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Melissa Gonzalez Melissa Gonzalez (2 Posts)

Founder, The Lionesque Group. Trends expert Melissa Gonzalez was once a top executive on a Wall Street trading floor. She is now a force in the lifestyle world helping build the brand recognition of up-and-coming designers by tying them into mainstream conversations. Melissa is a true advocate of collaboration. She was recently nominated as one of "The Top 20 Most Inspiring Individuals in New York" and as one of America's Top 100 Young CEO's and is taking part in a major initiative towards being a voice for the future of start ups in the US. As a voice for emerging brands and trends, she is also a be seen nationally on the morning show circuits. Tune into WPIX NY for her "Favorite Emerging Brands Made in America" and ABC Chicago to see Melissa's "Must Have Accessories" segments.


The Disciplined Road (or Runway) to Success

The Disciplined Road (or Runway) to Success

It’s time to start fresh again. Hopefully, you have fully regrouped from the holiday selling season, found days of rest and are ready to tackle re-order shipments for spring deliveries.

If you are a small business, such as a design team of just 1-6 total employees, taking the time to assess may still feel overwhelming when juggling this alongside racing against the clock to be ready for 2013. You may still be walking the fine line of where to allocate monetary and time resources for the year ahead. It’s the easiest cycle to start the engines again, gearing full throttle to be everywhere and saying yes to as much as possible, but maybe it’s time to adjust that approach.

Step One: Looking Back
What were your goals for 2012?  Were your goals for the year sales oriented? Were they customer traction oriented? Or were they traffic oriented? And most of all, how did your business perform verse your benchmarks?

Note, the above truly has to be a discipline approach and you must prepare yourself to accept the good, the bad and the ugly. And luckily, when you are small, learning is your biggest asset and you are still nimble enough to adjust rapidly and efficiently. Map out your study- month over month. Does your business have cyclicality? Did selling in certain venues extremely outperform others? Did you learn more about your key customers? What two or three things happened during the year that really turned you on? Have you built the right team that is going to support you so you can shine as the creative mind of your vision?

Step Two: Connect & Analyze the Dots
What do these answers mean for 2013?

Ideally this assessment happens in 2012, but as a small business in early years we are usually working long days against the clock and playing catch up on a daily basis. In order to best tackle step two, you must start approaching step one with the mindset “I will not fulfill my days with busy work, but rather position myself to be a strategic executor with the right team.” Feeling busy can feel like success until you number crunch at the end of the year, so let the data analysis speak to you.

Step Three: Make Your Mark
The essentials to getting to the next level in 2013.

Regardless of what you learned, the key elements will hold true: working hard means working smart. Don’t try to produce everything, but rather make a solid mark with styles that sell the strongest and create a sophomore run with new colors updates, new straps, a new twist on what’s working and if it makes sense drizzle in one or two new experiments. Target venues where your customer shops, online and offline. Invest time in press that influences your customer, being everywhere is just superficial buzz that will leave you frustrated.

 

As curators and merchandisers at LionesqueStyle.com, we consistently find that brands that outperform on our platform are those with niche focus and disciplined business practices. They hone in on something unique and specialize in one or two key areas. They create an understanding for their brand, they work on scaling with price points that work within their market and for their customer, they have a handle on their production schedules and they can deliver to retailers and customers promptly.

In 2012, we were especially proud of the success of our designers like Heather Belle, featured in InStyle Magazine, and GIR Spatulas, that was featured on the Today Show. Now we are looking for more aspiring talent to join our coveted marketplace. If you feel that you are a brand we need to know, please do let us know! We are hosting a 2 day open call for emerging brands at the Lion’esque Style Experience Store.  You can see more details on our criteria here.

We look forward to hearing from you! Helping you grown and connecting you to our community turns us on.

Original header image created by Marn Albano.

Posted in: Retail Education, Vision & Opinion

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Styling Your Brand: The Right Fit for You and Your Customers

Styling Your Brand: The Right Fit for You and Your Customers

Definition of style:

a particular, distinctive or characteristic mode of action or manner of acting: “they do these things in an grand style.”

When planning the launch of your brand, there are many factors to keep in mind, but before you begin you should take a step back and ask yourself “What is our style and what about our style sets us apart.” Style is an all-encompassing aspect to consider, it’s how you dress, how you pitch, how you decorate, how you approach your goals. It will influence your designs, your aesthetic and your voice.

At Lion’esque Style our team is filled with different perspectives of style, but our overall brand style is fierce-ness. We are fierce about the way we hunt for new brands, analyze trends, and deliver fashion advice to our customers. It fuels our goals to make our customer’s life easier by providing her with a daily does of what’s trending and how to get the look in a unique way. We are helping her be a leader/influencer in her group.  We are actively injecting our fierce qualities into her life.

Now how do we translate this to your business? Let’s evaluate which part of your style gives you the hook you have with your customer. Does it inform the essence of the nucleus of your target market or does it at minimum help you understand her/him better?

Let’s run through a short check list of questions:

About You:

  1. What drives you to launch your brand?
  2. How would you describe your own personal style?
  3. What inspires your design and aesthetic?
  4. How do you approach goals, work, social activities?
  5. What’s your one-liner?

About Your Customer:

  1. Does your brand talk to a customer base that’s interested in price, quality or both perhaps? If it’s both which takes precedence?
  2. Is being on-trend a motivating factor to purchase? If so, what kind of trends does she/her care about?
  3. Where does she/he shop now and what kind of shopper is she/he? They can be need-based, impulse-based or they use shopping as a social activity.
  4. Does she/he prefer shopping in person or online and why? If it’s in person, is it because she/he values the personalized experience and if your shop is online based, how are you going to fill in that gap? If her/his preference is online due to convenience because of her/his busy lifestyle, how are you going to keep their purchase process as quick and easy as possible?
  5. What does she/he do for fun outside of shopping? (Indie movies or blockbuster, visit the next opening at the MET or loves a picnic under the stars, prefers rooftop cocktails or BBQ’s and beer).

Your lifestyle and that of your customer will determine so much about what she/he is looking for and what you can deliver to enhance their world and make your brand invaluable to them. Your own style (and that of your brand) will distinguish how your product is delivered to your customer in a unique way. Knowing your style will enhance the aspects that set your brand apart and will enable you to create a more personalized relationship that your target market will value, remember and return to. So, before your launching be sure to take the time to understand your own style and how you will proudly inject it into your brand!

Posted in: Style, Design & Beauty

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