Have you ever thought about opening a clothing boutique or launching an online fashion business? I would love to share with you all my mistakes when building my own fashion brands over the years, how they failed one after another after another, what I've learned from those adventures, and new knowledge I've acquired from business and marketing coaches.
I don't have all the answers to success, and there is most definitely no shortcut, so you'll probably still make some mistakes. But mistakes are learning lessons that get you closer to where you need to be. All multi-millionaires that got there through business will tell you that there will always be trials and errors, and it takes dedicated time to keep testing and learning to see positive outcomes. As Marie Forleo says, "Unicorns are more the exception, not the rule".
Read on to learn the Do's and Don'ts of Building a Fashion Brand! Even if you're not focusing in the fashion field, most of these tips also relate to launching your own business of any kind (including style blogging! because if you expect to gain financial success, you should treat it as a business)
Here we go!
DON'T do it for money
Money will come, obviously, since you're building a profitable business, but that shouldn't be your main and only reason to start this path. If you do, you'll lose faith and interest as soon as things start looking down.
DO have a purpose
Bringing values into launching a business will keep you and your team focused till the end of time. Plus, having an important cause that your fashion brand supports brings attention to it aaaand loyal fans!
Here are two examples of fashion businesses that give back:
Abury - For every hour spent producing their products, an hour is given back to education for women and children. They have also expanded so much over the years that they have more socially conscious projects in the works and coming.
Pura Vida - All their bracelets support artisans in Costa Rica, and they have a whole shop section dedicated to various charities, from animal rights and environmental causes to cancer and health to children's and women's empowerment.
DON'T GO in without a plan
If you don't sit down to write what your vision and branding style is, or you can't decide on something with your partners, your idea will be scattered. People won't connect to your fashion brand and won't be motivated to buy.
DO DECIDE on what you envision
I'm not talking about a full step-by-step detailed business plan, because you might not know what you need to know when you start. What's important is to decide: who specifically you want to sell to (not a general group, an actual person - Here are two articles on how to define your target audience and great examples of target customer descriptions), what your fashion brand's personality will be, what products you will start with (if you already envision where you want to expand, write those products on a separate list, because you want to start small first), where you will sell online and/or physically, and how you will spread the message. Once you know these, you won't clash with your partners vision, you will be guided on what to do next, and your audience will remember you.
DON'T SPEND a ton of money to start
The myth behind fashion brands is that you should have at least $10,000 to start. WRONG! Completely and utterly wrong, especially for us broke folk. Yes, investing money brings more money, but there is a smart way to launch a fashion business. Even some millionaires that actually spent thousands to make and sell their products failed and lost money, just because they didn't do this step below.
DO TEST before selling
I can't go into full details here, because everybody's ideas are different, but the point is to test your ideas through research. Today, there are tons of online mockups of clothing and other products - from individual sellers and mockup focused businesses - so there has never been an easier time to sell anything before actually spending and making actual products. If you're interested in selling your own fashion designs, though, you can start growing an audience through your illustrations. Then, with both mockups or illustrations, ask fans what they love or don't love about your ideas and how much they would pay if they would buy.
DON'T PUSH products
New fashion sellers (or sellers of any kind for that matter) focus too much on putting their products in people's faces as much as possible. This will not only repel any potential prospects, but it will also annoy viewers. People don't like to be sold to! and they especially don't go on social media to buy, they go to connect and be inspired.
DO INSPIRE and provide
The biggest lesson I learned is that people are touched by stories, crave to connect with people, and love to feel helpful. Instead of always talking about your products all the time, include things that might be useful or inspiring to your audience. Don't just talk either, try to get thoughtful interaction from your audience on what you share. You can also go one step further from regular fashion brands by supporting an important cause like mentioned above.
DON'T EXPECT everything to go right
Nothing in life worth having is ever easy, so don't be afraid to to make some mistakes along the way.
DO LEARN from your mistakes
As I mentioned in this posts intro, look at failures like steps that get you closer and closer to success. I highly recommend you check out "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill to open your mind to this perspective. Don't be afraid or ashamed of your business mistakes. These will teach you what works and doesn't work, so that you never do them again. Imagine it this way - if there are 100 potential ways to do something wrong, if you do 10, now you only have 90 left to go. Once you do all 100, you reach success, and a new set of potential mistakes will lead the way to the next a higher level of success.
It might sound fun to start a fashion brand, and you might think that just by posting your products online people will find you. The truth is that it is a lot of hard work started through research. Get ready to live, dream, and breathe your business. You will have lots of definitely fun days and lots of very boring stressful days. But you can do it!! Everything is possible, especially when you are bringing in a totally different perspective, background, style, and personality than other people doing the same thing. In today's world, being unique is beneficial <3
P.S. I'm a huge fanatic of Marie Forleo (Business and Life Coach), so I'm sharing with you some of her business-related interviews that are must sees!