What do you feel are the two most important elements needed to launch or build a successful brand?
The first thing you absolutely need is strong and laser-focused communication that is able to tell a powerful story to their customer base. When you have a great a story that resonates with customers, they quickly become a part of your brand and transform from customers into brand ambassadors. Then, they tell your story to all of their friends and cost-effectively broadcast your messaging. The second thing you need is to always deliver and continue to over-deliver to all of your stakeholders. In my mind any sort of promise is a verbal contract that you cannot go back on. That could mean to continue delivering great, quality products to your customers. It could also mean that you have the strong ability to finance and deliver your product to retailers on time. If you continue to live up to your statements and consistently deliver, people will be knocking down the door to do business with you.
As the founder, president, and CEO of FUBU, what advice would you give to someone starting out in fashion? And how did MAGIC MARKET WEEK help FUBU grow?
If you’re going into fashion now, even more now than ever, it’s all about sales and proof of concept. Remember that even if you have a great idea, it’s not a business until you’ve tested the product on the market and had sales from real customers. Sorry, but sales from just your grandma don’t count! You can get started on this at a small level by producing a small run of product and setting up an e-commerce site through Shopify. You’ll be able to receive incredibly valuable feedback and continue improving your product.
Regarding MAGIC MARKET WEEK, it’s by far one of the most effective ways to grow and define your business. While people attend MAGIC with the mindset of just selling clothing, it’s way bigger than that. You have one room filled with people from all over the globe that can help grow your fashion brand. There are manufacturers, distributors, financiers, and many other people that you can network with. That’s what happened to me. Even though I had originally been contacted by my Samsung partner after taking out an ad in the newspaper, it was when they saw me at MAGIC and saw the incredible buzz around the FUBU brand that they knew we had to work together.
Any advice you can share that’s specific to fashion startups?
The biggest mistake people make is stacking up on inventory before you have any sales. Start small and create demand. The worst thing any entrepreneur can do is stack their garage full of 10,000 units of product and think to themselves, “How am I going to sell all of this?”