Fashion is one of the most beguiling and intriguing industries in the planet. Mystique and glamor created by corporations like Gucci and popular culture landmarks like “The Devil Wears Prada” have made the field even more appealing as a career option. However, aspiring fashion designers will have to face the fact that they want to enter one of the most competitive fields in the planet.
According to one estimate, there are approximately 23,000 fashion designers in the United States alone. Unfortunately, only a bare handful of these designers will enjoy national recognition and success. Even turning a profit from being a small-scale fashion designer can be difficult with the proliferation of fast fashion products and online retailers.
If you’re an aspiring fashion designer, you will need to get off to a good start.
Below are some excellent tips on how you can establish a unique and profitable small-scale fashion brand without going over budget.
Establish Online Presence
The internet is the small business owner’s friend and you will need to make good use of all the advantages it has to offer. The basic step to enhancing or making an online presence is through building a website.
Efforts such as creating an engaging social media account and purchasing ads on websites are also important facets of this strategy. If you’re unfamiliar with search engine marketing, web content optimization or social media marketing, hire a small digital marketing firm to help you through the process. These firms usually have reasonable rates that even a small, beginner’s business can afford.
Protecting Your Designs
One of the biggest problems facing small fashion designers in America is the brazen way large companies often steal designs from others. Huge fast fashion companies like Zara and H&M have bad reputations for ripping off designs from independent designers who can’t afford to sue them.
Although you can patent technical and unique design elements of fashion, designs aren’t as well-protected by American copyright laws.
One way you can ensure that people know someone is ripping off your work is by carefully documenting your own designs on social media. Time stamps and photos can prove that a big company has stolen your creative endeavors. Social media stigma can prevent designers from ripping you off if you document your designs and remain vigilant.
Use Sustainable and Durable Materials
Consumers are becoming more and more concerned with the environmental impact of their purchases, and you can capitalize on this.
Ethically sourced products are also in demand, with consumers demanding brands get their supplies from companies that have fair-labor practices. As a small company, you have more mobility and choice than larger enterprises. You will do well to make these ethical and environmental considerations a cornerstone of your business. Marketing your brand as eco-friendly can be the advantage you need.
Get Global Inspiration
Too often designers only take inspiration from brands or designs that they are familiar with. This can greatly stifle creativity and lead to limited or overdone designs, which won’t elevate your small business’s brand. Thanks to the internet and popular culture, you can now gather inspiration from different parts of the globe with relative ease.
For example, you could mix the boldness of Chinese street fashion with the elegance of Italian couture. You can be surprised by how well the fashion sensibilities of different countries mesh together.
A word of caution: stay clear from copying religious or cultural designs, especially those of indigenous origins. Commercializing these facets of a different country’s culture is extremely problematic and will lead to negative impressions.
Finally, be on the lookout for potential partnerships that you can form with other businesses or brands. It’s highly preferable that you form a network with other small fashion brands as your mutual support can lead to more lucrative opportunities.
For example, if you make boutique shoes from vegan materials, you may wish to partner up with a natural cosmetic shop. Such partnerships mean that the businesses involve can share customer bases and even help supply one another with products.
Opening a small fashion brand is a leap of faith, but you can increase the odds of success through strategic planning and innovative decisions. The tips mentioned above are only a fraction of what you can do to ensure your small fashion company will eventually become profitable and recognizable.