If you’ve thought about starting your own fashion line, then you’ve probably got great creative entrepreneurial skills already. However, when it comes to the nitty gritty side of things, sometimes you need a little help. Here’s a great ‘things to remember’ guide to get you started on your fashion adventure.
Choose your branding carefully
The fashion world is literally enormous. Whether you want to sell bags, t-shirts or accessories you’ve really got to make your mark. Before you even begin to design or print any of your clothes you need to think about who you want to sell your fashion to. Are you going for sporty themes or a more alternative look? Are you going to create clothing with funny slogans or striking images?
These things are important if you want to start a fashion line that really speaks to consumers, so make sure you know who you are designing for before you start. A random assortment of t-shirts, hoodies and tote bags that have no theme running through them is not a good look and will ruin your chances of success.
Do your market research
After deciding what kind of consumer you want to target, you’ll need to test the waters and put some ideas out there. Market research can take many forms and can be done online or in person. You may want to send out some test designs to relevant bloggers or, if it is an option, create a focus group to test your products and allow potential consumers to give feedback on their likes and dislikes.
Market research is important because it allows you to understand how customers would react to your fashion line before you have spent out lots of money on printing and designing costs. You aren’t always going to be able to see a problem with your clothing or accessories, so it’s always best to get an unbiased, outside opinion.
Decide how you are going to create and print your designs
If you’re a graphic designer, you may want to create all the clothing designs yourself. However, you don’t always have to be a genius with Photoshop when starting your own fashion line, as long as you have fashion sense. Instead, you may want to hire a freelancer designer to create unique designs for you at a cost that suits your budget.
Looking to print or embroider onto t-shirts, accessories and other garments? Then you’ll probably want to find an external printing company to cater for your needs. Most start-up fashion lines aren’t going to have the sort of money or expertise to print their own designs at home and that’s not an issue if you can find a printer that works for you. Consider the costs of embroidery and screen printing vs direct to garment (DTG) and see what can be done to help you create a fantastic line of clothing.
Ensure your marketing strategy is on point
Marketing is such an important part of starting your own fashion line and can be done at a very low cost if you utilise what you have. Social media sites and apps, especially Instagram and Twitter, should be a fashion start-ups’ best friend.
These platforms allow fashion labels to showcase their designs in their best possible light if used correctly. They also present valuable opportunities to follow, tweet and potentially meet some other great designers, as well as helping you to target specific consumers that may be interested in your brand.
Keep on top of your accounts
Once you go self-employed, even as a side business, you’ll have to start looking after your own expenses and taxes. You’ll need to register with HMRC and fill in a tax return each year. You may not be able to hire an accountant on a start-up budget, so try to keep all receipts for expenses so that you can mention them on your tax returns.
Failure to do this could result in you paying more tax than you are supposed to and could leave you out of pocket. If you’re unsure of what expenses you can claim back, you should check online for the do’s and don’t’s of filling out a tax form, as you might just be surprised about how much money you can save.
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