(image via teanbiscuits.com)
You’ve done your last show and received a ton of orders for your most recent collection. You feel good about the season that just ended, looking forward to some time off. Besides using downtime for much-needed (and well-deserved) R&R, we recommend other productive ways to take advantage of the slowdown, all of which can position your brand for an even more successful year ahead.
1. Review the results
The immediate end of the season is an ideal time to look back at the good, bad and the ugly. Have a candid and thoughtful discussion with your team about specific things that went right or wrong, and how they can be improved. This can include the design process, the way everyone worked together, the availability of resources, etc.
2. Refine your strategy and objectives
Use downtime to strategize about your operations, as well as your design offerings. When you’ve had a chance to look at the sales figures and digest feedback from buyers and customers, how did your target audience respond to the latest collection? What was the hot seller and what items weren’t so successful? Why?
Use the slowdown to meet with your agency partners. Look back at how things went during the past season, and think of ways to streamline processes that need improvement.
(image via thefashionscoutsept09.blogspot.com)
3. Re-engage with your audiences
During the past season, did your company increase its brand recognition? Do buyers and customers know what your label stands for? Look back on your marketing activities to gauge how the marketplace perceives your brand. This is a great chance to come up with creative ways to engage with your existing and potential clientele and enhance their perception of you.
Also, make it a point to get face time with your key stakeholders, particularly buyers. Use the opportunity to review sales figures and discuss customer preferences. You could even give retailers a sneak preview of what you have in store for the next season, paying attention to their reaction, as it may significantly influence what you eventually put out in the marketplace.
4. Reconnect with contacts
Remember the emails and voice mails you put off because you were too busy? Here’s your chance to respond and follow up with people.
And, in addition to group meetings with your in-house team, take advantage of the slowdown to speak with employees on a one-to-one basis to review their accomplishments, discuss their career plans, and motivate them for the next season.
(image via laydee.sg)
5. Recharge yourself
Amid all the looking back and strategizing about what’s ahead, do take time some time to pamper yourself. Reflect on what you’ve learned the past season, from a business and personal perspective. Look inward to discover what you can do to build a stronger team and become a better leader. Enjoy a few days off to reset your body and mind — even daydream — to unleash your creativity and stimulate innovative thinking, setting yourself up for an even more exciting next fashion season.
These are just a few suggestions that will help you make the most of downtime. But regardless of whether or not you have your own tried and true slowdown “to-do” list, remember that it’s all about being productive when you actually have the luxury of time.
About The Author: BridgeShowroom
Ken Nachbar is a co-founder and partner in Bridge Showroom. Ken loves working with designers, helping them open new doors, find new customers, and grow their businesses. With bachelor's degree in economics and an MBA from the University of Michigan, Ken combines 25 years of management skill and experience with his passion for fashion.
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