Our five-pronged approach focuses on your individual strengths to develop your unique qualities towards making you an exemplary pi- designer.
Owning a fashion business requires intensive planning and a well-thought strategy. It goes beyond merely acquiring inventory upfront, displaying and marketing it to sell goods at a profit. Wide margins and a relatively simple business model are the key hallmarks of a clothing line business. As opposed to alternative businesses, clothing line businesses, especially those involving reselling, have minimum risks. If you are a fashion enthusiast and an aspiring entrepreneur, here are a few tips to start a fashion business.
Identify the potent challenge : Successful ventures are born out of a vision to solve potent challenges faced by customers. Hence, identifying the key gaps that haven’t been addressed so far by any new-age clothing line is among the foremost factors to be considered for starting a fashion designing business. For instance, can I choose to specialise in formal T-shirts as they are relatively uncommon at workplaces? Can I introduce online formal wear for X plus size women? These are some of the questions that you should ponder upon.
Begin with market research: Once you have zeroed in on your business niche, conduct thorough research on the size of the market, your potential competition, prominent vendors and your target audience. An in-depth understanding of the target audience is the hallmark of a successful fashion business. Will the millennials be more interested in buying my product, or does it cater to the 40+ age group? Map the interests, behaviour and consumption patterns of your target audience. The market research will prepare a blueprint for your business plan.
Devise a business plan: A business plan will serve as a roadmap to steering your business in a strategic direction. Formulate your company’s vision and mission statements. Break them into SMART goals and your action plan for achieving them. A clothing line business also involves making some concrete decisions. For instance, if you intend to start a formal T-shirt brand, consider if you will outsource manufacturing or prefer an in-house facility? If you decide to outsource manufacturing, identify your prominent channel partners and vendors. Calculate your total input budget and assess your revenue margins beforehand.
Think about product and design: This is perhaps the best area where you can leverage your expertise as a fashion professional. It allows room for creativity, analytical thinking and innovation, and at the same time, will constitute the unique value proposition of your business. Think about how they can be produced cost-effectively. Ensure that you prepare a rough technical sketch and brief your pattern-maker and supplier to give your product the desired shape. Size is another crucial aspect that deserves attention as today's customers are extremely conscious of appropriate fit. You may consider engaging a reputed model agency to achieve fruitful results. Your product should reflect your unique design aesthetic and portray the essence of your clothing line.
Select clothing manufacturer/wholesaler: While there is no dearth of clothing manufacturers and wholesalers, finalising the most suitable one should be a well-thought process. You may want to travel to the manufacturing site, order some samples, or consider meeting the vendor in person. Set your budget and try sticking to it.
Get a brand name and profile: Choose a brand name, a logo and your tagline. Building a website is an excellent start to showcase your business identity, highlight your core philosophy, vision and mission. All elements such as a logo, vision and mission statements should weave a consistent brand narrative seamlessly. The entire process should be complete before you roll out your first batch of products. Get your business registered and secure all necessary clearances and approvals. You may consider hiring a lawyer to take care of these legal procedures.
Develop a pricing strategy: This is vital as it correlates to your revenue margins. It involves identifying the target audience and having an in-depth understanding. Set a realistic price point to cover your total production cost but at the same time doesn't deter your consumers from purchasing your products. According to an estimate, the products should be priced 30-40% higher than the production cost.
Invest in marketing: Investing in the right product at the right price with the right promotion at the right time helps in building brand awareness and recall and boosting sales. Marketing also allows brands to stay connected with customers and cultivate a league of brand loyalists and advocates. It is also imperative to identify the appropriate marketing mix. For instance, if you own an e-commerce label, not investing in digital marketing can weigh heavily on your brand.
Explore investment and partnerships: Collaboration among various stakeholders is key to a successful venture. Explore new partnerships to broaden your horizons and ensure a win-win solution for all entities. Identify what investors may be a right fit for your business. Don't shy from pitching your idea, as you never know when the opportunity knocks on the door.
Focus on Innovation: There is no 'one size fits all' concept in managing a fashion brand considering the dynamic business scenario and rapid advancements. Keep experimenting and tapping new opportunities. The tastes and preferences of customers, technology, and business models change over time. Hence it is necessary to keep yourself updated about the latest trends and undertake a periodic review of the business. Do some out-of-the-box thinking and think about how to do things differently to stand out from the competition.
The acceleration of digitisation and the proliferation of emerging technologies have improved fashion businesses' operational efficiency and reimagined the customer experience. Fashion brands are increasingly leveraging next-gen technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, etc., to offer personalised and curated experiences. Omni-channel models, use of social media and influencers and a focus on customer experience rather than just superior product attributes are some of the recent trends redefining this space.
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