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Articles on designing your own custom merch, growing your brand, and managing manufacturing as a small business.

The New Accessory Everyday Challenge

October 10, 2019

The New Accessory Everyday Challenge

Over the years, we’ve talked to more fashion brands than probably most market research agencies. Makes sense, as brands are our customers. But one of the more consistent findings is nonetheless always surprising: the most successful social media campaigns that brands run are ones featuring accessories. Surprisingly, social media campaigns featuring clothing can’t keep up when all other variables are accounted for. 

We’re still working on figuring out why, but our working hypothesis is this: brands are more inclined to showcase their apparel than their accessories. Even non-fashion social media ads always feature people wearing clothes (excepting nudist resorts). More seriously, clothing is just hard to make stand out because it’s everywhere, not just clothing ads.

By contrast, a lot of our customers are using The/Studio to manufacture accessories — pins, patches and socks in particular — not apparel. They’re then posting those accessories on social media to sell them. They’re finding, however, that they’re not just selling the gear — they’re getting significant social media traction.

So we’d like to challenge our customers to actually post a new accessory product everyday on social media for one month. That’s right, a product you actually sell. But where could you make so many products, so quickly?

Glad you asked.

Our minimum order requirement for an accessory to be manufactured is 100 pieces. On average, the per-piece price is $7 (including tariffs and shipping). So if you made a new product with us every day for a month, that’d bring your budget to $21,000 for this experiment. Obviously, this wouldn’t work for some of our small up and coming brands. But for a brand that spends $100,000 a month on online advertising, this only increases your budget by 20%. I’d argue it’s a better use of those advertising dollars. Why?

Accessories can be either given away as a gift with purchase or sold as a product, so if executed properly, you would actually make money on the $21,000 of accessories. Furthermore, because The/Studio and our factories take care of all of the design and development, you wouldn’t incur any design or development costs. You’d be achieving both product and marketing goals with one investment.

Like most marketing campaigns, you’d need to start planning about 6 to 8 weeks in advance, so all of the accessories could be shipped to your warehouse. You might use products for the following campaigns (or a mixture of all of them to test which works best for your audience!):

  • Gift with purchase. If the customer spends $100, $300, or $500, they would get a free accessory. As a $7 wholesale accessory generally retails for $28 to $42, customers would perceive a high value for a low investment on your end — it’s an amazing deal if you spend $100 and get an accessory with a $35 value
  • Limited edition. A hot and trendy limited edition accessory is a great way to bring customers to your site. Being able to be one of the few to purchase a specialized and quality hat or handbag from your favorite brand, when only 100 are available, is an extremely enticing offer 
  • Cross-sell. All of your apparel products should be accessorized. What about a handbag with a customer’’ favorite sweater, or a belt with that new denim purchase? Accessories make the outfit and your customers will have little issue adding one small accessory to their shopping carts, maximizing AOV for you
  • Staying relevant in the conversation. Do you know what’s going to happen in fashion or the world in the next few weeks? The reality is that nobody knows today in our social media driven world, but accessories are the perfect way to constantly be testing the waters on color, cultural and fashion trends
  • Surprise gift. If you don’t happen to sell out all of the inventory, putting accessories into your best customers’ packages, accompanied by a small note of appreciation, is one of the easiest ways to turn a like for your brand into a love

If any of The/Studio customers would like to take the “New Accessory Everyday Challenge,” we’re happy to work with you on a strategy that makes sense for your budget. An investment in accessories — whether they’re patches, pins or socks —  can’t help but pay off.