Starting your own business is exciting, starting something creative is even more so. Imagine your designs on t-shirts and hoodies everywhere! However the old adage still rings true, fashion is fickle. Starting your own business is tough but if you’ve got a good idea, you’re passionate and you’re determined then you can succeed.
1. Start with a great idea
This should be obvious but you need to get really honest with yourself. Ask yourself what you’re offering and if anyone else is offering it? Be honest, do you need to tweak your design to make it stand out more?
Develop several designs that will typify your brand. However later down the line don’t be too stubborn. Adapt your clothes based on customer feedback and demand.
2. Get prototypes made
Once you’ve finalised designs for between 5 and 10 pieces get some prototypes produced. Prototypes are useful for you and for potential investors. You’ll be able to how the product looks and make any necessary changes to the design while investors will find it easier to trust something tangible.
3. Find investment
Do your sums and work out how much money you need to raise. Sometimes by starting out small you can begin the business with just your savings. Once you’ve got something to offer customers then you can set up advanced orders and use the capital to fulfil the orders.
Other ways to raise capital are to secure a bank loan or try crowdfunding- a system that asks for small donations from lots of people to get a project up a running.
4. Start out small
You could get a contract with a printing company to print your designs. However big printing companies deal in mass produced products which means you would need to place a very big order to get the best price. Additionally you may not get the printing effect you thought you wanted.
Alternatively invest in a small amount of screenprinting equipment yourself and scale up as required. If you don’t already have experience in screenprinting then take a course and practise practise practise.
5. Get online
A website and a small amount of social media knowledge are the most powerful tools in marketing today. Without them your business relies on word of mouth, selling locally and purchases from your friends.
A good website is worth the money but if you’re still testing the waters and still developing the business then make use of cottage industry selling sites like Etsy and set up a business page on Facebook to promote your wares.
Make videos to share on YouTube, tweet updates and follow fellow fashion players on Facebook. Don’t forget to tie all these things in together. You might find it easier to use a content curation platform where you can control all your social media accounts from one place.
6. Contact stores
Selling online means you don’t have to pay out overheads on a physical shop. However a presence on the high street will help people get to know your brand.
You might be surprised but Topshop stock clothes from a lot of small UK designers. Big websites like ASOS, while not on the high street, could also boost your exposure as shoppers will see your clothes while browsing.