The most commonly asked questions when starting a fashion brand

Launching a fashion brand is a big deal! You’re not just launching a brand, but a business, and potentially for the first time becoming an entrepreneur. It’s huge! And therefore you will 100% have a lot of questions to ask.

As a course creator of How To Start A Clothing Line and a consultant to fashion brands, I get asked the same FAQs all the time.

That’s why I’ve written this post. To let you know that it is possible to start a fashion brand, by giving you the exact answers and guidance you need to move forward and start your fashion brand journey today.

How much money will I need to launch a brand?

This really is the million-dollar question!

I can’t tell you an exact sum because it is totally dependent on:

  • How much you DIY Vs outsource tasks, especially larger costs like a web design
  • How much you invest in learning how to start a fashion brand
  • How much marketing budget you set aside
  • Where you choose to manufacturer your product; local Vs overseas and the cost difference
  • How large your 1st collection will be
  • Will you choose pre-sale to cover your manufacturing costs?

But what I can give you is a guide.

If you choose to DIY as much as possible and produce a collection of fewer than 10 styles manufactured in Asia then you will approximately need AU$10,000 – AU$40,000

If you choose to outsource tasks like marketing and web design and produce a collection >10 but <20 styles manufactured in Asia then you will approximately need AU$50,000 – AU$80,000

If you produce your collection locally you will save on shipping costs however you will pay up to double the cost price per unit.

To learn more about financial planning watch this Vlog.

Do I have to have fashion experience or a fashion degree to be able to launch a fashion brand?

No but it helps.

If you have zero experience, I 100% recommend that you take 1 really comprehensive course + coaching that covers both the creative and business aspects of starting a fashion brand.

Why? Because you will lose time and money guessing how to do it! You will spend hours googling how to and reading numerous different opinions from people that may not be brand launch experts.

Invest in you and the success of your business and take an online course, as well as join FB groups and reach out to mentors that are in the industry and have launched a fashion business of their own.

I also recommend you sign up for these newsletters:

"If you have zero experience, I 100% recommend that you take 1 really comprehensive course + coaching that covers both the creative and business aspects of starting a fashion brand."

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Where do I even start when starting a fashion brand?

I totally get it! It’s overwhelming as yes there are SOOOO many steps you need to take to start a fashion brand.

So where do you start!? Simply right at the beginning –

  • Is my idea good enough?
  • Will it sell?
  • Will it be profitable?

Validating your idea and finding your niche is one of the most important lessons I teach startups.

If you don’t know that there is demand for your product and you go ahead and launch it, you are making a HUGE financial mistake.

You need to research, validate and ask your audience before investing $ in starting your fashion brand. And all of this you can DIY.

Following this, we recommend that you follow this progressive step by step journey:

  • Step 2 – Plan your collection.
  • Step 3 – Design, make and ship your collection.
  • Step 4 – Manage your business.
  • Step 5 – Build and launch your brand.
  • Step 6 – Grow your brand to a global audience.

How long does it take to launch a fashion brand?

This is very much dependant on you and how much time you dedicate to starting your fashion brand.

If you’re able to dedicate 40-60hrs per week (full time) you can launch within 6-12 weeks

If you’re able to dedicate 20-30hrs per week (part-time) you can launch within 16-32 weeks

If it’s a random undedicated amount of time expect anything from 24-52 weeks

If you know you learn best with structure and weekly motivation then I highly recommend that you take an online course and/or mentoring program like a launch workshop.

Programs like these will set weekly goals and learning content to keep you moving along your launch plan.

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Is it possible to do everything yourself? Or do I need to hire help?

Yes with A LOT of time, patience and will power.

However, if you wish to launch a profitable and professional fashion brand within 8 months then I would recommend you seek help and spend your budget wisely.

Areas that I recommend you invest in are:

  • Everything digital! Your website is your shop, your touchpoint with customers, it is fundamental to your success so don’t overlook its design and functionality.
  • Graphic designer for your logo, marketing material. Tip – get them to design templates for IG, FB ads etc so then you just need to update these for every campaign.
  • Photography and videography. Remember your content is everything. Amazing photography and videography will sell your product and tell your brand story.
  • Finally, invest in expert help. Learn from someone that has launched fashion brands before. If you invest in help from the beginning it will stop you from making the same costly mistakes that fashion brands make.

How do I find the right manufacturer for my product?

I strongly recommend that you read this blog post How To Source Effectively, as it will give you the framework to follow to select the right country and manufacturer for your product.

How to start a clothing line

How do I find funding?

Firstly you need a business plan.

Check out this blog post, as it explains exactly why you need a business plan and the benefits it will bring you beyond funding.

Secondarily funding options depend on your needs and circumstances, therefore only you can decide what is best for you. Options being:

  • Crowdfunding to mention Kickstarter one of the most well-known platforms. This option requires you to convince people to pledge money to you for X product/your collection. In return, their money buys a product and funds your factory order.
  • Angel investors – they give you funds in exchange for equity
  • Bank Loan
  • Bootstrap

How do I know I’m going to be profitable?

Profitability starts with idea validation.

You need to take your idea through validating steps covered in the next FAQ, as this will confirm if you have found your niche in the market, with a product that is in demand, that has consumers willing to take their wallets out and buy it.

If you find an in-demand product that no one else is selling then you know that as soon as you launch it will sell as there is already the demand in the market for it because people are already searching for it on Google.

Aside from this, profitability comes learning how to manage your cash flow from day 1 and choosing to invest in services that you can see a good ROI on.

Be money smart and spend it wisely.

A final factor you need to consider is how much stock you produce as this is a major factor that startups get wrong with their 1st collection.

You want it to sell outright?
You want to produce best-sellers right?

So only produce the number of units you think you can sell based on the demand, price-point commerciality of the product and how many channels you plan to sell them through.

How do I know my brand idea, my product is going to work?

I might sound like a broken record, but to be profitable you need to know that your product will sell and the only way to answer this is to follow this 6 step process taught in our short course.

Method 1 = Identifying market demand.
Using tools like Ubersuggest you can check the demand behind keywords searches in Google, Youtube and Amazon, to see if your product niche is in demand and if so, how high is the competition.

You are looking to find a medium – high demand product with low – medium competition therefore less marketing spend.

Method 2 = Seeking opportunities from your competitors.
By following every move of your competitors you will soon learn what they are not doing, which will present opportunities to you.

So follow their IG account, sign up for their newsletters, buy their product and test it and their service.

Method 3 = Who is your target audience?
You need to establish exactly who they are but more specifically their hope, dreams and desires along with their pain points.

Why? So that your product can answer all of these. A great product solves someone’s problems. So 100% ALWAYS think customer and give them exactly what they want.

Method 4 = What is the best sales channel for you?
2021 is all about the omnichannel approach so to ensure your product sells dont rely on one channel, launch it across a few, which could include 3rd party platforms or click and collect options etc

To help you to make these decisions, think customer and find out where they shop?

Method 5 = How to price your product competitively.
You need to discover what YOUR competitive price points are now. This will then set a benchmark for everything you do from this point onwards, i.e. sourcing, costing, value bundles etc.

It’s essential that you position your brand in the market correctly against your competitors whilst displaying its true worth (value)

Method 6 = Ask your audience – would they buy it?
Don’t overlook this step.

You can research to your heart’s content, but without asking your audience, and actually testing to see if they would take their wallets out for your product, then you haven’t found your winning idea, your product won’t sell. If this is the case, repeat method 1-5 again until you find it.

What country is best to set up and launch my brand (business) in?

You’re home territory.

Why? Because you live there, you will understand the market, its demands, its needs as well as the legalities of that country. Therefore for ease, it is recommended that you launch there.

Upon launch, then you can look to expand globally once you have tested your local market and ironed out all the issues.

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How do you set up and register a business?

Setting up a business will be different in every country, as they all have their own requirements. However, I can give you a business setup tick list for you to enquire about in your own country.

  • Trademark – is your business name available? If so, register it.
  • Only then would you buy your domain name – I recommend GoDaddy.
  • Only then would you set up your business email addresses.
  • Finally, open a business bank account and separate your personal money from your business money.

How do you name your fashion brand?

This has been a trending FAQ since the end of 2020 which prompted me to create a Fashion Brand Generator Guide.

It covers:

  • The power of branding.
  • What is your brand’s personality?
  • Choosing the right brand name.
  • How to apply for a trademark.
  • How and where to buy your domain name.

James said; “I’d been stuck for a while on a few different names but none of them stuck. These templates and exercises really helped with naming my brand and identifying my brand’s personality. Super helpful, super recommend.”

I really hope that this blog post has now answered the most commonly asked questions when starting a fashion brand for you?

If not feel free to ask me more below by leaving a comment.

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