The question every business wants to know is will they achieve success, and that's no different for fashion startups. During my consultations and mentoring sessions, I get asked a lot if I think a client's idea is a good one, so here are my tips on success for fashion startups.

1. Have Belief.

First and foremost, you need to believe in your idea, brand and product. If you're feeling half-hearted about it then it's not the road for you. The clients who have most success are those who relate to a passion in their life. You might be a gym buff who's dream is to see your brand worn in an athletic setting. Or how about your passion for yoga? Do you live in your studio apparel and want to launch your own line?

Starting up a new fashion business takes courage, determination and commitment, so make sure you're choosing something that will spur you to keep going.

2. Understand Your USP.

In business circles you'll hear that you need a U.S.P. to become successful. But what is that and how does it relate to fashion? A unique selling point is something that sets your brand apart from the rest of the world.

This U.S.P. can come in lots of different formats and relate to both the product and the business. Some examples of what can make a business unique are:

  • your products fill a gap in the market

  • your prices bridge a gap in the market 

  • the way you sell is different

  • the types of fabrics you use are unique

  • your brand supports a charity

  • your brand is ethical in trade and manufacturing processes

  • your brand is eco-friendly, organic or fair trade

3. Innovate.

I'm always amazed by my clients when they come to me with an idea for something totally new, that's never been seen before.

Innovation is a great way to boost your success. If you've tried to buy a product and couldn't find it, then you've identified a gap in the market to fill, and that's half the battle. Chances are, you're not the only person looking for that product, and there is an untapped marketshare waiting to buy it. You just have to get it out there!

  • Clothing that includes new technology or fabric development

  • Garments that perform a function

  • Apparel that is for a certain age, size, body type

  • Clothing that solves a problem

4. Be an improver.

Another set of clients that do well with their startups are those who take an existing idea but make it better. Perhaps you love a particular type of apparel but wish there was more choice on offer. Maybe you feel certain brands or markets are lacklustre and need a boost or refresh. You might already use a type of product and realise it doesn't quite perform how it should. These are all things you can improve upon by:

  • Making garments fit better

  • Manufacturing with more premium fabrics

  • Offering a better choice in styles

  • Improving how a product performs eg. in the gym or outdoors

  • Giving customers more accessible price points

  • Injecting fashion into a stale market

If you have an idea for a fashion startup, and want to chat with an expert or get help starting, just get in touch for an initial consultation here or drop me a line

Michelle Ramsay

The Fashion Expert®

#freelancefashiondesigner #fashionconsultant #startupspecialist #fashionstartup #fashionmentor #fashiondesigner #clothingdesigner #thefashionexpert #thefashionexpertuk #launchafashionbrand #newfashionbrand #emergingdesigners #newtalent #clothingdesigner #appareldesigner #designer

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One of my most favourite ways to relax is to watch films, whether that's at the cinema or at home. As most of us are staying at home just now, I thought I'd share with you my top 10 fashion films to help inspire you and your fashion brand or help channel your inner fashionista.

I have to admit my real love lies in the real-life footage of couture ateliers and so 9 of the 10 recommendations are documentaries, but I really think you'll love these, whether you're into fashion or not.

It's worth noting that these are listed in no particular order (OK number one is my actual favourite!), and all have their own merits and unique points. I've tried not to give too much away but revealed the reason I've chosen each film.

1. Valentino - The Last Emperor.

This documentary follows the last season of Valentino Garavani and tells the story of his life and career in fashion. I adore everything about this documentary from the work at the atelier to his relationship with his pugs and (former) partner Giancarlo Giammetti. It also shows the changing environment of the industry for a fashion house, and the respect Valentino holds from some of the other fashion industry legends. Expect emotion by the bucket-full!

2. Bill Cunningham - New York.

The story of The New York Times photographer who for decades documented street and society style. You'll wish you had sat with Bill at a dinner party by the end of this film, who was renowned for travelling around on his bike with his camera, always on the lookout for his next shot. "We all get dressed for Bill", Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

3. Lagerfeld Confidential

I love the whole insight into Karl Lagerfeld as a person in this film. His life, his dress, his aloof personality are absolutely fascinating to me, not mention his love and talent as an artist and photographer. And then we see him at work with the house of Chanel! It's got it all.

4. The September Issue.

This documentary chronicles the effort that goes into producing Vogue, and not least of all the September issue, which in the industry is the most important of the year. We get to see the symbiotic relationship of Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington, and how both their talents are needed to make this work.

5. Diana Vreeland - The Eye Needs To Travel.

Diana's life is a journey through the fabulous, from Paris during The Belle Epoque, New York in the 1920's, her pre-war time in London and back to New York. There isn't a dull moment in this documentary which charters her career at Harper's Bazaar, Vogue and The Costume Institute at The Met.

6. Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton.

If there's one thing that shines through in this film is the tendency for the fashion industry to attract workaholics. It's a chicken and egg scenario. Marc Jacobs tirelessly creates and works throughout, but the results are stunning and you won't be disappointed.

7. Dior & I.

Raf Simons' debut season at Dior is captured on camera in this film, in an intense pressure-driven timeline of 8 weeks. Star-studded with celebrity cameos we see behind the scenes in both the atelier world and awards circuit.

8. McQueen.

The genius of Alexander McQueen is a great loss to the fashion industry but this documentary shows a genuine biographical insight into why his legacy lives on through his incredible art today. It's filled with passion, emotion and tragedy and I can't watch this without shedding a tear every time.

9. Coco Before Chanel.

Sometimes to understand something we must first look at the past, and this film is the perfect example. Audrey Tatou portrays the early years of Gabrielle Chanel, and the somewhat sad circumstances of her life that ultimately shaped her future and who she became.

10. Iris.

Iris Apfel is one of those people who it truly individual and to understand this you need to watch this documentary. I love everything about her maximalist style and to see her clothing and jewellery collection is insane. High points are witnessing her shopping trips and her love for Carl her husband.

I'd love to know how many of these you've already seen and which ones are new to you. Did you love them? Let me know.

If you have any questions, comments or feel you need help launching your fashion brand then get in touch and we can discuss your requirements -

Michelle Ramsay - The Fashion Expert®

#freelance #fashiondesigner #thefashionexpert #thefashionexpertuk #michelleramsaydesign #fashionbusiness #fashionconsultant #fashiondesign #startupfashion #thatsfashiondarling #startupconsultant #fashionpreneur #fashionstartup #startupspecialist #launchyourbrand #clothingline #fashionmentor #businessoffashion #fashionbusinesscoach #techpackdesigner #fashioncads #techpacks #businessadvice #emergingfashion #sustainablefashion #startafashionbrand #launchaclothingline #fashionfilms #vogue #stayathome

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Until recently working from home was mostly reserved for freelancers, the self-employed or those cheeky Fridays when you "must" be at home to take in that important delivery - read early finish to get a head start on the roads for that weekend away!

But in all seriousness, we now find ourselves in a time where self-isolation and social distancing is dictating that a large percentage of the population, who wouldn't usually, are now working from home.

Although the idea of working in your onesie or skype sessions on your sofa sounds like the dream, there are a lot of drawbacks to WFH, and without some self-control, you could find that reality a lot harder then you thought. It's actually not for everyone. Some of you will love it but some of you will find it a very difficult situation, especially if you relish the company of others or lack self-discipline.

As I head into my sixth year of self-employment I thought I'd share my top tips that will hopefully help you stay on top of this situation and how you can use it to your advantage.

1. Set A Routine.

It sounds boring but this will be the backbone that stops you melting into a pool of self-indulgence. Get up the time you would normally get up and make sure you're ready to start work on time. Define clear working hours so you're not chained to your laptop all evening and remember to schedule things into your day like breaks and lunchtime. Try to stick to these working hours. You might also want to try to stick to those eating, drinking and snacking times too, depending on how much willpower you have!

2. Get Dressed For Business.

There are two schools of thought on this, but I firmly believe in getting dressed for work, and often will do hair and makeup too. For me it sets the tone, it helps me put my professional head on, and as I'm often video-calling clients I like to dress appropriately. I have friends that work in their PJs, but I prefer to save relaxing loungewear for my downtime. This helps me mentally separate the two parts of my day.

3. Use Your Time Wisely.

Flexibility is the number one advantage of working from home. In theory, you can pick and choose your hours and as long as you get the work done it shouldn't be an issue. But don't be fooled. It's so easy to be tempted by household chores and jobs that "will only take a minute!" Save these tasks for your breaks or personal time. If you struggle with keeping on track or productivity then do the hardest job first. Break it down into bitesize chunks and use a timer to get through tasks you're not enjoying.

Set your timer for 25 minutes work, then take a 5 minute break where you get up from your desk and do something else. Walk away from your desk and make a drink, stretch your legs and back, look out the window for a few minutes or fuss your pet, then return to your desk. Repeat 4 times rewarding yourself with a 30 minute break on the fourth cycle.

4. Limit Distractions.

TV, social media and your personal phone will suck time from your day. If it's too tempting not to look at these then put them in a separate room and check them on break times. This can also apply to pets too! My cat has an annoying tendency to want to be involved with client skype sessions, so I do have to lock him away until they are over!

5. Decide Where You Are Going To Work.

Having a specific work area stops your work life spilling into your home life. While you may not have the luxury of a home office, your dining room table or similar will help you mentally separate relaxing spaces like your bed or sofa, from working or more formal space in your home.

6. Put Work Away On An Evening.

I'm lucky enough to have a separate work studio on which I can close the door at night and switch off. Putting away paperwork, that report you're working on and your laptop on an evening can really help your mental wellbeing. If you're constantly looking at work during your downtime you won't fully tune out.

7. Go Outside.

If you stay cooped up at home every day you'll go stir crazy. Take 20 minutes from your lunchbreak and go outside. Sit in your garden, walk into town or your nearest park. Even a stroll around the block will do. Seeing daylight will lift your mood, even if the weather isn't great, and your afternoon will be far more productive after that break from your desk.

8. Exercise.

Working from home makes you lazy! You no longer have that 10 minute walk to the train station. Your walk downstairs to the kettle is significantly smaller than heading to the staff canteen. Your usual trip to the deli for lunch may not happen anymore. Trust me, your average step count will reduce drastically so make time on an evening or morning to schedule in some exercise. If you're no longer able to attend a gym then do a home video or set up some circuits in your garden.

9. Socialise Online.

Just because you're not heading down the pub tonight doesn't mean you need to miss out on all social contact. Schedule time to speak to friends and family via video after work. During the day call colleagues about queries rather than just emailing. Working from home can feel isolated, so maximise time where you can have virtual contact with others. Your mental health will thank you for it.

10. Take Advantage Of The Extra Time At Home.

Most Britons spend 58 minutes on their commute. If you're working from home you could be gaining back 2 hours per day - 10 hours per week. Think of what you could do with that commute time now. That side project you've been thinking about for years. That startup idea you've sat on for months. That business you want to start but you're always saying you can't because you don't have the time. One of the biggest positives to come out of WFH is the time you could potentially gain back. This scenario won't last forever so use that time wisely now.

I'd love to know how you get on with these tips and if you are working from home.

If you have any questions, comments or feel you need help launching your fashion brand then get in touch and we can discuss your requirements -

Michelle Ramsay - The Fashion Expert®

#freelance #fashiondesigner #thefashionexpert #thefashionexpertuk #michelleramsaydesign #fashionbusiness #fashionconsultant #fashiondesign #startupfashion #thatsfashiondarling #startupconsultant #fashionpreneur #fashionstartup #startupspecialist #launchyourbrand #clothingline #fashionmentor #businessoffashion #fashionbusinesscoach #techpackdesigner #fashioncads #techpacks #businessadvice #emergingfashion #sustainablefashion #startafashionbrand #launchaclothingline

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© Michelle Ramsay Design Limited 2020  |  Registered In England Number 11252084

Registered company address 10 Stadium Court, Stadium Road, Wirral, Bromborough, CH62 3RP  |  Tel: +44 (0) 7528 659 583

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