There’s a massive problem in fashion and it’s called ‘something for nothing’. I’ve highlighted it before because it has huge implications for businesses right across the world and it shows no sign of going away.
In any industry as soon as you start discounting, customers come to expect it and hold out for the sales. The result? You never make a full price sale again. The Industry summed up this mood perfectly in their article ‘Selfies, social media and clearance sales‘ at the end of June.
And once you’re stuck in the cycle of selling cut price products it’s hard to break out of. You are in effect devaluing your own products and teaching your customers to expect your products for less if only they remain patient. The pressure to sell in bulk and still keep up with trends holds retailers in perpetual sales mode:
‘…retailers no longer think in terms of two giant seasons
but have multiple product (fashion) drops year-round.
Product from those drops has to be cleared to make way for
what’s new-in and with consumers having been trained to
focus on price cuts and the weather hardly ever playing ball,
markdowns are inevitable.’
With even high end brands such as Karen Millen making 37% of their takings up at the sale rail and many of the larger multiple brand names up to 60% that’s a huge loss on full price tags.
The knock on effect for department stores who stock multiple brands is lost sales being passed back down to designers. And it’s as simple as that. It’s not the big corporations that lose out, but the little man right down the line.
Consider this: every time you make a discount purchase, someone has gone without their cut. The mark ups on products aren’t so huge that noone feels the effect. It won’t be the big store or even the till staff who feel it, it’ll be the person who designed, made and shipped that garment. Further down the line, it’s the garment worker who picks up the smallest pay packet.
Purchasing at sales level like this is not sustainable. The cost of running a business continues to rise, and yet the price of clothes continues to fall. Something has to give and I think we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. We’re in for a bumpy ride and there are going to be some major casualties in the years to come.
Last Christmas and New Year was just another example of how sales undermine companies. Sales began even earlier last year in October and November. Retailers were jumpy. They needed to get in there quick. And one sale encourages the next retailer to compete.
By the time Boxing Day and New Years Day came around everyone was shopped out. Boosting pre Christmas quarter sales with early price cuts simply ruined the festive season for retailers and profits were down over those crucial last days of 2015. The customer simply bought into Christmas earlier. It didn’t make them buy more. It simply made them stop earlier.
I don’t have sales. But then I see no point in trying to compete with the high street. My designs remain at shop price. And the only place you can get my work is through me. I really believe that retailing my work will simply crush my business or turn me into another profit hungry chain of production. And I never want to be that.
I don’t make a fortune but I cover my bills and am able to reinvest back into my company’s growth. I love my work and my small but honest role in the industry. I am proud of my brand, its ethics and what I ultimately stand for. I have no interest in standing up along side the likes of ASOS or even Chanel. Because I don’t believe in their message.
Customers buying into my work are buying into my beliefs and my concerns for the industry. They are also buying into my love for this end of fashiony. And those are the kinds of people we need more of.
For all things Falcieri Designs check out my website at www.falcieridesigns.co.uk