Starting up a new business is a huge risk. In the fashion industry, especially, where everything is so unpredictable, all your investment, time and effort could potentially go to waste if you don’t do the necessary research on how to make a clothing line. Prevent your business from going under by not making some of these common mistakes:
1. Not Researching
Every bit of research is crucial in knowing how to make a clothing line and how to sustain it. There are many different aspects to a startup business that you may not be aware of so research as much as you can to cover all your bases before you dive in. Talk to anyone you know who’s done something similar before or are in relevant fields and get as much advice as you can from them. Many startups don’t know what they’re getting themselves into until they’re knee-deep in it – which by that time is already too late.
As a startup, there is no system of practice or SOP set up for you to follow like in a big corporate organization, you’re starting from scratch, so you’ll need all the knowledge you can gather to help you understand the business infrastructure of a fashion startup. This way, you can make more informed decisions on how to run your own business well. One of the silliest things you can do as a startup is to go in blind, don’t make that mistake.
2. Cutting Costs
Understandably, as a startup, your budget isn’t high and sales don’t climb as quick, so you will try to cut costs wherever possible. This is a good practice, however, you should be mindful about what you’re cutting costs on. It is common for founders of startups to take on multiple roles or even be a one-man-show.
You could be a good designer but that doesn’t necessarily make you the best person for marketing. Similarly, you could be great at managing finances but not at doing sales. A business is multi-dimensional and to have one person or only a handful wear all the hats is not the best recipe for a startup label.
Delegate and hire if you need to. This is a necessary expenditure and investment. As the founder, your team and new hires will look to you for guidance. If you have too much on your plate, you may not have the time to oversee the work of your employees, observe the growth of your business and plot its goals.
This can do more harm than benefits for your business. Be sure not to overstretch yourself to cut costs at the expense of your company.
And on the flipside of cutting costs is overspending. For many startups, cash flow at the initial stage is at its lowest. You have to spend your money wisely. There are new labels that choose to spend large amounts of money at the early stages of their business, for example, to set up a lavish storefront before establishing their brand, thinking that’s the secret to getting customers to buy their products. Practicality and being prudent with how you spend money, especially in the initial stages are vital in helping you to sustain your label. Avoid spending a huge bulk of your money in areas that cannot guarantee growth in your business.
4. Not Being Up-to-date With Fashion
If you’re thinking about how to make a clothing line but disregarding the design aspect of it, you’re making a big mistake. Yes, a clothing line comprises of many other components besides design, but it’s very much centred on it. There are tons of businesses out there that run on a see-and-replicate model, but the most successful brands that have earned credibility and loyal customers globally are those that offer something unique.
If you’re going to sell clothing but not have a designer working on your team and/or know nothing about the current fashion landscape, your product can be severely compromised and not make the ‘cut’ in this highly competitive industry. Don’t worry if you do not have a designer in-house, you can always outsource this role. Just be careful not to neglect this component as it can really hurt your business.
5. Pricing Incorrectly
Setting the price of your products may seem straightforward to some but there is a lot more to think about than just covering your costs. What is a healthy profit margin for your business that will allow you to continue producing collections, say, four times a year (if you’re following the fashion calendar)? How are your competitors pricing their products? Are your price points similar and how will that convince customers to buy your products over theirs?
Covering your costs is of primary importance, however, you also need to ask yourself questions on the sustainability of your business, where you sit in the market and how to maintain a competitive edge when you’re developing your pricing strategy.