Starting your own business is not an easy task, especially a fashion business. It’s an exciting, daunting and sometimes overwhelming venture, but most of all rewarding. The fashion industry can be a tough cookie to crack but with the right strategy and plan you can run a successful clothing business.
Here we take a look at the top 7 things to avoid when starting your own fashion business.
Not identifying your target market
While it’s great to want as many people as possible to buy your products, to start with, it’s better to narrow it down in order to increase your success levels. Your target audience may be dictated by age, gender, income, location, interests or a myriad of other factors. Think who is likely to buy your products rather than who you would want to buy them.
Think about what your customers would want rather than what you want
Is there a need for your product out there? Does your clothing solve a specific problem? Solving consumer problems is a great business foundation, so consumers need your products rather than just wanting them; they need to buy it instead of just a desire to buy. If you can’t identify an immediate need you could also create a lifestyle that consumers want to buy into through demand generation marketing. Demand generation aims to grow your audience by bringing in new customers and introducing them to your products. This is not to be mistaken with lead generation which is more focused on converting prospects into the sales stage.
When starting a clothing business you need to have stock to sell but it’s important to get the right balance. As you’re a new business you technically don’t know what will sell. To get around this, do your research, research your competitors activities and talk to your potential consumers. Nowadays limited edition seems to work far better than being able to get the product whenever a consumer wants - customers want something exclusive that not many people have. On the other hand, there is also a need for variety to attract customers; a variety of styles to fit different bodies and alternative colours. We always advise start-ups to commence with the minimum quantity available for each item which can be between 100-200pcs per design per colour. As a general rule, the more sizes you have the better as it creates a more inclusive brand.
Your product will not sell itself
It’s time to put on your sales hat and sell, sell, sell! Your product and business are completely new to the industry and not many people will have heard of you (yet). You have to constantly be pushing your brand out there, spreading awareness and generating a general buzz around your new products. A great way to spread awareness quickly is getting influencers and bloggers on board. Social media is a powerful tool, reaching thousands of people from all over the world and this should be one of your first points of call.
Fashion is a highly competitive industry and it’s all about making your brand stand out amongst the crowd. What makes you different and why should people gravitate towards your brand over competitors? It’s about cutting through the noise. You’ll have to put the work in to gain consumers' trust, which may take some time, and the fashion industry is constantly evolving so adaptability is key.
Not pricing products accordingly
It can be tempting to want to price your products cheaply to attract as many consumers as possible, but that depends on the products you’re offering and to who. You could be missing a trick by pricing them too low and people automatically thinking they will lack quality. To set your prices it’s important to add up all your costs first then add your profit margins on top. Look at what your competitors are charging and consider where you would fit in the market. As a start-up you need to position yourself as an affordable but also independent designer brand, don’t compare yourself to a high street retailer! They can afford to buy a lot more stock than start-ups and therefore their manufacturing costs will be a lot less, and that is if they produce their stock ethically.
Doing everything yourself
You are only one person and cannot do everything. If you can allocate tasks to different people this will not only help your workload but benefit the whole business. To start with it might be a good idea to use freelancers on rolling contracts so there’s no commitments. Bringing in people with a different set of skills will also greatly benefit your business strategy. It’s always a good idea to get different people’s perspective on things as they may see something in a different way to you.
Do you want to start building your own fashion business? We can help you from design right through to manufacturing. Book your free consultation today here.