starting a fashion brand

What does it really take starting a fashion brand? Do you really need to spend 6 weeks in development? Why can’t a factory just make what I want if I have a sample? We talk with new fashion entrepreneurs every day. A huge portion of my job is educating fashion entrepreneurs about the process. So, when initiating first contact with potential partners, keep each of these 5 things in mind. 

#1 Why are you starting a fashion brand? Who are you?

This is probably the most important question to ask yourself before doing anything else. Why are you starting a fashion brand? What are you selling? Who are you?? Once you’re able to answer those questions, you’ll be able to pitch your brand to anyone. And you should pitch your brand to everyone.

#2 Know what you are wanting to design/create.

This may seem obvious, but knowing what you want to design or create is actually more uncommon than you might think. Do not go into the fashion industry because you want to be in the fashion industry. If you want your own collection, than sit down and figure out what that collection will consist of. Is it two t-shirts and one short? Is it two dresses and a skirt? What do those items look like? Have a vision of what you want your garments to look like. The more information you are able to produce, with as clear and concise of vision as possible, the better you equip your partners to create to your vision. This also, usually, means that you will get a better price, as they aren’t having to guess what you want, and you typically go through fewer revisions. It’s all about saving time and money.

Having a defined vision is key to starting the process, however don’t feel that you are married to it. Allow experts to give suggestions. Their suggestions usually allow you to save money on construction during production.

#3 Quality, Low-Cost, Quick Turnover… Pick two, because that’s all you get!

Triangle

This is probably the best piece of advice I’ve ever received. You can either have wonderful quality at a low-cost, but it takes a bit longer, or you can have low-cost and quick turnover with low quality, or you can have a quick turnover with high quality, but you are going to pay for it. You never get all three. They simply do not exist. So honestly ask yourself, if I had to pick two, which are the most important?

#4 Know what goes into development, and how vital it is to your success.

We’ve all heard of Kickstarter. If you browse one of the discover pages for more than two minutes and you’ll probably see a few hundred prototypes. Each are at different stages of development, but you get to see a “rough draft” of their project, while asking for your support. Just like tech, for a collection to be success, it has to be developed before production. There are three things you need in order to move into production.

Each of these three work together to provide a complete package for a manufacturer to work with. This goes for whether you are doing 20 or 2000 pieces.

#5 Know the terminology!

Starting a fashion brand is all about assimilating into the industry.  You want investors and factories to take you seriously. So, know the terminology like the back of your hand. Research, research, research. I know, I know. You’ve decided on starting your line and want it to be done sooner than later, but if you don’t know the terminology than you very well could be shooting yourself in the foot. You’ll still get there, but you’ll be limping the whole way. This ties into tip #1 and #4, if you don’t know what you need, or what it’s called, then how are your partners supposed to know? If you are serious about this, than you need to put in the time to know the industry. Not only will each step become substantially easier, you will give your partners more peace of mind while working with you.

 

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