For our July meeting, the Colorado chapter invited Angela Wolf to speak to us about Marketing for the Solopreneur (Solo Entrepreneur).
After speaking to us about how she ended up in a sewing career and the value of ASDP, Angela spoke about the importance of one’s brand. She emphasized using that brand on everything you do, even if the business evolves. She also noted that the brand should be developed before considering marketing.
For developing brand awareness, social media is excellent. Instagram and Facebook are good because you can post pictures and sell things there because people like to see pictures of the sewing process.
One suggestion that we liked was having a fashion show. Angela started with a small group one year and after a couple years she connected with a non-profit organization that used the fashion show as a fund-raising event. This worked well because all she needed to worry about was the fashion show itself and the non-profit handled all the other details like advertising, setting up the environment, and hosting the event.
Another suggestion was to host dinner parties or cocktail parties to show your work. If a bar is provided, then tickets can be provided so participants can get a free drink. One caveat was not to host an event outdoors – she had one scheduled in the middle of a week of rain and luckily it stopped raining just in time, but she vowed never to do that again.
Angela also advised us to have a website. She has had good experiences doing it for little money using GoDaddy and WordPress. The website is like a business card and it can link to your social media sites (e.g. Instagram, Facebook, Etsy, YouTube).
When asked about partnerships, she emphasized the importance of a legally binding agreement in case the situation changes. She’s not done a partnership; she hires people instead.
Angela also talked a bit about pricing. If you are too busy to get all the work done, raise your prices. You may lose a few customers, but you may gain better customers.
Angela also likes digital patterns because they sell themselves. When asked about developing patterns and the inevitable errors that arise, she suggested writing a correction sheet rather than reprinting all the paper patterns.
Angela also talked about the benefits of getting a studio outside of the house. She started her business in her home, and it consumed the entire house. Having a separate studio helped her establish a better work/life balance. To determine if one is ready to rent a studio, she suggested doing a 3-5 year budget and see if you have enough cash on hand to pay for six months of rent.
When asked about doing videos, she said not to spend money on video equipment that is higher quality than YouTube uses. The important aspects are lighting and sound equipment, and don’t worry about what you wear.
For more information, check out her book “How to Start a Home-based Fashion Design Business” and her Sew Me the Money Business Classes at www.AngelaWolf.com.