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Competing against huge fashion brands

SFD042: Surviving Failure and Competing Against Huge Fashion Brands

February 26, 2018

“But I’m just one person. It’s hard competing against huge fashion brands out there?”

It can feel really hard to launch your fashion line when you’re just one person. Which is why you have to persevere and you have to find support somewhere.

And I know I sound all fluffy inspirational here…which is pretty out of character. I’m known for tactics and strategies and actual “how to’s”.

So stick with me!

Because in this episode, we talk about how to do all these things.

The first time Ryan launched his brand, Till I Die, it failed. He was forced to return to corporate America.

The second time? He’s succeeding. But it hasn’t been without said perseverance and support.

So, how is he making it all happen?

He works is ass off. He knows which friends have his back and which ones he needs to cut lose. He knows that to get a single “yes” from a buyer, he has to get THIRTY “no’s”. He knows how quickly costs add up and that may mean surviving on $20k a year and eating Ramen.

Ryan also knows how hard it is competing against huge fashion brands.

He and I met on the trade show floor of Outdoor Retailer when I showed up with my recorder and did impromptu interviews with 9 brands. And he told me outright how hard it was to compete in sis small 10×20 foot booth that was swallowed by the 100×100 foot / two-story / monstrous booths that the big brands spend millions on.

Which leads us to the second guest on the show, Nick Eliason of Outdoor Innovation Show. I also met Nick on the trade show floor, and what he’s doing with OIS is soooo cool.

The fashion industry is shifting.

How product is created is shifting.

And how you reach the end consumer is shifting.

But the trade show model has stagnated. And for a lot of brands, it isn’t working.

So Nick and his team are reinventing the trade show model so it’s more inline with how the fashion / retail / direct to consumer space has shifted. It’s designed to help us all work together to create amazing product and get it to the people who need it most: our customer.

You’re going to love both of these interviews. Here’s a sneak peak of what we talk about:

  • Why you should 3x the amount of money you think you need
  • If you don’t have the passion and work ethic to do the work, don’t go into fashion
  • The importance of finding a support network of friends
  • Why retail distribution has been key for Ryan to legitimize the brand and get a bigger reach
  • Strategies for wholesale exclusivity and creating partnerships
  • The real numbers and the finances: how much he’s spent, the orders he’s writing at the show, and what he’s living off of (it’s not much)
  • How to compete with the huge fashion brands and booths
  • Getting used to rejection (you’ll get 30 no’s for every yes)
  • The outdated trade show model and why it doesn’t work for most brands


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Sew Heidi wrote
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Hi Amelia - I did not attend and am not sure what happened to the show! I do see the site is no longer up :(

Amelia wrote
2018-10-26
Hey Heidi , i love your podcast..but i just start listening so my question is about an old one.. when you interviewed Nick Eliason from Outdoor Innovation Show the website address that you mentioned if not working, maybe someone else bought the .com? Did you ended up going back to the event to interview new brands and see what the event was like? I just curios since i couldn't really find any information about Outdoor Innovation Show. Thanks Amelia www.manathreads.com
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