If you have all the ideas ready in your mind, maybe now you’ve decided to take the plunge and build your own clothing business. You know what you want to sell and who you think might want to buy it but do you know any more than this?
Here, we look at six things you might not have realised when it comes to starting your own clothing line and six things you certainly need to consider before you begin.
You Don’t HAVE to Be a Fashion Designer
If you’ve been held back so far from your great idea simply because you’re not a professional designer, this one is for you. You don’t have to be a fashion designer to launch a successful label. If you’re not, a strong idea, business acumen and an instinct for great marketing can be the attributes that lead to a fantastically successful business (with the help of some important and skilled partners).
If you’re not a fashion designer yourself, there are ways around this when building a fashion business.
- Bring in a fashion designer
Make one of your first hires a fashion designer to create the garment ideas for you or partner up in a business relationship with a designer who also wants to launch a brand.
- Work with a freelancer to translate your ideas to designs/tech packs
If you have the ideas but not the technical know-how, you can hire a freelance designer to come on board when you need to translate your thoughts and ideas into illustrated designs, which can then be made into factory tech packs.
- Opt for wholesale
You can cut out the designing factor altogether by creating a fashion business buying from wholesale companies.
It’s OK to Start Small
Starting too big and without focus is often the downfall of a new fashion business. You’re not going to be able to do everything well, so it’s always best to start small, perfecting one area and scaling up from there. The idea of starting small refers to both product area and several more business aspects:
- Product lines
Attempting to start with too many product lines can lead to lack of focus, brand identity and ultimately unsold produce and wasted funding. By starting small, with just one or two key products, you can perfect your business model before scaling up.
Never try to please everyone because you simply can’t. Focus your business around a key target customer and you’ll be able to create products and marketing campaigns that really speak to them.
- Budget –ish
Although need a certain amount of funding for manufacturing and marketing, you can start smaller than you think. Focus on a key product and perfect your online marketing skills, which will hopefully raise enough profit to drive scaling the business.
- Social channels
It’s best to perfect one solid social channel that you know your key customer uses than to hold six accounts and copy and paste generic content onto all pages.
You’re Going to Need Help
Thinking you can launch a new fashion brand all alone could be seen as either brave or naïve. Possibly both. To create a successful business, you’re more than likely going to need to partner up with experts, from manufacturing to marketing.
Accept that you can free up crucial time by outsourcing business tasks, such as time-heavy processes like book-keeping and social media. From technical specifics to virtual assistants, you’ll need to figure where to best use your time and where to outsource.
Most entrepreneurs don’t also happen to be sourcing experts, so use the help on hand from platforms like Sewport.com, who can connect you with the professionals you need. From design to clothing factories, on Sewport, you can find trusted partners to help build your fashion business.
You NEED to Sample
Sampling is an important and necessary part of the brand building process and one that should not be underestimated or ignored for several reasons:
- Your ideas might not translate
Seeing your idea or design come to life confirms if your design works in the flesh. The garment might not work the way you initially imagined and it’s always better to find out sooner rather than later, particularly before you’ve instructed a run of 300 units.
- It gives you reference
Sampling gives you the confidence that the factory knows exactly what they making and that you’re happy with the final item. It also gives you something to compare the final product to for quality control, which will be crucial.
- It can save you money with mistakes and misjudgements
Samples can save you money in the long run by avoiding costly manufacturing mistakes later down the line.
You Can’t Just Use Free Social Media
Many new fashion start-ups believe they can create a free social media account and the followers will come causing sales to kick off. Unfortunately, where this used to work, these days, it doesn’t. Only 2% of your followers are now seeing organic content posted on social media channels, which proves that when it comes to marketing your brand, the social sphere is all about paid advertising.
Despite What You Can Find Online, It’s Not Easy
There is an awful lot of information out there on the internet explaining how easy it is now to start a business, and in particular a clothing line, with all the free resources available to you. However, if you think it’s going to be an easy journey, you’ve certainly got it wrong. With 90% of start-ups failing, success is hard to come by, which means working hard and remaining focused is now more important than ever.
You need to hone your skills. Whether you’re a fashion designer, a marketer with a bold idea or simply an entrepreneur with a vision, you need to upskill as much as possible. Learn and practice everything you can to become knowledgeable in every area of your business, ensuring that you’re never left waiting for partners or staff to give you answers. There is a plethora of information available online, so make sure you make the most of it.
If you’re not paying someone you need to become a pro at selling online which means knowing what makes people click onto your site, how to make them stay, how to make them buy and how to make them come back. Not easy.
Many designers don’t have this part of the process in their current skillset but it’s so important. Start taking online courses and learn how the ecommerce world works and you’ll start to give yourself a much better chance