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Top 5 Fashion Startup Tips

Top 5 Important Fashion Startup Tips

When you’re just starting out with your fashion label, it can feel overwhelming! We know; we’ve been there too! Most young labels assume that the design and creation of the product will be the most challenging part. That’s a common assumption, but unfortunately, it’s not the reality. These fashion startup tips are intended to help you with this transition and set you on the path to success!

Tip 1) Prepare Yourself

As any good house painter will tell you, the biggest part of the job is the prep work. Masking, taping, drop cloths… All that annoying stuff that’s not fun is the part that keeps your lines straight, avoids the trips and keeps you from tracking paint all through the house on your shoes.

The same is true with any type of product design. The more thorough you are in your early process, the better quality you can expect your results to be. It’s tedious sometimes and can be expensive, but you have to go through all the steps to get to the finish, even the boring ones.

So, take your time in the beginning to gather all the information you can. Interview other people who’ve been through the process, meet with consultants online, and learn as much as you can about the process.

Tip 2) Organize Everything

A big part of starting a fashion business is learning how to organize all the info that you learn along the way. It’s easier said than done, as it turns out. It’s easy to get lost in handwritten memos, emails and even spreadsheets. What you need is an easy tool to help you manage all the tasks on your plate.

One of our favorite startup tips is to use a good intuitive software like to manage your projects and tasks. With this tool, you can easily collaborate with other members of your team or even outsiders who may not have a lot of experience with tools like it. We use every day to communicate with all of our Black Label service clients.

Get outta email, get into an organizational system. You’ll never look back!

What you sell is not as impactful as how you sell it.”

— Your humble author, Richard

Tip 3) Define Your Market

Though it’s tempting to focus first on your exciting product ideas, the truth is that what you sell is not going to be as impactful as how you sell it. Before you decide exactly what you’re going to sell, and LONG before you actually have anything manufactured, you’re going to have to figure out exactly how you’re going to sell the stuff.

The first 10 pieces is the hardest, then the first 100, then the first 1000. Once you can figure out how to get the first few items legitimately sold, then you’ll have plenty of time to focus on how to scale your business.

It doesn’t really matter how much profit you’re making at first. In fact, if you’re making any profit at all in your fashion startup, then either you’re a wizard and none of this applies to you or, um… No I guess that’s it, the only way you’ll make profits in your earliest efforts is through magical powers.

The point of this fashion startup tip is don’t worry about the financial details such as your cost/profit margins until you have a firm understanding of just how the heck you’re going to get these things moving.

Tip 4) Learn to Use a Spreadsheet

If there’s one thing we’ve learned above all, it’s that money matters in a business. Good control over your finances (and your sanity!) is one of the most important things you can do for your business.

So, for that reason, one of our favorite fashion startup tips is: Learn to use a spreadsheet. No matter how much we wish sometimes that we could say goodbye to spreadsheets forever, it’s just not going to happen. Spreadsheets are a vital tool for any fashion label, big or small. They can be nerdy and annoying, I know, but you just have to tough it out and get used to them.

Tip 5) Practice Makes Perfect

Patience is the unsung hero of any successful entrepreneur’s success story. It doesn’t make for bold headlines, but it can make all the difference between success and failure in a fashion startup. The fashion product development process is just that… a process. It would be nice if we could all just succeed the first time or even 10 times we try something. But the reality is that starting a business is crazy difficult, failure rates are high and getting through it requires a good deal of practice.

Working with Prototype will save you a great deal of stress and give you something of a shortcut, but there’s a whole lotta learning that just won’t be able to come from anywhere other than your own experiences. And, that’s a good thing! If it was super easy, the competition would be ridiculous. The struggle is what tempers your resolve and allows you to compete in this challenging field. Don’t fret about your early performance; practice instead. Give it a little time and more than a little patience and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish!

A Final Bonus Fashion Startup Tip…

No matter how scared or worried you might feel…
Just remember that everyone who walked the path before you faced similar challenges, similar fears. There IS a successful path. You just have to find what it is for YOU.

For further reading, check out some other fashion startup resources from the folks at Prototype…

About the author 

Team Prototype

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