Five Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Your Own Clothing Line From Scratch
Starting your own clothing line can be one of the most exciting times of your life, but taking this leap can also be daunting. There are so many people who want to break into the fashion industry, but because of its fast-paced nature and fragmented market, the success rate is fairly low.
So, as exhilarating as it can be, it can also be just as stressful. And, as Forbes points out in ‘Four Steps to Better Decision-Making Skills’, people under stress do not always have the greatest track record for mental agility and resolve. When we’re stressed, we tend to be more complacent and emotional, and thus, prone to making more mistakes. And so to help you out in one of the most stressful but rewarding projects you’re about to take on, we’ve listed five mistakes you need to avoid when starting your own clothing line from scratch.
Skipping the Business Plan
Having your own clothing line isn’t just about your artistic ability — it is also about steering a business. Therefore, starting everything without a business plan is a deadly mistake. Indeed, ZenBusiness’s guide to starting a clothing line, stresses that creating a business plan should be the very first step. Though it may not feel like the most exciting part of the process and can, indeed, be a little intimidating, this step helps set a solid foundation for your clothing brand and can make or break the entire endeavor. So, be sure to have a clear understanding of your business idea, from its size and themes to how it’s going to stand out from the rest. You should also set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely goals that will help you focus on your plan, and see where it needs improvement.
Being Lax About Funding
It takes money to launch a business, but it also takes money to maintain one. If you aren’t able to fulfill orders at a timely manner, you’ll be making a bad impression for your business. Make sure you have enough funding to handle emergency situations and last-minute orders so that you can always deliver the products promptly to your customers. Calculate how much you’ll be needing to cover for the first months of your business, and then add extra for emergencies. You need to make sure that you raise enough cash for your business, and if you don’t, then it might be best to revise your plan, and make the money you have (or can raise) match it.
Not Building Relationships — Or Nurturing Them
Let’s face it: Your clothing line is going to be new and relatively unknown, and as such, it’s best to admit that you’re going to need help. Not building industry relationships is another mistake that you might make when you’re too focused on launching your business. Take the time to develop relationships with media professionals, and local or industry influencers. Identify the people with whom it would be beneficial to connect, and have a strategy for informing them about your clothing line. Inc. outlines that a way to build and nurture industry relationships is through reciprocity. So make sure to also offer and deliver help to people you’ve connected with.
Forgetting Pre-launch Traction
Every clothing line needs a good marketing strategy, but you shouldn’t only think of how to market your business when it’s already up and running. Getting people excited for your launch is just as important. One way to do this is by doing a pre-launch giveaway or contest. Give your items away as a package or prize to an exclusive group of lucky participants, in exchange for them helping to get the word out on social media.
You can also set up a waiting list on your website. Entice people to sign up by offering them a discount code. And when it’s almost time for your launch, you can try to get people who’ve signed up to bring in more people in exchange for a chance to win a free item from your launch.
Not Knowing How To Run A Business
Lastly, a mistake that you should avoid is going into a business blind and relying solely on your passion and fashion skills. So, take the time to research and learn about the ins and outs of a retail business. And if you’re not sure where to start, you may check out ‘Retail 101: The Guide to Marketing and Managing Your Retail Business’, which covers everything from inventory management to effective marketing for better sales.