While CEOs and middle management in a number of industries are spending every moment of free time bemoaning the so-called “labor shortage,” workers from those same industries are beginning to see this period of trial and scarcity as what it is: an unparalleled time of opportunity. What’s more, these businesses that are having a hard time finding people to staff their low-paying jobs have only themselves to blame.
The first wave of the pandemic forced businesses in many industries to adapt rapidly and ineffectively, as workers were either laid off in scores or sent out to face the public without adequate protection. Amidst a world-altering disaster, working jobs that are high risk with little-to-no benefits and a lower hourly pay rate isn’t exactly an ideal situation for anyone: and so these disgruntled workers took it upon themselves to leave these jobs en masse, pursuing better jobs with higher pay and solid benefits. Some are entering entry-level positions in the career field of their dreams, while others are taking it upon themselves to make those dreams happen, starting their own small businesses.
If you’re reading this, then the chances are that you’re interested in leaving your current job and building your own fashion brand. Starting a successful brand from scratch takes grit, a willingness to sink in a lot of sweat equity, and a firm knowledge of the field and the areas where current products are lacking, among other factors. Not everyone who attempts to enter the field will be successful, as fashion is a highly competitive, almost cutthroat industry: it takes a lot to survive and thrive amidst competitors that have been established for much longer, and not everyone is cut out for the role.
However, if you’re reading this, you’ve decided that fashion is the field of your choice, and you have a product that you believe in enough to go to bat for it. You just need to know what your next steps should be: and regardless of the odds, you owe it to yourself to try. As such, this guide aims to give you the fundamental information you need to launch a successful fashion business.
Enough talk. Let’s get into it.
Build Products You Can Believe In
Before you even think about starting to make your passion a business, you must first have an idea of the niche you can serve, the area that is not already occupied or the problem not already being addressed by big fashion companies. Whether the product in question is a new type of bathing suit that provides the perfect intersection of comfort and style, jeans with pockets that are deeper than half-an-inch, or dresses that are meant to accentuate the figures of plus-size women, you have to have a product you believe you can market effectively.
When you take this product to the design stage, don’t be afraid to get creative with the materials you’re using, the color schemes involved, anything you can use to stand out. You can also get a custom-label company like Wunderlabel to craft high-quality, branded labels for your products: outsourcing small things like that might help you save some money in-house, in addition to helping increase the quality of your product.
Develop a Business Plan
You have a choice as to your target market, as well as where you aim to get your products: do you go for a smaller market at first, launching your products on a platform like Etsy, or do you aim big and try and get into stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom? What kind of price point do you plan on putting each article at? Once you have a destination in mind, as well as a target audience, you can chart out the steps you have to take to get there, as well as begin designing a marketing campaign aimed at that audience.
At this point, you should also be looking for a manufacturer that will allow you to produce your clothing in quantities that will allow you to develop a proof of concept. Once you prove that your product is viable, you can then look for an investor that will help you scale up your operation, as you’ll likely need more capital than you have on hand to take your business to the place you want it to be. Look for an investor that shares your vision for your brand, preferably one with connections that will help you get where you want to be.
While this is by no means all you’ll have to do to survive in the world of fashion, you’ll pick up the rest as you go along. This should give you the foundation you need to get started, to develop the proof of concept needed to scale up your operation bit by bit, giving you an edge over designers without that information. The goal is to build a brand with novelty and longevity: follow the above steps and take further steps with due thought, and you’ll still be around while your contemporaries are trying to stay afloat.