Starting any business or fashion line is difficult, especially for those who have limited experience in the business world. The majority of emerging fashion startups fail, but you can avoid that fate by being aware of the most common mistakes new fashion entrepreneurs have made in the past. Here are 6 of the most frequent mistakes we have seen emerging designers make.
1. Assuming a Design Idea Will Translate Into a Good Private Label Product
Remember that an idea on its own does not guarantee a strong business. Simply imagining a product in your mind doesn’t always mean that it’s viable and able to be executed. There are a plethora of amazing ideas, but making one a reality is easier said than done.
We advise emerging designers to start off small by producing a small product offering – something simple like t-shirts or a one-size-fits-all item like a handbag. Over time, you can build up a broader offering of your own private label products.
2. Not Doing Your Fashion Trend Research
One of the biggest problems emerging designers make is that they don’t research the present trends to see what their target customers will buy. Styles change nearly every season of the year, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on present trends. This applies not only for garment styles, but also for the material being used to manufacture certain products.
3. Not Understanding Your Customers
Designers who fail to do enough research on current fashion trends usually also fail to develop a clear understanding of their chosen target customer. Often, designers make their market very broad, focusing on all genders and ages, but we advise you to narrow your focus. Strategically, this will allow you to build more customized ads and color schemes to attract the most ready-to-buy customers than having a broad market and expecting everyone to check out your fashion line for the same reasons.
4. Not Accepting Feedback
It can be hard to accept feedback over designs that you invested a lot of time and energy into, but informed advice can be extremely helpful in understanding what types of products people will invest in and manufacturers will consider manufacturing. While it’s important to believe in your designs and talent, not seeking out feedback can potentially lead you to failure. Don’t be afraid to learn from the experience and interests of others.
5. Lacking Business Systems
When launching a fashion line, you have to be an entrepreneur as well as an apparel designer. This makes it really important to have a project management system to manage your schedule, tasks, finances, and marketing plans for your line. Systems like Asana and Airtable make it simple for emerging designers to manage the behind-the-scenes of their lines.
It can also be helpful to input your potential customers into a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. This will allow you to easily track each lead’s interest over time in the evolution of your offerings.
6. Not Having a Digital Presence
With the majority of businesses moving online, it’s especially important to have a digital presence. Take the time to create social media accounts on the platforms that are most used by your target market and create a professional website. While it may be okay to start off with a “free” website, it can look unprofessional in the long term and doesn’t make customers feel confident enough to spend their money on that platform.
Amulya Agrawal is a student from Missouri who is passionate about writing and creating creative content. She is currently a Content Marketing Intern for MakersValley and hopes to inspire designers with her content. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and advocating in her community.