Build a sustainable fashion business with these fundamentals;
- Pick your Niche
Is there a current need, a gap that you can fill in the fashion space? The fashion industry might look crowded but there’s always room for a unique offering. What ever line you choose, do your home work; research and develop your unique offering.
2. Have a Compelling Brand Story
The biggest sell for the best brands in the world is their ability to tell compelling and engaging stories. A good story is relatable and evokes emotions. In telling your brand story focus on What Is In It In for me ‘WIIIFM’, me being your audience. Be objective and see things from your audience view.
Build the dramatic tension: (start with the) Problem-(state the what)success-(finish off with the why)solution.
Luxury is an emotional buy, what’s your sell?
3. Create a Mood Board
What guides your design, production and business? What are your values? What is your vision? Answer these questions with texts, images, abstracts etc. on a board so you have a clear vision of your brand. Get the thoughts out of your head and put them on a board so its clear for you to see and for those you work with.
4. Develop a Business Plan (Start with a Short Term Plan)
Business plans don’t have to be daunting, start with something simple that covers the main areas of the business for two years. Set realistic goals, ask the right questions, get the right answers. What are the investments to be made? what are the operational costs? What are the sources of income? What do you need to grow your business? How can you improve your production process? How can you reduce churn and increase the clientele base? Do you have a budget? What is your marketing spend? By how much did the business grow 2018 vs 2019? What feedbacks do you get from your current customers?
5. Use Resources Within Your Means
Fashion is an expensive venture, it can be difficult to get all the wants at once so focus first on getting the necessities and work with what is available and within reach. Be creative, be strategic, do the necessary research, figure out what tools you currently have that can get you to the next level. Reach out to people with the expertise or equipment you need. Look out for collaborators, hubs and join fashion communities that can add value to the business.
6. Invest in Your Business
Invest the time to learn. From your short term business plan decide what resources the business requires to get to the next level and invest within the business’ means. Do you need to attend trade fairs? How do you market to and get new customers? Do you have a marketing/PR budget? Look out for business grants. If a loan is up for consideration be sure that your repayment plan is guaranteed.
7. Get Production and Distribution Right
This being the bread and butter of the business, requires due attention. The goal of every business is to make profit. How would you rate the quality of your products? How do your customers rate the quality of your products and the overall experience with your brand? Is your fashion business profitable? If it’s a RTW, what is the production cycle and how long does it take? What is units produced compared to units sold bi-annually or annually? How are the products distributed? What modes of distribution have been explored; online, retail stores, DTC? What mode of distribution is most effective and efficient? How courteous is customer service? How user friendly is the online platform?