Good question! I bet you have attended lots and lots for fashion seminars and conferences this year! You have met so many people who have told you their stories. I, for one, have chatted with so many people since Fashion Talk 2, who are just ready to go! Some have even placed orders for samples with one of the speakers which is great! We like action not just words!
So now that we got the ball rolling, how do we keep the momentum?! And for those who haven't, how do we start? 2017 is upon us so the planning starts NOW!
Starting a clothing line is not about having grand plans. Having a great vision is good. I know because I had those GRAND PLANS myself until I was faced with the harsh reality that starting a business is tough but sustaining it is even tougher! I'm sure you've seen the statistics about the number of businesses that fail within the first few years. So it stands to reason that the biggest entrepreneurs who tell you to "start small" obviously knew what they were talking about. Besides in this tough economy of ours, those with their heads above water are doing a GREAT job!
I remember a friend who told me he planned to start a microfinance bank with his friend. I asked him why a microfinance bank since to me, you needed a lot of funds to start one and clearly from our conversation, money was a problem. I would have thought an easier option would be to offer small soft loans to small business owners who have been neglected by the bank. Even if all you make is 50k per loan, before you know it, you become the go to person for loans and make enough money to actually start and sustain that bank. PLUS you would have learnt enough lessons from dealing on a small scale when the stakes are lower which you would actually use in that bigger business.
Of course I suggested this but I am pretty certain he didn't listen to me and I know he still hasn't set up the bank. The last I checked, he was trying to set up a logistics company with a "fleet" of trucks for FMCG but I'm guessing financing is still a problem.
So see... you can dream BIG but if you don't have the funds, then nothing can happen. Which is why fashion is so great! First it probably has the least barrier to entry and you don't need a lot of money to start off depending on the kind of fashion business you want to run. So why not start something on the side and test it first?! You might even be surprised that the BIG VISION you have of that business might not even be the one for you.
1. First, Get Your Fashion Talk DVDs!
We've had 2 Fashion Talks loaded with so much information! If you don't have them, you need to get them. If you have them, then you need to get them out and watch them from the very beginning - even if you attended the event. The speakers have been very practical in their messages. Straight up talk! No gimmicks as a participant said.
Fashion Talk 1 was about: Starting Off, Defining Your Business Model & Production
Fashion Talk 2 was about: Starting of & Expanding, Making Sales, and of course, Production.
There are enough tips in there - even some right down to how much they pay their tailors. It's not just enough to get inspired by the talks and other seminars you've attended, you need to act on them!
I keep running into this young man at pretty much every fashion seminar I've hosted or attended - and I bet he has attended loads more! Years later and he's STILL complaining about the very same reasons that have prevented him from starting something and this is 3 years later! In my opinion, if after all that knowledge, you are still telling the same stories years later, then you must be the one with the problem!
Truth be told, you are your own limitation! Whatever excuse you may give yourself is borne from you and only you! And I hear them all the time... age, work, children, oh.... and the one I like the most... "you can't understand"... whatever that means...
Well guess what?! You are not the only one. And if you are one of those people, I think it's time you confront that fear! Maybe this post I saw 2 days ago on Instagram will help you!
2. Then, Join the Designers Connect Network
Well the Network is all about learning and sharing really - and most importantly building a strong community where members can benefit from discounted rates from business professionals who can help us move our businesses forward. It is also about sharing knowledge and sometimes even just hanging out to let off steam after a frustrating week at work. It is still work in progress and we have actually been doing stuff behind the scenes that we have not publicized. Fashion Talk is part of Designers Connect.
We have also helped some designers out with tailors (though that has been the toughest task ever), helped designers out with their clothing labels, hooked designers up with graphic designers, accountants and even where they can source tools and materials they need for their trade. Of course we all know that we are stronger when we work together.
Of course Designers Connect Network is spearheaded by Martwayne at the moment but our dream is to make it a self-sustaining entity and resource center - a Network built by designers for designers. It is a LOT of work but I know we can get there - but we cannot do it without you!
To join the Network, please send us the following details to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Your Name;
- Name/Proposed Name of Clothing Line;
- Contact Details: Phone Number, Email Address, WhatsApp Number, Blackberry PIN, etc;
- Your Social Media Handles: Instagram, Facebook & Twitter;
- Your Expectations from the Network;
- What Exactly You Need Assistance With at the Moment;
- Current Challenges You Are Facing Setting Up or In Your Fashion Business
Getting these will help us know what the need is out there so we can go about trying to get people to solve them. And it is open to anyone, both people who are trying to set up, those considering setting up and those currently in business. We all have challenges and it would help us do the research to know experts to partner with that can bring the service to you, hopefully at an affordable rate.
3. And Finally, Follow Our New Series - How to Start Your Own Clothing Line / Fashion Business
This comment by ayerasthreads on Instagram really gave me the push I needed to complete this post. Feels good knowing an encouraging word here and there goes a long way. SO yes I have decided to resume the series I started on Bella Naija last year but this time on this blog instead.
BUT I need your help! I am torn between writing a blog post, shooting a video or recording a podcast or audio series. I'll tell you my issues with the first 2 and why No 3 is really the most appealing!
Blog Post: Dragging myself to my laptop after a hard day's work to type! Each article takes me like 3 hours! This particular one has taken me a week! Lol! Not easy at all! And you have to be in the mood to write else your message comes across as flat!
Videos: Would have loved this but honestly, the thought of getting all dressed up - donning on make up, fixing my hair, my nails, setting up the lights, getting the perfect angle with no shadows, etc is just one big hassle for me. And gosh - editing those videos! Takes ages! I still have the one I shot with Mai still sitting on my desktop. It's a lot of work to be honest and not really for the faint hearted.
Podcast / Audio Series: As I said earlier, this really is the most appealing because I can just sit and gist with you guys without having to bother about my looks. But I'm not really sure how this works so have to do my research. But it takes the stress out of having to get all fixed up. I can just sit on my bed in my pajamas and chat to you guys without the extra stress of getting all fixed up and if something comes to mind, I can just get out my phone, record and upload. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea.
So my question now is, which would you prefer? Blog post, Video or Audio?!
But anywayz, either way, whichever we (note the word WE) decide on, I know my limitations, so I won't overpromise. I will try and post one every week (or max every two weeks). Yeah I know consistency is not my thing but I will try hard this time. If you don't see something from me in 2 weeks, please I give you permission to PING the heck out of me!
Some articles will be based on what I think you need to know, others will be based on answers I gave people who reached out to me with their issues. I have always said, if one person is facing it, many more probably are.
BUT... please note that we are all a mountain of knowledge in our own way so please if you have anything to add to what I have said (or you want to challenge what I have said based on your experience), please feel free.
OKIES! I better stop here now! I'll leave you with these 2 powerful quotes:
From the internet
See you in the next post!