Fashion is filled with entrepreneurs, and while there are many examples of success, most of them are of failure. There is nothing wrong with failing. In fact, most successful entrepreneurs have failed before they became millionaires. Likey they say, “bad is the path to good.“
Lately, I have come across a few people who have launched their own fashion brands. And as much as you are encouraged to pursue your passion, please don’t throw your time and money away. It is far too common that people with no industry background try their odds and fail miserably. We all wear clothes and think of ourselves as stylish and even business savvy. However, the fashion industry is much more complex than it may seem on the surface. A marketing campaign or selling online will not just make it. These are just some elements of what makes a fashion business viable.
Some recent examples of what I have seen include:
- A luxury swimwear brand made in the UK with Italian fabric. The products were not well differentiated in the market and sold for GBP180 apiece. The brand was available online and a 10% discount was offered as soon as a new client visited the site. Two points:
- Why is a luxury brand offering a discount? Sort out your pricing strategy first.
- Do people care that its made in the UK with Italian fabric? The answer is yes, but not enough to pay +500% more than if you bought it in ASOS and it was made in Portugal.
- What is so different about your products that people need to care?
- A brand that planned to open 6 stores with Womenswear, Menswear and Accessories in Spain, the UK, France and Germany.Most successful brands start with 1 key product of high value they can excel at making and selling.
- Having such wide focus will dilute your efforts and will probably take you nowhere. Go step by step, and narrow your focus.
These mistakes are way too common. This is why I want to share 5 business books that will help you in shaping your entrepreneurial adventure. It is very important that you read them all.
Here are my recommendations:
I am also available to talk if you want. People contact me all the time for advice and I am always happy to see new businesses take off – it’s an exciting time!
Good luck with your venture, and keep in touch.
Recently I wrote about the best fashion buying books I’d recommend to read if you want to have a better understanding of the fashion industry. Today, I want to go a little bit broader and recommend some awesome books I found about the business of fashion as a whole.
These books cover various disciplines within fashion and will expand your knowledge. Whether you are in marketing, buying or operations, it is essential to be knowledgeable about the core activities of a fashion business and its strategy.
Here are my top picks:
I hope you enjoy the reading! Please keep emailing me your favourite books to complete the list 🙂
Recently, I met an entrepreneur who secured funding on Dragon’s Den, the UK version of Shark Tank. I have been addicted to the show ever since and I wanted to share my two favorite fashion business pitches.
After a few episodes, you learn how the dragons scrutinize businesses; its concept, market size and barriers to protect the product from competitors. Sales history, plan for the investment, Fashion buying and a reasonable valuation are also key aspects affecting the outcome.
Continue reading “2 Fashion Businesses that Went to Dragon’s Den and Succeeded”
I once read that the fashion industry is like football – everybody wants to get in. This is true in many ways. Although fashion is tough and competitive, it is also highly rewarding. In my experience, fashion companies are nothing like we’ve seen in movies like The Devil Wears Prada—a great movie though! Fashion companies tend to have flat hierarchies with fewer politics and more creativity. Be advised; however, that the fashion industry is not as lucrative as banking or management consultancy, so if you are in it for the money perhaps you should reconsider your options.
What worked for me—and I think it’s the norm now—is to gain a qualification in business or, more specifically, in fashion, to opt to fashion buying jobs. I graduated in Fashion Business at the London College of Fashion and that worked out beautifully for me. I also had high-quality retail experience on the shop floor so it was the right match. You can see my Linkedin profile here.
Before, during or even after you graduate—or before your first few interviews—I am going to recommend that you read 3 books. Two of them aren’t technically fashion buying books, but trust me, that knowledge will be invaluable.
- Fashion Buying and Merchandising: From mass-market to luxury retail by Miguel Hebrero. This fashion buying book will equip you with the knowledge you need about who is who and who does what in a fashion company. I wrote it in 2015 and covers the basic that you MUST know.
- Principles of Marketing, Global Edition by Kotler and Armstrong. Every fashion buyer is a half marketeer, that’s why you must learn how to make meaningful connections with your target audience.
- Mathematics for Retail Buying: Bundle Book + Studio Access Card by Tepper. Karl Lagerfeld once said, “There is no fashion if nobody buys it”. This is very true that’s why you need to learn how to develop a profitable buying operation. Interviewers will love that you display business acumen since some buyers can end up being all over the place creative people, and that’s not good!
You should read all three of these books. They are equally important and the knowledge you acquire will accompany you forever. Additionally, don’t forget to follow my Youtube channel: Fashion Business Education. Enjoy!
Continue reading “3 Fashion Buying Books You Must Read to Become a Buyer”