Building a Fashion Empire ~ How to Start Your Own Fashion Line

The fashion world has an understandable allure, since it seems to be populated by tall stunning people with impossibly high cheekbones, strutting down a catwalk without flinching ~ despite the hundreds of camera flashes all around them.  As with many industries, behind the allure lies a great number of challenging aspects to achieving success, and anyone who wants to launch their own fashion line will quickly learn the difficulties of the business.

The beautiful models wearing beautiful clothes are essentially walking clothes racks, and the average consumer will have no idea about how much effort has gone into the inception and development of the brand, let alone the design of the clothing and accessories.

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You might have formally studied fashion design and have been sewing unique creations for years, or you might simply have a good eye for what clothing works for individuals which you feel you can parlay into commercial success.  Whether you want to start a small scale brand or have grand plans to build a fashion empire to rival Versace or Gucci, there are some key points to remember when it comes to starting a fashion line.

Starting Small

No designers immediately launch a comprehensive line, unless it’s someone like Tom Ford, who left Gucci and seemingly created a fashion line under his own name overnight (although he had sizable investment and decades of experience). You should decide upon a few key pieces that you feel are likely to sell well, but that also set the tone for the full line you plan to eventually offer.

Create a sample of each of these key pieces, either yourself or in collaboration with other designers.  When you move to full scale production, this sample will be replicated by your production facilities, which could potentially be located offshore in order to minimize costs.

Some brands, such as American Apparel, promote the fact that their products are locally made as part of their corporate image and philosophy, but as you will know if you check the labels on most of the clothes in your closet, the majority of them are produced in Asian countries.

As inc.com recommends, it might be necessary (depending on the scale of your intended operation) to research these facilities in person before selecting one ~ alternatively, you can engage a local agent who specializes in this field.

Getting the Product to the Customer

The Guardian reports that ~ while a traditional retail outlet sounds like a great way of showcasing your products in a carefully-designed setting ~ the overheads of retail can have a detrimental impact on the operating costs of a fledgling fashion line.  When starting a fashion line, it’s far more cost and labor effective to operate exclusively as an online business.

You might not even need to directly handle your product, as your electronic shop will receive the order and notify the production facility or warehouse, which will then dispatch it directly to the customer.  In the infancy of your fashion line, you might want to reduce costs by taking care of the warehouse side of operations yourself, since you can usually rent a small storage facility that will be perfectly sufficient for your needs.

As your business grows, a larger-scale warehouse will become necessary, although it might be possible to find a production facility that can also handle your warehousing needs.

Building Your Online Brand

While you can engage the services of a web designer to create a sleek page that emulates that vibe you want for your fashion line, this isn’t a necessary step.  A professional cost effective solution should use an online shopping platform which allows you to design the website yourself from a wide variety of templates and other options.

The technology is extremely user friendly, and comes with support functions that you simply don’t get when you build a site from scratch, such as a range of electronic payment options, making it far easier for customers to purchase your products.  You might want to invest in the services of an internet marketing company to build brand awareness and increase your Google page ranking, as this can be a rather time consuming and intricate process ~ something you might not have the time and knowledge to do alone.

Poqstudio.com recommends that you look for a marketing company that specializes in the market you’re targeting.  While you can easily produce your product in another market, when it comes to promoting it, you need a company with localized knowledge.  Other forms of marketing can be effective as well, including the idea of sending some free samples to prominent stylists in the hope that they will dress one of their high profile clients in your creation.

It’s not an easy road to travel down, but with some hard work, you might one day be sitting in the front row as a beautiful walking clothes rack struts down the catwalk while wearing your creation.

photo via worldfashionzz.blogspot.com

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