So you've got your tech packs, your samples, some product in your hands and you're starting to make some sales. All set, right? Well..... Not quite. Now you've gotta figure out how to manage the company, keep the bills paid, invoice the customers and generally just KEEP YO' S**T TOGETHER! 😂
Hey, we're all in the same boat! So here are some tips from me, Richard, the founder of Prototype about my favorite management tools for a fashion brand.
What are some of your favorite tools? Let me know in the comments!
Table of Contents
- Top 5 Fashion Label Management Tools
1) Organize Your Projects & Processes
What we use: Monday.com
We are in the midst of an actual love affair with Monday.com. For reals.
We have a bunch of clients, from all over the world, running simultaneously. They all have comments and feedback, questions and concerns... all day, every day. When you have 50 different people asking you for little adjustments here and there, it's impossible to manage by email. As a fashion label, you're going to have lots of similar situations:
- Buyers asking you lots of questions about products
- Communication with your factory & sourcing team
- Quality assurance discussions and checklists
Yes, spreadsheets work pretty well for some of those tasks, but Monday.com is like a super-smart version of a spreadsheet and allows you to invite your clients & vendors into the discussion. There are also all kinds of great features that allow it to work as a CRM, killing 2 birds with 1 stone. CRM's are super necessary, but no sense in paying twice!
If you're interested in learning more about how we use the software in our fashion company, we're happy to demonstrate in one of our training calls, like the Fashion Label Startup Booster!
And yes, we DO receive a commission for our Monday.com referrals. And for good reason. We use it, we love and we recommend it to anyone who'll listen.
2) Keeping Your Books
What we use: Xero
Xero is a great bookkeeping software for fashion. Not only does it keep your books nice and tidy, it also does it for a reasonable price and it's fairly easy to learn, even with no experience in the finance department.
That said, if you DO have experience with Quickbooks or other traditional bookkeeping software and methods, Xero is likely to drive you batshit crazy. In fact, I'd go so far as to say if you use Xero in your company and you're looking to hire someone to do your books, DON'T hire someone with Quickbooks experience or they'll just screw everything up for you and complain the whole time. (Don't ask me how I know this! ?)
There are lots of great software options out there for very small businesses and personal finances, but if you plan to grow your fashion business, you'll be in good hands with Xero. One of the most important features you'll need soon, if not already, is the multi-currency support. If you're buying items from various foreign countries regularly, you'll need to accurately reflect those currencies in your bookkeeping and take advantage of the automatic exchange rate updates.
We're big fans of Xero. If you want to learn more about how WE use it, you can learn more about it in our Fashion Label Boot Camp course!
3) Keeping Your Files
What we use: Google Drive
Maybe it sounds like a no-brainer these days, but if you're not already using cloud storage to help manage your fashion label, then you'd better get to it. It's vitally important to have all your information well organized and ready to access at any moment. Particularly when you're dealing with suppliers overseas, you don't want to be causing a full day's delay every time you need to search for your logo or whatnot.
There's NO POSSIBLE WAY to be overly organized when you run a small fashion business. Let your neat freak flag fly to make damn sure you know where everything is, all the time. If you're not a neat freak, well, my advice is to meet or marry one as quickly as possible. ?
4) Graphics and Branding
What we use: Canva
If you haven't tried Canva yet, you should. It is literally a godsend. It's easy for graphic designers to tease you about using Canva, but honestly, when you need to bust out a quick graphic for a promotion Canva is a lifesaver. It's fast, looks great, easy to use, and has quite possibly the best user interface of any software ever designed.
Best of all, it's both online and mobile, so you can pretty much use it whenever you want, wherever you want.
Even better than best of all, it has a "brand kit" which allows you to upload all your logos and colors and fonts and everything you need to keep your brand held together and looking tight. Then, should you fail on Tip #3 and not organize yourself properly, at least Canva's got your back!
5) Communication with Colleagues
What we use: Slack
Let's face it. Only boomers use email these days.
Ok, that's not entirely true, but that's what my kids tell me. Email is, admittedly, pretty outdated when it comes to some of today's faster and more complex digital communication needs. It's a horrible way to communicate with clients and it's an even more horrible way to communicate with your teammates. Whatsapp is great for simple stuff and we really liked it. Until we started using Slack. Now we have a rule in the office: No Whatsapp!
Why do we like it? Slack separates your communication into channels. Some of the channels are general, meant for your whole team. Others are private and you might keep for yourself or share with a limited number of people. Overall, it's just a really great way to keep all your thoughts and communication organized and easy to reference later.
When you're busy managing your fashion label, you'll love these features to stay in great contact with your team, your suppliers and anyone else you might need.
Other Fashion Label Software
There are some other tools you'll definitely want to consider, like fashion tech pack software and a PLM for fashion. We'll keep you informed as we find more tools that are perfect for helping to manage your fashion label.