The Fashion Advocate is an online education platform dedicated to ethical, sustainable, circular and slow fashion business growth, but before that, it was Australia's largest online store for ethical and sustainable fashion. I built my business from the bottom up - no investors, no crowdfunding, no family money - just a good strategy, a solutions-based mindset and some elbow grease.
And because I didn't have any funding to grow it, I also didn't have the budget for paid advertising. Instead, I worked out some incredible free strategies and creative growth tactics to grow The Fashion Advocate into an award-winning trusted business that made over $500,000 in the last few years alone.
Organic growth methods work, and I know they work because they worked for me and they've worked for the hundreds of businesses I've worked with.
But if you're reading this and you think Facebook advertising is the only thing left to do and it's the only thing that will solve your slow sales problems - I've got news for you. It's not going to solve your problems, it's going to create problems, and probably waste your money too.
The problem is that Facebook advertising looks like a fix-all shiny solution, and when you're struggling and stressed as it is, you start searching for quick-fix things instead of fixing up your strategy.
Advertising is an amplifier. If you're not making enough sales to survive, there's a good reason for it and there's a problem somewhere with your pricing, your branding, your website or your products, and advertising is just going to exacerbate those problems.
What you need to do, is work out why you're not selling enough as it is, implement a strategy to change it, and when organic sales are good - then look into advertising.
Advertising can make a good thing better, but advertising can also make a bad thing worse, and when you're juggling enough as it is with a slow fashion business and no advertising budget, the last thing you need to do is throw more stress and expenses into the mix that don't pay off.
So, what do you do instead? Roll up your sleeves, work out a strategy, and do the work. If you were expecting a quick-fix solution from the slow fashion queen herself, sorry to burst your bubble, but I'm all about slow fashion and that means slow, steady and manageable growth too. Running a slow fashion business is about taking small but practical steps towards growth and putting one foot in front of the other in a strategic order to increase sales. Most people don't like to hear it, but you gotta do the work girl.
Besides the learning, the personal growth and the up-skilling you'll experience along the way, there are also some pretty big business benefits to implementing organic marketing strategies to grow your slow fashion brand...
1. You'll build an authentic brand that lasts.
People know when they're being sold to and advertised to, but if you create authentic content, you'll build an authentic brand that lasts. Over 60% of fashion start ups close in their first three years for a number of reasons, but if you're dedicated to the long-game and you care about what you do, and you channel that into authentic organic content, your slow fashion brand will survive the fast pace of the fashion industry.
2. It's cost-effective (free!) which is super important when you're struggling.
If you're already struggling with sales and income, adding the extra expense of paid advertising into the mix is just going to add stress. If you have time but not money, use your time to create great content that connects with your customers. It's free!
3. You'll foster a strong community that stays with you for the ride.
Organic marketing fosters a sense of community, because it's coming directly from you, and when you engage with your audience through organic content, you can create a loyal community of like-minded customers who support your mission long-term.
If you’re struggling to grow and if you’re chasing your tail week to week and don’t have a strategy, reach out. Book a private one-on-one slow fashion strategy session and let’s scale your sustainable business together.
Save your money on advertising and spend it on mentoring instead.