Monthly Archives: February 2017

Business for Fashion Fanatics

When you tell people that you want to work in fashion, you probably get a snarky reaction or a sympathetic nod. However, your passion is unwavering, so you keep your head high and heels higher.

Making a name in the industry isn’t simple, but you don’t have to be a model or designer to succeed. Here are seven business opportunities for fashion fanatics.

Running a fashion show isn’t easy. Fashion event producers work with designers and models, sometimes even coaching them.

“You would help the designer with runway show casting and have an understanding of how clothes should be portrayed on the body and how the models should carry themselves,” said Kerry Bannigan, founder of Nolcha, a New York-based fashion event production company.

While startup costs are minimal – you won’t need employees or even an office – you will need to do some heavy self-promotion. Relationships and referrals are key for this type of work, Bannigan said. Business cards, a user-friendly website showing an online portfolio and a printed portfoilio are a must. Networking through industry websites is also essential, she said.

Before you embark on this career, you should understand fashion shows, work with creative people and be flexible enough to deal with diverse personalities, Bannigan said. Income potential is based on the number of clients you have and how big they are.

This business is ideal for someone with a corporate background who wants to make a move into fashion. A fashion business coach helps guide design firms in running their business, from growth plans to everyday tasks such as invoice collection and bookkeeping. It also can involve coaching the creative designer on how to perform and interact in different business settings, Bannigan said.

Startup costs for a fashion coaching business are minimal, but earning potential is significant, said Bannigan: “Research consultancy services with established businesses can make six-figure salaries with constant clientele.”

Some of today’s most influential fashion websites like the Sartorialist and Racked debuted as small fashion blogs. They’ve since come into their own as industry thought leaders, and they sell lots of advertising.

Fashion blogs don’t require large investments, as website development and hosting can be quite inexpensive – but they do require lots of legwork. Whether you’re stalking the city streets in search of fashionable photo ops or following the moves of leading designers, you’ll need to be tracking changing trends at every moment.

On the plus side, a fashion blog can be a complement to your existing job, said Angie Wojak, director of career services at the School of Visual Arts.

Photo stylists work with photographers to scout shoot locations, get clothing to shoots, buy furniture and accessories and make sure the photo shoot goes as planned. It requires a good sense of fashion, an understanding of fashionhistory and the smarts to know where to source your products, according to Sara Petitt, coordinator of the fabric styling program at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Successful photo stylists can come from any background. They usually make their mark by doing a good job and gaining business through word of mouth. Photo stylists can be paid hourly or by the project.

Do you love to talk your favorite designer brands up to friends and family? Are you always searching for the latest fashion news and sample sales? If so, you might consider starting your own fashion public relations business. Fashion PR is a difficult field to break into, but with the right skill set and connections, you can help designers and other fashion businesses get noticed by the media and fashionistas.

In an article on PR Couture, entrepreneur Jonathan Leger writes that there are several key components to success as a fashion PR professional. You must create a strong brand for your clients to differentiate them from other designers, know how to work with fashion editors to get magazine placements and with models and celebrities to get your clients’ work in the public eye, have a keen understanding of media trends and can prove the value of your work.

As with any PR job, Leger noted that fashion publicists must be ready to put out fires and handle any crises that arise from unhappy clients, models or editors.

You’d be surprised at the number of people willing to pay someone a good price to scour their closet and replace dreary clothing with stylish items. You can run your own personal shopping service and revamp your clients’ entire wardrobe – while getting paid by the hour.

As a fashionista, this job will keep you inspired as you help those who are unsatisfied with their own fashion sense. Using your passions and knowledge in the industry, you can help someone go from drab to fab. Depending on how much you promote your service, which is the best investment for your endeavor, you can earn enough to rely solely on this business.

If you’re artistic as well as fashionable, you may find success as a fashion illustrator. Using pastels, pencils, oils, paints, markers and even computers, you can create sketches to express designs and ideas.

As an illustrator, you can work strictly for a designer/fashion company or freelance, working with high end clients from home or at a studio. You can also sell your illustrations yourself or through a third party. You should invest in the best material for your sketches and have a strong social media presence to promote your content.

5 Tips for Starting a Business Abroad

Starting a business is no easy feat, especially if you’re thinking of starting one overseas. Now that the U.S. dollar is stronger — and even crushing other currencies — many entrepreneurs are taking advantage and traveling abroad to launch their businesses.

But don’t start packing your bags just yet. As the founder of Waygo, a visual-translation app that translates Chinese, Japanese and Korean text into English with the wave of your smartphone, I have gone done the challenging road of launching a company abroad (in our case China).

Before you decide to leave the U.S. borders, here are a few tips  to starting your business abroad.

1. Localize your idea, vision and expectations.

Diving into the local culture is essential for any entrepreneur. Find a local mentor or investor who can help guide you to understand the culture and the local consumer. This was key for us when we decided to launch Waygo and has helped contribute to meeting the right partners, launching at the right conferences, and knowing who to trust.

If you don’t know one right off the bat, look to LinkedIn to see if colleagues can connect you with others that are located in the country. You could also look at joining Meetup groups, eaching out to local business networks or researching online for websites that specialize in expats living in the country you are looking to set up shop in.

2. Learn the language.

This seems like an obvious one but sometimes learning a language can feel almost as challenging as starting your business. Even poor language skills are better than none. Besides taking classes, you can also learn a new language through various apps or meet up with someone that speaks the language fluently and work with them to hone your skills.

3. Live like the locals.

Be genuinely interested in the country and its culture. Get out and meet your customer or participate in cultural experiences every day. The market, customer base, customer preferences and behavior aren’t native to you, it’s important to take in as much as possible.

4. Study the competition, both past and present.

Before entering a new market, every entrepreneur knows to research the competition. But don’t stop there. Study five companies that tried to enter that market and failed. Those who fail to learn from others’ past failures are destined to repeat it.

5. Build a new network.

Your old network becomes less actionable when you move abroad, so you’ll need to build a new local one. Leverage the fact that expats in a small community are fewer and far between, making it easier to connect with new people.

When my team was in Beijing trying to build the startup network for Waygo, we took a leap and emailed really important entrepreneurs in the area. It resulted in important meetings and new network connections. These connections not only assisted us in getting started as a new business but also helped us form long-lasting relationships that provide the support we need.

Launching Waygo as an expat in China has been one of the most thrilling experiences in my life. I encourage anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit to take the leap. But don’t go in blindly, be patient, persistent, develop thick skin and keep in mind some of my tips. I promise, it’ll be the journey of a lifetime.

In this Countries to we can Start a Business

Opportunities exist everywhere — not just in your own home country or hometown. While much has been said about globalization and our increasingly connected world, if you’re starting a business, your first thought might not be to launch it in, say, Denmark.

But it turns out that Denmark is actually a very good idea: The World Bank Group has ranked that Scandinavian nation third in the world in terms of ease of doing business there. By comparison, the United States ranks eighth.

Depending on your target audience and its needs, plus taxation laws, the nature of the local workforce and other factors, doing business overseas just might offer advantages to you that exceed those of the country where you live right now.

Starting with a place you may be familiar with, here are some of the best countries to consider when starting a business:

The United States

What makes the United States a good country to start a business in? The workforce is diverse and skilled. It is a recognized leader in research and development as well as innovation. You can also find a wide variety of funding sources: investment firms, banks, venture capitalists and angel investors.

The U.S. Small Business Administration suggests that you should first determine your business needs, evaluate your finances, check to see if the area is business friendly and do investigative research on other businesses in the community.

In an interview with Virgin.com, James Wilkinson, COO of Streaming Tank , extoled the benefits of business in New York. “People in New York are open and hungry to new ideas and concepts,” he said, “and once you open the doors their money will follow.” He added that New York is where much of the action happens within an organization.

The Big Apple, then, is at the center of the action. But places like Oklahoma City, Minneapolis, Miami, Atlanta, Seattle and other U.S. cities are also often cited as being good cities to launch businesses in.

Singapore

Singapore has long been considered one of the best places to do business in the world. Hawksford Singapore is an example of a company that located there and an investor, Jim Rogers, told GuideMeSingapore.com why. Among other reasons, Rogers said, Singapore is one of the wealthiest nations in the world, is politically stable, has a strong labor force and imposes no dividend or capital gains taxes.

In 2011, former CD Baby founder and entrepreneur Derek Sivers wrote on his blog about why he too moved to Singapore, citing the ease of doing business there. In particular, Sivers noted that flights to surrounding countries are affordable, which puts Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines and many other countries within easy reach. Today, Sivers spreads his time between Singapore and New Zealand, also touted (see below) as a great place for starting a business.

Singapore is known for the many international businesses that station their headquarters there. Due to strong trade and investment opportunities, the city attracts global entrepreneurs and leaders and has been named the most competitive Asian country to start a business.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, incorporating a business takes only a day, and registering a property can be done in two. The workforce is skilled and educated, and labor costs are low. In terms of taxes, there are no payroll, social security or capital gains taxes. It is considered one of the easiest countries to do business.

New Zealand, small as it is, has set up several business structures: An entrepreneur can apply to be a sole trader who operates a business individually or, in several farming industries, can be part of a partnership among professionals who benefit from sharing operational costs. Another NZ structure sets up limited liability companies that are their own legal entity, separate from shareholders. And there are publicly listed companies on the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZSX), as well.

It’s important to learn about trends and the market when you enter into a new country or location. You can look into Statistics New Zealand for market information to help decide if your business niche is suitable for New Zealand or not.

Norway

Norway has a strong economy, and most communication with the government can be done digitally. Registering a property is fast, and complying with tax laws is relatively straightforward. Resolving insolvency in Norway is also low-cost, with fees averaging 1 percent of the bankrupt entity’s value.

There are downsides to Norway, however: Getting construction permits can be lengthy, and labor regulations can be quite rigid.

Anne Worsoe, founder of Innovation House and director of Innovation Norway, told Virgin.com that one of the best aspects of doing business in Norway was the fact that, “Norwegians are known as digitally advanced and early adopters, willing and able to pay for new technology.”

She went on to explain that the nation boasts highly skilled workers, in categories like information technology, finance, design and even music tech. Entrepreneurs there have access to industrial expertise, investors and talent.

Further, technology in Norway can help develop foreigners’ business models, Worsoe said. In the software category, she cited a company called Less Everything, which helps entrepreneurs build out their software ideas.

Norway’s business community also helps foreign entrepreneurs decide what categories to explore: Merch Informer provides merchants with information on what products are popular and niches that consumers are most interested in.

Overall, said Babou Olengha-Aaby, CEO and founder of Mums Mean Business, who also spoke with Virgin.com, the primary benefits of doing business in Norway include “wealth, economic and governmental stability, well-developed communication and transport infrastructures and [the nation’s] longstanding trade ties with the EU.”

United Kingdom

Incorporating a company in the U.K. is both fast and affordable, making it one of the easiest places in Europe to set up and run a business in. David Mytton, founder of server monitoring startup Server Density, gave Virgin.com the following reasons why Britain is a great place to do business:

  • It’s easier to start a business there: Incorporating a company can be completed in an hour, for £14.
  • The tax authorities understand that new companies generally aren’t profitable in their early years.
  • The British government offers various tax benefits for investors, founders and employees.

Some of the best places to start a business in the U.K. include Derby, Stoke, Belfast, Stirling and Durham.

Final thoughts

The exact specifics of starting a business in a specific country are obviously subject to the town, city, state or province you choose to create your entity in. Those specifics are worth a closer look if you’re thinking about starting your new organization overseas.

Ways to Get Your Small Business in International Marketing

Yet, following the Brexit vote on June 23, 2016, U.K. online retail sales increased by 18.7 percent in July, compared to the previous year’s sales during the same period. This increase marked the strongest online sales performance since November 2014. Global markets are faced with new challenges every day, but many etailers are continuing to find success, no matter what’s happening around the world.

The cross-border selling opportunities in the $2-trillion ecommerce market lead us to a pivotal question. How can small businesses not only expand by selling globally, but also ensure that they have a successful outcome despite economic or political uncertainties? Here are five strategies.

Diversify your selling to different markets and countries.

You’ve heard the saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Well, this advice absolutely applies to your business strategy. Offering your product in a handful of global markets ensures that any potential international issues won’t drastically and negatively impact your business.

Diversifying your markets will keep your business alert and flexible to adapt to challenging situations. If one market crashes, your company won’t come down with it; you’ll have “backup” markets to protect your business and keep it profitable.

Take advantage of global marketplace platforms.

Entering a new marketplace with your own website can be time-consuming, costly and present difficulties such as language barriers. Selling via local online marketplaces can be a relatively risk-free way to test out new markets and enable your business to be agile and able to move quickly.

For example, if you’re looking to expand into the Latin America market, you’ll want to consider Mercado Libre, the most popular and largest ecommerce site in Latin America. It’s centered on auctions and listings by third-party sellers (similar to eBay). Not convinced yet? From 2010 to 2012, Mercado Libre grew 70 percent, with its traffic triple that of Amazon’s.

International marketplaces offer a win-win for business and the consumer. They provide consumers with one-stop shopping for products they might not have found otherwise, and they allow businesses to connect with an expanded buyer audience they probably wouldn’t have been able to reach on their own.

Don’t overlook shipping.

Selling your products to international customers is one thing, but you have to have a solid plan in place for how you’re going to get them their purchases. Choosing the right shipping method is crucial, as well as offering multiple shipping options tailored to customers’ delivery speed and cost preferences. U.S. customers have heightened delivery expectations, which means international customers have to, too.

According to the 2016 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper, 75 percent of shoppers rate shipping costs as being the most important buying factor, exhibited by 56 percent of shoppers reporting they’ve abandoned a cart due to high shipping costs. Additionally, consumer perception of what constitutes as fast delivery has accelerated. A Deloitte study reported that nine out of 10 shoppers only consider same-day, next-day and two-day delivery to be fast.

Also, don’t forget about the customers’ return process. Returns play a major role in sales conversions, with 89 percent of customers saying they’ll shop again at an online store after a positive returns experience. Consumers’ buying experiences don’t end when they click “Submit Order” — the subsequent delivery process will still influence the future sales growth of your online business.

Endicia’s international shipping solutions can help you streamline all of these things by automatically filling out customs forms, quickly clearing customs, reducing shipping costs by utilizing local networks and having more visibility into each shipment with end-to-end tracking.

Develop networks in your new market(s).

When you decide to begin selling internationally, it’s important to develop relationships in the new markets. Make the effort to establish strategic partnerships with prominent websites, influencers and social media players to generate brand visibility and improve SEO performance. If your brand isn’t anywhere to be found in your new, local market, it will be difficult for consumers and businesses to find you — resulting in lost sales opportunities.

Localize everything — from language to cross-border taxation.

Keep things simple by localizing all of the information for the customers that you’re targeting. To start, this means presenting your company information in the relevant language for customers. And, localize yourself to where you’re selling. If you don’t speak the language or understand specific laws, develop relationships with local service providers, industry contacts and partners that can help you smooth over issues that may arise with local postal services and other entities.

Localization also means ensuring that all currency conversions, international payment options and duties and taxes are clearly stated and accurately represent local information, so customers aren’t surprised with unexpected fees upon checkout or delivery.

International selling presents businesses with huge opportunities to grow their operations. By nurturing international partnerships, optimizing shipping and services and connecting with local resources, small businesses can successfully expand their global footprint.