A guide to launching a successful clothing business

There are hundreds of clothing businesses already out there, so you’re going to need to set yourself apart. Use the following tips to launch yours:

Make a Business Plan

The first thing you need to do is make a business plan. This might seem tedious and long winded at first, but it’s very important if you want to succeed in the business world. In your business plan you need to talk about what you’re going to be doing, your marketing strategy, exit plans, and anything else that may be relevant.

Decide on a Niche

You’ll probably be more successful if you launch a niche clothing business, rather than a clothing business specialising in everything. You could choose to sell girl’s clothes, men’s clothes, clothes for tall people, etc. If you can be a little more specific, you’ll get a more targeted audience and likely experience more success.

Find Reliable Suppliers

You’re going to need to find reliable suppliers to send you your clothing – that is, unless you plan on making everything yourself. You’ll need to pick the right sort of clothing to suit your brand, and things you think that people will buy. This is a case of trial and error. You’ll likely make some mistakes, but the important thing is you learn from them and keep going if you want this to work. You’ll need to have money in the bank to buy your first lot of stock from suppliers too!

Choose Your Platform Carefully

The platform you sell on can have a lot to do with your success as a business. Make sure you choose the platform you think you’ll find your niche audience on. You could use a site like eBay, or create your own ecommerce site. Whichever you feel will be more beneficial. You could even open up a store in person if you’re confident you’re in the right area for it.

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Invest in Helpful Software

Helpful software will allow you to keep track of stock, sales, losses, and anything else that may be relevant. Retail management software is a must in the retail industry, but there are plenty of other things you can look into too.

Build a Strong Online Marketing Campaign

Building a strong online marketing campaign is key to getting your business off the ground and spreading the word. Without an online marketing campaign, your audience won’t even know that you’re there.

Hire the Right Staff

Eventually, you may need staff to help you. Make sure you take the time to hire the right people, those who share the same views as you and can bring something useful to the table. Never cut corners when hiring staff!

Focus on Customer Service

Focus on customer service to make sure each and every customer comes back to you. It isn’t just about the product they purchase from you, it’s the entire experience. Make sure you’re giving them a positive experience that makes them want to come back.

Keep going even when times get hard and you’ll make a success of your clothing business!

How the fashion leaders of today made it to the top

fashionObviously there must be leaders in the world of fashion; if there weren’t then who would we follow? These are people who are making noteworthy changes in the world of wearable design, whether that’s creating something fresh and exciting or always showcasing the latest trends.

But how did they get to where they are today and who decided that they could dictate what we should be wearing and how we should style it?

Primarily, it is designers that first come to mind when considering fashion leaders, those who have earned the right to be constantly treading the boards of the catwalk, deciding what clothes constitute as ‘fashionable’. From Vivienne Westwood and Donatella Versace to the likes of the celebrity-turned-fashion designers, such as Victoria Beckham.

But there are also members of the media that have earned the credibility to pass their opinion of fashion trends on to potential consumers. Fashions most famous Editor, Anna Wintour, has been at Vogue for 25-years, in which time she has built up such a reputation that she received the Outstanding Achievement Award at last year’s British Fashion Awards for her tremendous contribution to the industry. Why? Well, she is also a businesswoman as well as having fantastic knowledge of fashion.

Much like many other thought leader, along with hard work and determination in the cut-throat world of fashion, Wintour will have made bold business moves that played an integral part in reaching the top. So what exactly did she and people like her do, to get there?

They have built a brand

This is probably the most important thing to do and something that has taken many from followers of fashion to leaders in their field. They have built a brand and created a community.

For example, Burberry became iconic for their print with, which their brand was built around; that distinctive tartan pattern that adorns their range means that it is instantly recognisable. It is the whole package that will attract an audience and keep them coming back to hear what you have to offer next.

They are forward thinking

Fashion leaders are not thinking about now, they are thinking about next year and the year after. While fashion followers are deciding what to wear this summer, fashion leaders will already be thinking about what they should be wearing the following season.

They create amazing content

This includes blogs, product descriptions, visual communication including images and video. The climb to the top requires more than simply wearing great clothes. They need to be backed up with content, displayed through the correct imagery and described in a way that sells the item but also reflects the brand.

You need to be shown more than just a skirt, but rather THE skirt. There is a huge difference between seeing it on a hanger and being shown it on a ‘cool girl’ at a festival and picturing yourself as her. Whether it’s kids watches, ladies shoes or men’s suits, those who excel in the world of fashion know who their audience is and then target them directly.

They are ALWAYS new

This goes without saying, in the ever-changing world of fashion you need to not only keep up with your competitors but get ahead of them. Constantly coming up with new and innovative ideas, all while holding on to your uniqueness and the essence of your brand.

For example, Victoria Beckham had to shake off her Posh Spice/girl power image and work to be taken seriously in the fashion industry, she was criticised for sticking to a tried-and-tested formula of chic black, but has since silenced the critics with a circus-inspired collection for Spring 2016.

They use their connections

Fashion leaders cross over, building connections, which in turn help to put them at the forefront of the industry. Returning to Anna Wintour, as an example of someone regularly considered part of the “FRow” at fashion weeks, she is often pictured with the likes of Chanel’s Karl Lagerfield, as well as playing an active role in fundraising and supporting creative talent.

She was also responsible for founding the careers of esteemed designers such as Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen, which proves that using connections goes both ways.

These are just a few examples of what it takes to get to the top of the fashion chain, but also confirms that the key makings of a fashion leader come from having good business sense alongside your knowledge of fashion.

I started a business with a toddler: Amie Sharratt of Devenir La Mode

My business devenir la mode, which is French for come into fashion, was born this year. It has been developed through my many mishaps and ups and downs trying to find something that would fit around my now 4 year old.

I knew that when I had my daughter 4 (and a bit) years ago that working as I had been in Selfridges, sometimes until 9pm, would be a challenge. Then she arrived and turned my world upside down, as children do, I knew that I had to find something that would fit around her, her needs and my needs as a mother. Whilst working part time I had family to help out with childcare as paying for it would make going back to work pointless but I still hated it and didn’t like leaving my 9 month old baby with other people.

I left my job at Selfridges and thought it would be a good idea to train as a teaching assistant as the hours were ‘normal’, I had weekends off and once she started school I would have a job that fitted around her. After a while of this, I realised in some ways it was more demanding and I missed fashion and working with people, I also knew I couldn’t go and work in a shop as I had before, with their unfriendly family hours. So my vintage boutique was born, I did this for a year, made some money, met some great people but it wasn’t enough. I wanted more, more for me, more for my daughter and more for the future.

In December last year myself and my daughter’s father split and I had to move back into my mums with my little girl. My whole world had been turned upside down, as had hers. I was on my own now and I knew that my business had to be sufficient enough to pay our bills and more but I also wanted to love what I was doing. Through some coaching and working with a fantastic money mentor who helped me to come up with my idea for the business, devenir la mode was born.

I knew I wanted to do something that was fashion ordinated and I came up with style and imagery but as the months have gone by my business has changed into something that combines image and style but making it accessible to ALL women, of ALL ages and ALL sizes. I spoke to a lot of people, carried out some research and realised there were a lot of women out there who felt misrepresented by the high street and what it has to offer and that some women can find it hard to dress their body shape especially as their bodies change though their lives.

Fashion and the high street can seem a bit of a mine field so my aim is to help women create a capsule wardrobe that suits their everyday needs. We all need our wardrobe to function as something and that is what I help my clients to do, I don’t focus on just one area of their lives, say corporate for example, I explore ALL their needs and help them to build a wardrobe that will not only change as their needs do but will last. They will be given knowledge and understanding of how to dress themselves, their body shape, how to piece together outfits and much, much more gaining confidence along the way using one of my 4 packages starting from a base to build a capsule wardrobe to an intense 3 day course.

My advice to any mums who are wanting to start their own business would be, do plenty of research, learn as much as you can, I had no idea about marketing and realised I had to do something to market my services, I brought a brilliant book (Get Clients Now) that gave me a great platform to start from. Keep going with your idea and let it evolve and change as you do, it must be organic to grow well. My ideas have changed so much over the last 10 months just as my mind set and outlook on life has changed.

If you would like more information on what I do and how I can help then please do not hesitate to get in touch amiesharratt85@gmail.com. I am just about to launch an exciting online course which will run for 4 weeks and will put you in an amazing place and give you the knowledge you need to start building your very own capsule wardrobe.

Amie is running a free webinar on 31st October ‘Three biggest reasons why we waste money on clothes’ to sign up, click here.