The Fashion Advocate is now a digital community and online course platform for ethical, sustainable, circular and slow fashion brands, but before I rebranded and relaunched it recently, it was the largest online store for ethical and sustainable fashion in the country.
It was a multi-award winning e-commerce store and I loved inspiring customers to shop ethically and sustainably. We created positive change and created a really powerful impact in our industry, but in the beginning, I sucked at running a business.
I'm ok to be honest about it - I really, really sucked at it. I didn't have a plan and I didn't have a strategy. I just put one foot in front of the other and did what I could every day, and it worked for the first five years, but I couldn't seem to scale my business.
I got a little traction here and a few sales there, but nothing was ever consistent, yet I was working 10-12 days, 6-7 days a week. I was working hard, not smart, and eventually, I crashed and burned.
I learnt the hard way that without a strategy, I was only ever going to tread water, so I made some dramatic changes to the way I did business, and it dramatically changed my life.
One of the first things I did, was get a mentor, which helped me get everything out of my head and make sense of it all in a methodical manner. Being able to bounce ideas off someone else who understood business and the industry, was a game changer because it's too easy to get stuck in a rut when you only have yourself to talk to.
The other big gamer changer was implementing a strategy, and actually working with a plan. My marketing strategy was the first thing I over-hauled, and within three months of operating with a strategic marketing plan, I was making enough sales to start paying myself a wage. Yep - I didn't pay myself for the first five years of running a business and those five years were very, very stressful for me.
Popping a few Instagram posts up and sending a few emails out isn't marketing but that's what I was doing, and because I wasn't consistent with my marketing, nothing else was consistent in business.
A good marketing strategy can have a huge impact on sales and growth and it can make or break your slow fashion business. This is the strategy I implemented that took me from being stressed, exhausted and in debt, to making over half a million dollars in sales in a few short years, and it's specifically designed for ethical, sustainable, circular and slow fashion brands.
I also invested in personal and professional development, because I wanted to be the best version of myself so I could run the best business possible. Therapy, reiki, kinesiology, online courses, memberships and communities... I took time out for myself and my mental health, and I did the work I needed to do. It was ugly and it was hard, but that's what growth is sometimes.
If you're in a bad place with business, know that you're not alone. I've been there, and I'm working with so many brands that are currently there, but we're working together to move forward, grow and scale. So know that what you're feeling now, is temporary, and it can change!
If you're not sure where to start but you know something has to change, book a strategy session with me today and take the first step towards running a better slow fashion business that you love.