8 Tips For Startups.
There is no end of conventional advice for fashion startup businesses, but no reason why you should follow conventional thinking at all. In fact there is every reason why you should not think conventionally if you want to be successful.
The whole point for starting any business is that you are offering something a little different.
Just Do It.
This is your one and only DO tip for anyone thinking of starting a fashion brand. Stop dreaming, and start doing – Just do it.
1. DONT Manufacture Abroad.
Whatever you do, dont be tempted to manufacture abroad. It is only economically viable if you are manufacturing large quantities. Even then it is not worth the risk unless you know exactly what you are doing, or are working with someone you trust who does.
Once you know what you are doing, by all means do look at the possibility of offshore production. Sometimes it is by far the best option. And we will be happy to help you with our advice and services.
2. DONT Start With A Large Range.
Learn the ropes by starting with a capsule collection with just a few sizes, and small production runs. Learn from your small mistakes before increasing the number of styles and the quantities.
3. DONT Worry About Branding.
You need to be aware of building your brand identity, but it does not need to be fully formed from the outset. Let it form slowly and naturally.
You may not know what you really stand for at the beginning. Or you may think that you know exactly what your brand is going to represent. But usually brand identity develops and changes over time. It needs to be both natural and genuine. You cant fake it.
OK, the big brands may know exactly what they are from the day of launch. But they have enormous amounts of money available to employ all the talent they need. They employ the people who have the qualities that their brand represents.
The important thing is to get your brand out there. Give it time to settle in. You can then gradually develop the brand identity as you learn more about what your customers want, and what direction you want to take.
We offer a fashion brand identity workshop, so that you can learn all about branding while you are putting together your first collection.
4. DONT Be Preoccupied With A Tech Pack.
Garment tech packs are totally misunderstood by most startups and many fashion industry professionals. For large established businesses they may be essential, but for the average startup they can be a complete waste of money if not done professionally.
We do provide a highly professional garment tech pack design service. We would be happy to discuss if you need one, and if so, what form it should take.
5. DONT Borrow To Start Your Business.
Lets face it – Unless you are a brilliant salesman, or you have a fantastic product, few people are going to want to invest in you if you have no track record and no experience.
The fashion business is, in any case, not considered a good risk for potential investors.
If you do manage to get crowd funding, or a government grant, then of course you should pursue that option, but dont hang around waiting to be handed easy money.
Get your business started, and some experience under your belt, then you may well be able to persuade the right people to invest in you.
You will be far more careful with your own money than with someone elses. And only spend what you can afford.
It can be tempting to borrow in order to finance your business. Credit cards are an incredibly easy way to borrow quite large amounts of money.
This is rarely a good idea. In the days before easy credit, you would need to convince a bank manager that you had a viable business model. The bank would decide whether they could take a risk on you and your business.
6. DONT Bother With A Business Plan.
Dont be obsessive about a business plan, but do work out your costs. When real banking returns, banks will again look for a convincing business plan before lending to new businesses. For now credit is so easy to get that the banks do not care about your business plan, or whether you succeed or fail. Private investors, of course, do care about these things.
If, on the other hand, you want government funding, you would just need to comply to their criteria. Spend your own money, and save your soul.
As an update, in January 2021, the financial system is in the process of collapsing, and will probably take several years to resolve itself. A new, and very different financial system will emerge from this. In the meantime the advice remains the same.
7. DONT Aim For Perfection.
Perfect is the enemy of good, so dont aim for perfection. We often have clients come to us with a small collection, or even a single design. They constantly change the design because it has to be the one perfect design.
8. DONT Listen To The Experts.
Dont listen to all those experts who suggest five tips, or seven tips, or ten tips for starting a fashion business. Follow your own instincts. You just know that only 8 tips is the way to go.