Every budding entrepreneur thinks they chose the hardest industry, tech start up’s, services, etc. Seriously now… in fashion, we have it the hardest. Fashion really is bitchy, unrealistic and not as glamorous as it looks. On the other hand, it’s exhilarating, fun, unbelievably creative and an industry full of inspiring men and women.
I founded StephieAnn in 2014 but never sat myself down and pondered…. ‘Is starting a fashion business really right for me’
Here’s a few questions to consider before you make the big leap.
1. Really think why do you want to do this?
If it’s money….maybe reconsider. You must have an unshakeable self-belief and truly love designing, risk taking and creative thinking. You must love it so much you’d be prepared to:
- a) Only allow yourself max 5 nights out a year
- b) Work on bank holidays, on holiday, weekends, till 11pm and even…Christmas day
- c) You love it so much working on Christmas day would actually be a present to yourself
2. Who would your dream customer be?
Knuckle down and do some serious research. What do they look like? What do they wear? Where do they shop? What media do they interact with – social, magazines, bloggers? Look at your competitors. Who are their customers? Are you able to reach your customers?
If you can answer these questions – top marks! It sounds like you’ve thought this through and not only concentrated on product design.
3. How do you want to run your business?
Do you want to be a designer/maker? Do you want to keep it small, are a control freak like me? Or do you want a team around you? Do you want to sell a small quantity of luxury goods, or have mass sales with less expensive items? Where do you want to live, will this fit in with your current situation?
Running a business can take over your life, but it’s important you keep control and be true to how you want to live your life.
4. Unique Selling Point
A buzz word but you’ve got to have something – it’s more important than you realise.
My own work has a super intense creative story. I didn’t realise how powerful this was until I released my second collection and started having repeat customers who were eager for the next story!
Here’s my USP (sales patter)…. “Did you know, StephieAnn is inspired by poetry?!? I look at the meaning behind a classic poem and find ways to interpret this. For the current collection, I looked at Lord Byron’s poem ‘She Walks in beauty’ where Byron describes the contrast of light and dark. I placed white flowers in a vase of water, set up my tripod and captured black ink falling the white petals, recreating Byron’s vision of white against black. I then create a repeat print with my drawings and photography which is digitally printed onto silk and made into products.”
……Neat right?!? Find your USP, do some mood boarding and roll with it – if you can’t find your USP, take some time and figure this out
Lastly – If you do decide to make this jump, enjoy the ride, the adrenaline, the creative people you’re going to meet and enjoy every opportunity.
Answer all the questions above, make conscious decisions, take your time, this is not a decision to rush.