Fit for Survival by Kaddan Yue
Kaddan’s Concerns for Growing Business, Kaddan Yue, OMG! Inc. Fashions
Whatever the venture, business ethics remain the same. Anyone who is honest, no matter what happens in the market, will come out smelling like a rose.
• Follow demand. Target groups shift quickly. Trends always evolve. I watch carefully what sells as a style barometer.
• Provide a range of products. Most of OMG!ʼs customers buy a mix of outfits so offering a wide range of styles and choices covers many needs. Balance creative passion with necessity.
• Respond to economic changes. When the banks were abolished a few years ago, the business climate became tighter and more suspicious. Many creative people could market content and make enough to pay real life bills. During the shakeout a lot of designers left SL. This has launched a new era. I have adapted.
• Determine who to trust by track record. In a tight economic climate of great competition, business ethics are more important than ever. It is ironic that in the Good Old Days of a more casual free-flowing environment, corruption was the negative underside. Today requires more accountability and a deeper base to build reputations.
• Experiment more in a world with less risks. SL provides a contrast to my regular activities, gives me a creative outlet, and is a learning platform. In SL, I get clear insights into aspects like marketing or management or design. I can wheel and deal and take risks I would never take in real life.
What makes for dramatic photographs is not what sells. More direct promotion works for me that might not be newsworthy—like sending a small catalog or a new-item notecard to build group benefits. Focusing on one-on-one sales pays off for me in the end.
• Collaborate where possible. There needs to be more inclusiveness by building a solid small business community. Today the way SL is, it’s hard to find those who see the advantages. Even though there are lots of designers, they seem scared to work together. Shops close down everyday. Many try on their own and would rather fail than team up with someone complimentary. Ego holds them back from wanting to be part of a team and share a greater wealth.
• Continually reinvent. Goals may stay constant, but business models must always evolve. I have rebuilt OMG! several times—enough to understand the necessity for managing continual change. My focus is honed and sharpened. Fashion businesses especially need to always redefine. I build the collection in layers. I focus on good, tight products—to be what I want them to be—and to feel right about the results.
• Promote! Some methods are effective, some are not. What worked yesterday may not work today, and vice versa. Marketing is the hardest aspect of business due to weeding out what will work. At the end of the day, success is in getting people’s attention.
• Simplify overhead. A clean-line shop suffices. How products are presented matters and the amount of detail shown. I am going back to basics and keeping one headquarter location.
• Rotate products in-world. Selections must change quickly to keep interest and promotions fresh. Blend in a steady stream of new ideas and seasonal variations. If a design does not sell after one year, it is gone as an issue of credibility. The shopping experience should be accessible and easy. I keep the full collection on Marketplace, thus keeping overhead low and giving reason to revisit the shop to see what is new.
• Choose a clear path. I have simple and direct priorities:
1. Design what I wish. Why am I in SL if I canʼt do that?
2. Give investors a return. They believe in my business and I am accountable to them.
3. Try new things.
Sound business practices are true in any world. However, SL has considerable advantages over the real one. The differences in pay scales can be offset by lower costs of not traveling, prototyping, testing business models, developing skills, finding an international audience, increasing communication, and freedom to follow imagination. These enhance. Human nature, both ethical and unscrupulous, steps in anywhere. Businesses must be vigilant. Buyers must beware. Reputations are earned and those who survive understand this. My overall advice: stick to your guns. Do what is right and keep it simple.
—Kadden Yue, OMG! Fashion
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