New Year, New Career?
10 Things You Need To Know About Starting A Fashion Business
Here are a few of the nitty-gritty details you need to consider before you hand in your resignation.
1. Know Your Niche
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need an extensive line of product to be a success story, and definitely, don’t start trying to make apparel and accessories you haven’t designed before. In the initial days of your small business, you won’t have time to scratch yourself, let alone sniff! And you certainly won’t have time learn how to make something new and do it well. Remember: You’re more likely to be successful with one great design than a 16 piece collection that’s been cobbled together at the last second with your last dollar.
2. Identify Your Target Audience
3. Budget for a rainy day
Remember, the dollars won’t be rolling in the door instantly. It may take some time for your company to start earning money and even longer to turn a profit. Keep some funds aside to meet unforeseen expenses, such as clients delaying a payment or large orders that you’ll need to fund up front. If you can’t front the cash yourself, consider a side hustle or waiting longer to launch. The idea of applying for a bank loan puts extra pressure on you to pay it back. Meanwhile approaching investors for financial help isn’t worth the effort if your items aren’t innovative. If your pieces can’t benefit someone’s life like leggings that stop the aging process, or anti-stink Tshirts then investors won’t look at you until you have one to two years of proven sales a strong supply chain or a cult following. – generally, they’re looking for a return on their investment and will need to see with hard facts about what that could look like.
4. The Price is Right!
One-time expenses on fixed items such as office furniture are taken care of in the early days, but other expenditures such as salary payments and buying supplies will be made regularly. Keep these costs in mind when determining the prices of your designs and absorb the costs in your per garment costings. Generally, business owners set their wholesale and retail rates way higher than their expenses. Depending on what it is you’re selling and who your target market is, your prices could be set to a high enough level that you earn a profit margin of 30-50% over your total expenses.
5. Logo Loving
There’s a lot of pressure to nail your branding when designing a logo. People will make a decision about your brand and designs with just one glance, so you really, really, really need to get it right the first time. When we worked with STRANGER our inspiration was bubble gum pastels and nostalgia while developing the ASTILLE brand we focused on elegance with a connection to vintage glamour using spicey warm tones. Your brand doesn’t only need to speak to your customers, it needs to encapsulate your tone of voice, messaging, aesthetic and who you are as a designer. Remember that people react emotionally to colours, typefaces, taglines, and images, so gather opinions on a few variations and find out how they make people feel.
6. Get Online
Having a great website and strong social media output is a no-brainer but isn’t always as easy as it seems. The majority of consumers today use the internet to research trends, gain fashion advice and (of course) do their shopping, so a strong presence in an ocean of brands is essential. The most basic element of having an online presence is a website. You might not be set up to sell a physical product, but you can advertise your lookbook, brand messaging and engage with customers. If you are selling online, your e-commerce website should provide consumers with all the information they need. The more information there is (pricing, measurements, descriptions, and details), the more likely you are to secure a sale.
7. Find A Business Partner or put your business hat on.
One way to run your business smoothly is to find a sidekick who can share the ups and downs of launching a business and keeping it afloat. Don’t rush into this – set out your criteria as entering into business with someone is a big step. Consider someone who has some experience in the fashion and business worlds, and absolutely makes sure you can trust this individual. Don’t partner with someone who has exactly the same skill set as you. Otherwise, you’ll both be creating mood boards while no one is manning the critical time path
or managing operations.
8. Build Your Brand
This takes a lot of time and energy but will pay off massively when a bond is formed between you and your customers. Engage with your customers as you would with a friend. You’ve done your research so you know their values, likes and dislikes. Use your knowledge to engage with them through the channels you know they use. Talk to them about what they care about, whether that’s what the latest celebrity trend is or the fact you’re using sustainable materials to create your items. Don’t fall into the sales funnel trap or creating content for the sake of content. Churning out automated posts and machine gunning memes is going to fall on deaf ears.