Below is an excerpt from my book Gold Standard.
No one ever wants to be the first to invest in a new brand or product, especially in the middle of a financial crisis. People want to wait for that tested sure thing before they put skin in the game. By then, the designer’s company has either wasted away or, hopefully, found another way to succeed.
Fashion is cyclical, and if you, a store owner, really feel strongly about a new style that is not familiar, it may take longer to get customers interested in the clothes. But wouldn’t you rather be known as someone who bought something fresh and new, rather than buying something that is part of the pack?
Conversely, if you, a designer, are doing a trouser line, you may have to bring it back for a few seasons. It may take a little while to catch on. In advertising, it’s subliminal. When you see a shoe and it’s in every fashion magazine, suddenly people are wearing them.
Helmut Lang and Missoni do prints and zigzags that scream their name. You know when it’s a Burberry. It’s staying true to the branding and how you want the design. It makes you a cohesive brand rather than schizophrenic. It’s important to maintain your presence until you get to a tipping point where they recognize you.
In my experience, I have found most people don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. That’s the truth. So, in really knowing my product, and really believing in it, I have always had to become a stronger saleswoman and sell the shit out of it so I can find that other way in. I’m the one who designed it; I know every part of that garment.
Designers or arty types shouldn’t necessarily do sales, but no one is going to sell better than the creator. The salespeople will never know the brand as well as the designer. The salespeople who can sell a brand as well as the designer are far and few between.
For more information about Gold Standard: How to Rock the World and Run an Empire, check out the book’s page.