Making your flair for fashion work for you

Want to know how to start a fashion business? Here’s six rules you should follow

British fashion is big, and it’s an industry that’s continuing to grow and offer generous rewards. In fact of all Britain’s creative industries, fashion is the greatest.

It supports an estimated 816,000 jobs and Oxford Economics estimates that sales of UK designer clothing have been rising impressively by around 20% a year for the past decade.

These figures can make it appear an already saturated market, but online fashion is also predicted to grow to be worth £7bn by 2015 and this can be a great benefit to start ups and entrepreneurs.

So if you have a flair for fashion and dream of taking that to market, what do you need to stand out from the crowd and to make being in the business really rewarding?

A cut above the rest – you need to be unique

Making sure you have something truly different, at least in your local area, can make a big difference to whether you succeed or fail – in any industry.

Carrying out your market research here is essential. Start by creating a persona for your target customer – What magazines do they read? What sort of budgets do they have? What do they already wear that compares to your intended offering?

Then stalk your competitors – work out what they charge to decide your own price point, and check that out with a sample of your target.

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The devil’s in the detail – you need to zone in on business

Creating a business plan isn’t just a formality to get finance from the bank. This document is your business bible, making sure that you stay on track to make a profit as soon as you possibly can.

Include a schedule within your plan to make sure you stay on track here too. As a fashion creative you’ll already be thinking at least two seasons ahead of the time, and you need to plan your business with clear goals to see you into the future.

Location, location – you need space for your showcase

The setting for your fashion retail business can be vital to success. Don’t automatically assume that the high street is the best place to be.

Put yourself in the shoes of your target customers, have a walk around and see where they’re going and who they’re with. The high street probably commands high rents and features strong competition – strategically placing yourself for your desired customers can offer much better returns.

An eye for figures – you need to get the numbers spot on

While you have an eye for draping figures, working out the numbers, checking and rechecking, is vital.

Within your calculations when setting your price point, consider how much you need to cover your materials, labour and overheads such as rent, facilities and employment.

Firm support – you need to take advice

Making sure you have the support of others who have experience in business and in the industry is a great idea.

Networking can be ideal to gain more support for your venture, while finding a mentor – someone who has direct experience of the challenges you face – can prove invaluable.

Build British business – the fashion frontier

While all of the up front work to build your British business in fashion may make you feel your focus is being drawn away from your creative flair, taking the time to do it right first can set you on the road to making fashion work for you.

Of course, there is much more your need to consider, and looking online is a great place to start your research. There are plenty of resources out there to help.

Take a look at the Build British Business blog where you’ll find more articles on starting a business from your passion for fashion.

Choosing to form your business with the help of experts such as The Formations Company can take much of the mystery out of establishing your start-up, leaving you to get creative with your dreams.


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