Globalisation of a brand is such a difficult thing when you run a small to medium size business. Apart from deciding on a clear strategy of where you want to be placed , the financial expenditure on pastures new is large, somewhat risky and certainly not to be taken lightly.
Working with agents in foreign lands is a great solution and over the years I have worked with many, in many countries. Some successful, some less, it was a good way of getting a ‘foot in the door’ so to speak and a great way to establish new markets with insider knowledge and without crippling expenditure.
Things have changed, being an agent used to be a great job, but alas these day… it’s tough and more often than not-without sufficient financial rewards . If you are a travelling sales person, fuel , hotel and food bills mount up quickly- you need to be taking a lot of firm order at a short period time to make the travelling pay off, easier said than done. If you work from a showroom it’s all about the brands you attract for your portfolio and of course it’s all about the triple ‘L’- Location, Location, Location- beautiful, central showrooms are hard to find and cost the earth.
In the UK it feels like agents and showrooms have all but disappeared-it used to be that at a Fashion trade fair such as London Fashion Week or the Paris pret, we were inundated with cold calls from agents looking to discuss our brand for their territory. These days, in our UK shows we hardly ever get approached by a single agent, where have they all gone?
But agents and agencies still exist, in some countries more than others and I genuinely believe that as long as you start off on an even footing, both parties looking to support the other with the objective to grow, albeit taking small measured steps- it’s a recipe for success.
I have been looking closely at Germany and Scandinavia as two new potential markets for Nadia Minkoff London, in fact I have been looking at these territories for just over 2 years ( yes- I am a slow mover).
Eventually I decided, my decision was to aim for Scandinavia to start off with and with that said.. I got an offer I couldn’t refuse from an agency in Germany- how the cookie crumbles!
Having signed the agency agreement and sent out our collection a couple of weeks ago this week is the first real ‘test’, we’ve collaborated to show at the GDS fair in Dusseldorf. So far so good, everything got there, the stand was set, our lovely agent Annette is at the helm, making sure it all runs smoothly and looks the part! It’s the last day of the show today, next week we shall be reviewing it together and plotting the next steps- exciting times.