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The Black Hole of the Fashion Industry - Part I

Posted by V. A. Bates Kassatly on

In founding Commun des Mortels, our aim was to provide luxe, sustainable, ethical, men's fashion at the lowest possible price.

What we had not quite realized is that advertising and marketing costs could equal or surpass our manufacturing costs. It seems outrageous that a combination of bloggers, online magazines, search engine and media magnets, should, for doing very little, take as much money from the consumer as the farmer who grew the crop, the factories who spun the yarn and wove the fabric, and the manufacturers who made and dyed the clothes, all put together - but there we are.

It is one of life's ironies that with the advent of the internet and the rise of bloggers and influencers, market access - save for those who started early enough - has not actually become cheaper and easier but rather more byzantine and costly.

Regulators are struggling to keep up with it and they might as well try to pin waves upon the sand. Top bloggers are no longer paid per post, so they claim independence; believe me, if they have an agent, they are getting paid. It's just that a couple of hundred dollars for a post no longer cuts it.  You have to employ the blogger as a brand advisor or collaborator and pay them a huge retainer instead. Of course you can use low or mid-level influencers - often for no more than the cost of the item you sent them - but the outcome is not always as expected, sometimes comically so;  there will be more on that in our next blog post!

Online magazines rose to prominence by focusing on the niche and eschewing mainstream, now the big ones won't write about you unless you advertise with them and/or employ an expensive PR agency. Many "journalists" also run their own PR agencies and/or promote themselves as influencers. Everyone who's anyone has a stylist, and those stylists expect to be compensated generously for getting your clothes on their client's famous and well photographed back - fortuitous "discovery" - I think not.

And that brand that witters on about launching with an uber successful Kickstarter - if you search a bit you may well find that they hired a top PR agency - possibly several, each in a different country. They secured simultaneous press coverage on launch day, in 4 different editorials - providential? I doubt it, and you don't need me to tell you that such “luck” didn't come cheap.

So you want to build sales for your new brand? Throw money at it, lots of it, and price your products accordingly. And if you don't want to do that, can you build your sales organically, can you get coverage creatively?  

We’re optimistic and we’re giving it our best shot, so stay with us and we will all find out.

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