Building a fashion brand is no walk in the park. It takes time, dedication and patience to get your business to where you want it to be. Your fashion brand is your business. But how do you know when you’ve made it? You are putting in all of the work to make it successful, so you should be proud when it does well. However, if you aren’t taking steps to ensure success, then all your hard work will be for nothing. That’s why we have put together some tips on how to build a profitable fashion brand in today’s competitive marketplace! So read on for our top 10 tips and get started building your empire today!
What is a fashion brand?
A fashion brand is any company that manufactures, distributes, or sells apparel and accessories. Fashion brands can range from small independent designers to international conglomerates like the Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy Group (LVMH), which houses well-known luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Sephora, Fendi, Marc Jacobs, and TAG Heuer.
Although building a small fashion brand may be easier than constructing an empire, your success will ultimately depend on what you’re selling and how good it is. There are no hard rules to the amount of growth that has to take place before your business can reach its full potential. Your vision of your business should be versatile enough for you to grow it as much as you want.
Your business has “made it” when the amount of money that you’re generating from your sales exceeds the expenses for running the business – and don’t forget about reinvesting those profits! You should always be growing and expanding because there is no telling where this journey will take you.
Building a fashion brand takes time and patience – things that we think everyone needs – but what else does it take?
Stay true to your vision
It’s hard to stay on track with your goals when you’re constantly changing them. Just like the goals that got you into fashion, they need to be specific and stick with you no matter what happens. Otherwise, they aren’t goals; they are wishes. Goals give direction and purpose, whereas wishes are idle hopes for things to happen over which we have little control. So, make sure that your goals align with your vision – it will help keep you focused as well as allow you to look back through the progress that has been made.
If ever there was an imperative for success, it would be a well-written business plan. Without one, how can you expect to stay on track with your goals? Your business plan should include all of the necessary details about the company, its mission statement (i.e., what you are doing and why), SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) analysis (which is essentially identifying your strengths and weaknesses in order to determine where you can succeed or fail based on market conditions), marketing strategies (knowing where your target audience is and how you can get in front of them), the management team (for obvious reasons!), financial projections (to help you forecast numbers for budgeting purposes), and more!
A team is critical to the success of your fashion brand. A well-rounded team can be everyone from employees who run daily tasks and project outcomes to interns with endless potential and a desire for growth within your organization. Finding people that complement your skillset allows for more efficient decision-making, access to different perspectives on how things should be done, and a variety of other benefits that extend beyond the scope of this article.
While it is possible to build a successful fashion brand on your own, don’t underestimate the strength of numbers when trying to maintain equilibrium in an environment where change happens more frequently than any one person would like it to. Surround yourself with smart people who push you in new directions that you may not have considered before or known were possible. Your employees can be your greatest source of inspiration.
Get some training in the fashion industry
You don’t have to go back to school, but there are certain skills necessary for success in this industry that you might not think about off the top of your head. Knowing how to operate retail software (i.e., POS, Online Store Builders & more), having a strong understanding of market conditions and fashion trends, knowing who is influential within your target audience, being able to identify potential partners with whom to collaborate on things like sponsorships or promotional opportunities – these are just some examples of areas where it will benefit you immensely if you know what you’re doing! Even once you’ve identified those items as improvement points for yourself, don’t be afraid to seek out support from people who excel in those areas! It’s always good to have a mentor (or two) to guide you through the various processes that will pop up throughout your career.
Build an online presence
Once you’ve established a solid brand and produced some good clothes that people want to buy, it’s time to start building your online presence. Find out what current customers think of the pieces they’ve purchased by asking for feedback on Facebook whenever possible. If someone compliments or asks about something in particular that you have for sale, respond promptly with an easily accessible link so that they can get in touch if they’re interested in purchasing it. This will also give other people browsing your page insight into whether others have enjoyed wearing your clothes – increasing the likelihood of them becoming future customers themselves. Build up customer loyalty by giving discounts or free shipping offers to frequent buyers, particularly around the holiday when high-street retailers tend to offer the same deals.
Use social media wisely
Social media has become one of the most important parts of any business’s marketing strategy due to its widespread use amongst consumers who are looking for information about brands they’re interested in buying from. Be sure that you are using all of the different social platforms available to you, as each one has its own benefits and drawbacks. For example, Instagram is great for showcasing aesthetically pleasing imagery that will appeal to your target audience, whereas Facebook is better used to share insightful blog posts that are relevant not just now, but in terms of having a lasting impact on potential customers.
Get on top of your overheads!
It is easy for overheads to creep up on you and overwhelm your budget if you’re not carefully managing them. You’ll need to consider regular overheads like production and distribution as well as longer-term expenses that will become more expensive as your business develops. Take accounting, for example. You’ll need to keep on top of all your expenses in order to help your fashion business run smoothly and within the law. You can invest in outsourced software for tasks like this. Mike Savage of New Canaan developed a system that eliminates bookkeeping and tax preparation issues for small business owners. This kind of technology is worth investing in as it helps to streamline your accounting practices and optimize your performance. That leaves you more time to focus on what you really care about, building your fashion brand.
Build a portfolio
Whether you’re applying for a job or pitching your business to a potential client, being able to showcase some of your work is essential. This means not only having a strong, unique portfolio but also making it easy for people to contact you. In the case of print media companies for example – who are known for their high degree of selectivity when hiring new designers – it may be helpful to have samples of what you’ve been working on in addition to a resume that lists relevant experience and accolades. Websites like Dribbble allow users to share samples of graphic design projects they’ve completed, while simultaneously showcasing themselves as potential hires through their profiles.
You might be thinking that you don’t have time for this, but it’s one of the most important practices to get into. No matter what industry you’re in or what level your business is at right now, there are always new people emerging within the scene – whether they’re buyers, other designers or bloggers whose interests align with yours. Make friends! Establish contacts who can act as both references and referral sources when you need to start reaching out beyond your immediate circle of friends and family for help. Trust us when we say that you’ll want to know these people later on down the road when expanding your fashion brand becomes a necessity due to popularity or demand.
Get your clothes in stores
One of the best ways to get noticed by high-profile boutiques is to get your clothes in stores where a lot of other designers’ products are sold. This means that you’ll need to have a solid business plan that outlines how you’re going to support the retailers who stock your line, as well as logos and images they can share with potential customers if they’re interested in looking at more pieces from your collection.