As a creator or designer building a business in 2016 you know that you can reach your clients by opening an online shop. You also know you can sell to boutiques and concept stores, etc and many clients come to me for this guidance. But are you aware of a fashion marketplace? Where seemingly hundreds upon hundreds of designers are selling their goods straight to consumer?
The Fashion marketplace, in the simplest of ways to describe it, is the online version of a consignment store, WITHOUT the risk of your stuff getting dirty.
I get so upset when I hear of clients who "loaned" their hard earned work to a store only for it to have been used in a fashion show and ripped, stained with lipstick or worse, stolen! So why not give the online fashion marketplace a try?
I mean honestly it’s kind of a winning answer for the startup designer, but which to choose because once you start digging into it, you’ll see the opportunities are endless.
Like everything when you are running your business you want to minimize risk which can turn into extra work and provide few results.
When I hear of larger brands talking of these fashion marketplaces, and learn that Farfetch, the best and brightest of online marketplaces raised $66 million you know this is a trend in retailing to pay attention to.
This review here by Gemma Sole, Co-Founder of fashion marketplace Nineteenth Amendment lists a variety of online marketplaces including those you be familiar with like Etsy to those you may not such as British Wolf & Badger.
Farfetch is similar to Shoptiques – in that they both provide local boutiques with a global advantage. Farfetch supports the big luxury style labels as well as fairly established emerging brands and top concept shops / boutiques. They are using their new chunk of change well by investing heavily in new markets with international sites in Brazil, Russia and Asia.
Shoptiques supports the mom and pop style of retailers. They operate in the same way (see below) and they were started by a very enterprising young woman giving customers that boutique experience and owners the marketing power they needed.
Not Just A Label is a marketplace we’ve been supporting for years. First by sharing their competitions to the Parsons students via our blog, and now as their Fashion Business Coach and mentor to the Future of Fashion program winners.
British brand Asos operates a cool online marketplace with Men’s, Women’s and boutiques as well.
So how do these marketplaces work and how can you find the right one for you? And most importantly, why now?
As department stores minimize the risk even more, they are not picking up new brands. That investment and commitment from Barney's is what you need, but it’s a very slim chance that is going to happen right out of the gate. So how most of the online marketplaces work is that you still hold the inventory risk, meaning they are not buying nor housing your garments (you do the shipping and fulfillment) they just take care of the global branding and marketing for you.
Now each company operates differently, so you’ll want to visit them all and decide which is best for you. But the opportunity to reach a global audience with their branding and marketing working for you can be worth the % fee they will take on each order.
Think of that fee as your marketing expense!
I’m curious to hear more from you, which marketplaces have you tried or considered and why? Follow our board on Pinterest and share comments there.