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 info@thefashionexpert.com


Michelle Ramsay

The Fashion Expert®

www.thefashionexpert.com


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

Updated: Mar 19


5 issues factories have with fashion startups.

There's no doubt that launching a clothing line is tough. It takes dedication, knowledge and time. Many of my clients find dealing with manufacturers the hardest part. It can take a while to find a good fit for your product, and the sampling process can feel laborious, so making sure you've got your process streamlined will help.



Make yourself a desirable startup client.



Often start-ups take an unconventional approach with factories, because they don't know any better and this sometimes leads to frustrations from potential suppliers. In turn the startup can feel deflated, deterred and not sure how to move forward. Learn the processes involved and educate yourself in the stages of manufacture.


I've put together the top 5 issues factories have with fashion startups and some tips to help you avoid these.


1. Lack Of Design Information


One of the biggest time wasting approaches I see amongst start-ups is contacting a prospective manufacturer without any tangible information in the form of completed CAD designs, tech packs and size specs. You might know what you want to launch in your fashion range, however a collection of photos, rough ideas and a vision is not going to cut it with a factory.

At best you'll end up with some cobbled together samples that don't represent your ideas. At worst you'll come across as unprofessional, a newbie they'll have to hand-hold and probably someone they don't have time to coach.

This raw information is what you should discuss with someone like myself - a designer, not a factory. It's tempting to be pro-active and find a factory early on, but you have a much better chance of striking a professional relationship with a potential supplier if you can hand over factory packs for each style.





2. You Don't Speak The Fashion Language


Understanding the correct fashion terminology will help you extensively when discussing your designs with a factory. Take some time to find out the relevant vocabulary that describes your styles, whether that be the fabric quality, the types of trims being used and any special details that make up your design. This information should be itemised in your factory packs from your designer, but make sure you can converse with your supplier in the language of the industry and understand the details. If you can't then use a fashion consultant who will have your back every step of the way.




3. Unrealistic Expectations


Being aware of minimum order quantities versus price per unit is incredibly important. It's great to have target prices that you hope to produce something for, but if you only want to produce something small like 50 pieces per style then the price is going to reflect that small order.

Equally so, your small MOQ may have an affect on how many colours you can order per style, how specific you can be with base fabrics and how much it will cost to produce anything specific to your brand such as branded hardware.


4. Unworkable Timelines


When you hand over your designs for manufacture, the samples won't appear instantly. Your prototypes will take less time than your bulk production, however you should always allow enough time for re-sampling, allowing for your factory's workload and general turn around time. Each factory will have a different lead time, often booked up weeks to months in advance depending on the time of year. Just because you're ready to go doesn't mean you can dictate timescales for your suppliers. Utilise a realistic fashion calendar to plan your critical path.



Be realistic with times and expectations


5. Unwillingness To Compromise


It's great to aim for that gold standard with your collection but sometimes a little compromise goes a long way. It may be your factory can't source the exact composition of fabric specified in your tech pack, however if they have an alternative does it also do the same job? Sometimes your need for small MOQ's might dictate what you can do in terms of design for branded items like buttons, badges, labels and trims. You may have a better chance at getting what you're looking for by using an available quality and branding that.



Understand where to compromise.


In summary the main takeaways here are:


1. Prepare your designs in a professional manner with all technical and sizing information in place.

2. Do your homework and liaise with your designer to understand what it is you're asking for.

3. Research MOQs.

4. Be realistic with your timeline.

5. Compromising will get you a long way.


If you need help launching your fashion brand then get in touch and we can discuss your needs - info@thefashionexpert.co.uk


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

Updated: Dec 1, 2018

One of the most important requirements of a fashion brand, and any fashion designer worth their salt, is to be aware of upcoming fashion trends. Not only to understand them, but to be ahead of them.


Just how do fashion designers know what is going to be in fashion next? Where do you find fashion trends?

We do this through Fashion Forecasting and Trend Intel, working ahead of season often two to four seasons ahead which is around two years in advance.


Most of the big players in trend intel require an expensive membership or subscription, so if you are a start-up brand or a company with a smaller budget then it can be a big advantage to employ a Fashion Designer who has access to this already.


Below are my top 10 go to resources in no particular order, with what we consider to be their most useful aspects.



  1. WGSN

https://www.wgsn.com/en/

Best for working up to 2 to 4 seasons in advance. Covers fashion and interiors.

£££££


2. Fashion Snoops

http://www.fashionsnoops.com

Best for covering a wide range of products as well as working far in advance. Interactive features and amazing webinars.

££££


Image Copyright Fashion Snoops

3. Trendstop

http://www.trendstop.com

Best for giving different membership options and packages and easy to use interface.

£££


4. Pantone

https://www.pantone.com

Best for colour of the year reports and updates across fashion and interiors.

£ Free online


5. Vogue

http://www.vogue.co.uk

Best for catwalk coverage and couture designers.

£ Free online


Image Copyright Vogue

6. Elle

http://www.elleuk.com

Best for their high street takes on couture looks.

£ Free online


7. Pattern Prints Journal

http://www.patternprintsjournal.com

Best for colour and pattern / textile coverage.

£ Free online


8. Print and Pattern

https://printpattern.blogspot.com

Best for print, surface pattern and childrenswear.

£ Free online


9. The Fashion Spot

http://www.thefashionspot.com

Best for Celeb style and runway coverage. Close to season information.

£ Free online


10. Who What Wear

http://www.whowhatwear.co.uk

Best for Celeb style and current trends, what everyone wants just now.

£ Free online


I invest in the best fashion resources for Michelle Ramsay Design Studio so you don’t have to, and I can advise you on catwalk/ runway reports, seasonal colours, new fabrics, must have silhouettes, print / graphic trends and developments which are relevant to your individual brand.


I can compile this information for you to help you design the best product for your brand and can advise you on new aspects to set you apart from the competition. I can create mood boards, colour palettes, silhouette boards and fabric and trim inspiration. I also offer this type of advice and guidance in our consultation services.


I cover menswear, womenswear, urban and streetwear, childrenswear as well as athletic wear and soft accessories.


If you are launching a new range today and would benefit from gaining some inside industry knowledge, then get in touch with the studio today.


studio@michelleramsaydesign.com

www.michelleramsaydesign.com


#fashion #fashiondesign #fashiontrends #fashionconsultant #fashiondesigner #freelancefashiondesigner #fashionblog #thefashionexpertuk #thefashionexpert #fashionpreneur #fashionstartup

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

Registered company address 10 Stadium Court, Stadium Road, Wirral, Bromborough, CH62 3RP 

info@thefashionexpert.com  |  Tel: +44 (0) 7528 659 583

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