It is a wide spread belief that what new fashion designers need most for their business is findings.
This is a correct assumption, however, to a certain degree.
Fresh out of fashion school, you will be busting with excitement over your ideas, the wonderful stylish dresses you are going to make. You will dream of beautiful clients who will wear your dresses with glowing recommendations in their lips, and shower you with the money you asked for.
The rush of excitement of what kind of machines, mannequins, dress forms to buy, should you focus on ready to wear, or do bespoke or a mix of both?
A million inspiration and ideas will run through your mind
And none of these ideas will revolve around learning the business of fashion as your first step to starting a Fashion design business.
Now, this is normal. Your mind will trick you that you do not need to do that, that you can always figure it out. You will confuse your ability to make clothes with the business of making clothes. And you will start anyways because learning business is boring for a creative.
Experience in the industry has shown otherwise and the difference between a ‘not-yet successful designer and a successful designer is access to information.
You may even wonder how your designs are more beautiful that some successful designers, and how come they get to be more successful than you. However a successful fashion design business is more than the ability to make beautiful dresses. You will need to have another ability – The ability to turn your ideas into profit.
To succed in the fashion design business, and any other business, you must have a foundation knowledge on how you will run the business, the kind of structure you will have, no matter how skeletal.
Refuse to be carried away by the outer glamour that is visible, underneath all that glamour is a sold foundation of business knowledge.
Here are some ideas on how to learn the business side of fashion:
- Apply for internship: Send proposal letters to top designers that you admire, highlighting the value you will add to their organisation when they bring you in. Remember you must also have something you have to offer, so that’s its a mutual exchange.
As an intern, once you can prove yourself useful, your ultimate advantage is that you access to every department and will eventually be trusted with invaluable information and Connections that will help you when you are ready to set up your own business
2. Take Business courses: Some business courses run for 6 months to 1 year. Research the ones you can afford and be very intentional about your learning. The clients that you will serve are not going anywhere, infact, the world population is more and will always be more than your business can handle.
3. Find a Mentor or Join business support groups: Just as you are eager to join sewing and design support groups, be eager to join business community platforms that will help you connect with other entrepreneurs that complement your business
Starting a fashion design business without learning the business of fashion is like placing the cart before the horse and are bound to get stuck after a while.
The varying success between one designer to the next is not necessarily the glam of their design but in the degree of their obedience to the laws that govern how a business should be run.
To your massive success
Agboola kofoworola is a Fashion designer, coach and Consultant and can be reached on [email protected]