Categories
Sustainability

Moving away from fast fashion. How can we do it?

With big brands like Zara, ASOS and Boohoo ruling the roost of low-priced fashion with £5 tees and £12.99 jeans, just HOW can the small, sustainable and ethically minded small fashion brands stand a chance?

And how do we, tame our desires and go against that tempting urge to visit any high street store and grab that cheeky £6 top to make your outfit pop, make you feel good, or nail that all important interview.

How did we get here?

Fast fashion has crept up on us since the 00s.

90s grunge was the last decade of slow fashion. A decade of ONE trend that lent itself well to sustainable living. You just didn’t buy that often.

And what you did buy, lasted longer – a lot longer!

Now, trends change constantly. It’s consumerism at its best. Huge corporations capitalising on the love of a quick fix, celebrity influencers, and the need to feel good and be at the top of your game.

And as we all know – it has a devastating effect on the environment.

The garment industry accounts for up to 10% of global carbon emissions and around 15% of the world’s plastic use.

It’s estimated that 92 million tonnes of textiles are dumped annually, with over half a million tonnes of microfibres being released into our oceans every year.

Not to mention the millions of oversees workers who are low paid and exploited, and the countless animals that have to suffer.

So what can we do?

The good news is there’s much we can do.

Sustainable brands making waves.

Building your list of go-to sustainable brands and websites can be a game changer. 

And it doesn’t have to mean sacrificing on price, style or that fresh feeling of wearing a new outfit!

There are 100s of UK brands with owners that are genuinely passionate in producing leading fashion, whilst being sustainable and ethical in all areas of their business.

From where they source their raw materials to the way they produce their products.

Yes Friends dub themselves ‘The hottest collection of ethical and sustainable clothing on the internet’. Using Fairtrade organic cotton, renewable energy, and selling t-shirts for £7.99.

Nobody’s Child and Colourful Standard are great for sustainable basics and casuals.

Rapanui operates a circular economy using organic cotton, producing affordable fashion in real time in their Isle of Wight factory. They also invite customers to return their worn items to be recycled into new ones.

Moray Luke a 26-year-old Porthcawl designer who has recently showcased her work at London Fashion week, designs bags using fish leather, made from organic Scottish salmon skin which would otherwise be discarded to landfill.

Brothers We Stand sells a wide-range of stylish and sustainable men’s clothing, with the ethos of standing by the men and women who make the clothes.

Mud Jeans and Beyond Retro both scored highly for being sustainable and ethical in their practices – by Ethical Consumer, a consumer organisation that has been researching the social and environmental impact of companies since 1989.

Loanhood is a fashion rental app targeted at Gen Z empowering users to create a more sustainable fashion future by owning less and loaning more.

A sprinkling of the many sustainable and eco-minded brands in the UK.

Small designers and vintage finds.

Etsy is a treasure trove of small designers, up-cyclers and vintage sellers. Search ‘sustainable clothing’ or ‘vintage clothing’ and you’ll discover 100s of small sustainable shops and crafters in the UK.

Perfect for that unique find.

We love Eat Your Make-up, Strictly Bob, ProudLondonStore and Bad Hass Designs

To be sure sellers are truly sustainable, seek out their websites online to find out more. Look at how transparent they are in all areas of their business from where they source their materials from, to who makes them.

Finding what you want on eBay, Vinted or Depop can be time-consuming for the best of us. However, you can find some bargains. Use filters to make searching easier.

If you’re on Instagram or Tik Tok follow #sustainablefashionuk and #sustainablebloggers for style tips and sustainable brands.

For vintage inspiration and a reminder of why ethical fashion is important follow Ruth MacGilp, a campaigner for Fashion Revolution – a global organisation that was founded in wake of the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster.

They fearlessly campaign to put people and the environment ahead of growth and profit.

Get creative and rework existing outfits.

Finally (and for the fun part!) get creative with your own clothes.

Dig out those tailored trousers and quality items that are sitting in your wardrobe. Pair them with something you normally wouldn’t to make new outfits, and rework existing items with new ones.

Got dresses that you’ve forgotten about – go 90s and wear them in the day with chunky boots!

Try mixing different textures and styles. Jeans with a soft or floral shirt, or tailored black trousers with a slouchy jumper and trainers.

Whatever your style, spend some time to mix and match new outfits.

Whether you’re Gen-Z or you’ve been around a wee bit longer and stock-piled a few decades worth of clothes! Shopping mindfully is smart.

You’ll support ethical businesses, and create your own capsule wardrobe that will set you apart from the crowd AND save you money in the long-term with longer lasting pieces. It’s a win 😊

I hope you enjoyed my blog.

If you would like me to blog for your website (I write on a range of topics) please do get in touch for a chat.

Vanessa

Categories
Marketing

4 easy marketing tactics to help boost your small business in 2022.

Give your small business a boost and attract new customers with these 4 easy marketing tactics.

Good luck!

1. Ask for reviews.

It may seem daunting to ask, but it will be worth it.

An estimated 86% of people read online reviews before deciding if a business is any good or not. 

They are also a big factor in how Google ranks your business.

If say, you have a bulk of reviews on Facebook, built up over a period of time, Google may well prioritise your business over others in search results.

It’s not guaranteed of course, other factors play a part (like content, keywords and social interaction) however, it’s a good start in helping your business get found online.

Google values reviews from all reputable websites like Facebook, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Checkatrade and Google’s own business pages.

You can also use them in your own marketing – your website, BIO, Instagram Stories, Facebook reviews, press releases or sales letters.

Make it easy for customers by adding a link to review sites in thank you emails, or on the receipt.

2. Create a marketing calendar.

Plan your promotions in advance.

You’ll reap the benefits. 

Instead of waiting for sales to take a dip before you create some promotions, be proactive and have some ready for the year ahead.

You can take your time to craft some savvy and attractive campaigns ready to go – at typically quiet times, or to boost trade in the busy times!

It will boost sales, and save you time in the long-run.

Give yourself a day (or more) to think about your business and the year ahead.

When are the quiet times?

What’s coming up in the New Year? 

What are your customers planning for?

How can you reach them and on what platforms?

What can you do differently this year?

Plan your campaigns and note down future promotions on a calendar or a simple spreadsheet:

  • Add key dates, events coming up, promotion and content ideas.
  • Allow plenty of time to research, write the copy and create branded visuals.
  • Build momentum leading up to an event or product launch with a run of creative campaigns. Try ‘sneak-peak’ or ‘early-bird offer’.
  • Write some helpful or inspiring content – social media posts or blogs.
  • Create customer personas to help you focus on your most profitable customers (they really do help).

Look at what others are doing for inspiration, and to see how you compare.

What do you do well?

Promote your benefits!

How to plan a marketing calendar that works (with a free template).

3. Capture your customer’s email.

Don’t underestimate email marketing.

You can focus on building your brand with key customers – existing and prospects.

It’s also more personal and targeted than social media.

For example:

You can make a great first impression in a thank-you or confirmation email.

Really show-off your brand and good customer service.

You can also send personalised offers to groups of target customers.

Like past customers, event attendees, or prospects who have signed up to your newsletter.

From experience, the key is to build a clean and relevant database of email addresses.

Always update your email list.

Give incentives to encourage people to sign up to newsletters – discounts or competitions.

Here’s my own beginner’s guide to email marketing.

Simple email marketing tips to help your audience fall in love with your brand 123 Reg Blog

4. Reward and entice customers to come back.

Loyalty is the Queen of business.

Attracting customers back, is easier than finding new ones.

Do you have a process in place to attract customers back?

  • Bonuses and treats for regular customers.
  • Thank-you cards with a discount for the next order.
  • Loyalty schemes – points cards or discounts for repeat custom.
  • Personalised offers for past customers (you’ll need their email or address).
  • Refer a friend discount.
  • A responsive and customer focused approach with social media. 
  • Excellent customer service. It will give you the edge.

I hope you enjoyed my blog. 

If you would like me to write for your business get in touch.

Good luck with your marketing.

Vanessa

Useful links

Ultimate guide to online reviews DotKnowledge

How to plan a marketing calendar that works Sharon Gaskin

Thoughtfully’s free Marketing Calendar Of Events 2022 Includes 100s of key dates.

Tips for planning your social media over the festive season and beyond 123 Reg Blog. Easy tips to help you plan your social media.

Mailchimp have many good guides for creative email campaigns.

Email marketing for small business 2022 MailMunch

How to create a detailed buyer persona for your business Hubspot.

Categories
Marketing

How to write an effective small business promotion.

It’s tempting to quickly create a social media post, newsletter or advert.

It may well be effective!

But if you want to see a bigger boost in sales.

Try a more tailored approach.

A well-planned campaign can bring in fresh revenue and custom.

Here’re my top tips (in 4 easy steps).

Good luck 💪

1. Focus on your target audience.

Take a minute to remind yourself who your target customers are.

Who are your most profitable customers? 

Look at past and current customers. Scroll through your social media followers – these all have potential.

Who are they? Where are they? What do they do every day? What do they need? What problems do they have?

Create a buyer persona. A profile of your target customer.

It’s easier to write with someone in mind.

A message tailored to your target audience, will be more effective than a general message aimed at everyone.

2. Do some research.

A simple task but worth it.

Look at similar and influential businesses.

Sign-up to newsletters and follow others on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to see what’s going on.

Look at how other businesses are adapting and attracting business with the current restrictions.

This will give you ideas.

3. Talk about your benefits.

What’s in it for me?

What does your customer really desire?

Get some feedback from customers or friends who know you well.

Why do people go to you?

What problems do customers have that you solve?

You have a USP – a unique selling point. Something that no one else offers.

Tell people what it is…

Benefit examples

  • Quality products and services
  • Originality
  • Value for money
  • Excellent customer service
  • Local, sustainable business
  • Friendly, helpful staff
  • Experience and qualifications
  • Comfort and enjoyment
  • Self-improvement
  • Environmental credentials
  • We do all the hard work so you don’t have to…

4. Create your promotions.

Now’s the time to put your business out there!

What are your customers planning for?

What problem can you solve?

4 easy steps:

1. Choose your platform. 

How can you reach your target audience?

Social media, email, video, print, local press?

Could you expand your audience with a different platform?

2. Choose a campaign.

  • Existing products or services
  • New products or services
  • Build-up campaigns (to an event or product launch)
  • Book/order now – early bird discounts
  • Visually branded campaigns
  • Seasonal campaigns
  • Competitions
  • Like & share posts
  • Live videos and vlogs
  • Tips and advice to help your customers
  • Behind the scenes photos (helps build trust and reassurance).

3. A strong, simple message aimed at your target audience.

A short and sweet message that clearly promotes what you do with one or two benefits, will be effective.

A good promotion will include:

  • A strong benefit
  • Service or product info – what are you offering?
  • Reassurance – reviews, qualifications
  • Contact details

Always start with a strong benefit or your USP.

What does your ideal customer really desire/want?

Customer reviews or photos of happy customers will give ‘piece of mind’.

4. Don’t forget to entice action.

Tell customers what you want them to do.

Give one option –

  • Call
  • Visit website
  • Order/book now
  • Like or share

Clearly show your contact, shop or website details.

To entice action, give a deadline to receive a special offer or discount. Or advise of limited stock or availability.

Conclusion. 

If you take some time to plan your copy, you’re likely to see better results.

Good luck! 

Useful links

How to create a buyer persona. Hootsuite

How do I advertise my small business? Simply Business

6 Real examples of how you can connect with customers on social media. UK Domain

6 Creative responses to coronavirus challenges from UK small businesses. Startups

Categories
Marketing

5 more easy ways to promote your small business in 2019.

Boost your small business and freshen up your marketing in 2019. Here’s 5 ideas for you.

1. Create a buzz with a live demonstration.

A little chocolate shop on the high street hosts a chocolate making demonstration. Giving away free samples and discounts at the end. An easy crowd pleaser.

A gardening business shows you how to care for your plants so they thrive year-on-year.

An independent coffee shop / bar shows you how to make that perfect cappuccino and sweet cocktail.

All types of businesses can benefit.

  • A glimpse into how you make your products
  • Tips and advice for your customers
  • Taster sessions
  • Give freebies and discounts
  • In-store, at events or online 

Show off your skills, your service and help people get to know you.

Vyve Cafe Latte Masterclass. Collectif Dress up for jubilee. Katrina Homegrown Garden February Tips. Birdimus World A guide to Vintage Clothing. Jamie Oliver – Ultimate Gin & Tonic Always a friendly and enthusiastic approach.

2. Give exclusive offers to groups of people.

Think big and attract lots of people.

Where do your crowds gather?

On social media, at events, in office blocks, other local businesses, colleges, at home?

  • Create a printed or online voucher.
  • Offer a discount or free gift.
  • Make it exclusive.
  • Add a deadline to encourage action.

10% winter discount to all Splott residents or Instagram followers. Offer ends 28 March 2019.

Promote it on social media, in a publication, by post (yes this can still work!) by hand even. If it attracts lots of customers it will be worth doing.

Outsidetheboxmakeup have a strong ethical brand. They often give discounts to their followers and via email to regular customers.

@yumchaatea have built up nice business. They use Instagram well with attractive visuals and regular discounts.

3. Create packages.

A proven way to offer customers ‘more for your money’.

What can you bundle together? Who can you target?

  • Feelgood Friday Special. Drink, meal and desert included!
  • New Season Special. Choose 3 products from the new range.
  • Small Business Package. Includes a 10% discount.
  • Student Package. All the essentials in one package.
  • Domestic or Commercial. Small Garden Maintenance.

You’re offering value for money and appealing to targeted groups of people. A more personalised approach to your marketing.

If you offer a service create a list of what you offer with the benefits. From a free consultation to the service itself, any extras, help and advice and the after-care.

Angel Earth Co have a strong brand and packages to suit. Chantler Teas have a choice of gift sets (and lovely tea too!).

4. Give useful or quirky little extras.

We all love something extra.

I recently bought The Snowman DVD because it had a free snowman decoration. I also signed up to receive emails for a free cup – easy!

  • A re-usable bag or something useful.
  • A free gift or regular discount for signing up to a repeat service.
  • A limited edition of something small. A plant, fortune cookie, branded notepad, make-up brush etc.
  • Something for the kids. Ice-cream, books or activities.
  • Creative packaging. People are easily swayed by quirky, well designed branded items.
  • A printed or downloadable information sheet. Share tips, how to maintain your service or product.

Give freebies or quirky little extras.5. Create a piece of evergreen content.

This can take time initially, but it will give you long-term results.

What is evergreen content?

  • It’s your best and most popular blog post or video. 
  • Timeless tips, advice or information that will continually attract interest and views.
  • A core piece of content that shows off your skills and business.

It’s content marketing at its best. You’ll attract customers months or even years from your content.

It will also help with your SEO and driving prospects to your website.

  • How to guides
  • Videos, blogs or podcasts
  • Beginner tips and advice
  • Templates
  • Rules and regulations
  • Ideas and inspiration
  • Tips from your staff 
  • Insights that you won’t find elsewhere

If you’re new to blogging look at other blogs to help get you started. Keep it simple and straightforward.

Explain any jargon and speak in a conversational tone. Be yourself.

Café Mor Classic Winter Fish Pie recipe. Janet Murray How to write a press release for your small business.  Jamie King Media A free GDPR Privicy Policy Notice Template. The Wild Curl Hair-care tips & advice.

All good examples of timeless, well written and super helpful content.

Hiplay Evergreen Content Ideas – The Ultimate 100 Ideas.

The UK Domain 13 Excellent content marketing examples from small businesses and charities.

I hope you enjoyed my blog.

If you would like me to write for your business get in touch.

About me.

Cover photo by Nicole Honeywill on Upsplash.

Cocktail photo by Johann Trasch on Upsplash.

Categories
Marketing

5 easy ways to promote your small business in 2019.

5 simple ideas to help you promote your small business and attract more customers in 2019. Good luck!

1. Update your visual brand.

A fresh and updated look will attract attention.

It will help you compete, and entice people to look at what you offer.

Combine it will a new product launch or website to make a big impact.

  • Work with a graphic designer to create a unique visual brand for your products and marketing.
  • Create some attractive templates for social media posts. This will also save you time.
  • Update an old logo to one that will stand-out online.
  • Update old profile photos and images to ones that give an insight into what you offer.
  • Refresh your other marketing and surroundings. Do a before and after post for social media.

Check out @thecreativecommon for their friendly and stylish approach. @lbubeauty for their savvy social media posts and Tugboat Brews in Truro for their punchy branding and website (and nice tea).

2. Boost your personal brand.

You and your staff are your business’s gold star.

The personal service, chat and unique offerings. It’s what entices people in.

Talk about all that makes you unique and how you offer a quality service.

  • Update your About page to include photos and friendly profiles.
  • Where are you from? How did you get into business, what’s your experience, how are you different to everyone else?
  • Use social media. Show behind the scenes, training days, where you go to source your products, how you prepare orders etc.
  • Use what you and your staff are good at. If you have the gift of the gab or you’re funny in your personal Facebook then move over to using it for your business!
  • Ask your customers what they like about you. You may not realise what you need to be promoting.

Café Mor Fishing & Foraging Wales in Pembrokeshire both have excellent profiles. Their passion and creativity shine through.

3. Use your existing customers to attract new ones.

Refer a Friend Discount.

An excellent way of finding new customers and clients. Offer a welcome discount to both parties.

Ask for reviews.

Make it easy by adding links (to Google or Trip Advisor etc.) in your Thank You email or on the printed receipt.

Add them to all your marketing and post them on social media.

A “tag your friends campaign”on Instagram or Facebook.

“Win a luxury vegan sandwich and drink! Just like our page @yourbusiness and tag your vegan friends.

Or

“A free limited edition T-Shirt for our first 20 customers to buy from our new summer range. Tag your friends!”

Lots of comments from competitions will help get your post seen to more people.

4. Reward loyal customers.

A no-brainer.

Keep customers coming back for more.

  • A discount on your next order. A printed or email discount with the receipt.
  • A free gift when you sign up to a season ticket or book a repeat service.
  • An extra little something at Christmas or on your next order.
  • Monthly competitions. For every purchase you get a free entry.
  • An email, phone call or voucher to say thank you for your continued custom.

5. Find new customers on Instagram.

It’s worth trying to master one social media platform.

Instagram is a good option.

It’s quick and easy to use, a popular and growing platform for small businesses, a go-to place for customers to check out your brand and profile.

Don’t assume your customer base isn’t on there.

You can reach all types of people. All ages and audiences.

Find new customers, a new community and promote yourself through Instagram.

A few tips

  • To get you started look at other businesses. Search by #area or business type e.g. #Pembrokeshire #tea.
  • Interact with other small businesses and your local community. It will help you build a following.
  • Use a mixture of posts. General promotions and behind the scenes of your business.
  • Post pictures of people. Happy customers, staff at work etc. They’ll attract more attention.
  • Use apps. To help you quickly edit photos and create templates.
  • Use Instagram Stories and videos. These stand-out.

Instagram decides what posts are prioritised to others. It favours posts with comments, likes and how long people spend on a post.

So write good captions, include call to actions, respond to comments and post at peak times.

A few I like

@lbubeauty They make full use of a business account, and use a good mix of attractive photos and well designed promotions.

@themuckyduckbrighton & @mesmeristbar. Not just food photos. They keep it witty and show off their personality.

@blasus_succulent_emporium For making cactuses and houseplants look sexy!

@HotPatooties Dawn O’Porter is a master at promoting herself in a funny and witty way.

@100_things_to_do_in_wales A personal journey and adventure. A good example of someone being themselves and making their posts relatable.

Instagram guides

I hope you enjoyed my blog.

If you would like me to write for your business, please do get in touch.

Vanessa

About me.

Check out my next blog 5 more easy ways to promote your business in 2019.

Cover Photo by Brent Gorwin on Unsplash.com.