Starting a Business from a Passion for Fashion

Creative industries within the UK are continuing to grow. Among the seven big main players, the fashion business is shown to be the largest employer of all, estimated to support 816,000 jobs.

In 2013, London was voted Global Fashion Capital for the second consecutive year, so with the Spring Fair 2014 already taking place at the NEC in Birmingham, and London Fashion Week soon in the spotlight, just how easy is it to start a fashion business in the creative industry?

Speaking from personal experience, it is a very tough and competitive industry to be in. Staying one step ahead of the game is always on my mind. However, it is an industry I love and have a passion to show others how they can do it too.

So, here are some helpful hints and tips to turn your passion for fashion into a living, breathing business:

Do your research – Reading articles is a great way to start looking at a fashion business in the creative industry. This Creative Choices article will help start you off on your path of exploration, thinking about the kind of options open to you.  Researching similar fashion businesses to the one you have in mind is important too. To enable you to work out how to differentiate your fashion business (define your Unique Selling Point) and offer products or services that customers want.

Write your plans down – Putting all your plans down on paper in the form of a business plan is a must for any new creative entrepreneur. Even though at first the whole idea of a writing a business plan may seem alien and lacking in creativity. The fact is, that working through issues such as your marketing plan and financials isn’t just good discipline for getting your fashion business off the ground, it is absolutely crucial. Fashion Capital has a really helpful guide to work through, covering key questions you need to be able to answer before starting your business in the Fashion industry.

Network and Connect – Provenance isn’t just the domain of the food industry. There is increasing demand for fashion items to show they’re ‘Made in Britain’ mark. Whatever you’re planning to do, you’ll need to start sourcing suppliers so the more contacts you can make the better. Speak to people in your local area as well as further afield, and take a look at the resources offered through The Design Trust.  Don’t forget that social media is also great for connecting with others running creative businesses. The possibility of identifying potential collaborative opportunities which could really strengthen your business plan.

Plan your schedule – Sometimes creative people can lack discipline with the less creative tasks being put off to another day. Planning your week or month ahead is very important. As it not only allows you to stay focused but gives you the chance to see things from other angles.

Give Yourself Time – Starting and running a creative business is demanding. So it’s important to make sure you do things at your pace to ensure you remain in control of everything. If you are having a bad week, don’t be too hard on yourself and take time away to refocus.   Many creative businesses look to receive help from a mentor, particularly at key stages such as starting up or growing. Someone who understands the industry you’re in, and who has experience of running their own fashion business. Not only may they give you a guiding hand but also give you a much-needed boost in morale and confidence.

Starting a creative business isn’t for everyone. Though, a genuine passion and talent, and if you are prepared to put the hard work in, then why not start planning now? By the time the next London Fashion Weeks comes around, you could be on the road to success. Good Luck!

Published Saturday, January 12, 2013