How to Start a Fashion Business
“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable; we have to alter it every six months.” – A quote from Irish playwright and poet, Oscar Wilde.
Wilde’s cynical definition notwithstanding, Fashion embodies life, reflects personalities and sets trends. Looking fashionable reflects personal style and taste and everybody wants to seem fashionable.
Due to this unquenchable thirst for new trends and brands, many fashion designers are finding their foray into the business to be very lucrative indeed. It is one of the most influential businesses in the world today.
You may start a fashion business with a focus on apparel merchandise t-shirts, pants, skirts, dresses and accessories, jewelry and socks.
This venture is highly profitable when done right and there are a million fashion business ideas to choose from. Still, you should critically look into the details concerning your business to ensure success.
The industry is a tough one which calls for much more than creativity, talent and an eye for style; business savviness and skills are a must.
Moreover, budding fashion designers might make mistakes at the beginning of their career, leading to a premature collapse of their business or shops.
In a bid to ensure a smooth starting and running of the business, here are a few tips for starting a fashion business.
Table of Contents
Tips for starting a fashion business
Determine your Niche
Like all other ventures, it is imperative that you know your field of expertise well. Advertise yourself as a specialist in one particular niche as you start out.
If you are especially well known for your bag and tote designs, create awareness in this area. Similarly, if your T-shirt designs are what gave you the push into the fashion business, then, identify your brand with this.
This is especially important as you begin because, at this stage, you may be doing all of your designs in your small business.
Know your audience
A lot of starting businesses will crumble if they do not know their target audience. Understand who your target customers are; their backgrounds- social, mental, financial and likewise.
Knowing who they are, what they like and importantly what they can afford will help you design and create a clothing line well suited to your customers’ tastes.
It is almost impossible to sell one design to every aspect of the populace. If your target audience is on the younger to teenage side, focus on creating designs that are trendy and suitable to their tastes.
Likewise, consider these factors when designing for the older or working class group.
Also, when marketing, knowing where and how to advertise your product is important. For example, with a younger audience, targeting college or school magazines will generate more buyers.
Remember that not all fashion businesses cater to the glamorous and luxurious; your brand can offer your target customers high-class designs at much more affordable rates.
Examples of this kind of fashion businesses are the popular Coach and American Apparel who deliver wonderful, affordable fashion to the masses.
Plan Proper Funding
A study has shown that 82% of small businesses fail due to a lack of proper funding. To avoid a misuse/misallocation of funds, budding fashion businesses should create a reasonable expenses account.
This account should detail possible business expenditure from staff payment to purchasing supplies to creating business cards.
Also, set aside extra funds for those first few rocky months where business may not be bringing in a lot of profit yet. An option is getting a loan or an investment advisor.
Establish an Outstanding Logo
The first impression customers get from a fashion brand is the identification of the brand logo. Your logo serves as an identity mark anywhere, anytime.
Take for example popular, unique logos like Polo, Louis Vuitton, Dolce and Gabbana, Gucci, to name but a few.
A memorable logo should include attractive colors appealing to the target audience and suitable for the item, convey to customers the message a brand is trying to send and, very importantly, stand out from the crowd.
The Price must be Right
What’s the point of creating a fashion business if your target audience cannot afford to buy your designs?
Of course, there has to be a substantial margin for profits but, fashion businesses should always keep in mind the financial capabilities of their target audience, knowing what they can afford and creating designs that are well suited to their tastes and budget.
To maximize your profit, keep in mind expenditures like salary payment and costs of material before setting a price for your items.
Market Your Fashion Business
The internet is the new newspaper, TV and radio advertisement. Create an online presence for your brand; a website being the very first step.
With a majority of customers now searching for products, they might want to purchase, having an online platform that showcases such items will make it easier for them and makes business better for you.
Your website should provide info on your products, services, contact information, company policies, and others.
Finding the Right Partners
You definitely cannot run your entire fashion business yourself. You will need to properly evaluate yourself, find the gaps where a more qualified person will need to take charge of for the betterment of your business.
A business partner in the fashion business will not only assist with the burden of the tasks but, will also bring new, fresh ideas and connections into your business.
Other services you will need as your business progresses include:
- A Public Relations Officer
- A lawyer for legal issues
- An accountant to manage your finances
- Graphic designers
- Cloth factories
- Models and many more.
Getting all of these at a slashed price will be a huge bonus for your fashion business.
Setting up any business at all can be quite daunting, and requires much effort, resolution, and doggedness. Starting a fashion business can be even more taxing due to the complexity and competitiveness of the business.
Starting this business requires much organization and coordination, not to mention managing, producing and distributing your fashion items.
Remember, the most vital factors to ensure success in the fashion business are dedication, lofty goals and, good entrepreneurial skills.