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Calling all business builders! We are starting a regular new section called ‘Ask the KBB expert’. How does it work? We will regularly check with our our amazing small business experts here at Kochie’s Business Builders who will offer up the best insider information available for both you and your small business. Read below to find out how to put the spotlight on your small business.
First cab off the rank is Ashlee Lauren Kalantarian who is a fashion accessories designer from Mount Gambier in South Australia who asked our marketing and branding expert Sharon Williams her three burning business questions.
The KBB marketing & branding expert: Sharon Williams is the Founder and CEO of Taurus. “The buck stops with me for sales, people, process and client delivery. My main passion is delighting clients and growing my team members. It’s fun and I love my job,” says Sharon.
The small business: Ashlee Lauren Kalantarian is a fashion accessories designer from Mount Gambier in South Australia. Ashlee designs unique headpieces, accessories and designer bouquets for brides all over the world. She began selling wedding accessories in 2010 through Etsy, online retail marketplace, and has gone to work with Etsy’s PR team in events such as Bride Australia and Etsy’s first ever Trunk Show campaign in Melbourne.
What’s happening right now?: Having just released her first collection of fashion headpieces, Ashlee has been offered an incredible opportunity to do a runway show at New York Fashion Week in September 2017. Being a busy mum of two boys, Ashlee has had to undertake every aspect of her small business by herself, dealing with accounts, emails and social media. She asks our KBB expert, Sharon Williams, three burning questions in order to help her achieve her dream of having her collection showcased in New York.
A model showcasing Ashlee’s latest Bridal collection
Q 1: We essentially live off one income as I don’t earn that much as a new small business. I’m writing up a business plan so that I can apply for a loan as I am predicting I’ll need about $50K. Do you know of any other options if my loan doesn’t get approved?
It is important to produce an accurate prediction of your budget from the start, so you know exactly how much money you need and where it will be allocated. You should consider the opportunity costs and create a plan around personal return on investment from the perspective of your brand, reputation and generated revenue from your participation in New York Fashion Week (NYFW).
From this you will be able to determine if your attendance is really worthwhile? What are the NYFW organisers asking of you and for what price? Commitment? Promise? Benefit? I suggest investigating the option of someone sponsoring you to offset the cost of airfares, accommodation and stock to reduce your expenditure.
Find out if there is anyone else going you could partner with to share costs. It is also worthwhile considering the tax deduction of your costs and stretching your dollar. Make this investment worthy by asking yourself – what else can you do with your time, who else is there in New York for you to see? What other benefits will you get from going? What network can you reach out to help you? Other Aussies in New York or other fashion designers?
Ashlee’s work will be featured in the 2017 ETSY Bride look book
Q 2. Once the NYFW images are released online, I’m hoping there will be an influx of website visitors. I want my website to be up-to-date and ready to go. Is this an important step in the process?
Absolutely! I would be very worried about any client of mine going to New York without a game plan or a clear return on investment. If you put yourself and your brand out there and do not have the infrastructure in place to deal with the consequences, you could crash and burn which would do more harm than good. Have a good brainstorming session with those involved and ask what sort of user experience would you like to give visitors to your site? How will you handle orders and enquiries?
With fashion, the look, feel and quality matters – ensure every touch point on your website speaks true to your vision. Another key tip is to ensure you collect as much database from this week as possible. So, while people are browsing on your website, ensure there’s a way they can leave their email with you to received updates!
All photography courtesy of Jessica Abby Photography
Q 3. I’ve begun outsourcing jobs such as social media and account management. When should I employ an assistant?
This is a great question! A good idea is to write down all the tasks you do each day to see where your time is going such as operations? Sales? Production? Designing? Stock ordering? Administration? Then work out what you do best and which are your favourite tasks. Outsource the rest. Part time help is a great way to start and you can increase the assistance as you decide you need it. Lots of people want to work part time these days, the value is in the flexibility it gives you to do the things that matters most!
Press play to watch ‘Behind The Scenes’ of Ashlee’s SW17 Collection Shoot
Want to apply to be featured on Kochie’s Business Builders ‘Ask the KBB Expert’ section? Let us know by commenting below with information about your small business and your burning small business question or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a video question here.
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