We belong to an ambitious generation of millennials that believe you haven’t “made it” until you’ve made it on your own. With a fresh crop of entrepreneurs growing every day, one can’t help but wonder what goes into starting-up a venture from scratch.
Fashion schools often prepare us for the creative process of design – they fine-tune our skills, help us create a portfolio and teach us thing or two about marketing. What they don’t prepare you for are the finances you need to raise to get start your business started. From brand licensing and registration, to renting a workshop, hiring tailors and pattern cutters, as well as the cost of production – the amount of money needed is usually always double than what was imagined.
Aspiring designers usually believe that one must have pockets that run deep and come from familial privileges in order to be able to start-up a label, but there are other sources of funding available. While bank loans may be an unsettling option for some, bringing on an investor might just be the best solution. If your brand stands behind an ethical cause or promotes sustainability, crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Ketto can help you raise the required amount. Alternatively, Myntra is reviving a fashion incubation programme that aims at providing 10 small brands with technical, design and financial support, targeting about US$500 million worth of business from them in the next five years.
Creating a business plan is imperative to the funding process – it’s the essential blueprint that defines the structure you’ve intended for your brand and guides you with the steps needed to reach your goals. Most business plans summarize your vision for the brand, consist of a situational analysis, financial breakdown and implementation method.
Find Your Shopper
Once you’ve backed your business with sufficient cash flow, the next step is to let your product do the talking. In the initial stages, consider studying your emerging competitors and run a check-list on how you plan to do things differently – tap onto what they’re lacking and create a demand for it. The best approach to this is to think from a consumer’s perspective by doing your market research. Consider buying a little black dress for instance, there are numerous brands offering the same style, but the unique ones will standout somehow – it could be the fabric they use, the finishing, or the way it’s lined, but ultimately, it’ll be the price-point that’ll decide it’s fate when compared to it’s competitors. Understanding the consumer’s psyche and how they shop is imperative to generating sales.
Consider testing the waters with a small sample collection showcased through the means of a private trunk show by gathering a diverse group of strangers to attend it. An interactive social experiment like this will help you understand your target clientele – the age group alone will feed you with enough answers to gauge at how big the market is for them and understand their needs and expectations from your product.
Making Your Presence Felt
There was a time when guerrilla marketing strategies required you to get up in people’s faces, lately it seems as though the only way to do that is through a digital presence. Compared to the pre-digital age, brand recognition is relatively easier today thanks to free social tools at the reach of our fingertips. Social media can be your best friend if you’re about to launch a new business. Unfortunately, with every free offering, follows a saturated lot of people posing as brands. The key to standing out in this crowd lies in content creation – quality over quantity – a brand could have 500k followers but that doesn’t mean that it makes 500k in sales every month. Engaging your audience by adding your brand’s personality to every post you share is key to building an identity.
Budding entrepreneurs are now re-writing the rules by concentrating on creating a robust fan-following first and aiming at fashion week much later. Aside from participating in local exhibitions, collaborative pop-up shops can be a great alternative to spread the word whilst splitting the cost – find a local event space and join hands with one or more start-up brands from different genres and offer your customers something exciting to look forward to.
The Ultimate Algorithm For Success
We live in a transparent age of over sharing – referencing from libraries, drawing inspiration from unique travels, museums and architecture are now a rare practice in design development. Social transparency has brought about disheartening counterfeits along with creative recycling of original designs. With easy access to designer runways across the world, customers are already aware of what’s out there and are on a constant hunt for brands that are authentic.
Developing an original concept or product will come back to you tenfold in unexpectedly rewarding ways – brands that have integrity and stay true to their aesthetic are ultimately more profitable and successful.