Most fashion designers start their career off by working for a brand like Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren or a vertical store like J. Crew or Forever 21. They are learning and enjoying being part of a team. But secretly they are dreaming of starting their own clothing line. Most fashion designers love to look at fabrics, sketch, creating beautiful clothing that are well made and they love just being creative. Fashion designers dream of having millions of raving customers, buying up everything they design. They love making the world a beautiful and fashionable place!
One day, these fashion designers decide to start their own clothing line. They buy fabrics, sketch their line up, go see a patternmaker and samplemaker to have their designs come to life. They can easily spend $20,000 to $100,000+ starting their brand. They keep making sample after sample, wholesaling to stores, doing runway shows, trade shows. Most designers are focused on selling their line the old way.
I am here to tell you, most fashion designers are all doing it the wrong way! Yes you heard me, all wrong! This is why most designers run through their money and close before ever getting started. First, do not keep it a secret! Tell everyone what you are working on, network with people, tell them what you are doing. Send them to your website to sign up or get their email address or business card, invite them to follow you on your Instragram and Facebook page, so they will know when you launch and receive updates. Tell all your friends and family, have them help you promote your clothing line and have them tell all their friends. People find this fun and exciting hearing about a new clothing brand! If they can not buy the clothing, they can at least help spread the word!
Secondly, you can not launch your fashion brand the old way, the expensive way. The old way does not work! Designers used to do fashion shows, sell to stores, do trade shows, hire sales reps....the list goes on and on.. Then when they finally do sell to a store after spending $300,000+ on runway show, trade show, designing their line, having samples made, branding consultant, hiring a graphic designer, hire a PR firm they finally get into some good stores, then they have to chase the store to get paid. It's crazy!
Thirdly, focus on designing for your customers not buyers of stores. Design for your customers that need and want your clothing. Every store has their own thing they like to sell, it is hard for your brand to fit into 50 different stores and your brand still have your voice. Why do we sit around spending all our time designing for buyers of a store and trying to show them our line and not even know if we will get paid on time? This is another reason why so many fashion designers go out of business.
So start daydreaming about your customers and design clothes for them! Tell your story online and on social media, have fun with your new clothing line. Sell millions of dollars of your clothing to customers that love your brand. Embrace the new way of starting and running your fashion brand. It is so much better!