For those who have asked, here are a few insights from my slightly over 4 years of being into fashion business in Lagos, Nigeria (I imagine some apply worldwide too).
1. Business knowledge and Financial cost:
Possessing some business acumen is paramount to launching a new brand. Before you launch, you will need a certain amount of finance to develop your product. This is almost a challenge in fashion business owner’s life majority of the time.
Solution: Have passion, attend relevant courses and training, read up or hire a competent manager while you oversee and review reports.
If you have a chunk of capital, awesome. If not, start with whatever, no matter how small. Perhaps like me, start from your house. First customers are usually family and friends anyway, with social media to allow you sell online while you deliver.
2. Rising costs of production:
Costs of production in the clothing industry increases every day. Don’t be surprised if the costs you have in your business plan is different from what obtains in the market even though you wrote your business plan just two months ago. As more people get into the business, the prices of materials needed for production continues to increase.
Solution: The hard truth is to anticipate the inflation and plan accordingly.
3. Marketing & Sales:
Fashion Trade Shows, Social Media Marketing, Direct Selling, Advertising and Exhibitions are only a few of the many ways to promote or market your brand.
Nobody can guarantee what will work for you. You are the sole person who knows which trade shows (if any), which social media platform or advertising platform will be the correct method for your business.
The best way to find perfect customers and create new ones is by identifying your Unique Selling Point and communicating this key benefit to them.
Your ability to clearly define and focus in on the customers who can most rapidly buy your product or service will be essential to your business success.
If anyone has shown an interest in your products then try to find similar people within his or her demographic.
(See slide on how to define your customer demographics and create products/services to attract them)
4. Sourcing credible manufacturers :
For couture, getting the right fabric goes a long way in making the design a reality.
Also, fabrics that run when washed will be difficult to combine. In Lagos for examples, eko and yaba seem the largest fabric markets. While Aba is said to be the largest in Nigeria.
For retail fashion business, perhaps you import clothes and accessories, you can only have credible sources by testing overtime and feedbacks from clients on how durable their purchase was .
5. Staying up-to-date with the trends:
To keep your clothing company running, you have to keep on turning out new designs all the time and sometimes, you might run into some kind of ‘designer’s block’ where you would find it difficult to come up with unique new designs of your own.
However, you won’t have too much trouble with this when you hire a team of designers to handle the designing aspect of your business. They would be able to create new designs for you. You can also consider buying designs from independent designers.
HOPE THESE HELPED. Constructive comments are always welcome. Cheers
…Images courtesy the internet