How to Start a Successful Fashion Design Business

From the aso ebi of the Yorubas, the beautifully crafted kaftan of the Hausas and the wonderfully decorated outfits of the Igbos to the western inspired styles common among the youths, the fashion industry in Nigeria is experiencing a big boom and if it is not at its peak yet, then it is fast approaching and plans to stay there for a very long time. 

The fashion industry in Nigeria started to experience a huge turnaround when indigenous fashion stylists, tailors and seamstresses started to experiment with our natural fabrics and cultural attires to create a beautiful blend of now and then. Then, we also started to embrace the western culture when it comes to dressing and we have even adapted this to our very own ankaras and kampalas. 

A lot of investors have gone into this industry to make big names for themselves and many more are going into clothing and fashion daily. The prospects are high; the market is there and your suppliers are ready. How then can one successful go into the fashion industry and make a reasonable investment?
Currently, there are a number of ways in which one can launch themselves into the fashion industry. The first (not according to any order) is investing in someone else’s business. 

This would be like holding some shares and stocks in a public trading company which would pay you some dividends as agreed upon by both parties. This can be a very long term investment for you and for a business that is very profitable, would mean a steady income while letting your money work for you. The next is starting up an institute where you get the necessary materials for developing fabrics (the sewing machine, the weeping machine etc.) and with some skills on your own side, you start the business. Along the line, you would start to gain a lot of customers and even apprentices who would want to learn the trade under your guidance and tutelage. 

The profits here are also endless because you can gain as much as you can manage the business well.
However, it takes little or no knowledge to be able to start up with any of the two above except the latter which would require you to have had more than some basic sewing skills. 

To better invest in the fashion industry though, the prime way is launching into your own clothesline. Establishing your own brand. Although there are profits in the ways listed above too, they are usually marginal compared to what you would gain by opting for having your own clothesline, and we are here to help you realise that dream.
So, what does it take to start my own fashion clothesline?

    1.  Learn about the industry
The best way to succeed at the business is to, before all other things, learn about the industry. You would not only need to learn about the present but as well, the past, because this has a very high effect on where the fashion industry is going. Fashion revolves around one point and knowing the past would give you better innovative ideas and help you keep up with the present and future. A good way to learn about the industry is to take a class, read a book or for more practicality, immerse yourself into it may be under someone else’s brand. This would allow you a front row seat to seeing how things are done.


      2.   Pick Your Style
Fashion is all about style, and what doesn’t appeal to someone would be the apple of another’s eyes. Puma, Adidas, Nike and all other related fashion brands in the world got to where they are by being unique. They picked a style and stuck to it through thick and thin, making only modifications, adjustments and improvements to the template on ground but never deviating for once. This should inspire you to check within yourself and choose what you want your brand to stand for.

Choosing a style doesn’t make you rigid, rather, it gives you focus and it screams something that people can easily identify with you. Trust us, people love when their fashion brand is unique because you standing out helps them to also stand out.

       3.   Choose your market
Who do you plan on dressing with your clothesline? This is as important as any question that you could ask yourself. Is it the young, the middle-aged or the old? Is it the celebrities or are you going to cater for the middle class too? Would you want to make for females only, males only or have a unisex brand? This would further enforce your uniqueness.

For a start, you could consider the theory of appealing to various types of market. Let your clothesline have a variety for people of different categories to choose from. Once again, we are going for uniqueness, not rigidity.

        4.  Draw a Business Plan
Yes, you need that, more than anything. Draw up a business plan and do not make a hasty business of it. Take all the time that you would need to come to your conclusion. Launching a fashion brand or clothesline is very capital intensive so you would want to consider your start-up capital, the operating costs, the number of employees to hold, your overall ideas, the logo and tagline of your business, your set mission, vision and goals, your business polices, the target market and all such other things that comes to mind when you think of your business.
Detail is king here and make sure you do not skip anything when making a business plan. The smallest of details can have the biggest of effects.

         5.  Suppliers
Now that you have all you need to start your fashion brand, choose the companies that you would like to supply you. Remember, uniqueness is the key and it would be better to go for one that is very much in line with your own dreams and passion too. If you are new to the business, get in touch with those that have been in there for a while and get recommendations from them to make your interactions with the suppliers even smoother.

         6. Marketing
After getting your products, move to marketing. Make your advertisement revolve around the products you have and bring them out in the best light as possible. Strengthen your brand and advertisement by getting models to do shoots for you, dressing up celebrities if you have access to them and putting your style out there. You are also your own best form of advertisement. 

Wear yourself and let people see you. Market your brand well and present yourself better and watch people swoon over your clothesline. We are now ready to start smiling to the bank.

Ikoi Abode Ikenna is a prospective Pharmacist but born an entrepreneur with the heart and passion for entrepreneurship and business. He has strong believe in Financial independence, since wealth is a choice like wise poverty, he has decided to make the best of every opportunity and here he preaches the same.