6 common myths people believe when starting a fashion brand

6 common myths when starting a fashion brand

Author: Martina Carello |

Blog by Colour Alchemist Canada

There are myths within every area of business that become common.  And although there are people who have succeeded with these myths in hand, however, the sad thing is that most haven’t. 

Here are the most common and why these are more myth than reality.

Their idea is novel, and research is not required because they just know that people will but their brand, because it makes sense to them

There are many fantastic and novel ideas.  There are a few that just happen at the right time and fill the right void, and then, there is everything else.   Everyone with an idea, thinks their idea is the greatest and it might be. But an idea is not worth developing unless proper research within the market has been completed and potential is clear. Without proper market research, an idea can easily become a money pit. 

They believe they can get up and start selling in under a month

While this is true for some types of fashion businesses, this is not a fact for those wanting to develop their own clothing lines.  Starting a fashion business in curation or reselling will get you started to sell much quicker, whereas developing your own clothing line, safely, is at least a one-year plan.

They believe that their friends will be their clients

Your friends MAY be your target audience, however, just because friends say they like it, would buy it, and support it, doesn’t mean they will.  Most often, they don’t and that’s ok. Supportive friends are worth a million, even if they don’t buy your clothing.  So, hang on to your supportive friends and don’t get hung up on them not buying your goods.  It isn’t personal.

They can start a clothing line under $5000

Again, this is possible but not the norm.  There are general business start up costs to consider and then there are development and product costs.  Starting slow is an ok place to start, however your plan to grow must be set into place BEFORE you start, otherwise, running a clothing business is just a very expensive hobby.

They believe that they will sell just because they have a website

Most people don’t factor in that 50% of their overall cost in running a fashion brand will be in marketing efforts.  People often choose to do this themselves, and although this is a great way to cut costs in the beginning, to grow into a sustainable clothing brand, you need to know and understand how your website converts and what is required for that to happen.  That requirement is either endless hours getting yourself out there, whether by using your time or using your dollars. In the end, both your time and dollars are dollars.  Always factor in that your time on your business is money too.

They want to start a business to make fast cash, and believe selling fashion clothing is the way to do it

This can be a low-cost high turnaround for someone who knows the ins and outs of amazon selling, drop shipping and is a marketing whiz kid or chooses to learn marketing ropes. But for most people, this is a high cost, slow climb business.  The amount of people who have refused to believe this and have closed shop in under two years would astound most people.

So how do you get around these myths and start yourself on the right foot?

Planning.  Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying: If I only had an hour to chop down a tree, I would spend the first 45 minutes sharpening my axe.”  This is one of my favourite quotes and an extremely wise one.  Especially for those undertaking a new journey that they have never done before. 

What does that planning include?  It starts with writing down all the aspects of your great idea, researching what is out there, and most importantly who will your great idea serve, why and how will it benefit THEM. It’s called feasibility.

Set a Budget.  What will it cost to start your business, develop your line, purchase your raw materials, assemble your items?  What about shipping costs, marketing costs, contingency budgets when things don’t work out as planned? I can assure you that most people have no idea, and most people don’t realise how much it really does cost to start out right, and unfortunately find out too late that mistakes cost more.  There ALWAYS has to be rainy day money in this business in order to stay afloat.

Look outside of your “friend” circle for feedback.  Like explained above, not all your friends will be your clients, and that is perfectly fine.  Having the expectation that a friend will buy your clothing because they are your friend, is not realistic.  People should be free to spend their money how they wish.  Look outside for your target client and stay focussed on them.

Understand what marketing REALLY is.  It’s beyond a website.  It’s beyond Instagram and Facebook.  It’s much more than just attending markets and schmoozing with the right people.  And, when it comes to the right people, make sure you do have the right people to back you and to support you.  This leads me to the next point.

Conduct your business professionally.  Build bridges, don’t burn them.  This is a small world.  Not just nationally but internationally.  Transparency has become an important factor in this industry.  Word gets around very fast.  And you would be really surprised who knows who, especially those who have been around the block a few times. 

Do it because it’s a passion that you are willing to put the sweat into, not because you are looking for a fast cash opportunity.     For those who are looking for a quick cash grab, honestly, starting a fashion brand from scratch is not it.  For those who have a real idea, have a deep desire to bring a specific product to market to fulfill a specific need or want, don’t get discouraged.  It’s a very hard climb, but a very rewarding place to be if this is what you love to do.  Stay focussed, align yourself with the right people, learn from your mistakes and make sure to research, plan and remain flexible in your findings.

Stay Positive, My friends!