Promote Fashion/Apparel Business: Fashion is a $2.4 trillion global industry.
But Africa currently only owns a very thin slice of it.
The global fashion industry has a vast and complex value chain that stretches from the farmers who grow cotton, silk, and other natural fibres.
To the massive production factories in Asia that spin the fibres into a wide range of textiles.
1. Promote Fashion/Apparel Business
The chain stretches further to the armies of workers in garment factories scattered across Asia and South America.
Who convert textiles into a wide range of apparel stocked by mass merchandise chains around the world.
And high street retail stores in New York, London, Paris and Milan.
Thankfully, some creative entrepreneurs are starting to squeeze out some space for Africa in this vast and lucrative global chain.
This year, two significant opportunities in the global fashion value chain will further open up to entrepreneurs and investors in Africa who are keen for a bigger share of this massive industry.
2. The first opportunity is in apparel production.
With rising labour costs in China and parts of South East Asia forcing more factories to seek alternative locations in Africa – where labour is cheaper — several apparel producers are already setting up shop on the continent.
Among companies like H&M and Primark that are now sourcing from Africa, Huajian, one of China’s largest shoe manufacturers, is expanding in Ethiopia and in East Africa.
3. Promote Fashion/Apparel Business
Also, specialist apparel producers like C&H Garment Factory in Rwanda are producing uniforms, safety vests.
And military kits that are exported to Europe and the USA.
While the influx of Asian apparel producers to Africa is likely to have an impact on the continent’s indigenous textile industry.
The potential of these massive factories to create large-scale jobs.
Earn export income, and encourage the growth of supporting industries will likely create big opportunities for local entrepreneurs.
The second opportunity that stares in Africa’s face is fashion design and retail.
4. Promote Fashion/Apparel Business
A growing number of brilliant and creative fashion designers is emerging from the continent, and the world is starting to take notice.
African fashion labels, like Senegal’s Tongoro by Sarah Diouf, are attracting international celebrities and customer bases outside the continent, in places like Europe and North America.
And recently, Nike, the global sportswear giant, collaborated with a local Nigerian designer for a special edition jersey that was inspired by Adire, a traditional print from Nigeria.
The design sold out within 14 hours after it was released on Nike’s website.
5. Promote Fashion/Apparel Business
With a growing global curiosity and appetite for exotic and refreshing fashion designs from Africa.
The continent’s fashion designers and entrepreneur have a massive market and untapped global audience to serve.
There are vast opportunities in potential partnerships with big and established fashion brands.
Distribution arrangements, e-Commerce possibilities, and artisanal and exotic fashion pieces.
On top of these international opportunities, there is a growing domestic market of over 600 million young.
And fashionable Africans who now take pride in wearing locally-inspired fashion.
6. Promote Fashion/Apparel Business
The African Development Bank estimates that Africa’s local fashion industry has the potential to be worth $15.5 billion over the next five years.
This clearly makes it one of the most promising business opportunities in Africa to watch.
If you have your own business, it’s important to promote your brand in order to attract new clients.
Focus on a few simple strategies to help you get the word out there about your company.
Promote Fashion/Apparel Business
7. Create a brand image, or logo.
Widespread brand recognition is your goal, as it will give your business credibility.
And inspire others to spread the word about your business.
Grow your brand by placing your logo in your business stationary, business cards.
Email signatures, brochures, signs, website and merchandising materials.
Meeting professionals from other, related businesses is an effective form of business promotion.
As it provides you with opportunities to learn about your competitors.
Ask for referrals, form mutually beneficial partnerships in complementary industries.
And spread awareness about your business throughout a group of like-minded people.
Network with other professionals in the following ways:
- Attend networking group meetings. You can find networking groups and clubs on the Internet, in newspapers and in trade publications.
- Introduce yourself to people at the meetings. Explain what it is your business does, what you offer that makes you stand out from your competition and what you are looking for in business relationships.
- Ask relevant questions during group discussions. In addition to promoting your business, you can learn a lot at networking meetings. Additionally, asking open-ended questions encourages others to participate in the conversation, and sets you up for more introductions.
- Hand out your business cards. Set up private meetings with those who express an interest in getting to know more about your business.
Consider these methods for advertising your business:
- Signs. You may opt for storefront signs, billboards, marquee boards or street-side yard signs.
- Print. Place print ads in magazines, newspapers, coupon books, trade journals and industry magazines. Choose print mediums that are suited to your business. For example, if you run a technology parts recycling warehouse, then you may consider placing ads in computer classifieds and technology magazines.
- Commercials. Television and radio commercials are effective ways to promote your business to a broad audience, but they are relatively costly forms of advertising.
- Advertisements. You may opt to pass out promotional materials at trade shows, at store fronts, in parking lots or in any other highly-populated areas. Some businesses, like nightclubs and entertainment venues, hire street crews to hand out advertisements and attract new customers.
Promote Fashion/Apparel Business
- Direct mail. You may purchase mailing lists targeted to your segment of the consumer market, then mail out letters, brochures, catalogs or postcards. This method is effective when you want to provide potential customers with paper coupons, vouchers, business cards or promotional merchandising.
- Public relations (PR) firms. You may hire a PR firm to create publicity for you in the form of news write-ups and press releases.
- Internet. Promoting a business online involves setting up a business website, participating in industry/trade forum discussions, running a blog , setting up accounts on social networking sites, using pay-per-click and banner ads, listing your business information in business directories and employing search engine optimization (SEO) techniques.
- Every business, regardless of its size or scope, could benefit from Internet marketing, and many Internet marketing mediums are free to use.
- AR Advertising. Short for Augmented Reality Advertising.
- It enriches the user experience by bringing life to the prints, when it’s enhanced with extra layer called a digital layer.
10. Build business partnerships with other organizations.
In effect, piggyback off the success of another business.
Taco Bell has recently unveiled the Doritos Locos Taco.
Which is a branding coup for both Taco Bell and Doritos.
Whenever you think of one brand, the other brand comes to mind, and vice versa.
Business partnerships can be very effective advertising tools.
- Note: it’s tough to build a business partnership with an established company when your company isn’t yet established. Businesses understand the value (or lack of value) you’re giving them, and may want something in return or simple avoid business with you in the first place.
11. Rely on the power of social networks.
Social networks have become the new darling of advertising because much of the legwork is being done by dedicated fans, for free.
You could pay someone to advertise for you, or you could establish a social community of fans who advertise by word of mouth, at little or no cost. What’s it going to be?
- Try harnessing the power of viral media campaigns.
- Dollar Shave Club did very good business for itself simply by making a (funny, exciting, relatable) music video. It took off on social networks and now has over a million combined subscribers and followers on Facebook and Google+.
13. Offer freebies.
Pass out merchandise with your company’s name and/or logo on it so everyone you meet at networking events.
Trade shows, client meetings and even personal social gatherings.
Things like pens, magnets and calendars are good merchandising ideas.
As these tend to stay in use, and within view, for extensive periods of time.
Promote Fashion/Apparel Business
14. Develop relationships with your customers.
Customers are people — not numbers — and it is important that you put consideration and effort into building personal relationships with them.
For example, when you send out Christmas cards each year.
You not only gain customer loyalty but you also inspire customers to promote your business to the people they know.
15. Encourage customers to talk about their experience using your business.
There is no tool more powerful than people talking with their family members.
Or friends about your product or the quality of your work.
If your customers are fully satisfied then you should ask them to refer you.
Or your product to their family or friends.
It is important to realise that your customers may not do so automatically and sometime a little poke requesting them to refer your business may work wonders.
Go ahead, be bold and ask for more work.
16. More tips
For the first 2 years in business put your profit back for the business to grow.
It is important to build your business through word of mouth or referral.
If you have done things right and your customers are happy with the task performed than they would gladly refer you to their family members or friends.
The important thing to remember here is that even though people are happy with your product or work.
They will not make the first move of telling others unless you request them to do so.
Go ahead, be bold, and ask for more business and people will oblige.
If you order pens, make sure the staff at the reception area or front lobby (if you have one) uses those to promote the company.