Strategies for small fashion brands in 2021
2020 will go down in history as one of the most challenging and difficult years of the fashion industry on record. The coronavirus outbreak has affected the lives of billions of people and catalyzed a deepening economic crisis. This year, businesses will be more ready to face those challenges and unexpected scenarios, but declining sales and customer-shifting behavior will revamp the industry for good. For small businesses, 2021 will be crucial to revert the crisis. Making a few changes in the production process, marketing, operation and even product design will be essential to prosper. To help your company throughout this challenging year, Start by WGSN has selected significant directions to follow in 2021.
1. Revamping the old and making it new
Amid the pandemic crisis, the fashion industry has had to reinvent by giving old items a fresh and new purpose, and for the smaller fashion brands, this game plan should be an opportunity. Reusing fabrics and creating a new meaning for last-season garments are cost-saving and add incredible value to a product because positive environmental approaches are so attractive for consumers. Designing an entire upcycled line is not achievable for some, but they can still be smart about what they create, like releasing hero products made from leftover fabrics.
2. Controlling the stock
Every crisis brings an opportunity, and lockdown has shown how businesses, especially in the fashion industry, need to rethink their stock management and the supply chain. Reducing the amount of stock is extremely important to improve cash flow and reduce the risk of holding large quantities of unsold product. For smaller brands, having the right strategies to avoid overstock is undoubtedly an ace up their sleeve to grow and thrive in the long run. Reducing the number of SKUs (stock-keeping units) will undoubtedly reduce a business’s complexity – and, as we know, complexity costs money.
3. Focusing on product
The fashion industry is now entering an age when the product is more important than the brand. This attitude is prevalent in the tech world, especially for software companies, but it is still a blurry territory for the fashion industry. In the fashion world, product being more important than brand may mean that consumers will prioritize quality. For smaller brands, this provides a huge opportunity to reduce inventory levels and to take a demand-focused approach while also promoting flexible in-season reactivity for new products and replenishment
4. Diminished demand
The pandemic has brought about the deepest recession in decades, and as the global economy is not expected to recover until 2022, economic growth will remain diminished. Amid this slow growth, the fashion industry will have to adapt to fill the hole. For smaller brands, this is a great opportunity as they are more likely to adapt quickly. Finding new categories, even channels, and different generations of consumers, in order to sell more product will be extremely important to pass through the crisis.