So you’re thinking about launching your own boutique or fashion line and you’re stumped on what to do. Don’t fret! Here are my tips to help you get started.
Do Research: Before you begin your business, first do research to find out what it takes to build one. Begin with the legal requirements, financial estimates of costs, procedures for store operations, sample making, production costs, etc. Then, ask people for feedback to validate your assumptions. If your main goal is to improve the customer service experience in re-sale stores, ask re-sale store customers what it is they’d want improvements on.
Select Your Niche Market: Instead of trying to cater to everyone and looking like a generic store or brand, establish yourself as an authority in a certain market. You will have more success as a new business by concentrating on a specific group rather than trying to appeal to everyone. For example, if you love casual shoes, become a specialist in high-end kicks.
Know Your Customer: In order to cater to your audience, you have to know and understand them inside and out. Know what they like, their buying behavior, their age group, lifestyle, etc.
Keep Your Enemies Close: Identify your competition and know their every move. Watch what they sell, their prices, how they market, and who they market to. Knowing and understanding what’s out in the market will help you set your business apart from the competition.
Differentiate Your Brand: What makes your store or brand special or different from your competitors? Once you have that identified, market that to your audience.
Know Your Distribution Strategy: For a store: will you be an online or a brick and mortar establishment? For a brand: do you want to sell your collection yourself or distribute it to retailers? If you want to sell to retailers, decide what kind of stores you want to target (boutiques, department stores, online stores, etc)
Know Your Markup: When you price your items, make sure you have a healthy markup that takes all your costs into account (production, overhead, sales, etc). Make a list of all your expenses and then base your prices on that. If you are building a clothing line, make sure to pad your prices because retail buyers will always ask you for a discount.
Do Not Overlook Marketing: One of the most common mistakes that stores and brands make is not setting aside enough money for an appropriate marketing budget. No one will know how amazing your store or clothing line is without any marketing. Have your lookbooks, linesheets, hangtags, labels, bags, ads, and everything else ready to go!
Start Marketing Early: Do not wait until you launch to start your marketing campaign! You want to create a buzz about your business before you open so that you have a consumer base ready to go. Launch your press release, begin your social media campaign, and contact all your press connects a few months ahead of time in order to spread the word.
Check out our upcoming webinar on 11/6 where we’ll discuss How To Start A Fashion Line On A Budget!
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Want us to coach you on how to work smarter to grow your fashion business? Contact us at info (at) fabcounsel (dot) com. We’ve helped entrepreneurs double their sales within the 1st month of working with us because they’ve gotten more time to focus on business development. Let us know when you’re ready for us to do the same for you.