How independent brands dealt with the pandemic

The coronavirus hit many industries hard- but small businesses and independent designers especially. The importance of shopping small and local was even more prevalent. Most independent stores and boutiques had to close. Taking their business online was the best option for many owners and designers.

Some countries were hit harder than others by the pandemic. In particular, Third World countries, where a lot of fashion production takes place (yes, even sustainable production). Many independent designers found the factories and workshops they used for production had to completely close until further notice. This completely halted the production of fashion and new collections.

After factories and workshops had to close down, this led to stores closing too. Most businesses switched to online sales. This of course brought some struggles, such as increasing marketing budgets at short notice. On the other hand, online business was booming. Since most retail was now relying on online sales, there was a lot of competition. To combat this, online and social media marketing was crucial.

Many brands decided to do huge sales, of both current collections and dead stock. This was a good way of getting buyers, and combating the halt in production. Using old collections or left over pieces to sell rather than creating new collections.

Influencer marketing was more important than ever. People were spending way more time on their phones and consuming a lot more online media. Using influencers to promote things was one of the best ways to get them seen by an audience.

During fashion week season, a lot of shows went online too. Some designers even chose to use technology to create virtual collections and runway shows. Alternatively there were intimate showroom collections and events, but they had a very small select attendance. This was mostly good for buyers and retailers to access new collections.

A lot of designers and small businesses have said they have learnt a lot from having to adapt to this situation. Going forward, there are a few things brands can learn from this. Asking for and taking support is crucial, don’t be afraid to take advice and go to experts for knowledge.

Growing an online presence is important while online retail grows. Along with that, having a business mentor can really help in terms of what to do and how to grow. Elemntz offers a mentoring service to provide stable growth that will last.

Written by: Abby Ashenhurst

Digital content executive @ Elemntz