Random Fashion Questions
January 17, 2010 7:05 PM   Subscribe

London/UK/Fashion mefites - I require help on moving a fashion business and marketing it to the USA

So a friend (if you check my previous questions you'll notice I've asked questions on her behalf before)

(1) is looking to move her business in London from South Molton Street to another area because the rent/rates are now ridiculous and are going to increase by 50% soon. She stocks very high-end accessories and so is looking to move somewhere swanky (think Kensington and Chelsea, other areas of Mayfair etc). Where can she find reliable and accurate information on footfall, pedestrian demographics etc - related may be how does one "properly" work out where to situate a business?

(2) She is also getting a *lot* of positive feedback and enthusiasm from American, Italian and French clients so she's looking to expand into those markets (in order of preference). How can she do this as she's a single-person operation - ideally she would be looking for an individual who understands high-end accessories, has contacts in the US and is willing to personally represent her. Do such people exist? She's completely lost as to how to proceed short of doing rounds herself - something that she's unable and unwilling to do as she doesn't have the time or the sales(wo)manship.
posted by gadha to Grab Bag (1 answer total)
I was thinking while I read this question, that if your friend does not have the marketing expertise and knowledge here in London to relocate locally (marketing in respect to where to locate, how much traffic to expect, conversion rates for her market, etc), opening up a US franchise in absentia is a recipe for disaster.

She can hire firms to do marketing studies on new locations based on the types of clients she needs to understand the potential for turnover. The difference from a location facing a heavily walked street, to one just around a corner, to one on a first floor can be substantial, so general location alone is not enough to ensure the right amount of the right type of traffic. This seems especially important, as your friend is trying to save on rent (which translates to less desirable locations).

So, perhaps concentrating on a London relocation and getting more experience and expertise on developing a location would seem in order before deciding to grow a business in another country, especially one so far away.

The people I've seen do this successfully have lives in both locations already and trusted employees in each store. If they were needed to run either business day-to-day for them to be successful, it would not have worked.

So, really my question to your friend is: "Are you getting ahead of yourself?". If the answer is that she is more than ready to open a new store in a foreign country, then you may find helpful advice in this AskMe. If she's really not ready, it's good to understand that now and start getting the expertise.
posted by qwip at 1:50 AM on January 18, 2010

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