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Fashion Buying in the Age of COVID-19

fashion

Fashion Buying in the Age of COVID-19

Fashion buying has always been a complex task. But in the age of Covid, getting hold of the right stock has become even trickier for boutique owners. With many supply chains severely interrupted and some businesses on the verge of collapse, fashion indies now have the added worry of whether the right products will reach their stores at the right time – says Mina Melikova, CEO of TradeGala.

Some retailers canceled much of what they originally planned to carry at the start of the lockdown, while others are waiting with anticipation to see if their full orders make it to their stores. Much-loved brands could go into administration before the season ends while others might not be able to deliver their full collections.

Some indies are planning to order more products in-season than they would have done pre-pandemic. There are many benefits to buying this way including versatility, guaranteed stock, immediate deliveries, and being able to react to the weather and consumer demand. Short order buying also means paying for stock as you go along, which can help with managing the business’s cash flow.

But it’s not always easy to find suitable brands that offer in-season collections. And with most major trade shows now canceled for the rest of the year and recommendations against non-essential travel, finding new brands and stock to buy in the middle of the season is even more problematic for retailers.

The digitalization of the wholesale model is offering a much-needed alternative for boutique owners and brands. Thanks to a new wave of B2B marketplaces such as TradeGala – the B2B online marketplace it is now possible for buyers to hunt out new products and place orders from the safety of their computer, tablet or smartphone. Many buyers are already used to scouring for new brands online via social media platforms such as Instagram. TradeGala takes it one step further by allowing buyers to browse entire collections and then place orders – all on one convenient site.

TradeGala’s roster of brands is ever-expanding and the marketplace offers a comprehensive line-up to suit myriad tastes and budgets. Standout pieces available to buy via its site include on-trend printed midi and maxi dresses by Zibi London, Liquorish and Hoxton Gal, party dresses, and jewelry from Haus of Deck, and affordable sustainable young fashion designs by Nesavaali. Buyers can choose from casual yet elegant womenswear pieces from Figi and Lenitif, sparkly heels by Glitz Shoes, fashion trainers from JR Artisan Fashion, and intelligent underwear designs by Magic Bodyfashion. There are also beautiful occasionwear pieces such as flowing gowns and bridesmaid dresses from City Goddess and Goddiva.

With a simple order process, retailers can make product selections with just a few clicks. Buyers can refine their search using the site’s in-built filters to find particular colorways, styles, or prices – making it easy to curate unique and harmonious collections from a range of brands. Each product also has its own detailed page with professional photographs and in-depth information, which makes it easy to select the right pieces. And because TradeGala is in operation 24/7, retailers can research and choose products whenever and wherever it suits them.

TradeGala also offers centralized customer service and payment protection so buyers can feel confident when ordering. Many of its sellers offer low minimum order stipulations and sell single garments, so boutiques can make a small trial order to test the brand’s viability with their customer base with very little risk. For brands, TradeGala offers greater visibility and access to new international markets and the latest technologies with minimal commitment. Smaller, independent brands are able to take their first steps into the wholesale market, which may have previously seemed too daunting.

The fashion wholesale world will probably never be fully digitalized given the tactile nature of buying. However, as the country gets to grips with living through a pandemic, TradeGala offers a great way for retailers to access stock safety, conveniently and cost-effectively. This year has been difficult for so many reasons.

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Mina Melikova is the CEO of TradeGala

fashion

COVID-19: The Fashion Store That Stands Out of the Crowd

When things get tough it’s often hard to remember why you started. When you’re drowning in paperwork, figures and the latest sales initiatives it can be hard to see beyond the next task at hand. Whether you own a fashion retail chain or a small independent boutique, it’s safe to assume that you started out with a desire to share your love of fashion with the world.

Unfortunately, it’s often all too easy for that dream to get lost along the way. This may seem like a minor issue, a simple fact of life when faced with the reality of running a business. But if you’ve lost sight of who you are and why you do what you do, you could actually be damaging your chances of success, particularly during a worldwide crisis where retailers must stand out from the crowd in order to triumph over the competition. Maybe now is the perfect time to go back to basics and remember what makes you unique?

When calculating sales targets and budgeting stock, it’s often difficult to see beyond the line of figures in the cashbook. But if we want to convert sales it’s vital to connect with our customers on an emotional level. Let’s go back to why you started. Perhaps you wanted to curate the perfect selection of stunning occasion wear dresses, to share with your customers the fun of dressing for a big event or a special day. Perhaps you wanted better options when buying clothing for your kids and decided to source childrenswear brands in line with your vision to help make parents’ lives easier and children’s clothes shopping fun. You more than likely imagined yourself as the customer – how you would feel as you browsed the ranges, or what you would think as you entered the door. Things seemed simpler then (then again, didn’t everything?)

But perhaps we need to simplify things once more in order to get to where we want to be. It’s all very well using the latest window dressing or SEO techniques, sending out carefully worded newsletters, and offering sales and coupons. But customers know when they’re being sold to, and more often than not, it’s a major turn-off. How many times have you deleted yet another sales email from your inbox, or avoided a store assistant’s pushy sales techniques? It’s time you put yourself back in the customer’s shoes. Who are they? What do they want? How do they want to be treated? Talk to them if you have the chance and find out what the problem is that only you can solve. They may just remind you why you started out in the first place.

The fashion and trade sector is always changing and every few months retailers update their stock, bringing out the summer dresses or stocking up on jumpers and scarves. The bell-bottoms that were ubiquitous years ago have been relegated to the backs of wardrobes to give way to the skinny or the wide leg. But it’s not just trends that change. Are you the same person that you were when you started your business? Is society in the same place as it was when you started out? Even if you launched your business just a year ago, the answer to these questions is more than likely to be “no”. And as situations change, if we continue to do what we always have done, we’re likely to get left behind. But how does that fit with going back to where you started? If we’re supposed to constantly be changing and adapting, how can we stay true to our original goals? The key, as always, is to strip things back to the essentials.

Let’s go back to the occasion to wear example. If your original vision was to offer stunning party wear but people are no longer buying glitzy dresses perhaps now is the time to consider what led you to your choice in the first place. Was it the glitter and sequins that attracted you? Maybe you could consider introducing a range of casual wear, but with a touch of your signature bling to stay true to your brand and bring a little sparkle to your customers’ everyday lives? If the reason you went into occasion wear was more about dressing your customers for their special events, you may simply need to reassess the mood of the moment – if sustainability and slow fashion are the buzzwords of the day, perhaps you could source more classic designs which will last a lifetime, or consider an offering a hire service to help your customers live more sustainably while still fulfilling their fashion fantasies? Consider what your original vision can offer to your customers today and be ready to step outside of your comfort zone.

Ever had the feeling that you’re stuck in a rut? Haven’t we all. It’s often easier to source your collections from the same brands year after year – you’ve built up a relationship, you know what to expect, it’s quick and easy. But ease can be an enemy of progress and relying on those tried and tested habits can lead you away from what you originally set out to achieve. If you’ve gone back to basics you should already have a good idea of exactly what you want to offer your clients. Whatever it is you decide, one of the major factors is likely to be “something they can’t get anywhere else”. We all want to be original, and when the competition is sky-high we need to be able to set ourselves apart from the crowd. “Building your own special identity is a long-term process, but it’s worth all the effort.” – says Mina Melikova, CEO of TradeGala and chief executive of occasionwear brand Goddiva.

If your customers can find the same styles in another perhaps more local store, or they keep seeing those same old favorites in your storefront season after season, they’re likely to look elsewhere. Do what you did when you were just starting out – trust your instinct and branch out with the up-and-coming designers you happened across at the last trade show. Take a risk on a new international brand you discovered recently on your travels. If you want to be faithful to your brand personality you shouldn’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd – it’s the key to success after all.

We know that sourcing brands and purchasing stock can be time-consuming, and can take you away from that all-important time with your customers. This is why we created TradeGala – the B2B online marketplace we do the legwork, sourcing emerging and well-established fashion brands from around the world, with something to cover your every fashion need. New brands are added every week so there’s always something new, something to inspire! Revisit your vision and find the brands to help you achieve it at TradeGala.

menswear

The Popularity of Menswear Continues To Rise: 5 Trends You Need To Know For 2020

Traditionally, when we think about consumers who prioritize fashion and style in their spending habits, women tend to be the target market that comes to mind. Slowly but surely, though, the times are changing, and we’re seeing a shift towards the growing popularity of menswear.

In fact, by 2021, menswear is expected to surpass womenswear in revenue, meaning not only is it good practice to pay close attention to this ever-expanding market, but it’s also not a bad idea to stay on top of the latest menswear fashion trends.

In doing so, we can better predict the styles, brands, and fashion niches that will see success in 2020.

All that being said, here are five menswear trends we’re expected to see pop up in 2020:

1) Bold Ties

While streetwear has been taking over in the menswear department for multiple seasons now, many will be happy to learn that men’s suiting is stepping back onto the scene as well. Don’t be fooled, though. We’re not talking about your standard black suit and skinny tie. Instead, in 2020, trend reports are showing that wide, thick, patterned ties will make a comeback, along with monochromatic suits, done in various colors other than black.

Throw some suspenders into the mix to go with your new suit and tie, and you’ll be unstoppable with this menswear trend on your radar.

2) Patchwork Prints

If suiting doesn’t exactly speak to you, you’ll be pleased to know that streetwear-inspired apparel is still alive and well in menswear. In particular, throwing a little patchwork into your look is a surefire way to stay on trend in 2020.

Not only will the addition of patchwork give an outfit an edgier and slightly grunge-inspired feel, it’s also an easy print to pull off, no matter what your typical style preferences. We’re certain that consumers will be gravitating towards any garments that make use of patchwork.

3) Leather Jackets

No, this isn’t a reference to your traditional motorcycle jacket. In 2020, we’re expected to see men start to favor sleeker, modern lines from their leather. That’s right, you don’t need bold chains, zippers, and all the bells and whistles to pull off a leather jacket in 2020. Keep it simple when it comes to leather.

4) Vests

While a more formal vest is always a closet staple for men, in 2020, don’t be surprised if you see more outdoor-inspired vests popping up. Whether it be something sleek and light for spring, or it be a puffer vest for the cold months, vests are taking the proverbial style cake in menswear for 2020.

5) Crossbody Bags

And lastly, while crossbody bags have been on the rise in womenswear season after season, this year the popular trend is crossing over into menswear.

Yes, you read that correctly. While we might not traditionally think of a crossbody bag as something a man might wear, more and more, men from all over are embracing this convenient (and stylish!) option for their wardrobes.

Bottom line: Menswear continues to be on the rise, with no end in sight. No longer is style just for women. Style is something that is accessible to all, and that means staying up-to-date with the latest consumer trends in menswear, so that both men and women can have access to the style items they crave.

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Josh Newman is an entrepreneur with a broad business and marketing background having worked with major brands as well as starting several boutique e-commerce companies like JJ Suspenders. Marketing and business aside, Josh also has a love for design. Despite having no fashion experience prior to co-founding JJ Suspenders, his aesthetic eye quickly helped him learn what worked and what didn’t in the fashion world, be it color combinations, packaging, and customer experience. His motto: build a remarkable product and the rest will follow.

fashion

TradeGala Set to Revolutionize Wholesale Fashion

TradeGala is the brainchild of Mina Melikova and Kuganeswaran Thangarajan, built to support the ever-changing wholesale market, and provide fashion suppliers the chance to meet new heights at a click of a button, especially through these more challenging times in retail.

TradeGala is a simple concept, a seamless service that connects wholesale fashion vendors and buyers from all over the world. It is an online marketplace that helps retailers find innovative styles at competitive prices from the best suppliers in the business while helping sellers expand their reach and increase sales.

Companies no longer need to invest the time, money and resource in traveling to appointments or attending trade fairs in order to make new business connections. The advance of technology has allowed TradeGala to create a cutting-edge platform which in turn allows brands to showcase their products, analyze trends and adapt to maximize business growth; while introducing a huge range of international fashion brands and suppliers to buyers, with products constantly updated to reflect the latest in fashion.

The site launches with 24 brands across accessories, activewear, casual dress, evening wear, and footwear, including Goddiva, City Goddess, Marc Angelo, KDK London, Gypsy Clothing, Conquista Fashion, Gold Lunar, Haus of Deck, Hugz Jeans, Lindy Bop, Looking Glam, Geniris Paris, Glitz Shoes and Versa Forma.

This sophisticated platform has a dedicated web platform and app to ensure orders or new content can be updated even when you are on the move.

How it works? Suppliers simply sign up to TradeGala and register online, then choose a platform that suits their needs. They have the option to choose one of the three plans – basic, premium or exclusive, and once registered upload their products and list them for sale. The quickest process to sell yet.

Our wholesale buyers place orders via the website and app, and receive order notifications via SMS, app alerts and email. The order is then packed and shipped directly from the seller, saving on time and shipping costs.

The TradeGala.com platform offers new suppliers the chance to reach 40,000 sales leads and 3,000 registered wholesale buyers immediately in over 90 countries.

Each buyer is 100% pre-screened and the team behind this platform already boasts an 87% customer satisfaction rating. With over 15 years of B2B experience in fashion and a network that is extensive and continuously growing, this platform is one of the best new opportunities for brands to establish a new business in the UK and internationally through a simple registration process and stock upload.

Other benefits include extensive marketing budgets, international SEO campaigns, heavy pay per click investment both nationally and internationally, presence at trade shows, tailored marketing campaigns, and seasonal photo shoots and fashion shows featuring your products. Plus, weekly and monthly newsletters, popular products and featured suppliers, not forgetting educational blog and vlog posts for wholesalers and retailers.

This is a new wave business tool that helps both young and well-established suppliers reach clients and markets beyond their means, it improves and fast-tracks their visibility to market and supports steady brand growth, taking away much of the traditional overhead costs.

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For further information on working with TradeGala please contact:
Yathu Kanagaratham – Yathu@citygoddess.co.uk
New Business Development Manager

Amber Domenech Patey – Amber@Citygoddess.co.uk
Project Manager