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5 tips Sophie Doyle wishes she knew starting The Fable


When Sophie quit her luxury marketing job at Loreal, she had no idea that fashion and digital marketing would be in her future.

After suffering from severe burnout she just couldn’t recover from, Sophie quit her job and headed over to India for a 3-month “Eat, Pray, Love” style sabbatical. One day while riding around in a TukTuk, Sophie came across a female-run textile factory and decided to pop in and have a go at creating her own silk shirt. 

Silk shirts have always been a staple in Sophie’s wardrobe, as they are the perfect day-to-night uniform, however, it is hard to find one with a perfect relaxed cut, with a thick fabric that is also machine washable. Soph worked with the ladies in the factory, and after a few samples, came up with the perfect product.

Upon returning to Sydney, Sophie sold her car for $7k and used the money to invest in stock for her new brand, The Fable  She did some digital marketing courses, and through trial and error came up with a good Meta (then Facebook) strategy. Within a year, she had turned over a million dollars. Now the business makes around $4 million per year.

Here are some of the top things that she wishes she knew earlier.

The importance of being dynamic

You will never know what’s around the corner so being able to change direction and move quickly is important. In business, you should never expect the journey to be straightforward, even established businesses have curveballs and will need to change their processes. Take the global pandemic for example, not only did it change the way we worked and lived, but for those of us who have products made overseas, we could no longer travel to oversee the operation, which meant we had to find other ways of doing business. We had more competition online, so digital marketing became more expensive and we just needed to level up in a lot of departments. with most things in my business, I like to have contingency plans, as they give them a head start on coming up with an alternate idea if I need one.

I also try to work and surround myself with smart people/ mentors or contractors who I can reach out to for assistance when needed. 

Do a crash course in business structure before starting 

Do a crash course on corporate structure before starting your business, as setting your business up properly from the outset will alleviate future headaches.  I had to make some changes to The Fable’s structure along the way which ended up being difficult and expensive. If I ever start another business, I will put the structure into place early to save me the stress. 

Quality control your product yourself from a factory level 
In the early days at least, quality control your product yourself from a factory level.  Nobody will ever care as much as you do. With all the factories that I work with, I am welcome to drop in anytime and work with them. That way I can help them get the processes right to create the perfect product and from there they can replicate it. 

Test small batches  

I have learnt the hard way to test small when it comes to new products and colours.  I have in the past invested too heavily in products that I liked, and my friends liked, but ultimately they didn’t do well in terms of sales which is the only thing that counts. I like to stick to staple colours where I can, although all of the tones I use have a unique edge, as they are timeless and far from fast fashion.

Starting a business involves taking a risk but doing so in a calculated way, such as batch testing is key.  
The power of online  

Online marketing is so powerful for a business, and of all the tools you can use, your email database is the most powerful. Putting systems in place to capture email addresses therefore should be a priority, whether you run a competition, a collaboration or a discount offer to those who subscribe.

Meta is also an extremely powerful tool, as you can segment your audiences and be very specific. 
Also, when marketing online, be consistent with your imagery and communication.  People remember consistency.  Engage with customers/users at different touch points and through different mediums.  Even the strongest message requires reinforcement.

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