Fashion business marketing: AbiDashery
You ever get nervous and feel uncomfortable? Perhaps when presenting in front of a crowd, or making that initial sales pitch or cold call? Get over it! If you’re going to run your own business, there can be nothing that gets in the way of success.
If you’re an introvert, or you hate asking for help / advice / a sale/ etc – you have to figure out how to breach that inertia or you’ll never achieve your goals.
Just ask Abi Patten of AbiDashery. While in-between jobs, she decided to go all in and work for herself. Abi knew she wasn’t cut out to work for someone else, and committed herself to doing whatever it took to make herself successful on her own terms. That meant asking friends and family for a short term loan when things were especially tight, late nights working, and asking strangers for help and guidance.
She found online groups on Etsy and other social media sites where other people were willing to help her, showing her how to tag her items for better search results, write more compelling descriptions, and giving her advice that accelerated her business to where she could pay back her loans and be self-sufficient.
It’s not easy to ask for something, especially when you have nothing to give back. But if you’re just starting off, what do you have to lose?
We ask a lot of small business owners for interviews, and it’s amazing how many people hate to get in front of the camera. It’s nerve-wracking, but it’s also a great opportunity for free press coverage and to connect with your existing customers and potentially new customers.
Before the camera starting rolling, Abi admitted to being a little nervous, but instead of hesitating or backing out, she did what she knew she had to do – she jumped in feet first.
If you are considering starting your own business, you have to be willing to overcome those fears. There will be times when you need to ask for advice. You’ll need to be able to push back on suppliers, wholesale buyers, business partners, and sometimes even your own customers (if you are the one answering the phones).
It’s not easy to do what’s uncomfortable, but that’s part of being a business owner. You wear a lot of different hats, and you have to do whatever is necessary to move your goals forward. Abi is working on upgrading her loft to get more space to dedicate to AbiDashery. I’m sure she would have preferred to pack boxes and work on new designs, but she had an opportunity to talk with us and spread her name, so she made the most of it and worked through her jitters.
It’s easy to see why she made it through her first year, and we suspect that Abi will continue to grow her business. She spoke about working with some boutiques in her local area. Some people hate to pick up the phone and call upon a stranger to work with them.
No doubt Abi will push through that discomfort. She may get rejected 10 times before finding that one store that agrees to carry her goods. And that one store may open the door to new revelations or opportunities.
There are a lot of things that stand in the way of success, but often times the biggest one is ourselves. The best way to ensure that you don’t give in to internal pressures is to make a plan and stick with it. Force yourself every day to do what’s necessary to achieve your goals. For instance, for Abi we’d recommend the following:
- Make a list of 30 local businesses who could potentially carry her items.
- Make 5 calls each day at 10:00am to call each business and try to set up a meeting with the purchasing manager or owner.
- Prepare a presentation for the store owners within 10 days.
- Find a friend of family member to rehearse the presentation and get feedback
The more specific you can be about your goals the better. When you have a deadline of making 5 calls per day every day by a certain time, you work through your inertia and make those calls. When you have a vague goal of “getting local distribution this year” – time passes by and nothing gets done.
Check out Abi’s hard work and creations for you “hippie’s at heart” at her Etsy store:
You can also view her YouTube Channel here:
If you’re a small business in the fashion niche and looking for some free press – be sure to reach out to us. We’d love to talk to you about what you’re doing and provide feedback or an interview!