Starting a business in the fashion industry isn’t much different from any other field: you have to start thinking like a true entrepreneur. Before you launch your own label, there are some steps you can’t afford to skip if you want to ensure that your ideas and all your hard work yield profitable results.
Define your core values
“Young designers need to understand what they are and why they are starting their own business,” New York Times fashion director Vanessa Friedman said.
What does your brand stand for?
What’s your brand promise?
Ultimately, these core values should be integrated in all aspects of your business, from production and marketing, to how you deal with your customers and employees.
Prioritise product development
Your product is the foundation that strengthens your brand. Before starting a business, you might already have an idea on the products you’re going to offer. However, product development is a continuous process that must also take into consideration product reviews and feedback from your customers.
Start with a single product line and make sure to be consistent and strategic when introducing new products.
Surround yourself with a solid team
Obviously, you need all the help you can get in running your business. You need talented, dependable people who can rally behind your vision. If you’ve had experience working in the industry, you might already have a network of contacts that you can tap into. If not, you can start by contracting staff and then slowly hiring them full time as sales grow.
Find your go-to manufacturer
Production is one of the most challenging aspects of starting a business, and one of the first things you need is a manufacturer that can deliver.
Finding a reliable manufacturer will help you decide how to price your goods.
Ask colleagues in the industry and look in online sources for leads on producers that can provide your needs and meet your order requirements.
Once you find the one that ticks all your boxes make sure to foster a relationship built on trust to ensure that business always runs smoothly.
Get your buyers’ attention
Where you’re selling is also crucial to catching the attention of your target market. Your sales and distribution channels need careful study and lots of refinement. You’ll need to study the behaviour and buying habits of your target customers. Sizing and pricing also matters greatly, so think carefully on those as well and make sure you listen to customer feedback.
Choose partnerships carefully
Having reliable business partners is also essential to a profitable business. The right partner in the PR industry can do a lot for your budding business, helping you establish your brand and increase brand awareness.
Understand cash flow and funding
You may have all of the above but without funding, starting a business can be a lot more difficult. There are plenty of avenues you can explore in search of money – crowdfunding, bank loans, sponsorships, investors for example – but know that it takes time to bear fruit. Be smart in managing cash flow and know the art of negotiating when the time comes that you deal with big investors.
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