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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fashion Business

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The large fashion industry is booming and there is a place for anyone who has talent that can be exploited. However, while there is a place for everyone and various niches that are waiting to be adopted by entrepreneurs, there are various aspects of developing a profitable business model and sustaining it.

There are many talented new entrants to the fashion industry who fail to sustain their fashion business even when they are one of the most innovative and talented designers that are to be found. This is mainly because of the fact that many creative and talented new designers fail to recognize the fact that the success of a fashion business depends not only on creativity and innovation but also on entrepreneurship and a sound business model. A proper business model and finance are perhaps the most common factors that plague emerging designers.

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Even thought the fashion business is unique in its own respect, the business model needs to be sustainable, like in the case of any other business. In the fashion industry, it is the conceptualized idea that sells. The focus is to hatch exciting ideas, create special products and designs that enthuse. But all this needs to be done keeping in mind the dynamics of demand and supply and what really excites the customer.

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bThe first step is to think of an idea and decide the consumer that you are planning to target. This is likely to dictate the manner in which you proceed with almost all other aspects of your fashion business. The fabrics you chose, the manufacturers you hire, the colors you popularize, the fashion houses and retailers that you tie up with are all likely to be decided based on overall basic concept and the target consumer. For instance, if you are targeting the wedding niche, then you are targeting young males and females who are looking at buying themselves a wedding dress. Accessories, bridesmaids’ dresses and bouquets can then be line extension once you have established yourself. On the other hand, if you are looking at positioning yourself as a ‘green’ fashion label, then you will look at collaborating with other environmentally friendly fashion houses.

Once you have decided the target consumer and the concept, it is time then to create the actual product and designs. This involves creativity, viewing collections of various designers and exploring research ideas. Fashion design is a continuous process that requires developing at least five to six collections a year. The moment one line is complete the next one has to start developing in your mind for your label to move on to the next season.

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Trends are extremely important in the fashion industry. It is one industry where you cannot relax and sit on your laurels of the past. The success of a fashion business necessitates keeping abreast with what the consumer is buying. Information to this effect flows in from several sources manufacturer’s representatives, fabric producers and from professional online trend services that sell information regarding expected trends in the coming season. Keeping yourself in the loop may require you to be part of online forums and blogs so that you are aware of what really is being talked about as the next best thing and be prepared for it.

Controlling cost and maintaining quality are critical to the success of a fashion business, as any other business. For this purpose a workable business model should be developed because without good financial planning any business is likely to fail. Boring as it may seem in comparison to apparel design; bookkeeping is important and helps you keep track of finances as well as material that you may send to a contract manufacturer.

Barring a few large companies who prefer in house production, fashion business is largely based on contract manufacturing. A contract manufacturer takes the cut material and sews the garment. Some large companies even ship cut material to overseas contractors to save costs. Maintaining a balance between quality and costs is extremely important as you begin to grow and expand. Supervision, quality control, maintaining a sound retail distribution chain and cost control need to be handled in conjunction with creating new lines for each season.

Contract manufacturing works on the basis of one operator sewing in one piece. That means one operator sews only collars while the other, only sleeves and one sews all the pieces together to produce the finished product. In a modular method a group of operators sew the entire garment. This ensures better quality of the end product. Fashion business that lays emphasis on quality should opt for the garments to be sewn completely by one operator.

The fashion industry is unique, artistic, profit driven and at the same time very demanding. In this industry one person can make a big difference and there is always room for more. The first two years are critical for the success of a fashion business. Without help it may become difficult for new designers to survive in fashion industry.

Success in the fashion business is as easy or as difficult as success in any other industry. Irrespective of the industry that you are entering, it is essential that you understand the unique characteristics of the trade and the industry before you take the plunge completely and sink in the investment. However, the good news is that offers a complete agenda of what you need to know before and after starting your own fashion business line and this includes fashion design, fashion design products like design software, branding, marketing and positioning a fashion label, contacting retailers and getting your line in the outlets, supplier contacts and step by step guidance that ensures success in the fashion industry.