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A Winning Design: How Klein Manufactured Success
For Klein, “doing everything as well as possible meant survival.” So, how did Klein manage to survive at the top for nearly four decades?
Marketing: Nobody understands the power of an advertisement better than Klein. Using provocative images to promote his products, Klein was able to create a buzz that almost instantly increased his sales exponentially. From young girls in suggestive positions to buff male models, Klein successfully harnessed the power of good marketing campaigns and pushed the limits of what was socially acceptable, forever changing the world of fashion advertising.
Training: From the time Klein decided he wanted to become a fashion designer, he set out to learn from anyone he could. Whether it was a discount clothing store or the Fashion Institute of Technology, Klein used every opportunity available to him to hone his talent and perfect his skills. As he looks for similar training in workers who he hires today, Klein has always understood the necessity of education as one of the key factors of success.
Innovation: Before Klein, nobody thought men’s underwear could be sexy, nobody thought of combining an email advertising campaign with TV and print ads, and nobody thought that American women would want to wear anything except fancy European imitations. Klein had a unique vision of creating more casual but sophisticated clothes and promoting them in a novel way. Indeed, his vision was a success. Klein’s fearlessness and his ability to think outside the box allowed him to move to the top of his game and stay there for almost 40 years.
Appeal: While Klein was lucky enough to have found a few niche markets in which his brand was elevated to celebrity status, he wanted to create as wide appeal as possible in order to grow his company to the heights he envisioned. By targeting a broad cross-section of society in his marketing campaigns and by creating a vast array of product lines, Klein owes his success largely to the widespread appeal that he created.
Determination: In his early days, Klein faced the same struggles that every other entrepreneur faces. He knew what he wanted to do, but didn’t have the capital to do it and somewhere along the way, his motivation began to wane. It was thanks to his father’s belief in his abilities that Klein renewed his commitment to fashion. After that, he knew there was no other choice for him. He could be successful as a supermarket manager but successful or not, he would only be happy as a fashion designer.
“Fashion is about change,” says Klein. “It’s fun to keep changing and to change the silhouettes, to change the fabrics and to change the colour.” By being flexible but still remaining true to his vision, Klein has managed to create one of the most successful brand names of the 20th century. His company may lie with new owners now, but the Klein name continues to bring in billions of dollars in sales each year proving Klein’s success as both a fashion designer and an entrepreneur.
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