How New Designers Can Succeed in the Fashion Industry

MakersValley Blog | How New Designers Can Succeed in the Fashion Industry
Anna Spaugh

Anna Spaugh

Did you know that the U.S. Small Business Association estimates that 50 percent of all new businesses fail within their first five years of operation? Businesses fail for many different reasons and some of those reasons vary on the type of business. The fashion industry is very competitive and there are so many things that you need to keep up with as an emerging fashion designer to gain success. So how do you avoid adding to the percentage of failed businesses and making it to your sixth year and beyond? Well, there is no magic formula, but these tips can help you see your fashion brand through its first few years.

Should You Be Keeping up With Fashion Trends?

Fashion TrendsBecause you are a new fashion designer, you will need to be careful choosing what fads and trends to follow. New fads will always appear, however, if you follow every single one right now, you will burn out yourself and your time and money by chasing every fad and trend that comes along.

This does not mean that you can’t design and follow trends at all. But pick the trends that you are able to manage right now – only those that fit your brand and your budget – and you will have a much smoother time.

Another important reason to exercise caution on trends is that you are not an established brand yet. If you have lots of new trendy designs, consumers will likely gloss over you in favor of brands that they already know. This is because consumers don’t have a relationship with your brand, and they tend to buy habitually. Once consumers know the types of clothes you carry and you have earned their brand loyalty or earned fashion cult status, then they will be more inclined to buy from you for trends.

Plus, some of the trends that come along may not work with your brand style and the clothing you design, so your shop could end up looking unorganized and confusing to shoppers.

Stellar Customer Service Stands Out

Customer Service

Without consumers your brand wouldn’t go anywhere. You are not only selling your brand and designs, but also your service. You want to avoid negative reviews or word of mouth, especially when you’re starting out. If your customer service doesn’t match the same quality and value of your designs, consumers will shop elsewhere.

Communicate and Network

Communicating and Networking

Make sure to have an open dialog and communicate well with your manufacturers and any team members with whom you work, and network with other designers. You don’t have to force friendship, but definitely do not be disingenuine. Fashion is competitive and competition will help you grow, but don’t take it to the extreme and make enemies.

You want to have good relationships with everyone with whom you work because it adds to your credibility and gives you a network of resources. Good relationships with other designers can also earn you future design collaborations and features.

Why the Quality of the Clothes Matters to Your Customers and Your Bottom Line

Quality Clothing

Many different things help clothes sell; one of those is quality fabrics and trims and working with an expert garment manufacturer. When you are looking for and choosing your manufacturer, bear in mind that the quality of their work is what will or won’t help your brand last. If you choose to head down the competitive fast fashion route, it will be harder for your label to be memorable. If something is done the right way and the product is quality, consumers will spread the word for you.

There is no need to carry every type of clothing. Having more inventory options doesn’t guarantee you more sales or brand loyalty. In the beginning stages of your business you want to show consumers why your fashion brand is better than others. It might be slow at first but this is the time you are building relationships with your customers and laying the foundation for your fashion brand. That will show the difference between you and other brands and help you succeed.

Focusing on the quality of your products will also help you reduce expensive costs, such as overstock, inventory management, returns of faulty clothing, and the overall sample/production waste. Once you really understand what products sell best, you will be able to expand.

You’ll catch and miss many curve balls on your fashion designer journey, but creators of any type of art learn along the way that the quality of the content matters much more than the quantity.


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