Lets set a backdrop with a short story, shall we? The Christian folks like to believe that the genesis of the gazillion and one eternal predicament of human beings was the fall of the first man. Maybe, maybe not. Most important to us is that in their story, he was naked, and he didn’t feel ashamed. When he fell, he realized his nakedness and was sorely ashamed. He hid behind trees to cover his nakedness. Hiding behind his finger, the Creator found him and in compassion sewed fig leaves to shield him from the brash weather and the shame he had brought upon himself. Somehow someway, beforehand, the weather was not supposed to be harsh and hurt him, but I guess that’s a story for another day. Anyways, how to start your own clothing line was birthed.
I have done my homework. Upon painstakingly studying the short biographies of over twenty top fashion designers with successful clothing lines, you should listen to me! Emphasis on painstakingly, as no one ever wants to read biographies! You’re welcome.
No, I won’t bore you with a list of a thousand and one things you need to do, and worse still, not do! Youll be able to figure out all those on your own once you’ve digested these. Dive in!
1. Don’t Start Without Previous Knowledge of Any Form
Don’t start without previous knowledge of any form. You can take a deep breath now! Absolutely ludicrous is the fact that many folks plunge themselves into the treacherous waters of the fashion and clothing industry without any life jackets.
Lack of adequate knowledge of the business and its technicalities can make fools gold of the gold mine you stumbled upon at your backyard. In essence, the fashion and clothing industry is not to be entered simply because you’ve got a bucket load of cash you have no use for.
Never fully enter the industry as an absolute novice. Be in the system! Calvin Klein attended the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan. Although he enrolled but never graduated, he attended the New York Fashion Institute of Technology. Are you still in awe of why he is a fashion giant today?
Ralph Lauren studied Business at the City University of New York albeit he dropped out two years later. Fashion and Clothing lines are businesses after all. He then worked as a salesman for a tie company; got the hang of the tie industry, and birthed his brand into existence. Go and study something, then drop out! You’d have studied something at least.
They say bad examples drive home the point stronger. Lets put the life of sweet old Tommy Hilfiger on the radar, shall we? With a supposed natural talent for drawing designs, Tommy used his life savings to open a clothing store after working in one during a summer holiday. Despite its initial success, he went bankrupt in less than seven years. But for the epic failure, he wouldn’t have enrolled in classes on commerce and fashion business. Need I say more?
2. Don’t Wait Too Long
Don’t wait too long. I don’t mean to confuse you but the idea that there will ever be a perfect time to get things done due to sufficient enough preparation is more fantasy than wishing upon a star. As wise as it is to make inquiries, it is simply pathetic to try to live your life without making any mistakes. While the inquiries you make a guide you better, they do not eliminate the possibility of mistakes. Ultimately, different strokes, different folks!
You owe some of the clothes in your wardrobe to Tommy’s bravery. The then young man used his life savings for something with little to no surety of success. If you have been waiting for that perfect time, it will never come. Put to use the knowledge you have garnered. Make that mistake, and learn the things no teacher anywhere will tell you. Become better for it. Or not.
3. Say No To Unnecessary Versatility
A wise man said one time that if your eye is single, your body will be filled with light. Consequentially, you are the epitome of darkness when your eyes are numerous as the holes in your bathing sponge! The mono and multi-numerated eye analogy represent being all over the place. Imagine chasing even just two rats at once. You are sure to lose them both.
The idea here is this: focus! While a lot of the big names in the industry have now diversified into production of male and female and unisex clothing, and even jewellery and perfumes, they never started that way. From a wide variety of options, choose the clothing styles that you find as strengths. This is highly important, as ingenuity and innovation of styles become seamlessly easy. With periodic new styles, you remain ever relevant in the industry, and never at the mercies of some hired tailor or designer. You are your boss!
Regardless of the popularity, your chosen speciality might appear to lack, with the required drive, passion and innovation, you can make a cynosure of it. Write your name in the sands of an uncharted territory!
4. Have a Business and Marketing Plan
How do you intend to run a business without a plan successfully? It’s like travelling without a GPS when you don’t know where you are going. Your business plans have ingrained in them the vision for your business, and how you intend to attain them. It contains everything from the type of designs, to the style of design production, to the method of sales, to the mode of salary payment to workers, to profit percentages, to insurance policies, and just about everything a successful business should hinge on.
No, you are not expected to be able to draw up a perfect business and marketing plan yourself. Pay a professional. Sit with him, tell him what you want, listen to his advice, and let him draw the ideal business and marketing plans up for you. A notoriously metamorphosing industry, your business plan should be highly flexible, allowing rapid conformations to the ever occurring changes.
5. Starting a Clothing Brand
Of what good would it be for you as a designer to have amazing designs if they do not have a name to ride on? The brand word seems to scare a lot of people, but its no biggie. Simply name brand clothing and give them a signature. Although a fantastic concept, your brand name does not have to tell a story particularly. It really could be anything. They are your designs after all! In an attempt to be as popular as what they project their designs will be, many designers name their designs after themselves. Why not? Choose a new name for your business and register it immediately. This ensures that the name is not reusable by any other designer in the business.
6. Publicity and Marketing
If this is not in your business plan, it is not one! No matter how good your designs are, they won’t sell themselves! Clothes, no matter how amazing, don’t speak for themselves. You should speak for them as their designer with unrelenting publicity.
Good publicity is simply invaluable. It puts your brand on the map and makes the whole process worth your while. The purpose of owning a business is to impact value and make some money anyway. Utilize every means there is. Spare no dollar and pay handsomely to have your designs publicized in the places that matter. Pay a good photographer to take pictures of hired models in your designs. Pay to enroll in fashion weeks and related shows. Keep pushing your brand everywhere along with marketing in social media until it begins to receive the level of attention it deserves.
7. Start Small Scale
You should never start your business on the level of the end-vision you have for it. In essence, never start large-scale! It makes no sense to test the depths of the waters with both feet now, does it? That’s the idea! Manufacture a few designs at first and test them in the market. How fast do they sell? What reviews do customers have on them? Did your sales strategy work?
These questions and more give a personal review that can be used as a springboard for a better outlook upon the next shot. If for instance, you experience absolute rejection from the market, it would be a cushioned blow since it was just a test run anyway. Never start production masseuse until you’ve continually recorded highly successful small sales.
Go get them!