I was about to say that I've learned to trust my gut, but that's not true. I'm still learning to do that. Self-doubt is a sneaky beast.
Fashion is VERY much personal preference.
Sounds obvious, right? It was never so apparent until I owned a #FashionTruck. Within 5 minutes, two customers can pick up the same item and have complete opposing experiences. A woman told me that women in #NovaScotia won't wear crop tops. They were still sitting in a box when another customer squealed "OMG, you have crop #hoodies, I NEED it!" 🤷♂
Men from Digby love to shop.
Popup shops are pretty consistent no matter where I go. Women will shop, and men will stay outside only to poke their head in the side door when asked if they would wear something. The first time we went to Digby, I had at least FIVE guys come into the fashion truck by themselves, try things on, and make a purchase. God love'em! And they will return the next time they see me wearing their shirt to show it off! This has happened more than once. BRB, I'm moving to Digby.
Side note: I want guys to shop! I want to be a store that offers more than 2 things for men and 20 pieces for women.
So many grains of salt.
Testing out new designs is a vulnerable process because I want everyone to love everything I come up with—obviously. I have a group of friends that I trust to give real and varying feedback on new designs because they all have different styles. One will flat out tell me it won't sell, another will say it's the best thing they've seen me come up with yet. Thanks, guys. That helped me a lot.
Everything belongs to someone.
My friend owns the Cosmic Hippy Boutique in #MahoneBay, she gave me a helpful piece of advice: every item in my store has an owner, they just haven't met yet. That realization helped her to stop worrying. And 99% of the time that truth holds up! Creating a #ClothingLine is a constant struggle, will this sell or did I just throw thousands of dollars away? It's a fun game to play at 3am!
Things I've tried (and learned) from customer feedback.
New insight can be genuinely helpful. I want to create goods that people love to wear! And I want to learn and grow. The following are not sweeping rules for retail, they were my personal experiences. The most common things I hear are:
1) You should sell zip hoodies, I only wear zip hoodies.
Nope. I carried those for over a year, and they didn't sell until I put them on clearance. And I happened to notice 'you' didn't buy one either 🤷♂ haha.
2) You should sell babies onesies, they would sell like hotcakes! You'd make a mint!
Nope. I had to give them away.
3) You should have 'this' in more colours.
Nope. One colour always gets left behind, and customers will wait until I restock the popular one.
4) You should make a shirt that says 'XYZ', I say it all the time.
Nope. Turns out, you are the only person that says that.
The golden rule that now guides most of my decisions is: if I don't like it enough to wear it, it won't sell.
I stumbled upon the quote, "things from the heart speak to the heart." This year more than ever, that aligns with our vision. And I'm trying to listen to my gut. I've stopped worrying about the ebb and flow of followers. Those who leave were never going to stay loyal to the brand. Instead, I'm doing what feels relevant to our goals, values and what we stand for. Those elements came from somewhere deep inside me. They are what inspire me. And customers will either dig it or move on.