Do you live and breathe fashion? Would a career in the fashion industry suit your style and aspirations?
For fashion enthusiasts, a career in fashion might be the ideal job; an opportunity to influence society and change the way a nation dresses for the day and evening. Starting your own fashion business can be a daunting prospect.
Here’s some tips for for aspiring fashion entrepreneurs from Julia Grinham, CEO & Co-founder of Upper Street, the made-to-order luxury British shoe label where you can design your own shoes:
1) Be unique.
Fashion is a really competitive industry. You may be passionate about your idea but you need to be sure it’s going to get noticed by consumers. Stand out in the market; make sure your product or service fills a real need and is different from the competition through its design, function or the way you sell it.
2) Know your numbers
You’ve got the great idea, but you’ll need to figure out how to make the numbers work to create a viable business. Understand your product margin, adding in packaging costs, shipping and taxes then make sure you’re generating enough cash to keep the business running. If that means getting investment to make it work, then be open to that.
3) Create a business plan
No business started without a good business plan. Do your research and build a good understanding of who your customers will be and who you will be competing against for their attention. This will be also essential if you’re looking for investment or plan to borrow from the bank to get your idea off the ground.
4) Building a fashion brand doesn’t happen overnight
Most brands we’re familiar with today have taken years to become household names.
5) Keep abreast of industry trends and news
Understanding the outside forces that will shape your business will help you make informed decisions. Subscribe to daily industry email alerts and then set aside 15 minutes over a morning coffee to flick the headlines, taking a deeper dive into the most relevant stories.
6) PR is invaluable
Endorsement from the fashion press helps give your brand credibility and gets your message out to consumers. Expect to spend a lot of time on this activity.
7) Show your product in the best light
You may have the most fantastic product but customers won’t have confidence to buy if they can’t see it properly, or it’s not desirably presented. Investment in decent product photography will be money well spent. If you’re selling online, multi angle shots and zoom functionality both really help to make the sale.
8) The customer experience is everything
Your customers are your most important assets and your best allies. Look after them. Make sure your product quality is excellent and your service stands up to the “Would it delight me?” test. Give your customers an amazing experience and they’ll be sure to come back and also tell their friends.
9) Cultivate a strong personal network
There are so many wonderful characters who have plenty of great advice and stories to share. Building and nurturing relationships can open many interesting and often unexpected doors. This can really help you get ahead, especially when it comes to securing creative partnerships.
10) Believe in yourself
Don’t let the naysayers derail you. Whilst it’s important to stay open to constructive criticism, you’ll find yourself tugged in all kinds of directions if you let yourself always be influenced by outside opinion. Have a clear vision, trust your instinct and determinedly pursue that dream. -
Reference: The Next Women