buyers. Another way to say this: “you be you” – in everything you produce related to your brand.

Secret Number 5: Get Down to Business

Now, this one may sound like a no-brainer, but developing a business plan will make a huge difference in your success. Write a summary of your market and how you intend to reach it, define quarterly goals, considering specializing in one flagship product to start. (Amazon.com wasn’t built in a day. Most brands catch on with a signature product that becomes their leading edge into a market.)

Secret Number 4: Branding, Branding, Branding

Okay, you may have noticed that we’ve talked about branding already, but I mention it again to be sure you were paying attention. Every day we are bombarded with a variety of brands that are all competing for space in our mind and our cash. If those marketing teams have done their jobs, the brands that stick do so almost instantly. You can know any successful fashion brand by glancing at its logo. Going deeper, you’ll notice that everything about a successful brand is consistent with that logo. Nike has that active “Swoosh” and all Nike photo shots show active people. A Ralph Lauren photo shoot looks completely different from a DOPE photo shoot. Guerilla streetwear brands like Pink Dolphin and Young and Reckless are posting impressive revenue numbers. All those brands have something in common. Identity. They successfully appeal to a niche market, and make a lot of money doing it. DOPE has posted more than $50M in annual revenue, Pink Dolphin $20M+, and Young and Reckless is hitting $30M. Luck? No, identity. (All of those brands use Brandboom to power their street hustle.)

Secret Number 3: Build a Road

Your brand might be wonderful, but if nobody can find it you will remain a mystery. Being “the best kept secret” works for ad copy, for a while anyway, but to build a brand you must be discoverable. Get an understanding of how your customers and buyers discover you. Look over your orders, customer and buyer records. Are your friends and fans first locating you on social media? Maybe you need more of that. Is your website clear and easy to navigate? Are you easy to contact? Have you tried a mailing list? What about a pop up shop? Facebook or Instagram ads? Make it easy for your valued buyers and customers to find you.

Secret Number 2: Be Lean

There are many roads to discovery for a brand, and you won’t be able to try them all on a limited budget. Make your budget a creative constraint. Pop up shops have worked well for many brands working to secure their identity. A company called Bulletin offers flexible store experience for newer brands. In New York City, Artists & Fleas is creating curated retail marketplaces. Take a page out of the startup world’s playbook and iterate – try different low-cost experiments – on your way to reaching more customers.

Secret Number 1: It’s Your Baby

If you have the passion to build a brand, you can’t care about this stuff enough. Your brand idea is your baby. Listen to advice, be flexible, but keep to your own course. If you are true to yourself and express that fully in your brand, it dramatically increases your chances of success.
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