Today is a little bit of a special post from us, and one that we’ve been getting a lot of requests for. While we are passionate about all things jackets and blazers, we also want to write about things that motivate and inspire us, and our journey of starting a fashion business along the way, and maybe help some others out there who might want to start their own clothing line one day.
The first thing we’d ask you to consider might seem a bit of a bummer, and that is, is this what you really want? It is very vogue at the moment to be an entrepreneur, but a small business takes a lot of time and work, and it is a lot of responsibility. You have to really enjoy every element of the business (including the not so sexy parts like accounting, shipping, etc). Starting a business can be stressful, lonely, and not to mention capital intensive, so make sure it’s really something that you want.
Secondly, you might like to consider having a business partner. As they say, two heads are better than one, and having a business partner really keeps you motivated and on track and on the beat. Whether they’re your silent partner and maybe take care of the business side while you take care of the creative parts, or the other way round, having a business partner can really ease a lot of early business stresses.
That all being said, if you have an idea then give it a shot. It’s easier now than ever to see if there is demand in the market for your product. Sites like Amazon, Etsy, and Shopify, enable you to put a product online with relative ease. So if this is something that you think you might like then try it out, what is the worst that could happen?
Now onto the good stuff! Your product idea!
Clearly if you’d like to start a fashion business you have an idea for a product that fits the market. Fashion is very unique because your product can slot into one of two categories, and each are equally viable to approach a market with:
- The first category is the good that solves a problem. You’ve identified for example that there are no good brands that make vegan sportswear (as an example) and you’re going to be the only person out there to provide them. Problem solved. An example here of brands that solve problems would be Lulu Lemon, or Nike.
- The second category (what makes fashion so great) is you just have an idea for something aesthetically pleasing and you desire to bring your designs to life. These products don’t necessarily solve problems, but they add value in their aesthetic contribution to the world. People like Alexander Wang fall into this category.
Whatever your idea is, brainstorm, write it down, think it out and plan it.
Uh oh. Now comes the hard work. It’s time to do your research.
Now that you have your idea, you can simply just get started on it, but, you might be better served doing a bit of research. If you want, for example, to fill a gap in the market for yoga clothing, then you might be shocked to discover that Lulu Lemon does indeed exist, which might throw a spanner in the works.
Go online, and scan the web. Check out places like Pinterest, Instagram, Google, and Twitter, and search for your product with targeted keywords and hashtags. See what people are saying, see if there is a need for it.
This research is less valuable with products that are simply your creations or ‘artwork’ (category 2 above), but it still helps to do your research and have a general understanding of the Fashion landscape that you are entering and trying to operate in. Figure out what exists out there that is similar to you, and how you are going to set yourself apart.
Lastly, refine your idea.
With all that research that you’ve been doing, you now probably have a better idea of what exists out there and what doesn’t.
If, for example, you’ve taken approach 1, then maybe you have discovered that vegan non dairy yoga clothes do exist in Australia, but they don’t in London. Maybe you can do some research and figure out who is the supplier for these clothes, and find some examples from the Australian market. Now you’re way better equipped to approach your own market.
If you’re more artistic, then maybe you’ve discovered your market niche and have a better idea of your range of products. Maybe red dresses are more fashionable at the moment and so that is where you’re going to start. You probably have a better and more refined idea now of what you want your brand to look like and where you want it to fit, and this will help you decide how to stage your first collection.
Hurray! We hope this has helped inspire any of you who are thinking of starting their own fashion brand or business! We have to give credit here to one of the greatest websites and resources we have found for teaching us about the fashion world: http://www.createafashionbrand.com, run by our friend Vicky.
If you’re curious, how we got started was identifying our love for jackets and blazers, and starting there. We then did some research online and found that really the only place where you could get good quality but feminine jackets and blazers were either the fast fashion chains (Zara, Club Monaco, Massimo Dutti- which we still love), or Chanel. We wanted to create a unique and beautiful line of jackets and blazers at a price point where they are inexpensive, but are still high quality and look much more expensive than they are. We also wanted to have a little fun with the designs and create cute pieces that really don’t exist anywhere else as they have all been hand picked and designed by us. In this way, we’re really a combo of the two types of fashion business we spoke about above above.
Next time, we’ll be talking a little more about identifying potential customers and product creation and we can’t wait, but we hoped you enjoyed this little introduction to our world. Honestly, we are just skimming the surface here as there is so much to learn. Once again, check out Vicky’s site for all the information you’ll ever need. If you’re someone who is serious about starting a fashion brand as opposed to someone just reading this out of interest, it is hands down one of the best resources out there.
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