The fashion industry is one of the industries that is filled with creative talent. But the creative and business aspect of this industry is undoubtedly far off from each other. It is not necessary that a creative designer will surely do well if he/she decides to start a business. Surely a fashion designer can have his/her own profitable and successful business but the necessary skills required in both these cases are quite complementary to each other.
Being a fashion designer and having no experience as a business owner can cause you to make some fatal mistakes which not only hampers your future growth but might even destroy your business completely. Having a gift in creative skills do not necessarily translate to great business expertise.
There are certain necessary steps that every aspiring fashion business owner should take before starting a business.
Get the right qualifications –
You may have the skills but getting an official qualification is always better. The required qualifications depend upon what role you want to play in your business. If you want to focus upon the designing process then having a degree in fashion designing will surely help. Whereas if you want to concentrate on the marketing or promotional end of the business you should consider getting a degree in commerce.
Getting a degree in the respective field is always good as it helps you to plan out your business model beforehand. You also get to learn a lot during the degree course as it ensures that the whole startup process is comparatively easier. Degree in fashion designing will help you to get a grip on the creative aspects of the process while the commerce degree will help you to get an insight on the actual process of starting and growing a business from scratch.
Know your business –
The biggest mistake new business owners make is expanding their business in every direction they see fit. This is one of the biggest failure points of a new business. Just like any other field, fashion designing is a vast field. You need to narrow down your expertise and product designing prospects to a small section, at least for the initial growth period of your business. Start with the stuff you are experienced and comfortable with.
For example, if you have experience in designing shoes then you should start with shoes only. If you are good with accessories then you should start with them. This model proves to be helpful for new businesses as it allows you to get a grip on the market and affirm your business model with the market requirements and trends. It also allows you to make a name for your business in the early days itself, which is very helpful in expanding your business later on.
Identify your target audience –
When starting a new business the first thing you want to do is to identify which part of the audience you want to appeal to. The most common downfall with new business owners is that they try to appeal to as many people as possible when pitching for their product. This might seem a good step to increase the profit margins but it not only increases the rate of failure but also requires too much work on the manufacturing and designing side which is not possible for a newly started business.
The best option is to target your product for a particular group of audience and market your product accordingly. For example, if you are making designer shoes for women, you need to research and target the particular age group of women who will be interested in designer shoes. There is no point in targeting men if you are producing shoes for women.
You can know your audience by researching and doing surveys on your targeted customer group and design products based on the feedback you receive. It is strictly advised against, to assume any of the requirements without doing proper research on the actual requirements that the customer wants.
Setting up the price –
One of the biggest reasons why most new brands fail is due to a high cash burn rate and improper money management. Cash flow is one of the most important issues any new brand faces. Lack of funding dries out any resources the brand has and forces it to shutdown before making any wave in the market.
It is always advised to maintain a realistic account of how much money is required and how much your expenses are. Poor management of resources, especially money can be the ultimate reason for a business’ downfall. Try to keep a accurate record of your expenditures such as employee salaries, manufacturing costs, raw material expenses, supply costs, packaging and logistics expenses, etc.
In the early phase of any company, it is hard to earn any profit, so the best thing you can do is to minimize the amount of loss you face. Having a financially realistic timeline can help you to get an idea of the time frame which will be required before your company starts making any profit.
Go online –
This point can’t be stressed upon enough. It is very hard for a new brand to physically expand to multiple locations in a very short time. Putting your business online not only increases your targeted customer base but also helps your business to reach more geographical locations which otherwise would take years. This also makes it easier for your customers to buy your products and to leave their valuable feedback.