Factory45 Featured

Factory45 Featured on CNBC’s Nightly Business Report

A few weeks ago, a producer for CNBC contacted me about featuring Factory45 on Nightly Business Report’s “Bright Ideas” segment.

It was a whirlwind of logistics, falling right around Thanksgiving, but we managed to piece together a story about sustainable fashion, ethical manufacturing and how Factory45 has played a roll in it.

The best part is that we were able to incorporate two Factory45’ers, Cara of VETTA and Mary of Reprise Activewear, and my husband even made an appearance with his company Project Repat.

I’m so happy with how the final segment turned out — it’s always a little nerve wracking when you give someone else control of telling your story.

If you didn’t catch the live version on NBR last week, click the play button below to watch it now:

A huge thanks again to Factory45’er Cara Bartlett for making time to film on Cyber Monday (of all days) and Factory45’er Mary Bemis, who filmed right after flying back from Kenya!

Your support in watching and sharing the clip is so appreciated:

Watch Factory45 on NBR here.

Gratefully,

factory45 owner shannon

 


Market45

repeat customers

How to Create Repeat Customers as a Fashion Brand

On the move? You can now listen to Factory45 blog posts on audio! Just plug in your headphones and click play…

My husband tells me I turn everything into “a festival.”

This is his loving way of saying I turn everything into a production.

Take our Christmas tree, for example.

We couldn’t just decorate the tree on a random Sunday. There had to be holiday music playing, a fire burning, mugs of hot chocolate, candles lit and just the perfect amount of cozy lighting.

Believe me, I’m eye rolling at myself.

And I’ll admit, whether it’s Thanksgiving or a picnic in the park, my one and only goal is to turn that event into an experience.

I’m sure there are times when my husband wants to tranquilize me, but there is an upside to the madness.

Especially when it comes to running a business.

Even more, when it comes to running a fashion brand.

When so much of online sales is dependent upon repeat business and accumulating a loyal following of ongoing customers, you are required to provide an experience for them.

The process of shopping on your website, receiving a “thank you” email after the purchase, getting your product in the mail…

All of that accounts for the unique experience that you’re providing for your customer.

And it’s when you make it memorable, easy, fun, enjoyable or some other positive adjective that sets you apart from other brands selling a similar product.

It’s what turns one purchase into a future purchase.

So, this holiday season, when your sales are at an all-time high for the year, what experience can you create for your shoppers?

Can you build a custom email series that introduces them to other products on your site?

Can you include a handwritten ‘thank you’ in their package?

Can you send a free small gift that will surprise them?

Can you make the online shopping experience so seamless that the purchase is a no-brainer?

What can you do that will transform just another e-commerce transaction into something special?

 

factory45 owner shannon

 


Market45

sustainable fashion

November’s Featured Sustainable Fashion Products

This is the fifth part of a six-month photography series, featuring sustainable fashion products on Instagram. You can see July’s products here, August’s products here, September’s products here and October’s products here.

‘Tis the season for ethical shopping and in case you missed it, Market45 went live on November 1st!

Featuring 20 brands that have launched through the Factory45 program, Market45 is a platform to shop sustainable and ethical fashion, all in one place.

You can use code MARKET45 on all orders and receive 10% off your total purchase.

Now keep reading for November’s featured sustainable fashion products:

BE KIND VIBES | “TO THE SEA” T-SHIRT

Founded by Factory45’er Matt Hickey, Be Kind Vibes is ethical apparel for the conscious adventurer. What started as a message to be kinder to the planet, BKV has evolved into a lifestyle brand that promotes kindness, unity and positivity.

The “To The Sea” tee is made in the USA from 50% organic cotton and 50% recycled polyester. It’s a tribute to Mother Ocean and a reminder to think consciously about how we treat her.

You can shop clothing for the conscious adventurer here. Use code MARKET45 for 10% off your total purchase.


PURE COLOUR BABY | ALLIGATOR HOODIE & HAREM PANTS

PURE COLOUR BABY | ALLIGATOR HOODIE & HAREM PANTS

Pure Colour Baby was started by Factory45’er Lindsay Down, who handcrafts organic baby clothing in Canada. Founded on a “grow-with-me” philosophy, all Pure Colour Baby pieces last comfortably through multiple sizes.

My son is wearing their adorable alligator print hoodie that’s made of a medium-weight organic cotton jersey. The matching organic cotton harem pants make it the perfect set or can be worn separately.

You can shop the Alligator Hoodie, as well as other Pure Colour Baby pieces here. Use code MARKET45 for 10% off your total purchase.


LIZ RIDEN | SLIM WALLET & TALL TOTE2

LIZ RIDEN | SLIM WALLET & TALL TOTE

Factory45’er Liz Riden creates handcrafted leather goods, using vegetable-tanned leather that’s a byproduct of meat industry waste. This is above and beyond the standards of conventional leather goods brands.

Made by hand in Pennsylvania, you can also add custom monograms making these accessories the perfect gift this holiday season.

You can shop handcrafted leather goods from Liz Riden here. Use code MARKET45 for 10% off your total purchase.


To see the rest of November’s featured products (like La Fille Colette and Bokk Baby), come on over to Instagram by clicking here.

And don’t forget, you can now shop other sustainable and ethical fashion brands on Market45 here!

 

factory45 owner shannon

 

P.S. When you use the discount code MARKET45 I receive a 5% referral commission. I only promote products and brands that I personally wear and believe in.


Market45

20 Ethical Businesses to Support on Black Friday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday… they are THE biggest shopping days of the year in the United States and perhaps like you, I’m inclined to ignore them.

The problem? We’ve gotten to a point where small independent brands can’t afford to.

While the “shop, shop, shop til you drop” mentality doesn’t align with the business values of sustainable and ethical brands, consumer behavior has forced the issue.

The justification: If people are going to be shopping anyway, then why not give them better options?

So, if you’re inclined to shop the deals, here are 20 ethical brands that are offering Black Friday discounts and deserve your dollars:

vesta

WOMENSWEAR

Vesta | Modern & minimalist essentials for women that are 100% vegan. SHOP NOW >>

SixChel | Sustainable clothing, ethically made for women with purpose. SHOP NOW >>

Poppy Row | Size-inclusive luxury basics, offering sizes 2-28. SHOP NOW >>

Nine56 Studio | Made-to-order capsule collections, manufactured in Minneapolis. SHOP NOW >>

Harly Jae | Feminine, vintage inspired designs, responsibly made in Canada. SHOP NOW >>

PonyBabe | Eco-friendly loungewear, designed & manufactured in Brooklyn. SHOP NOW >>

GalaMaar | Timeless womens swimwear crafted in Los Angeles. SHOP NOW >>

milo+nicki | Cruelty-free & sustainable womenswear with Indian & Zambian roots. SHOP NOW >>

Sotela | A body-positive women’s brand, selling closet essentials. SHOP NOW >>

Dallas Daws | Limited edition, made-to-order apparel handmade in Minneapolis. SHOP NOW >>


cultural detour

MENSWEAR

Cultural Detour | A collection of accessories handcrafted from antique & vintage kimono. SHOP NOW >>

Mayor | Organic cotton, short sleeved, button-downs for men. SHOP NOW >>


novel supply co

UNISEX

Novel Supply Co. | A sustainable lifestyle brand, designed for the urban adventurer. SHOP NOW >>

THOM KELLY | Mens & womens plaid shirts made in the USA from sustainable fabrics. SHOP NOW >>

Be Kind Vibes | Mens & womens eco-friendly apparel for conscious adventurers. SHOP NOW >>


fair seas supply co

ACCESSORIES + CHILDRENS

Fair Seas Supply Co. | Organic Turkish beach towels for life’s great voyages. SHOP NOW >>

Regenerous Designs | Versatile, upcycled accessories handcrafted in the USA. SHOP NOW >>

Liz Riden | Handcrafted leather goods that work in every woman’s wardrobe. SHOP NOW >>

Mamachic | The do-it-all scarf for the do-it-all woman. SHOP NOW >>

Bevy Goods | Ethically-made handbags that take you from day to night. SHOP NOW >>

Pure Colour Baby | Organic baby clothing and accessories handmade in Canada. SHOP NOW >>


Market45

email list

5 Ways to Get More Engagement from Your Email List

On the move? You can now listen to Factory45 blog posts on audio! Just click the play button below…

I talk a lot about your email list being the most valuable marketing asset you have as a fashion brand.

If you’re not building your list, then you are missing out in a big way.

In fact, I can’t name one successful, modern-day business that doesn’t have an engaged email list that is actively growing.

But growing your number of subscribers is only half the battle. It’s making sure that they’re engaged readers that really requires the hard work.

Here are five ways to get more engagement from your email list* so you can create customers for your brand:

*Note: When I’m talking about your email list I’m not referring to your list of contacts in Gmail. An email list for your business has likely been created on Mailchimp or another email marketing platform and your subscribers have “opted in” to receive marketing emails about your brand.

1. Subject lines, subject lines, subject lines.

It doesn’t matter if you have the most compelling, beautifully designed and articulately written email if your subscriber doesn’t open it.

Your “open rate” is largely dependent on the intrigue of your subject line. It has to elicit a curious response from your subscribers that entices them to read it.

As an example, what’s a more interesting subject line to you?

5 email marketing tips

OR

This is why your subscribers aren’t reading your emails

Of course this takes practice. For every email I send out to you, I write five subject lines before I narrow it down to the winner.

Your subject line should be a focal point of your entire email — not an afterthought.

2. Don’t underestimate the “readability” of your emails.

This is the simplest and most basic rule of email marketing, but I can’t tell you how many emails I receive from new brands that make me question if I need reading glasses.

When in doubt, use a 12 point sans serif font in black. If you make your readers squint at their screens, then they’re going to click delete.

Other “readability” factors: avoid large block paragraphs, bold phrases are your friend, create plenty of white space.

Take note of the emails that you’re subscribed to and notice the formatting – what stands out? What makes it an easy read for you?

3. Start with a story.

Research has shown that when a person starts reading a (compelling, well written) story, it’s very difficult for them to stop.

What does that tell us about email marketing?

Start with a personal anecdote.

Your subscriber is not only more likely to read to the end, but starting with a personal anecdote also builds trust and connection with your reader.

And it’s trust and connection that turns a reader into a customer.

4. Give one “call to action.”

Your call to action is what you want your reader to do after they open and read your email. Your CTA is essentially the whole point of sending out an email in the first place.

If you’re already selling, then your only goal is to move your reader from your email to the shop page of your website.

If you aren’t selling yet, then the goal of your CTA can be something else that helps you grow your following (forward this email to a friend, follow us on Instagram, read last week’s blog post, etc.)

The key thing to avoid here is giving multiple calls to action. I see a lot of emails that ask the reader to shop AND follow us on Instagram AND read our blog AND forward to a friend AND…

Asking for too much creates decision paralysis for your reader and instead of doing everything, they’ll do nothing.

Pick one CTA and test it one week. Choose a different CTA and test it another week. Use another CTA and test it the next week…

Which leads me to,

5. Track your analytics.

No matter which email marketing platform you’re using (Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, Klaviyo, etc.), there is a dashboard that gives you a series of very important stats. Do not overlook these!

For every email you send out, you need to be tracking your open rate and your click-through rate, with an additional glance at your unsubscribe rate.

I say “glance” because I don’t want you to obsess over how many people unsubscribe from your list. It’s normal for a healthy list to have unsubscribers so don’t dwell on it. However, if you notice a significant increase at any point, then you’ll want to be aware of what could have possibly triggered it.

Above all, tracking your analytics will provide insight into sending better emails. It will help you become better at writing subject lines, it will give you valuable data about what your readers want to see and it will help you increase traffic to your online store.


A final thought: So often new brands get caught up in the number of subscribers they have. And while yes, the goal is to grow your list as much as possible, I would much rather have a small highly-engaged list than a large list that isn’t engaged.

This goes back to what I wrote about how you only need 100 “True Followers” to launch a fashion brand. In this case, bigger isn’t always better.

 

factory45 owner shannon

 


P.S. In the coming weeks, I’m sending out an ethical fashion gift guide to subscribers of Market45. If you’re looking for more simplicity and joy this holiday season, subscribe here and join us.

marketing

How to Go from “Hating” Marketing to Loving It

Last week I launched Market45 to start selling some of the brands that have graduated from the Factory45 program.

In the build up to launch day I was interviewed by a media outlet that asked me the following question:

What have you learned about yourself in launching this new business venture?

I know that I was probably supposed to say something heartwarming like, “I’m capable of more than I think” or “Hard work really does pay off”…

But instead I said,

“I love marketing even more than I thought I did.”

I know, not the most inspirational sentence I’ve ever said, but allow me to explain…

When you live in an industry of creatives, “marketing” and “selling” are often seen as dirty words.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this sentence from the designers I teach:

“I just feel so ‘sales-y’…”

And each and every time, I want to take them by the shoulders and say,

“Well, yeah, because you’re trying to make a sale…

In the Factory45 program we talk exhaustively about the “pre-launch phase.”

It’s those crucial months before you launch your business when you’re building up momentum, trying to attract an audience and getting ready to sell your product.

Having recently been in that pre-launch phase for Market45, I can confidently say:

I live for this phase.

To me, there is nothing better than building anticipation for your audience and getting them excited about what you’re creating.

But like many new entrepreneurs, I didn’t always feel that way.

There was a time when I worried about coming across as pushy or self important or annoying.

And here’s what I realized:

In order to run a successful business, you have to embrace the sale.”

The good news is,

When you believe in what you’re selling — that’s really easy to do.

My guess is that if you’re on my email list or reading my blog, then you have a product or idea or current business that is a better option than what the fast fashion retailers, or Wal-Mart or other big box stores offer.

And that’s something to immediately believe in.

Whether it’s a more ethical / sustainable / independent / conscious option compared to what else is on the market, you are providing an alternative that yes, the world needs.

So, the next time you question whether you should send one more email to your list or post one more Instagram about your Kickstarter or create one more Facebook ad, I want you to repeat after me:

>> The world needs to know that my product provides a better option.

>> My customer wants to hear from me because my product is solving a problem for them.

>> The industry needs independent brands like mine to succeed.

Because the future of fashion depends on it.

 

factory45 owner shannon

 

 

 


Market45

October’s Featured Sustainable Fashion Products

This is the fourth part of a six-month photography series, featuring sustainable fashion products on Instagram. You can see July’s products here, August’s products here and September’s products here.

As I mentioned last week, Market45 launches tomorrow, November 1st!

Featuring 20 brands that have launched through the Factory45 accelerator program, you’ll be able to shop sustainable and ethical fashion, all in one place.

You can sign up here to be the first to know when Market45 goes live.

Now keep reading for October’s featured sustainable fashion products (once again, they’re all Factory45’ers!):

THOM KELLY MEN’S & WOMEN’S BUTTON-DOWNS

THOM KELLY | MEN’S & WOMEN’S BUTTON-DOWNS

When Factory45’er THOM KELLY launched in 2017, it seemed like every person in my family bought a shirt. My mother-in-law bought one for my husband… my mom bought one for my dad… I bought one for myself…

Needless to say, we’re big fans around here. THOM KELLY is a collection of men’s and women’s plaid shirts that are made from 55% organic cotton and 44% tencel (a closed-looped fiber derived from eucalyptus).

Every shirt is ethically made in North Carolina where the husband and wife co-founders live. THOM KELLY is also part of the organization 1% for the Planet, so every shirt sold saves 30,000 square feet of threatened habitat.

You can shop men’s and women’s button-downs in multiple colors here. Use code MARKET45 for 10% off your total purchase.


SIXCHEL THE KATHERINE CROP PANTS

SIXCHEL | THE KATHERINE CROP PANTS

There are so many reasons I love these cropped pants from Factory45’er SixChel. To start, they’re high-waisted (flattering) and have pockets (convenient).

The fabric is made from hemp and organic cotton — they also come in a vegan leather option — and they’re ethically made in the USA.

I’ve also found them to be very versatile, as I wore them all summer and have since transitioned them into fall. If you’re in the market for a durable and flattering pair of trousers, these fit the bill.

You can shop The Katherine Crop Pants, as well as other SixChel pieces here. Use code MARKET45 for 10% off your total purchase.


PONYBABE THE PLEATED PANTS

PONYBABE | THE PLEATED PANTS

Speaking of pants, these are the pair I throw on when 8pm rolls around, the baby is asleep and it’s time to unwind.

Factory45’er PonyBabe makes organic loungewear that is ultra comfy and designed and manufactured in Brooklyn.

Using the softest eco-friendly fabrics, the entire collection makes up “The 24 Hour Outfit” for yogis, creatives, dancers, massage therapists and entrepreneurs.  

You can shop The Pleated Pants, as well as other PonyBabe pieces here. Use code MARKET45 for 10% off your total purchase.


To see the rest of October’s featured products, come on over to Instagram by clicking here.

You’ll also be able to shop all of these brands tomorrow on Market45!

 

factory45 owner shannon

 

P.S. When you use the discount code MARKET45 I receive a 5% referral commission. I only promote products and brands that I personally wear and believe in.


Market45

The Factory45 Marketplace Launches Next Week!

For over four years, I’ve worked with designers and entrepreneurs to launch fashion brands that are sustainably and ethically made.

I’ve had the unique perspective of seeing these brands build their supply chains, think carefully about their business models and bring value to shoppers who are looking for better options.

It’s been a ride, and I’m so proud of the work we’ve done.

But, like any serial entrepreneur, I know there’s still so much more to do.

Two years ago, I envisioned a platform where I could sell the products that have launched through the Factory45 program.

I wanted to create a marketplace that would make it easier to shop sustainable and ethical fashion, all in one place.

So, what did I do?

The same thing I do every time I come up with a new (sometimes hairbrained) idea.

I hopped on the phone with my creative director to walk her through the vision:

  • I want to launch with 20 Factory45’ers to start.
  • I want to send traffic to their online stores.
  • I want to offer a discount incentive to shoppers.
  • I want to make enough money to break even.
  • But ultimately, I want to help the brands grow.

Could we make that happen? I asked her. From a tech perspective, is it possible?

And for the sake of full transparency, at first we couldn’t.

The platform I initially envisioned was just too complicated — there were too many moving parts.

So, in June we decided to scrap the whole project.

But what usually happens when you take a deep breath and walk away?

You find clarity.

And thankfully, that’s what happened.

We put aside the ideal for “perfection” and came up with the “good enough” option. (This is a beneficial lesson for any entrepreneur.)

Six months later, we are one week away from launching Market45, an ethical fashion marketplace.

Featuring 20 invite-only brands that have launched through the Factory45 accelerator program, the marketplace will make it easy to shop sustainable and ethical fashion, all in one place.

Before we launch on Thursday, November 1st you can join our VIP list here and get 10% off any Market45 order.

By signing up to the Market45 email list, it will also ensure that you’re one of the first to know when we launch next week.

I can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on.

Grateful for your support,

 

factory45 owner shannon

 


Market45

marketing

Struggling with Marketing Your Fashion Brand? Follow the 30/70 Rule.

If you’re running a fashion business, it should be no surprise that marketing is a huge part of your day to day.

If you want to sell, then you have to promote — right?

We know this. It’s on our to-do list. We have a strategy in place for it. But…

How often does promotion get overlooked?

Here’s a scenario that I see too often:

  1. You’ve spent several hours crafting the perfect blog post.
  2. You finally click “Publish” and the post goes live.
  3. You sit back and wait for people to come across your post and praise its brilliance.

When put that way it sounds a little ridiculous.

And yet there are so many of us who expect it to happen like this.

The internet has made us live by the adage of, “If you build it, they will come.”

But nobody arrives.

If you’re struggling with marketing and being seen by your ideal target customer, then I have one rule for you to implement right now:

“30% content creation / 70% content promotion

What does that mean exactly?

It means that 30% of your time should be spent on creating marketing content. We’re talking blog posts, emails to your list, guest posts, photography, etc.

But 70% of your time should be put towards promoting that content.

It’s not enough to share a blog post on Facebook one time. That same blog post should be sent out to your email list and shared on social media over… and over… and over again.

“But, Shannon, won’t my audience get sick of seeing the same stuff?”

No, because unless it’s your mom, they’re not paying attention that closely.

Don’t believe me?

Here’s an example:

For the past month I’ve been promoting the launch of Market45, an ethical fashion marketplace, that will go live on November 1st.

I’ve mentioned it upwards of six times on Instagram and it wasn’t until the sixth time that I got a text from my own sister saying, “Just saw you’re launching a marketplace! Great idea.”

And while yes, she’s busy with her own life going on — so is everyone else.

You can’t count on people to retain your message, read your blog post or engage with you on social media the very first time.

Or even the second time… or the third…

And I know what you may be thinking, “Man, this sounds exhausting. I can’t keep up with all of this marketing.”

But what I’m telling you is actually good news.

Because the content creation (i.e. the 30%) is the part that’s usually hardest for everyone.

I know how many of you worry that you’re not a good writer or that it takes forever to write a blog post or newsletter.

But with the 30/70 rule, once it’s done you get to focus the majority of your time on promoting it.

And while it still requires writing, crafting a promotional Facebook post or Instagram caption is a lot less work than writing full content.

To put it in perspective:

I spend at least 1.5 hours every Wednesday scheduling social media to promote that week’s blog post. My assistant spends another hour putting that blog post on WordPress and scheduling it to send to my email list.

That’s 2.5 to 3 hours dedicated to content that took me 30-45 minutes to write.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

So whether it’s an upcoming launch, a Kickstarter campaign or something small like a blog post, focus on doing more with less.

You can’t argue with that.

 

factory45 owner shannon

 


Market45

sustainable fashion products

5 Sustainable Fashion Podcasts You Need to Be Listening To

Alright, podcast lovers, this one’s for you.

Read on for my top 5 podcast recommendations in the sustainable and ethical fashion space…


MISSION DRIVEN MARKETING BY RISE CREATIVE

The Mission Driven Marketing podcast was started by ethical brand strategist Marisa Flacks, founder of Rise Creative. Launching in July 2018, Marisa has hosted guests from high profile brands like The Yellow Co., as well as members of the Ethical Writers Co.

This podcast is a must-listen for anyone who wants to learn how to effectively market an ethical brand.

My conversation with Marisa about launching a successful brand is on Episode 6 here.


spirit 608

SPIRIT OF 608 BY LORRAINE SANDERS

Spirit of 608 is a weekly fashion business podcast that empowers women and builds female thought leadership at the intersection of fashion, entrepreneurship, sustainability and technology (FEST).

Host Lorraine Sanders is a seasoned journalist who has featured guests, ranging from designers to doctors to strategists to fashion photographers — all who are influencing the sustainable fashion space.

This podcast is perfect for anyone looking for part inspiration, part tactical business advice, part education of the industry.

If you love a good failure-to-success story, start with this episode.


simply lived in

SIMPLY, LIVED IN BY NINE56 STUDIO

Simply, Lived In is a podcast started by Factory45’er Meg Floersch, founder of Nine56 Studio. Following the death of her father, Meg began to question the pace of her life and wondered, “What would it look like if I simplified?”

It’s with this mantra in mind that she interviews guests who are pursuing minimalism, slow fashion, local eating and living a more purposeful life.

This podcast is perfect for anyone who is inspired to slow down, live life intentionally and explore a more minimalist lifestyle.

My conversation with Meg about shopping ethically and always moving forward is here.


conscious chatter

CONSCIOUS CHATTER BY KESTREL JENKINS

Conscious Chatter quickly grew as an industry favorite when it launched two years ago. Boasting over 130 episodes to date, host and storyteller Kestrel Jenkins has interviewed industry experts from across the fashion world.

Whether it’s Mara Hoffman musing about mindfulness, Summer Rayne Oakes speaking about slow fashion or Andrew Morgan talking about The True Cost, there’s something for everyone.

For a refreshing perspective on environmentalism and feminism, start with this episode.


wardrobe crisis

WARDROBE CRISIS BY CLARE PRESS

With five stars on iTunes, the WARDROBE CRISIS works to decode the fashion system and dig deep into its effects on people and planet.

This podcast unzips the real issues that face the industry today, with a focus on ethics, sustainability, consumerism, activism, identity and creativity.

Host Clare Press is Australian Vogue’s Editor-at-Large, sits on the advisory board for Fashion Revolution Australia and has written three books about fashion activism.

Start with this episode featuring Kestrel Jenkins, host of Conscious Chatter, from above.


Know someone who is a podcast fiend and looking to learn more about the sustainable fashion space? Share this link with them!

Happy listening,

 

factory45 owner shannon

 


Market45