Practical tips for launching your fashion start-up
It’s currently London Fashion Week, a city-wide celebration of fashion, including the London Fashion Week Festival for the public. This industry calendar highlight showcases the creativity of London and the UK as a global centre of fashion excellence. It’s a time for inspiration and innovation – which undoubtedly leaves many attendees raring to start fashion businesses of their own.
Whether you’re inspired by Jimmy Choo, Hackett, or Boden, or here is our list of practical elements to consider when launching your fashion start-up:
Create a business plan. The world of fashion can be volatile, but with a clear direction, you will avoid many potential potholes. A business plan should be written, and include an outline of what your business will do, the current state of the market in which it will operate and the big one, finance… How will you fund your business and make money?
Know your market. Understanding your audience is a huge part of making sure your business will be successful. Consider from the outset who will you be selling to, where and how? An excellent way to start is by creating a buyer’s persona – a representation of your ideal customer, their needs and wants.
Insure yourself against the unexpected. From public liability cover to broken devices, insurance helps you keep your business in operation, whatever lies ahead. While we’re not the people to turn if your workspace floods, O2 customers can get a free screen replacement, so if your phone breaks you’ll maintain a sleek, professional appearance and be able to work on the move.
Get community support. We recommend joining a network like Enterprise Nation, which is free if you are an O2 Business Customer, to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs or a business incubator like the Centre for Fashion Enterprise. The British Fashion Council, which runs London Fashion Week, also are a vital source of business support.
Craft your brand. On a theoretical level, a robust and healthy brand increases its brand equity by having a consistent set of traits that a particular consumer segment enjoys. On an emotional level, the clothing brands we choose to wear become an extension of who we are and how we express ourselves. Therefore, it’s important to ask, what will you stand for? What characteristics will your brand exude? Above all, keep it consistent, or you may start to alienate your target market if your brand has a personality transplant every three months.
Finally, think efficiently. Efficiency is especially crucial to a thriving fashion business. How can you optimise your processes – from operational to design – for the best result? We think the nuts and bolts of running a business are the perfect opportunities for you to express your creativity.