There are many different myths circling the fashion community that can create confusion for new fashion entrepreneurs. But beyond the smoke and mirrors that the industry often portrays, it is possible to uncover what is true and what is just there to keep you from reaching success! To avoid mishaps, here are 9 myths debunked to help you in your garment journey!
Myth #1: “Starting the manufacturing process is quick and easy” – Unless you have all your ducks in a row, you cannot simply walk into a factory and begin the process. A pre-production package with typically entails a fabric standard, tech pack, prototype sample(s), target costs, mock purchase order, and a line sheet. Trust us, without these, the factory will be left with many unanswered questions, so don’t jump ahead to the end before you have everything in order! (If you aren’t as ready as you thought you were, no stress – with hard work and perseverance, you’ll get there!)
Myth #2: “You have to do it all” – Especially if you’re in it to make money, you should never do it all yourself. By outsourcing some of your daily responsibilities, you can focus more on your own tasks instead of being overwhelmed. The most common issue amongst all entrepreneurs is burnout, and it’s also one of the most avoidable (surprise!). Focus on what you’re good at, understand your strengths and weaknesses, hire experts in the areas where you could use some help. Productivity and using your time efficiently is everything. Don’t be afraid to release some of the control – delegate and you will find success!
Myth #3: “If you build it, they will come” – One of the biggest mistakes designers think is that they have a really great idea that they know will sell. Reality check, honey: especially in the fashion industry, nothing is guaranteed. But we can offer some helpful hints to make more educated decisions and make the odds more in your favor: Market research is everything! Do your homework! Know your audience and avoid the sales guessing game (trust us, it’s not as fun as it sounds)! Ask for pre-orders; if they really want it, they will put their money where their mouth is. Finally, remember that building an audience takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Myth #4: “You have to have a fully-completed business plan” – Good news for you “all-creative, no-business” types! Vision and mood boards are a great way to map out your goals. Your vision board will visually showcase your target market, mission statement, and where you see your company in the future without a formal plan. Your mood board will help you plan out the direction for your products. If you need to do a plan, keep it simple and go for a one-pager, and always remember that business plans take time and are always changing… Finally, test out your business idea or product before you sink a lot of money into it.
Myth #5: “You have to have a lot of money to start” – Did you know that Apple was started by a couple of college dropouts in their garage? We’re not saying that every startup will hit that kind of success, but it can be done! By using basic blocks (patterns), picking less expensive fabrics, and limiting the number of styles you start with, you can save tons of money.
Myth #6: “You will spend most of your time designing” – Guaranteed: the top designers everywhere laugh at this. Every entrepreneur wears 1000 hats, if you’re a designer, get ready to juggle many more chapeaux! On average, a designer starting a clothing brand will spend about only 5% of their time on design. Your time will be spent on running the business, managing everything from administration, to accounting, and sales. You may be thinking, “but I came here to design.” We feel you, but trust us, your designs won’t be going anywhere if you aren’t willing to put in work!
Myth #7: “The more styles you offer, the more established you look” – Too many choices can overwhelm your retail buyers and consumers. Stick to one to six products – it’s not only much easier to manage, but it also helps carve out your niche and define your brand. Large collections require far more investment, planning, and for your brand to already have an established name in the world of fashion. You’re not launching a department store!
Myth #8: “Fashion entrepreneurs don’t need to know sales” – You know your product best, and thus will be best salesperson you know. It’s your job to create that buzz for your product! If there is one thing you must master beyond design, it’s sales. No sales, no dinero, no brand (now that’s math we know you can do).
Myth #9: “Selling products that are priced cheaper will make it easier to sell” – Being the cheapest on the market isn’t necessarily the best way to be competitive in the world of fashion. Additionally, it’s vital to understand who your competition is – and it’s not every fashion brand in the world! Think about who would buy your clothes (demographic), what their price points are, and where they shop. Focus on solving a problem, the quality and value of your garment, and charge your target market according to what they would pay.
Myth #10: “You need to have a fashion background or degree in design to be able to make it” – Alexander Wang, Coco Chanel, and Giorgio Armani. What do these fashion masters have in common? They did not complete any formal education in fashion! School is not the only place where you gain valuable experience – never underestimate the advantage of internships, hiring people with industry knowledge, attending workshops, and learning as you go. Many of today’s renowned designers have degrees in entirely different fields, or no degree at all!
It’s easy to get caught up in all of the myths surrounding what it takes to make it i fashion. But don’t let fear stop you – your own fate lies in your hands!
Fashion entrepreneurs – what’s the scariest myth you’ve heard about being in the fashion industry?
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