Hope you’ve been having a great day so far. Mine has been client meetings and fabric shopping.
So I’m starting a series on the blog called
How To Start A Fashion Design Business.
So many people would love to start but probably don’t know how or have the money to start especially in a country like Nigeria where no premium is placed on getting a fashion education. I remember when I wanted to start out fashion design as a business, I didn’t have the skill or even the capital. I’m still learning and I’ll love to share from the bit I know about starting up. In this series, I’ll be discussing topics that include how to set up shop with less (or more), getting appropriate skill set, getting and retaining clients, I’ll be telling my story and I hope someone could learn something.
What most people assume – Fashion design is all fun and glamour, you’ll get to make clothes for celebrities and you’ll be popular.
Reality – Running a fashion business means that packing clothes or doing adjustments at 2 am, steaming clothes over and over again. You will likely spend less than 10% of your time designing, while the rest of the time you will be managing production, sending clothes to customers, stylists, dealing with suppliers who want their money (now), dealing with clients, begging, managing your employees while hoping they don’t fall ill, and trying to eat and bathe in between. You will eat, live and breathe your business 24/7. If that doesn’t turn you off, then keep reading.
For me, I just grew into the fashion design business, I learnt mostly on the job. I started without a clearly written business plan, no capital, no budget nothing. I made mistakes and learnt there’s a better way to start, planning.
I’ve written down a list of things you should have on your check list if you want to start a fashion design business.
– Create a name.
The name, 7th Avenue was created by my sister and her friend. They thought numbers were a good idea and figured 7 was a cool and luck number.
– Write a business plan.
– Develop your budget.
I’ve not always been the best money planner. I had to learn on the job and even, I’m still learning.
Make sure you add a budget for photography and advertisement especially. That was one mistake I made or maybe I just didn’t have the money.
Graphic design, rent for the store, insurance, power/water, stock, clothing racks/hangers/display units, etc. and such items as lighting, cash registers, card payment facilities, carry bags, advertising, etc. You’ll also need money for staff and cleaners (if you’ll be starting with any) and most importantly, create a budget for your personal salary. This will help you in saving your remaining profit, trust me.
– Decide if you’ll be doing the design work for yourself or if you’ll be getting workers. Eventually though, everyone needs workers/ help. You’ll find out as your business expands that you can’t do it all on your own.
– Decide your niche.
Are you most interested in haute couture, ready-to-wear, fitness/leisure gear, the mass market? Each has its advantages and disadvantages that you’ll need to explore before reaching your final decision on which pathway to pursue. Within these major fields, you’ll also need to decide on a few sub-set areas for your fashion design.
– Get educated about the business side of fashion. I had to take online marketing and business courses on Coursera to sharpen my business management and money management skills. I’m still learning, I learn from my mum, my friends, business books, I’m still taking online courses as well.
It was fun having this chat with you, I’ll be discussing about getting appropriate skill set in my next post on this series, make sure you stay posted.