Posted: Thu 24th Feb 2022
Starting a fashion business can be very rewarding, but also demanding, as you'll need to juggle many balls to get the business launched and trading successfully.
Research and planning is key. With the large amount of competition out there, it's essential to have a business strategy in place, and clear brand positioning. It's also important to take a step-by-step approach when establishing a fashion business, to avoid overspending early on.
Our new free guide, How to start a fashion business, covers everything you need to know about setting up a fashion brand and breaking into the industry.
Below, we give you a brief taster of the useful advice and support the guide contains.
Things to do when starting a new fashion business
Create a business plan
A business plan is your personal roadmap outlining your goals, visions and objectives. You don't just need one for raising finance. It will be central to your business's development and a useful tool to measure your progress against your forecasts and targets.
Work out your start-up costs
You need to know how much finance you'll need to start and run the business until it begins to generate income.
Don't forget to include the cost of:
your sample collection
any special equipment needed
your marketing and website
any deposits needed for rent and/or utilities
Check out your competitors
Don't be afraid of competition, as it proves there's demand for your type of product. You can learn a lot by analysing a competitor's business model, and it'll help you identify what your own unique selling point (USP) will be to differentiate your label from other, comparable brands.
Create a strong brand
Branding is central to the way the public perceives your label. Your customers should develop an emotional connection, and brands that create a strong identity across all their communication channels are the ones most likely to endure.
Trademark your brand
However, before you invest in trade-marking your brand collateral, use the government's company name availability checker to make sure someone else hasn't registered your chosen name already!
Other guides in the series
Understand your target customer(s)
Create a profile for each type of potential customer, including demographics, shopping and lifestyle habits. This information will be useful when creating your product range and will inform your marketing strategy.
If you're selling at wholesale, analyse the buying patterns and brands stocked by the retailers you wish to sell to.
Plan your collection
It's tempting to get carried away when designing a collection, but for the first few seasons it's better to offer a tight, focused selection rather than try to please everyone. It will be easier to produce too.
You can diversify and expand once you've built your reputation and have sales history to base decisions on.
Start looking for manufacturers ASAP
Often the hardest part of a fashion business is finding factories to produce your samples and production.
It can take time to identify suppliers that can meet your requirements, but until you do, you won't know if you can produce your products at a cost that lets you make enough of a profit margin.
Keep a tight control on your finances
Monitor your cash flow regularly. This will help you foresee any potential problems and allow you to find solutions, rather than suddenly facing being unable to pay your bills or suppliers.
You'll need all the help you can get, so think about joining groups where you can meet and forge collaborations with other like-minded designers and entrepreneurs.
Always carry business cards with you and always ask people for theirs, so you can start to build your own database of useful contacts.