Fashion is a business; think like an entrepreneur

Fashion is a business; think like an entrepreneur #Business Talk #TDSvoices

There seems to be a misconception about fashion. Fashion is more than just glamour, glitz and who wore it best on the red carpet. Fashion is a multibillion-dollar industry that has significant influence on the economical and societal aspect of a society. Ultimately, fashion is a business; it requires a business plan, creation of a brand, company structure, adequate financial budgeting and a business name among others. It is a lot of hard work. Many designers like to think of themselves as creative rather than business minded but to succeed, an analytical business oriented mind is important.

Fashion is a business; think like an entrepreneur #Business Talk #TDSvoices

The fast-changing dynamics of fashion business requires a flexible attitude and ability to spot opportunities emerging around the world. Famous fashion brands such as Deola Sagoe, Lalesso, Gucci and Dior, met a variety of challenges before they got where they are and still persist in their efforts to remain relevant in the changing times.  Many young fashion designers rush into the fashion world, armed with just the perceived fame and glamour of the fashion world leading oftentimes to their demise. Although, there are many stories of designers graduating from college and immediately making it big in fashion, there are many more stories of designers who have failed in their dreams or are still struggling years on. The reality is, not every designer manages to turn their dream into a profitable business, especially if there are not ready to face the harsh realities of the fashion business world.

Fashion designers and prospective fashion designers must excel in creativity, style, and knowledge of fashion history, business sense, and the ability to perform under pressure and in high stress environments. In order to build a successful fashion business, it is vital to remember that you are now an entrepreneur, and thus to start thinking like one. So, like any business start-up, you have to plan things out, have goals to work towards, start networking, do your research and take note of the financial implications.

Moreover, with the growing competition in the fashion industry, you have to think about what makes your brand stand out among other brands.  See “Trends in Kenya…or the lack thereof” 

Here are our top four points to consider as you delve or have delved into fashion:


If you know nothing about business, the smart thing would be to research on the field you are jumping into, study and get yourself acquainted with the business world. There is no over-stressing how important research is; it can help you determine your potential market, your competition, or the usefulness and need of your product or service.

Market research is important to determine how successful your business can be. Doing this kind of market research, requires that you gather information from various sources including countless online resources, observing customers, books, fellow businessmen, documentaries, magazines and from other well established designers to name a few. This kind of research helps you understand your market environment in what is missing and what is actually needed. In actuality, this type of research will help you establish who your target market should be. Moreover, as you continue to research on your business idea, what needs to be fine-tuned or changed will come to light.

So, as you research think about your company or brand and what services you want to provide, the type of customers you are targeting, your competitors and what services they lack that you can provide and potential partners to help you build up your fashion business.

The significance of research cannot be overstated. In fact, even before writing a business plan or setting up your business goals, research. Fortunately, the Internet provides you with millions of information sources, so be aggressive in your research, learn before you leap into a business.

Business Goals

Ultimately, the fundamental thing needed in order to start up a business in fashion or any field actually, is a set of goals. Although it might sound easy, setting up goals can be quite daunting, especially executing them.

Well thought-out goals are vital in pointing a new business in the right direction and shedding light on priorities and weaknesses. Think of goals like needed pathway marks that will remind you of your business purpose, dreams and hopes when you start to lose your way. In growing your fashion business you will need short-term, medium-term and long-term goals.

First rule of goals is to be realistic, it’s okay to dream big, but also look at your finances and plan appropriately.

Goal setting is not a one-time thing it is a continuous process. Goals are important in monitoring and measuring the success of your business, so that you know what to change or what to build on. One helpful goal-setting procedure is called S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time sensitive. To succeed in your business, always have goals, modify them if you have to but never completely abandon them.

To learn more about setting up S.M.A.R.T goals, click here

Business Plan

Constructing a business plan, actually committing your thoughts to paper, can help you manage and understand your business more effectively. Business plans can range in size, from a few pages to more than 100 pages, however on average, they are 15 to 20 pages. Nonetheless, even a small one-page business plan can be the different success and failure. Either way, a detailed business plans has three sections; the concept, marketplace and financial, further broken down into seven components that includes the overview or summary of the plan, a description of the business, market strategies, competition analysis, design and development, operations and management, and financial information.

In other words, a business plan is a document that tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. As a result, business plans are strategic, they point towards a future, usually three to five years ahead. Business plans are effective for various reasons, but mostly because they set specific objectives and goals along with the resources required to sustain your business. Basically, create a practical business plan by identifying your brand’s values, mission, objectives, strategies, goals, and long-term vision.

Here are a few links that can help you as you construct your business plan:

“Plan your Business Plan”

“Business Plan Template”

Starting any kind business requires resolve, patience and commitment and a fashion business is no exception. It might take years for you to get where you want to get, be prepared to fail before you succeed. However, if you know a thing or two about the business, you might just succeed, and perhaps become the next Coco Chanel.

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