The fashion industry is hugely competitive and very few people make it big. Nevertheless, there are plenty of opportunities to build a successful, albeit smaller business. Whether you are planning to start a clothing line or are keen on working in a non-creative role, here is a guide to setting up a fashion-related business.
Pick a Niche
The most obvious niche is fashion design, but that’s a tough nut to crack without bottomless pockets.
Consider your area of expertise while choosing a niche to focus on. Are you creative? If so, some kind of design business is a good move. Perhaps you could design handbags or other accessories or target the wedding dress market. If designing isn’t your passion, what about fashion marketing? There are also other online niches, such as fashion influencer or fashion journalism.
Once you have decided on a niche, move on to the next step.
Write a Business Plan
No matter what kind of business you plan to build, a business plan is essential. This is a road map for the next 1-5 years. It sets out everything related to the business, from finance to marketing, and is essential if you need financial backing for the business.
Use your business plan to decide how you want to build the business and what direction it will take. The plan might change – in fact, it probably will – but it is an excellent starting point and a useful tool for checking whether the business is viable.
Suppliers and Manufacturers
If your business has a design element and/or you need to source materials, now is a good time to start looking for suppliers and manufacturers. Use this period to create and test your products. Look for companies that can produce the product within budget and at the right quality. Decide whether you want to flaunt your eco-credentials by using local suppliers and locally sourced materials, or you prefer to prioritise cost by using overseas suppliers and manufacturers.
Get on Top of the Admin
Dealing with admin is a significant part of running a business, albeit a boring one for many creatives. In the early days, it is sensible to be as organised as possible. There will hopefully be a time when you can delegate all this to someone else, but for now, keep up with the accounts and filing, and make sure the bills are paid on time.
Set up a home office where you can keep all your admin and files in one place. Look at Lenovo home office laptops and speak to an accountant for advice on business structure and bookkeeping.
Build a Brand
The next step is to build a brand. Create social media accounts and start posting content. The more followers you can attract on social media, the more successful your business will be when you are ready to launch. It is a good time to build a website, too, even if you are planning to be primarily a local business.
When launch day comes, give yourself a pat on the back. Even if the business doesn’t survive the first year, the skills you learn can be applied to your next business venture. Good luck!