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How to start a fashion brand?

Gabriela Romanska in the office

My name is Gabi and I am the co-owner of a fashion brand Romańska and a modelling agency Tokai. If you think about creating a brand, you’re in the right place.

7 things to consider before starting your own business in fashion:

1. How much money do you need?

Most of the fashion brand owners say that it costs about 5000$ to get started. I personally don’t agree with that. Making  clothes is very expensive indeed, but If you’re on a budget, I simply recommend starting with accessories or jewelry.

If you have any experience in this industry or a professional education, you can make the first collection by yourself. The money from selling it can be used to produce another one. If you fail to find customers right away (which is very likely), you can at least start advertising and building brand awareness.

 Of course, this method won’t work for someone who wants to sell blazers in a larger size range, but it’s a suitable solution for a jewelery line or someone making e.g. crochet bags.

2. You can’t do everything by yourself.

Creating a product is only a small part of building a brand. You have to find people who can help you with: photography, building websites, social media and the most difficult part- marketing (good luck if you plan on doing it by yourself 😉 I hope you’re a professional or at least naturally gifted)

3. Finances.

You need some money to get started. Do you have savings? Does your job allow you to live comfortably and invest part of your income? Will you get a loan?

It might be a good idea to find a partner with whom you could split all your expenses (but also your earnings). Investors in the fashion industry practically don’t exist.

4. Don’t leave your full-time job (if you have one)

Most small business owners remain employed for several years even after their brand becomes recognizable. Having your own business is a rollercoaster, one month you earn, next month you lose. A stable income helps you sleep at night, that way you can also invest more money as the business grows. It took me year and a half to quit my office job.

5. Your first business is likely to fail …

… Just like mine 😉 It doesn’t matter how much money you’ll invest, the statistics speak for themselves. We fight for our brand everyday, but we’ve also thought about quitting many times – especially during the pandemic.

It doesn’t mean you shuldn’t try.

Some brand owners might question the seriousness of this blog when reading my advice on starting with crochet handbags.

Regardless of this fact, I think you should start where you are with what you have. Just one month of brand ownership teaches you more than years of research. Even if you decide to quit one day, your next business will be ten times stronger. What you think is a failure can turn out to be a lesson- as long as you won’t get discouraged and use your experience to build something even bigger… but you have to start somewhere in order to do that.

6. Never take advice from someone who is not a business owner.

Suddenly everone and their mother will want to give you advice. You should never take business advice from someone who isn’t a business owner. Same goes when considering whether to start your own brand at all. Listen to your intuition only, unless you have a mentor you can trust.

7. How much money does it cost to start a business in your country?

Research all the legal parts of running a business in your area. I live in Poland and taxes are crazy expensive here, so starting a brand is rather difficult. If you live in UK you’re lucky- it’s much cheaper, especially in the beginning.

If starting your own clothing line is a dream of yours, don’t give up on it!

Reading all these things can be scary at first, but running a business is very rewarding and overall worth the struggle. Do your research and don’t get discouraged!

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