Fashion is a lucrative industry. However, the road to becoming a successful fashion entrepreneur is not as easy as it sounds. Before plunging into the world of fashion as a professional, it’s only fair that you have a vivid idea about the way things work within the sector.
What should you know about the Fashion Industry?
- It does not have boundaries that separate high fashion from mass fashion. It encompasses everything – designing, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, promoting, advertising, and retailing of all kinds of apparel.
- According to fashionunited.com, fashion industry contributes to 2 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP).
- 80 billion pieces of clothing are thought to be consumed every year.
The fashion industry consists of four levels – production of raw materials, production of fashion goods, retail sales, and advertising or promotion.
How to start a business in the fashion industry?
In order to start a business of fashion, ask yourself the following three questions:
- Do I really want to start a fashion business?
Running a fashion business would need you to start from scratch – pack boxes at 2 am, steam clothes, and immerse yourself in receipts. In a fashion business, initially, at least, you will have to dedicate most of your time to managing production, employees, sending clothes to magazines and dealing with suppliers. There will hardly be any time for designing. If you are willing to let your life revolve around your business, only then think ahead at this point.
- Do I have the necessary skills? If not, how do I acquire them?
Simply acquiring a fashion degree is not sufficient to run a fashion business. You must also acquire skills like time management, people management, and other self-assessment skills. You must follow an organised creative process that makes the functioning of your business smooth and helps your employees work efficiently too.
- Another important skill to running a successful fashion business is networking. To march ahead in the fashion world, you need to have the right connections. The most important factor that influences your ability to enter the business of fashion is acquiring funding.
- Do I have something extraordinary to offer to the fashion world?
Your business concept should be well-drafted. You need to invest a careful thought process to what you are designing and who it’s for. Being a luxury brand is every fashion entrepreneur’s dream; however, in reality, that is not where you are going to start your journey. Be prepared to design for the masses before you aim to design high-end luxury apparel.
Tips on starting a fashion business
Fashion and design are best friends. However, what brings them together is a clear-cut business concept and the willingness to go the length for your business’ success. Here are some tips that will help you with your baby steps into the fashion industry:
- Networking is the key to your fashion business’ success. It is often said that fashion is a relationship-driven industry and this is usually true.
- Never underestimate creative fashion, irrespective of whether you have a fashion degree or not. The essence of your business is creativity. Do not drown yourself in other business operations and give creativity a miss. Make sure that creativity and design are an essential part of your business idea.
- Keep up-to-date with the constantly changing trends in the fashion industry. Business opportunities only become a hit if they strike a chord with the right audience. Fashion and design has seen a complete makeover in the last decade, owing to the mass digitalization that has swept across the world.
What challenges does a fashion entrepreneur face?
No profession comes with an easy route. With the constantly changing world, it is only natural that fashion entrepreneurs face challenges every now and then.
- Today, the power lies in the hands of consumers. Consumers’ needs should be carefully understood and then tailored into the products you produce. As the population of the world is going high, it is becoming more and more difficult to cater to the needs of such a diverse mass. You must figure out a way to satiate each group of consumers you are targeting, in order to make your business successful.
- Brands are sensitive entities. If a customer care executive does not behave properly, the brand is affected. The failure of a supply chain delivery impacts the brand. In fact, every operation related to the brand, impacts the brand. You will not be able to control every aspect, and hence, you should be prepared to sail through the ups and downs in your business.
- Inventory management is essential in the fashion business. Stocks that don’t sell need to be got rid of. In this case, discounts and sales are the only way out. You need to make way for what is trending, by doing away with the old stock and lesser profits.
How does a degree in fashion business and marketing help you start a business?
Fashion technology has advanced by leaps and bounds in the last two decades. Looking at the growing popularity of the industry, colleges have also come up with fashion courses to cater to the increasing demand. A degree in Fashion Business and Marketing can present you with a wide range of career options, such as –
- Fashion designing
- Fashion merchandising
- Fashion buying
- Fashion marketing and PR
- Fashion production and management
- Fashion journalism and publishing
- Fashion technology
- Fashion entrepreneurship
In order to help students convert their passion for fashion to an up and running, successful business, colleges are now offering high-quality education. One of the premium institutes offering a range of fashion-related courses is the London College of Contemporary Arts (LCCA). The courses offered by LCCA are:
- BA Luxury, Fashion Business and Marketing
- BA (Hons) Fashion Designing
- A short course in Fashion Styling and Photography
- A short course in Creative Fashion Design, and
- A Continuous Professional Development course in Fashion Business
If running a fashion business is your dream, then your dream is waiting to become a reality. Give your career a push by signing up for one of the above courses now!
This text was written by Meghdeep Patnaik and edited by Anisa Choudhary.