Published on 29th August, 2019
In 2018, the fashion industry contributed a massive £32 billion to the UK economy. That figure alone shows the scale of competition that you’d be up against. But that’s definitely not something that should put you off.
If anything, that figure should spur you on further. The support that millions of fashion brands receive around the world shows that it’s possible for brands to make their own way within the industry.
Working within the fashion industry is a desirable feat. In the movies it’s portrayed as glamorous parties, beautiful models and wild parties, however, for the majority, it’s nothing like that. It’s hard work, long hours and a whole lot of passion but it’s so rewarding when it all comes together.
This post will explain everything you need to know about how to start a fashion business and will include top tips on how to continuously grow your brand.
Setting up your own business in any industry can be daunting. However, due to the incredibly competitive nature of the fashion industry, it’s completely normal for businesses to feel intimidated and a little overwhelmed when first starting out.
Don’t worry, this is completely natural.
The industry is difficult to break into. And due to the nature of trends coming and going, when businesses do get their moment in the spotlight it’s never for long.
Before starting your fashion business, you need to be aware of everything that the industry may throw at you. You should also be aware of the role that’s expected of you as the business owner.
A lot of your role will be spent multitasking and managing your time effectively. As the owner, you’re responsible for setting the business up and managing the raw materials and fabrics. You’re also responsible for drawing up a business plan, finding a manufacturer and managing the expectations of your customers and suppliers.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be mega-rich to start your own clothing line. Not every photoshoot has to feature the likes of Kylie Jenner and Miley Cyrus, you can carry them out in cost-effective ways too.
When starting your own clothing line, you firstly need to identify a market need for your product. It’s pointless creating a product that the market doesn’t need, the demand for it isn’t suddenly going to appear out of nowhere. Successful products are catered to a demand from the market.
For example, Jacamo was created from a need for plus-size men’s clothes within the market.
You need to know your target market inside and out. Once you’ve identified the target audience that you’re going to approach, you need to get into their frame of mind and think about the products they’re going to be interested in. Not only this, you need to think about the way in which they buy and the struggles they’re currently facing too.
Find a factory that you can trust. Ideally, the factory will be local so that you can visit often. You’re relying on your selected factory for your production, so you need to be able to rely on them heavily. That’s why you need to take this decision seriously and make sure you make the right choice.
To come to grips with the industry and the market that you’re entering into, you should research your favourite brands and companies. You should visit the websites and brick and mortar stores of these brands to get a real feel of their brand and the way they go about their business.
This is just the start of the research that you need to do.
You need to think about how your brand and style is going to bring a breath of fresh air to the current market. Why are people going to choose your brand over the current ones dominating the market? For example, is it your price point or your unique designs?
As we mentioned earlier, you need to know your target market. Who are you designing your products for? Why are you designing them? Think about the value that your products add to their lives and why they’d buy your brand in the first place.
The last part of the research phase is the prototype. Firstly, you should sketch your designs out on paper or digitally to generate your ideas of what your product is going to look like. Once you’re happy with the designs, it’s time to bring them to life to show potential buyers.
The equipment that you’ll need to invest in will depend upon the product range of your fashion business and the expected growth that you’ve forecasted. The bigger the business, the more equipment that you’re going to have to buy to cope with customer demands.
No matter what style of fashion you’re targeting, there are certain items of equipment that you won’t be able to survive without. These are:
Nobody is expecting your fashion brand to be making your clothing garments with a needle and thread in hand. The turnaround times would be incredibly impractical and unrealistic. A sewing machine is a must-have to make quality products. Depending on the size of your business, you might need a number of these.
Embroidery is a staple throughout many different fashion styles. It gives a regal impression and makes the product look classy, as opposed to a transfer that can cheapen a quality garment. Crests and lettering are often embroidered on clothes due to the durability and longevity of the method. An industrial embroidery machine is necessary for the intricacy and detail that embroidery requires.
You’re going to need to buy a wide range of materials to cover all the range of your products. Materials will differ in prices, with some being far more expensive than others. If you want to create a product that oozes class and quality, you’ll want to avoid the cheaper materials.
You should have an in-depth knowledge of which materials to buy and what quantity you require for your products. The last thing you want is too much excess material or not enough.
Creating your business plan is key to helping fund your fashion business. One of the main purposes of your business plan is to present it to banks and investors for a loan or grant. It also outlines the main objectives and long-term goals of your company.
Your business plan will contain your budget and the financial forecast of the evolution of the business. Depending on how your company develops, you can adapt and change the plan to see fit, as and when. There are two main ways that your business can be funded:
These aren’t the only two ways to fund your business. If you’re lucky enough to have family or friends that believe in your business, they could invest some cash into it. Or some organisations can offer grants and sponsorships to new start-up businesses.
Without the proper marketing of your products, your fashion business will never reach its potential success levels – if any, that is.
In modern times, social media holds such a valuable place in today’s society. So, you need to utilise it to your advantage. However, you need to be careful about how you approach it. Just like a target market, each platform has it’s ideal demographic that uses it, so you should reflect this in your approach.
For example, Instagram is a great platform for small businesses to show off their products. It visually allows you to promote your brand and services across your profile. However, it’s a hard place to drive sales as the platform doesn’t allow live links in image captions currently.
If you’re opting for a multi-channel social media approach, you should update your content regularly. Make sure that the content is different across all platforms, as the information is absorbed differently from channel to channel. Also, listen to your followers and take on their feedback.
You don’t need a massive budget to effectively market your products. In fact, there are plenty of free tools that you can use to make the most of your marketing. The key across your marketing is consistency and transparency, modern consumers value both of these.
Your equipment is one of the most important factors within your fashion brand. Without the right equipment, you can’t turnaround the products efficiently. And if you’re not able to do that, people will go elsewhere where they can get their garments quicker.
It can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to the right equipment for your start-up fashion brand. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve created a free comparison guide that can help you choose the right embroidery machine for your business.
Download it below today.