Networking For Introverts: Expert Tips from An Extrovert

If you are an introvert, you know the unspeakable horror of of networking. What seems like an innocent evening of meeting new people and simple conversation suddenly becomes a painful and torturous ordeal. 

Much of my networking success was from fantastic advice and tips from Doug Howard. He is a master of networking, genuinely loves people, and is a true extrovert in every sense of the word…but his advice to introverts isn’t what you’d expect. 

Join us as we discuss the differences between networking styles, tips specifically for introverts, and how you can use your strengths to make the most of your networking experiences. So stay tuned for my interview with “introvert whisperer” Doug Howard on this episode - Networking For Introverts: Expert Tips from An Extrovert.

When To Take Customer Feedback

Being the head decision maker as a Designer CEO isn’t always the easiest and working alone can lead to questioning and self doubt. You’ve got lots of opinions coming from every direction and it’s your responsibility to determine which ones are valid and will benefit your business versus those that are unmerited and may actually damage your brand or business. Knowing when to listen to your commentators and how to find balance for your future strategies and business will ensure that you are making the BEST decisions for you and your brand. 

In this episode I’m sharing my own personal experiences and challenges with managing unsolicited feedback, the key contention points you need to be considering before making any significant business decisions, and what to always keep in mind when determining your next strategic move to determine if you should listen to your commentators or stay the course in this episode, “When to Take Customer Feedback”. 

How to Get You & Your Fashion Business Organized

Creating organizational strategies and processes for your business is often the needed game changer for businesses to go from spinning in circles to laser focused on your next big sales driving opportunity. By taking the time to create organizational systems for your business you’ll free up mental capacity to let your creative energy blossom, no longer spending precious time on thinking about what you need to do, and eliminating chaos so you can spend more time dedicated to looking forward and building your business. Organizing your business will bring clarity to your vision and strategy and over time, streamline and up-level your business, letting you get back to what you are truly passionate about – DESIGNING. 

I’m sharing a few of my favorite organizational strategies, how to develop a customized organizational process that works JUST for you, mindset tweaks to guarantee success, and my very own favorite organizational tools. So join me for this episode, “How to Get You & Your Fashion Business Organized”.

The Brimful Life Podcast - Interview with Sarah Ferrence CROSSOVER EPISODE

I’m finally sharing MY entrepreneurial origin story so if you’ve ever been curious about why and how I started Mod. Merchant, now’s your chance to hear it. I’m telling Beth Ridley, host of The Brimful Life Podcast, all about the lessons I’ve learned and practical tips that have helped me embrace and thrive in my new entrepreneurial life. I’m sharing my “why” for quitting my corporate job on a Monday to become an entrepreneur, the challenges that I’ve faced and how I’m achieving success by learning to maintain a positive mental mindset, letting go of perfection, and pushing myself to try new things and meet new people.  

Join Beth and I on this special crossover episode of The Brimful Life Podcast’s Interview with yours truly - Sarah Ferrence!

How to Manage Your Fashion Brand’s Inventory AND Maximize Your Profits

Do you know how to effectively manage your fashion brand’s inventory so you don’t erode your profit margin and bottom line?

Effectively managing your inventory means creating a strategy that starts way before it’s time to address the slow sellers. It’s about creating a proactive plan and system to move your inventory from product conception to when it finally reaches that sales rack.

In this episode I’m sharing why effective inventory management leads to more cash for your business, strategies for tackling inventory management at every stage of the game, and what to do with that inventory that just won’t go away. So join me for this episode, “How to Manage Your Fashion Brand’s Inventory AND Maximize Your Profits”.

Sacrificing for Sustainability with Laura Bavlnka, Designer CEO of Bavlnka Brand

Laura Bavlnka is the Designer CEO of Bavlnka Brand, a lifestyle brand of clothing, accessories, and home decor designed and crafted by in Milwaukee, WI. Laura’s love of natural fibers and one-of-a kind textiles inspired her to launch her sustainable line and are featured throughout her clothing line. She dyes, paints, and embroiders her materials and turns them into wearables and special wall art pieces.

Join us as Laura shares the journey of Bavlnka Brand, her unconventional path to entrepreneurship, the need for sustainability in fashion today and how that impacts her brand, the sacrifices she’s made to bring her vision to life and of course words of wisdom specifically for Designer CEOs in today’s episode, “Sacrificing for Sustainability with Laura Bavlnka, Designer CEO of Bavlnka Brand” 

Negotiation 101 For Designer CEOs

Negotiating effectively for your fashion brand can have BIG results including lower costs, improved margins, and better bottom line numbers AND it doesn’t have to be the bane of your existence.

I’m sharing exactly what Designer CEOs need to know about negotiation sharing some of my very own tried and true negotiation tactics so you start getting what you NEED for your business. 

You’ll learn how negotiation benefits your business, why Designer CEOs often struggle with the idea of asking for what they want, the one BIG mindset change you need to make to ensure successful negotiations, and plenty of how-to’s, tips, and techniques to ensure you are prepared before, during, and after your next big negotiation. 

How To Make Your Fashion Brand Irresistible To Retail Buyers And Get Your Line Bought

Many Designer CEOs who are new to pitching their fashion brands and scoring that first appointment get stuck because they don’t know understand the buying process for boutique stores and what retail buyers are looking when they are scouting for new brands.

This episode is about what you need to know to make your line standout in the eyes of a retail buyer. I’m covering a typical boutique’s buying process so you know what to expect, what buyers are looking for from new designers and fashion brands, how buyers determine what they will buy, what you can do to impress them, and my secret pro tip that will maximize your line’s best chances of getting purchased.

So join me for, “How To Make Your Fashion Brand Irresistible To Retail Buyers And Get Your Line Bought”

Competitive Shopping 101 for Designer CEOs

As a fashion brand business owner, competitive shopping is an absolute must do!

By dedicating time to creating a competitive shopping strategy you’ll confidently know that your brand is well positioned and relevant in the marketplace, discover a non stop flow of fresh ideas for your fashion brand and products, uncover exciting new product and strategies that lead to incremental sales and strong profit margins, and lead the market with your brand and always be a few steps ahead of your competitors. 

Developing a competitive shopping strategy takes a little bit of time and dedication but I’m going to break it all down for you - you’ll hear the why, what, and how of competitive shopping and I’ll even share my 4 competitive shopping hacks to make it as simple as possible. Join me for, “ Competitive Shopping 101 for Designer CEOs”.


From Side Hustle to Bride Hustle with Amanda Ergen - Jennings, Designer CEO of Love Lives Here Bridal

I’m thrilled to be chatting with Amanda Ergen - Jennings, Designer CEO of Love Lives Here Bridal, a bridal gown design and production studio based in Milwaukee, WI. She has combined her passion for creating garments from scratch and 15 years of corporate product development and technical design experience with her genuine love for her hometown to build a bridal brand focused on bringing a high-quality, artisan-focused approach to local manufacturing.

Join Amanda and I as we discuss her journey - from design school to quitting her corporate design role to owner of her very own bridal gown brand. You’ll also hear tons of entrepreneurial advice, her take on balancing work life and family life, and a few  words of wisdom and motivation specifically for new Designer CEOs.

Q&A: Building an Authentic Connection with Your Customer, Defining Whitespace, and How Brick & Mortar Can Compete

Hear answers to the questions that Designer CEOs just like YOU have been wondering about.

On this episode, you’ll hear answers to the questions that you’ve been wondering about including…

  • How do you create an authentic connection with your customer through social media and what are the steps you need to take to develop your customer relationships?

  • What is whitespace for your business, why does it matter so much, and how to discover your fashion business’s biggest opportunities.

  • What does the future of marketing look like for brick & mortar retailers especially as it pertains to competing with ecommerce?

I’ll share my advice and get you Designer CEOs the answers you’ve been looking for so you can launch, grow, or scale your fashion brand now.

How To Contact A Retail Buyer To Get Your Fashion Line Purchased

“How do I approach retail stores to sell my products?”, is hands down one of the questions I get asked most frequently by Designer CEOs because they are unsure of where to begin, what what to include, and are left wondering - how do I get my fashion brand noticed and actually bought?

This episode of The Designer CEO Podcast is sharing exactly how to reach out to buyers and what to communicate to ensure that your fashion brand gets noticed. You’ll hear the best tried and true methods for first contact including my recommendation for the best channel to approach retail buyers, exactly how to structure and what to include in your pitch to get that buyer’s attention and I’ve even included a few “BONUS” recommendations for you to try to make sure your brand stands out.

16 Ways to Boost Your Creativity

We’ve all been there. That feeling of being creatively STUCK - leaving you bored, tired, and generally just apathetic about getting it finished. It’s creative burnout - that “meh” feeling that leaves you without any inspiration or motivation to keep you on task. But that’s just not going to work Designer CEOs -- your creativity is your money maker and is what makes you and your brand well….YOU!

In this episode I’m sharing my favorite ways to boost your creativity and covering 16 different ideas that you can do RIGHT NOW to re-energize yourself and help you when you are feeling creatively stuck so you can move past your burnout, start creating again, and get back to business.

Getting Started With Manufacturing With Kelly Mutsch

Do you know how to find a manufacturer for your fashion brand? What to prepare before your very first meeting? What questions to anticipate from a manufacturer? What hidden costs to expect when you are just getting started? Knowing what to expect will ensure that you are discovering and developing the best partner for you and your fashion brand.

In this episode I’m chatting with Kelly Mutsch who knows the in’s and out’s of the apparel manufacturing process and will be sharing exactly what you need to think about and prepare before you begin a relationship with a 3rd party manufacturer. We’ll cover finding the right manufacturer, what services you can expect from a manufacturer, some of the biggest mistakes to avoid, and how to manage expectations of your new partnership.

How Designer CEOs Build Strong Business Relationships To Take Their Brand Next Level

Building strong and effective business relationships is one of the best strategies for any fashion startup or fashion brand and will be critical to the success of your business. It is a strategy that you can start doing TODAY for FREE and will have a dramatic impact on your business as well as accelerate your success.

In this episode, I’m sharing how to build strong and effective business relationships including finding your tribe, what to do to get the dialogue flowing, who your greatest partners will be, and how to maintain your current relationships to create and develop those meaningful business connections that will help you and your business flourish.

Q&A: Opening a Brick & Mortar, Getting Started With Instagram, & Defining Your Competition

Hear answers to the questions that Designer CEOs just like YOU have been wondering about.

On this episode, you’ll hear answers to the questions that you’ve been wondering about including…

  • As a designer is it worth it to open a brick and mortar store?

  • How do I get started with Instagram? I know that I need to be posting but don’t know what to be posting for my fashion brand.

  • I plan to launch my fashion brand with an online presence only. When researching my competitors should i only be thinking about other designers with similar products online? Should I be concerned with my competitors locally or on a national level?

I’ll share my advice and get you Designer CEOs the answers you’ve been looking for so you can launch, grow, or scale your fashion brand now.

How To Know If You Have Lost Sight Of Your Customer

Brands that have lost the pulse on their customer is becoming a common and devastating problem that I see happening all too often in today’s retail marketplace.

You’ll hear the three most common warning signs that you have lost touch with your customer, the main reasons it happens (even to the best of brands), and what you can do about it TODAY to get your fashion brand back on track and begin to win back those lost customers.

If you are a new Designer CEO’s that hasn’t clearly defined your customer, just getting started and realizing that you may need to dig a little deeper to get to know your customer better, or perhaps even a bit more established but realize that you need a refresher on keeping your customer top of mind than this is for you.

How to Create A Design Strategy That Your Customers Will Love

What would it feel like to design a fashion brand that is not only a manifestation of your design talent and vision but will also sell and increase your profit margin?

I’m sharing how to develop a design strategy for your line that your customers WANT and will generate sales. I’m laying the process for exactly what I used to do to plan my assortment strategy as a corporate product manager. You’ll hear what you need to do to get started and step by step how you should break down your design strategy. I’ll keep it nice and simple so you can plan EXACTLY what you need to do design your way into your customer's hearts and maximize your sales and profits.

So if you are a Designer CEO just starting to plan your first line launch, working through your first year of your fashion brand, or if you are an established brand looking to improve your current design strategy process, this episode is for you!

Welcome to The Designer CEO Podcast

Each week The Designer CEO Podcast will bring you brand and retail strategies, merchandising how-to’s, organization and productivity tips, and business and professional advice simplified for Designer CEOs who are ready to make their dream of launching their own line a reality. Along the way you’ll hear insider tips from those who have “made it” in the fashion industry, including industry execs, entrepreneurs, and fellow designers who’ve successfully launched their lines.

The goal of The Designer CEO Podcast is to help you connect all the dots to see the big picture of what it takes to for your fashion brand to thrive. Sarah is here to be your go-to resource for navigating the retail business, help you master all that "business stuff", and support you as you launch the line of your dreams.