5 Steps to Starting Your Fashion Business

If you are passionate about fashion, starting your own fashion business is a no-brainer. Who wouldn’t love to get paid to do the thing they love? However, if you’re going to start a fashion business then you need to make peace with the business side of things. Here are five steps to prepare yourself to open a successful fashion business.

Identify Your Niche

Every business needs a unique selling point – something it offers that distinguishes it from its rivals. Whether your clothing business is selling its own custom products or reselling products that are produced elsewhere, you will need to identify what your niche is. Your niche will determine the marketplaces that you compete in.

If you’re designing clothes yourself, think about what your strengths and weaknesses are. It might seem appealing to target as wide an audience as possible in order to maximise the potential sales, but it is much more effective to target key areas, at least initially. You can always expand your offerings later on, but when you are just starting out you should offer a focussed range of services.

If you are going to be selling other people’s clothes, identify the pieces that you are most passionate about and can sell the most effectively. Of course, you need to be careful about going too niche and restricting your audience.

Ascertain Your Budget

Before you can make any detailed plans for your business, you need to know exactly how much money you have available to you. Not only do you need to know how much money you have on hand, but you also need to establish what your income and outgoings are. Most businesses won’t turn a profit until they have been in operation for at least a year or two. If you don’t have any savings to fall back on, it can be risky to be dependent upon the income of a new business.

To start with, work out what your financial situation is going to be without your new business factored in. Once you have those projections, refine them by taking into account how your business is likely to affect them.

Create a Business Plan

Once you have a better idea of what you want your business to do and what it can afford to do, you will be in a position to start putting together a proper business plan. A business plan will prove to be an invaluable resource. Initially, your business plan should detail what you expect your business to achieve over the course of its first year of operations. However, as time goes on, your business plan should be a living document, something you update regularly to reflect your evolving circumstances.

Your business plan should also detail the structure of your business. This means that it should define and assign key roles, and make it clear exactly what these roles entail. A detailed business plan will make it much easier to organise your business and will ensure that everyone is on the same page from the very beginning.

Startup Expenses

Most businesses need to spend money before they can start making money; fashion businesses are no exception. These costs might go towards building your digital storefront, or they might go towards materials and equipment.

It is important that you identify all of your expenses, not just the most obvious ones. For example, if you are planning on selling your clothes on a market stall then you are going to need a van to transport your stock. This means you need to get a vehicle and insurance. Once you have identified what vehicle you are getting, you’ll need to get some quotes together.  You can use Quotezone’s comparison tool to identify van insurance policies that include fire and theft protection, so you’ll be covered if someone breaks into your van and steals your stock.

Branding

Modern businesses will stand or fall on the strength of their branding. You want to choose branding that is distinct and unique amongst your niche. Make sure you are aware of what kind of branding your main competitors are embracing so you can design your own branding differently.

Once you have a name, branding, and a logo, you can then get your social media profiles and main website taken care of. These are essential tools for marketing your business and engaging with your customers, especially during those all-important early days.

Once you have all of those elements in place, you will then be ready to move on to opening your business. It is worth taking the time beforehand to make sure that you have all of the appropriate infrastructure in place and that you are happy with it before you start trading properly. You don’t want to turn up the day before opening to lay out stock, only to discover you hate the spot. Make sure that you understand your tax obligations and you have all your paperwork in order, then try and keep it organised throughout the year.

About Monica Costa

Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums

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