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

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My second client spotlight is Lucy from Chico Jack's. Although not a brand new start-up, Lucy like many of my clients jumped into the fashion industry from a different career. I've worked with Chico Jack's now on a couple of projects and have been excited to work with the brand as Lucy's enthusiasm always shines through.

This client already had a supplier in place but needed me to design some new products, delivering full factory packs that could be taken to the manufacture for production.





Can you introduce yourself, your position and your brand?


Hi! I’m Lucy and I’m the founder of the award-winning breastfeeding clothing brand, Chico Jack’s.


What do you sell and who are your customers?


We sell breastfeeding specific clothing to Mothers. Our clothing is designed to make breastfeeding journeys that little bit easier by offering clothes that are comfortable, practical and fashionable. Our brand launched 2 years ago and since then has built an incredibly strong community of Mums that support each other as we all make our efforts to #normalisebreastfeeding





What was your background prior to launching in the fashion industry?


Entirely unrelated to what I do now!! I have worked in a variety of backgrounds from childcare, pensions and finance to working in the police force.


What drove you to set up your brand?


When starting my first breastfeeding journey in 2016 I really struggled. Not just with establishing breastfeeding which was hard enough, but with not feeling myself in the big whirlwind of being a new Mum. I didn’t feel like ‘me’ anymore and a big part of that was because I couldn’t wear the clothes that I used to – I was faced with a ‘mum uniform’ of unflattering and non-stylish clothing so that I could breastfeed my baby. Obviously, this was a far from acceptable excuse for me to stop breastfeeding but I’ll be honest, it did put me off because of how it made me feel.



How long did the launch take from concept to product?


About 3 months roughly. I got some samples and launched those to see how things took off and to see if there were any other Mums ‘in my boat’. I took to social media firstly to ‘reach out’ and in the 4th month launched the website.


What have been your main challenges with regard to being new to the fashion industry?


The amount of work that goes into a single design! I have learnt so much about the fashion industry in 2 years, but each day I’m learning more. There are so many more components to working in the fashion industry to what I imagined, but with the right people alongside and professionals to reach out to they have guided me considerably!


If you could go back in time knowing what you know now, are there any changes you would have made to how you started out with the brand or launch? 


I don’t actually think there is. I probably would have dived in deeper at the beginning as I now know how high the demands are.




Which of my services have helped the most and why?

Michelle has helped considerably with our brand. We have actually only worked with her on 2 of our new designs and one print but that in itself goes to show the impact she has had. The whole process has ran that much more smoothly thanks to her professional input and we look forward to working on new designs with her.


Is there a top piece of advice you’d give other startups considering launching a brand?


I really would say that when planning, think of where you want to be a year, in 5 years time and the future. This really helps to get action plans in place and to dictate what you need to do to get there and meet your goals.


What are your plans for the brand in 2019?


We’ve got some really exciting projects coming up this year and we’re looking forward to opening up opportunities for Mums to join us. Alongside these projects, we’ll also be growing our brand with new collections and designs – we’re very excited for this year!


You can find out more about Chico Jack's at their links below


https://chicojacks.co.uk

https://www.instagram.com/chicojacks


#fashiondesigner #fashionconsultant #clothingdesigner #freelancefashiondesigner #thefashionexpert #thefashionexpertuk #clothingline

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This new feature will shine the spotlight on some of the amazing entrepreneurs I'm lucky enough to count as my clients. Working with apparel start-ups is my favourite part of the job and I hope these posts will shed some light on what it's really like to launch your own clothing brand, especially if you're new to the industry.


Copyright Alphapparel

The first interview is with Andrew Clark, the founder of Alphapparel, a startup activewear brand.


Andrew approached me having tried to navigate the fashion industry himself with a couple of unsuccessful sample attempts. This is a scenario I see often and admire the entrepreneurial spirit to give things a go. Unfortunately though, this approach can lead to expensive mistakes, take up a lot of valuable time and frustrate startups.


We stripped things back to the start and reworked ideas in a methodical way, through designs, tech packs and accurate specs, as well as consultancy regarding manufacturing and next steps. This really armed Andrew with the correct information he needed to approach manufacturers and create his collection.


Copyright Alphapparel


In Andrew's words "It’s been a very long time in the making, but finally the brand is live and doing well!"


Has it been worth it? Read on to find out.


What do you sell and who are your customers?


We sell comfortable, performance activewear that’s suited for both the gym and daily use. We focus on kitting out and connecting fitness enthusiasts, giving them the opportunity and means to grow their own brand in the fitness industry.

Whether this is through our up and coming ambassador program, or just with a simple connection over facebook or instagram, we strive to help our customers grow.


Copyright Alphapparel

What was your background prior to launching in the fashion industry?


I graduated with a Masters in engineering, but the innovative, fast pace of the fitness industry drew me to changing career path.


What drove you to set up your brand?


I’ve always loved the fitness industry and started going to the gym about 7 years ago. I become an ambassador for another brand about 3 years ago, and thought there were a few things that I could do better. I just wanted a piece of the fitness industry lifestyle. The 9-5 life sitting at a desk all day is doable, but I’m not as passionate about it where I want to rush into work every morning. Launching a brand is totally different from a normal job, but unique in the sense that you feel more of a commitment to your own project.


How long did the launch take from concept to product?


A long time. A very long time. Did I initially underestimate how long it would take at the beginning? You bet I did. But now I’m finally selling the clothing, it’s definitely going in the right direction.


Which of my services have helped the most and why?


Designing techpacks and explaining the fitness industry to me. Unique, well fitting designs were important and the pieces Michelle designed are fan favourites of our brand.


Is there a top piece of advice you’d give other startups considering launching a brand?


Take a month to plan everything out, research research research. Pay a designer like Michelle to help find a suitable manufacturer and source suitable fabric and fits you like. The more preparation you do will save you month and months when it comes to the later stages.


Copyright Alphapparel

What are your plans for the brand in 2019?


Restock our collection and create variations of the same pieces.

Bring out a much wider range of products that cater to all of the fitness industries needs.

Become a millionaire, retire at the age of 23 and live in a mansion by the beach…Too much? Well it is a plan of mine... whether I make it a reality or not is dependent.


You can buy the full range of Alphapparel here


#fashiondesigner #fashionconsultant #clothingdesigner #activewear #gymapparel #freelancefashiondesigner #thefashionexpert #thefashionexpertuk


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Updated: Jan 15, 2019

January and February mark the start of the fashion calendar in lots of ways. Firstly the Menswear collections will show AW 2019/20 on 11th January swiftly followed with Haute Couture SS 2019 in Paris.


8th February will see the offerings of Women's A/W RTW 2019/20 starting in New York followed by London and giving way to Milan and Paris.



Image Copyright Magic


These dates will be punctuated with pre-collections and cruise collections and if that wasn't enough to keep you going, all this in conjunction with the season's influx of fashion tradeshows.


Tradeshows can be really exciting, inspirational and informative events to attend, and whether you're an established fashion brand, or a startup entrepreneur you should be attending these shows for a whole host of reasons.



Image Copyright Sourcing At Magic

As well as great places to gain new contacts, suppliers and manufacturers these events give you an opportunity to get really hands on. You can touch and handle fabric samples, ask for cuttings, have swatches mailed to you and explore trims in close detail.


On the flip side of these sourcing based shows come the product based shows, where brands and retailers present their new and up-coming collections. This is a perfect chance to gain inspiration from some of the more established retailers, and a chance to learn from the professionals.



Image Copyright The London Textile Fair

There are too many shows worldwide to mention in this post, however I have put together a list of my top 10 recommendations for January and February in the UK.


9-10th January

The London Textile Fair

Olympia London

http://thelondontextilefair.co.uk


15-16th January

Fashion SVP

Olympia London

https://www.fashionsvp.com


23rd-24th January

Jacket Required

Old Truman Brewery

http://www.jacket-required.com


27-28th January

London Edge

Business Box London

https://www.londonedge.com


3rd - 7th February

Spring Fair

Birmingham NEC

https://www.springfair.com


10-12th February

Pure | Pure Origin | Pure Man | Bubble

Olympia London

https://www.purelondon.com


10-12th February

Scoop International

Saatchi Gallery

https://scoop-international.com


15th -19th February

London Fashion Week

http://www.londonfashionweek.co.uk


15th -19th February

London Fashion Week Festival

https://londonfashionweekfestival.com


17-19th February

Moda

Birmingham NEC

https://www.moda-uk.co.uk/about-moda


If you are one of my international based clients, or you'd like a recommendation on a specific type of show to visit you can drop me an email here info@thefashionexpert.co.uk with your questions and I'll try to help.


For further reading on making the most of a tadeshow ready my post 10 TipsTo Ace A Fashion Tradeshow here.


Let me know which tradeshows you are considering this year in the comments below.


Michelle Ramsay

The Fashion Expert®


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

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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

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

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