FT Special

Your guide to starting your own business in the fashion industry

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Image Source: Pexels.com

Fashion is all about being comfortable in what you wear and carrying it with all that grace and confidence. Nowadays, when fashion is changing everyday, there needs to be a hub wherein one can get every item from the latest trends at one spot. That hub or spot is being provided by fashion startups.

For fashion designers, bringing your idea from sketch to initial sample is often the most exciting stage- developing new ideas into tangible, wearable products.

Launching your own business is probably the coolest and most extreme DIY project out there. Especially when talking about fashion startups, with so many innovative and inspiring ideas popping every day, it’s hard to be the most inspiring and innovating of all. No industry is easy to break into but that is especially true about apparel. While other industries enjoy a 50% or higher business success rate after 4 years, a full 53% of clothing lines will fold by the end of the fourth year. The reason is extreme level of competition, business end and because people are artistic enough to launch clothing lines but not entrepreneurs who understand how businesses operate.

Before launching an apparel line, individuals should consider the following start-up steps:

Plan the business. Any company without a business plan is like a fish without water. The plan should not be lengthy, instead it should only be highlighting key elements of the clothing line’s business strategy. The rough draft should include products overview, operational overview, general company description and executive summary.

Prepare for manufacturing. Where your products will be manufactured and what quality you offer at the initial stages of your business will greatly determine the reputation that you will share with your customers. It is the stage where expenses really mount.

Create your brand. Publicity is great for getting people to pay attention. Internet has done wonders for start-ups, not only as a virtual marketplace, but also as a forum for getting the word out. In today’s media, the right bloggers could be your best allies.. to the end, know the audience you are pitching.

Have faith in your colleagues. Sometimes, the rapid growth of the company can take the entrepreneur by surprise. If it does happen, let the baggage get off a little from your shoulders and spread them out to the experts and employees you have identified for that very purpose. At first it might seem tough to delegate tasks that once you did single-handedly but there comes a stage, when you have to have faith in the people who are working with you, under you, to get the opportunity.

Identify trends, believe in your business. Trends in fashion come and go, but being a company, you have to be updated with the latest trends that are important for your customers and their profile. It’s not about serving everyone’s needs but about finding your own niche to be successful. Believe in your vision, find the right team to go for it, and work hard to achieve it.

Establish the pricing model. Making a profit off the clothing line is necessary to the business’ success. Profit comes from making more revenue than the fixed and variable costs combined. Fixed costs are expenses that have already been invested and cannot change which include equipment purchases, buying facility for business etc. variable costs on the other hand are those expenses which can vary from time to time which include cost to produce different apparel items etc. To ensure profit, the entrepreneur must establish wholesale and retail rates higher than the expenses.

Analyze and adjust. It is all about checking the loopholes that you leave open while marketing, during sales et al. fix those and you’ll have a fine-tuned machine. Efficiency is essential to the business’ survival.


All above tips are some from the whole lot of tips being given by great fashion entrepreneurs around the world after gaining lot of experience in this field, facing the success and failure after starting their own business. Do follow them to have a successful story of yours too.