The term fashion itself, or the fashion business industry is quite versatile in this modern age, and running a single, or even better, multiple fashion businesses are not only beneficial for you and your financial state, but for a better future for your family as well.
Running a business in fashion isn't as easy as you might be thinking, but no business is ever really easy if you sit and think about it.
However, when you're using fashion as a business, there are certain things you'll have to get used to, which include working late at night, befriending your local accountant and reading through receipts late at night, and lastly, managing the clothes.
The businesses in fashion are particularly hard to start with, due to the fact that this industry is quite hyper-complex, and since a lot of people want to be a fashion designer these days in the fashion business, the competition is quite versatile, making it harder to create a career in the fashion business.
In this short fashion business walkthrough, we'll highlight some key points which help various people in maintaining careers in the fashion business, which includes asking yourself various questions like "What do I have to offer to the fashion business" or "Do I have the required skills for business fashion" and various others.
Even so, if you're reluctant, there are several fashion articles on fashion business management, allowing you to tread freely when starting your own business of fashion.
Other factors like gathering first-hand customer feedback, developing a collection plan, using a stylist, and considering the expenses carefully are among the many things you need to consider/know before starting a fashion business career out of scratch!
What is a business plan and how do I write one?
Writing a Business Plan is one of the most essential things in a business startup, and in the fashion industry, the business plan for fashion designing is critical if you want to succeed.
However, people often have a basic question regarding this aspect, which is "What's a business plan", and to answer that question, simply put, a business plan writing is a guide that helps businesses run smoothly and in check, while business plan for fashion brand also helps with aspects like getting funding and new fashion partners.
No fashion design business plan is perfect, and it doesn't really have to be. The business plan purpose is to meet your needs and is not anything of the competitive sort.
Most business plans, including fashion design business plan or fashion line business plan, often fall into two distinct categories, which are a lean startup and traditional startup.
Lean Startup plans aren't of the extensive sort and focus on summarizing the key elements of your fashion brand business plan.
On the other hand, Traditional Startups are recommended to those who want an extensive and comprehensive business plan for their business, which includes various investors and lenders in the market.
Starting from scratch isn't always the option, and you can take a look at a fashion business plan example if it helps you get started, or compare your completed business plan with an existing fashion business plan template or a fashion business plan sample to get your juices flowing.
Nevertheless, Business Plan SBA also helps you with an extensive guide and various articles regarding coming up with a business plan, so checking them out is an option as well.
Startup fashion business where to spend and save my capital?
To start a fashion business, the first thing you need to worry about is how to save money, and whenever you're starting a fashion business, it is always tempting to minimize expenses by doing everything yourself.
There's a lot of money in fashion, especially if you make a business out of it, but to reach the point where you can completely rely all your expenses on your fashion money, you need to work on a lot of how to save money tips, either by a money-saving expert, a fashion business consultant or if you're brave enough, figuring it out yourself.
Fashion and Money are deeply correlated, and if you find the perfect balance between both of them, you won't have to contact fashion business consultants here and there.
For starters, there are various to-do's and not-to-do's if you're keen on saving your fashion industry money, and if you fulfill these elements, you won't have to use any fashion business consulting service. These include
- Spending money on graphic designing, but not overdoing it with things you don't need.
- Spending your fashion designer money on a good photographer, but keeping it limited if you're just starting off.
- Spending money on educating yourself and learning about your money fashion brand and the industry, but don't waste both money and time by trying to do everything by yourself.
These are some of the many ways which will help you in saving your fashion money whenever you're starting a fashion business at any point in your life.
Who will be your key fashion business partners?
To become successful in the fashion business, forming a key partnership, or key partnerships (with multiple companies or individuals) is essential, both to you and your business.
A business partnership, as mentioned, is essential to your business, and many people often have a different business partner definition in their minds.
A business partner, or in better words, a fashion partner, is an element in your fashion business that your business absolutely cannot run without, which is why it is essential to find good fashion partnerships which later aid in blooming your fashion business to the skies.
Fashion or business partners that believe in the work that you're doing, and the ones that genuinely want to see the dream you envisioned come true are a blessing in key partnerships in the industry, and that is the kind of fashion business partners you need to look out for.
After the initial production of your business, there will be a lot of key partnerships to look out for, and these fashion partnerships are what decide how strong the base of your fashion business actually is, and making a key partners business model canvas, in this case, really gives you a rough idea on who to partner with as well.
An essential step in all of this is to always share your vision, your goal, or the dream you have in your mind with your business partners, as it allows the better formation of partnerships with other brands, businesses, and individuals out there.
Make your fashion product development and design process profitable
The product development definitions define product development as the combination of all the design process steps involved in bringing simple fashion design drawings or fashion design sketches through the market release and beyond.
The fashion design industry is quite versatile and constantly changing, which is why having basic questions like "what is design process" or "What is fashion design process?" isn't uncommon.
The product development process or often regarded as the product development strategy consists of several steps which include creating an idea regarding your fashion product, researching about it, running it through the product development stages, designing, and then releasing it into the market.
While this may seem easy, there are various factors that you need to account for the product development of fashion products, the most important of which is to make product development and design profitable for you and your business.
However, if you exercise the following points in the design process of the product, you'll get the most cost-effective product for your business:
- Analyze your sales result after every season's end
- Analyze your competitors and the overall competition in the industry
- Get first-hand customer feedback
- Carefully consider all of your costs
- Make/develop a collection plan
Using these points effectively as you tread in your product development and design will enable you to fully utilize your development while maintaining a cost-effective process throughout the whole strategy!
Fabric sources for your fashion brand- Know what to ask
Getting fabric sources can often be a challenging feat for many that have a fashion brand, and especially if starting new as a fashion business, you'll have plenty of questions like "How much fabric do I need" or "How fabric is measured".
Whether you're a new business in the industry or a veteran, educating yourself in the sourcing of fabric is a vital job for you as the business head.
There are various ways in this age where you can source your fabric, which include using fabric online stores, and going to your local fabric stores for your fabric order.
Regardless of whether you want to order fabric online or get your fabric sourcing from your local stores, there are several aspects that you need to take into account, which are presented as follows:
- Knowing what you need - Before you begin ordering fabrics for your brand, it's important to have a clear path and mind about what you need, like what kind of fabrics you want, the color scheme, etc.
- Knowing what to ask - Asking the right questions when ordering fabrics will prove more than beneficial for you. A series of questions you can often ask your fabric sources include its pricing, lead time, manufacturing country/origin, etc.
- Knowing where to find fabrics - Lastly, knowing where to find the desired fabrics, that will benefit you and your fashion brand, will greatly help in elevating your business's status.
How to find the right pre-production and production partners
The Pre-Production definition defines it as the work that is done on a product, in our cash, fashion products and everything else related to it, until a full-scale development starts, and since it is an essential stage in your product production, finding the right partners in fashion to fulfill your pre-production checklist is more important than you realize.
Starting off, there are many intricate steps of pre-production, many of which are often deemed as complex since all you're doing is trying to find fashion partners for your brand.
However, making the best fashion partnerships and finding the best fashion partners are the initial pre-production steps, and if done right, will find you a perfect fashion partner group that will help you grow your business far and beyond.
Two choices which are generally for the pre-production stage, which is either hooking your brand up with a Full-Service Production Support or dealing with independent contractors and contacting a factory for production afterward.
Full-service support leaves very little room for anything else to be done by you, since all of your pre-production up until final development is handled by a team of experts, depending on who you sign up with.
While on the other hand, you can make deals with independent contractors to get the job done, which requires a lot of bargaining and dealing tricks that must be learned.
After all that, all that is left is to find production partners. Production definition defines this step as the act of manufacturing your required product from the raw materials, and by having a good knowledge of realistic production timelines, good communication, and other aspects, you can overcome this feat as a fashion business.
Create a digital fashion marketing strategy
Creating and designing a marketing strategy for your fashion brand will save you both time and money in the time to come, but the question most often asked by new businesses is "What is a marketing strategy?", which is exactly what we'll be answering.
The Fashion Marketing Definition, to put it easily, states that Fashion Marketing refers to a fashion businesses' overall plan/goal to reach consumers and effectively turn them into profound customers that help the growth of your business.
A marketing strategy plan allows business holders to effectively make use of various platforms to turn potential consumers into regular customers, and since not every platform is suitable for your business, the content marketing strategy helps in identifying areas your business will grow in.
Starting off, knowing your audience online is a fundamental step if you're going to be using a digital marketing strategy, and with the use of digital content that encapsulates ads, videos, emails, and more, you can not only seek who your audience is, but you can also continuously learn how to indulge this specific audience in your business products.
Even so, if you're unclear of your goals, you can always use a fashion marketing agency, where a professional marketing strategy planner guides you regarding the depth of your audience, what your end goals should be and what techniques to use in your marketing strategy planning phase
For a marketing strategy on social media, the best thing to do take a portion of your daily routine and make content in batches, whether that be articles or a batch of photos, that will help you boost your business marketing,
If you're unable to start from bare scratch, you can always use a marketing strategy template to get the juices flowing in your brain.
Choosing an E-Commerce platform for your fashion business
An essential step in starting off your brand on a high note is having a good fashion online website for your fashion business.
The e-commerce definition, or electronic commerce, states that it is the activity or procedure of buying and selling products over the internet
e-commerce has made living easy as you can buy and sell online, right from the vicinity of your house, and since the e-commerce business has widely changed the fashion industry all over, it is essential for you and your business to set up an n e-commerce website for your brand.
Before you begin to set up your e-commerce store, you need to have a basic understanding of how fashion websites work.
Particularly, there are two choices you get before setting up a fashion website, which is either Saas e-commerce platforms or Self Hosted e-commerce platforms.
Talking about Saas e-commerce platforms, these are specific platforms that charge you on a monthly basis while taking control of the backend of your fashion house website, taking a lot of headaches away from you.
These e-commerce platforms have an e-commerce website builder embedded right into them, so you won't have to worry about the development of your fashion website.
On the other hand, Self Hosted e-commerce platforms include software like Drupal commerce, which have to be installed manually.
While you have full control over everything in Self Hosted platforms, you will need a team of professional developers to create a good fashion website design for your business.
Choosing from either of the above options depends on the answer to various questions that you need to ask yourself, which include "What is your budget", "Who is your target audience" and various other factors.
Crafting your fashion business sales pitch
The idea of a sales pitch often scares various fashion businessmen and businesswomen among us, but rest assured, you are not alone.
If you're new to the fashion business industry, you might have the question "What is a sales pitch" or that the concept of a sales pitch in your mind is mostly just vague brand marketing and appealing to people with words, but it's much more than that.
In the uncomfortable process of selling your creations, creating an impeccable sales pitch is a thin line that separates from missing an opportunity and creating a profound link that connects customers with your brand and boosting your fashion sales.
Creating a compelling sales pitch is important, due to the fact that most consumers hear numerous sales pitch on a daily, and delivering a sales pitch that stands from the rest of the noise is very important.
To create a compelling example of a sales pitch, start by telling your consumers how your products benefit your audience, followed by an intricate differentiation of your brand from the rest of the businesses.
Staying on your main target in your sales pitch, offering enticing solutions to the consumers and small examples of your brand's success stories are an integral part of a good sales pitch.
The main goal of a sales pitch remains the same, but the mode of communication can change due to circumstances.
For that reason, you can choose various ways to communicate your sales pitch to your audience, which can be on the phone, face to face, or digital sales pitch.
An important thing to keep in mind is that no matter how good your sales pitch is, some consumers will decline your product. In that case, always thank them for their time with appreciation and respect their decision.
Public relations tips for startups fashion businesses
To start a fashion business, you need to make relations with various other competitors and businesses, and because the competition is fierce nowadays, making public relations in fashion is quite difficult nowadays.
If you don't know already know, public relations definition defines it as a strategic communication that creates beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics, which is why they are of the utmost importance once your fashion business takes off.
According to a fashion public relations specialist, emerging brands, and people who are just starting fashion business can use PR as a way to make public relations with professional and informed shoppers, industry professionals, and others.
To start making fashion public relations for your brand, you need to start making some internal assessments, which are presented as follows:
- What does your brand need before hiring help for PR - When it comes to public relations for fashion brands, the first thing that you need before hiring a PR helping agency is an e-commerce website, filled with high-resolution images, required content, product samples, and a good bio
- What can you do on your own before hiring help - Before you earn a budget with your brand for hiring help, you can start organically initiating your brand with the use of social media and launching discount incentives and sales.
Maintaining social media will aid in opening up your brand to the world, and with added incentives like customer appreciation and sales, your brand will get the attention it needs.
The runway- Should you participate in a fashion week show?
Whether you're a new fashion brand or a veteran in the business, participating in the fashion runway show is a compelling thought that lingers around every fashion designer.
However, before you pack your bags and prepare yourself for the runway, there are a few things you should consider.
Considering your brand
Participating in fashion runway shows is one of the biggest indicators in this industry that points that you have made it as a professional designer and that you have what it takes to be a designer in this vast industry.
However, no matter how established you are, not every product is worth being shown on a fashion runway.
In addition to that, a good fashion runway show can cost anywhere between $20,000 - $140,000, and can even go higher if you're a good brand that wants to outmatch the other brands in the fashion runway exchange.
Even if you're bent down on participating in a fashion runway, you need to establish profound connections, since there are so many costs to cover, which include location, staging, lighting, models, PR services, printing, mailing, and others.
However, if you have good connections with other people, businesses, and service providers, you can pull off a fashion runway on a short budget as well!
Maybe you're not that established to participate in a fashion runway show, or maybe you're a little low on budget.
An alternative to participating in a fashion runway is using a presentation since it's way cheaper and eliminates a lot of man-power required.
Moreover, since editors and designers get a tough schedule during fashion runway shows, many in the community prefer presentations over these shows.
Copyrights and knockoffs
Whether you're in the fashion business or any other, copycats will quickly arise to any business that they see flourishing, and quickly act to take credits for the hard work of other people.
However, as an established business, there are several ways you can deal with such copycats and knockoffs, which are described as follows:
Protecting your designs
While laws in any country will hardly ever do anything to implement a copyright claim on a product you think was copied by your design, you can make sure your designs are protected by creating unique prints and designs.
Moreover, if you think you've made something genuinely unique and interesting, you can also patent for that item for added security.
Look out for good manufacturers
Having a good manufacturer is the key to getting your products protected. You always want to look out for manufacturers with a good reputation to handle the production of your fashion products.
This is because cheap manufacturers often resell your designs to third party businesses, which is how your designs end up being copied by others.
Make your work unique
To ward off other copycats and knockoffs in the industry, the best thing you can do is make your work unique.
This can be done by incorporating a unique business label on all of your products, so it can be differentiated from the rest of the crowd.
Having an easily identifiable brand label will stop most cases of design copycats and knockoffs out there, and will allow you to identify if anyone copies your design or products.
About Alejandro Esparza
Alejandro Esparza is the Co-Founder of smartpatternmaking.com. He is a Fashion Designer/ Professional Pattern Maker/ Technical Designer/ Startup Advisor and acknowledged in the garment industry as authority in pattern making and pattern design process. He has the ability to work with small entrepreneurial companies’ private label customers and large organizations. He has over 25 years of apparel garment industry experience and is a sought after adviser for many top fashion brands of today.
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