How to Build a Niche Audience

Taking breaks between the glamorous fashion shows and sophisticated parties, we are heading to Hall 4 for another industry-revealing talk. Creative consultant and founder of, Nima Nabavi is speaking about the different aspects of fashion business and finding a special niche audience. His expertise in street culture, brand-building, marketing and e-commerce is what makes him different and at the same time, so important during such a huge fashion industry platform as Fashion Forward.

While several lecturers talked about fashion design, brands, and creative thinking during the first two days of Fashion Forward, Nima Nibavi is focusing on building a niche audience. Becoming popular is important, but he says, “Going viral doesn’t pay your bills. You should build an audience.” Many are tempted of having an overnight success, but according to him, “it will not pay off in the long-term”. Building an audience doesn’t happen over a night and having the right kind of followers is even harder.  “The number of followers  doesn’t really matter. It is important the quality of your followers.”

Talking about followers, many emerging designers and artists would think audience is equal to customers. “Audience is not only the direct CUSTOMER”, says Nima. “The users may not buy your product directly, but their relatives or family could be of use – a clique of people around it.” People are bonded and you can use this to your advantage.

That’s why, having a big audience doesn’t provide you with lots of customers. “You have to understand that a small fraction of your subscribers and followers will buy your product or service – maybe 30%,  maybe 3%.” The most important thing is to be able to engage them. “But you have to keep them entertained and coming back for more.  You keep an eye to the future because people change and they can become your customers or advertisers in the long run.” Once people recognize your brand, the possibilities are endless.

But how to engage people? How to help them recognize you and come back? How to make them LIKE you? Nima Niabavi says,  “You have to be good at something! A logo and a Facebook page is not enough!”

“You should also stay unique, because many people will copy and follow you.” Indeed, people love original stuff, and moreover, they love to copy and share it with their friends and connections. “Eventually you will get to the point people will trust you and respect your opinion..”

Nima also points out that success doesn’t happen overnight. Designers should constantly learn and evolve, so they can stay in touch with the constantly changing world – consumer trends, fashion, market, technology, and so on. “Look for the long-term , target a high standard and high-profile customer you can imagine. Try to impress and keep people and this is how you get word-of-mouth advertisement. This is what impresses people and they keep talking about it.”

Confidence is also an important factor, “You have to project yourself confident, but do not overdo it. If you are a small business, present yourself as such, but not as big multinational conglomerate.”

And how to deal with criticism and bad attitude? After all, there will always be somebody who won’t like you. “When you get a negative opinion, ask why and try to turn bad experience to good. But you can’t make everything right . Sometimes you have to draw a line and ban people when they cross it.”

Social media is a big part of the picture, we all know that. “Everyone has social media account, but the mistake they do is pumping the same content everywhere. You should post different messages on the different platforms.” Of course, the content you are posting on LinkedIn won’t be good for Facebook, and the videos on YouTube don’t always have to go on Pinterest, too. The different social media websites are used for different kind of communication between people, so you should be aware of the websites. Facebook, for instance can give you a lot – you can post your content (ads, pictures, videos), but you can also start different discussions and be closer to your audience. Non-product posts are also very important, “Don’t just push your products on the users. Don’t post 9 posts in 10 minutes, keep it 1 every 2 hours. Timed posts are important.” Then encourage people to share your content – people on social media websites love to share cool pictures.

“Have dept and be confrontational. Express opinion. People should know who you are and what you do. You should not be afraid to express opinion. Be active and response to everything. Try to engage the audience and encourage other brands.”

Understanding your audience is also essential. “Study analytics – who this people your followers are. Most important people usually do not comment and you will not hear them. Watch out!  There are aways people watching and you have to be cautious.”

So, why an emerging designer or a startup business would choose niche audience? Nima Nabavi explains that niche audience makes loyal customers, for once. Those customers  will defend and promote your brand, by sharing your content. Consider crowd sourcing – ask for and response to people’s opinions. “Your customers will recommend what’s interesting and what they like”.

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