What to Do After You Are Introduced to a Fashion Agent or Rep?
26 August 2016
Author: Anton Dell
Maybe you have been so firmly focused on locating an agent/rep, showroom, or distributor that you are unsure of what to do once one has shown interest in your brand.
What to say in everyday life once you have been introduced to someone can be tricky, too. Fortunately, in business, things are a little more black-and-white. There are some tried and true things you can do to progress this relationship.
So here we go. Some key action points (what a wonderfully dynamic phrase that is) for you:
◉ Upon receiving a recommendation from us for an agent, rep or distributor, contact should be made within 24 - 48 hours to keep momentum going and keep interest. I firmly believe that the telephone is the best way to do this, as so many e-mails go into spam. If you prefer e-mail, this is fine. If you choose to e-mail first, it is still a good idea to say that you will follow up with a call.
If you are unable to telephone within a day or two, I recommend that you state in an e-mail that you are occupied, perhaps with selling or travelling, so the agent knows what is going on.
I think Skype is a great option for initial meetings also.
◉ Once you are happy that the connection will work, I recommend meeting the agent/ rep on her/his territory or extending an invitation to come to you if at all possible. There is simply no replacement for face to face contact. Of course, this is just my view and you may decide that Skype is an acceptable alternative.
◉ When it comes to discussing terms and conditions, all of these should come from you rather than your letting the sales representative set the agenda by asking what her/his conditions are. You should fix the commission according to what works financially for your brand. This means you should be well-prepared with facts and figures.
◉ Another mistake many people make is asking the agent/rep how many articles s/he anticipates selling. Most agents cannot do this accurately. Rather than relying on vague guesses from someone else to found your essential business projections on, take control and set a conservative estimate of how many pieces would be good to sell in the first two or three months and then the second block of two or three months, all the way up to a year. Be sure that these figures are favourable to your breaking even and/or making a profit. There is no point in setting your sights too high.
◉ Once terms have been agreed, you have to decide if you want a formal, legal contract or if another type of agreement will suffice.
Personally, I am not in favour of a legal contract. They tend to be very expensive and unnecessarily complex. A clearly worded e-mail or letter setting out the main points will be legally binding and much cheaper. Whichever option you decide upon, do make sure that the agreement comes from you and not from the agent.
These steps should assist you in setting up a strong foundation for together developing your brand in the right way.