Never Stop Learning :: Three Key Things I Learned in LA’s Fashion District

Learning is a necessity. If I look back at my day and find that I haven’t learned something that day, I consider the day a waste. I also don’t believe mistakes are failures if I’ve learned something valuable, as long as they’re not the product of having failed to learn from a similar situation in the past.

San Pedro Wholesale Market

Learning also comes from many sources. You can learn a new approach or concept in one setting and apply it to a completely different situation. While I’m not in the fashion industry myself, a recent business trip to Los Angeles allowed me to see the LA Fashion District firsthand and gain a few valuable reminders and insights that I’m able to apply in vastly different areas like software or social media development.

I could cover many more topics here, but I’ve chosen the top three insights to share, which I’ve outlined below.

1. Efficient Use of Resources
Necessity certainly is the mother of invention. How often have you exclaimed that you could do more if only you had more? If you’ve thought about it or worked at the challenge long enough, you might just find you had what you needed all along.

In the fashion district, space is at a premium. The cost of leasing storefront space can be a big hit to the bottom line, so most vendors have chosen to reduce cost while giving up floor space. In order to make best use of what’s available, you’ll see every bit of vertical space used, with product reaching to the ceiling. Vendors also showcase a limited quantity of products, while the remainder can stay efficiently packed in the back, ready to be grabbed and sold. Making efficient use of that space works for them in the long run.

2. Be in the Right Place
As the old real estate adage goes, the three most important aspects of the business are location, location, location. This same premise holds true for the vendors in the fashion district, where being the in right place means getting a space where the maximum number of buyers have flocked. Some storefronts have sacrificed their location in order to get more floor space, but that means sacrificing access to buyers that are the lifeblood of revenue. Chances are those vendors will either need to move or risk dying on the vine.

3. Embrace Change
If the only constant is change, then the fashion district is truly a great example of that constant. In general, fashion is built on the latest trend, and that means keeping pace is critical. With styles in constant flux, moving product to make room for the next hot thing requires carefully manage stock and pricing. Keep too much on hand, and vendors will be stuck with items that might eventually sell for pennies on the dollar, at best.  As such, managing to the change is critical for continued success.

Chances are you’re not in the fashion industry, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from these tips. Regardless of your industry, you can apply any or all three of these concepts to your own work or personal life. In fact, I challenge you to find a way to use this learning in your own way.

Now, what else have you learned today?

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