Take your fashion design business to the next level

When Steve Madden started making shoes, he sold them from the back of his car. Within ten years, the brand had gone global. Madden had changed the trend around womens’ shoes, and had become incredibly wealthy along the way.

To the world, the Steve Madden brand was a rags to riches story of overnight success; to Madden it was a long obsession with womens’ shoes and an eye for design that saw him dominate the industry. If you’re currently enjoying designing clothes and you want to take things to the next level, you could start to sell Mary-Janes from the back of your car – but it’s not a business model that works for everyone.

Taking things to the next level

Starting with your designs, examine what you have to give the world. Whether you’re designing punk-inspired raincoats or fashionable smocks for mothers, you have to have an idea of where your brand sits in the world. As a hobbyist, branding isn’t something you need to think about, but once there’s a bottom line involved, it’s very important to know your market. At this point, you will also want to consider getting insurance to cover yourself and your business. It may sound quite daunting, but it’s always better to know you’re covered for legal fees and so forth, should the worst come to pass. Companies such as Next Insurance offer professional liability insurance online, a solution that helps you get cover tailored to your needs as a small business. With such remedies available online nowadays, there’s no excuse not to get cover.

Staying conscientious

Consider using materials from ethical sources, and work out how to make clothes which are kind to the environment. There is a big push towards recycled clothing nowadays, with fashion retailer Zara leading the way by announcing that their entire range will be sustainable by 2025, and there will be large bins in store for recycling old garments. By catering to customers who are excited about ethical fashion, you will be jumping on a trend which is set to go from strength to strength.

Financial planning

When you’re a hobbyist, designing clothes on a whim is part of the joy of making, however when you take your work from the comfort of your bedroom and out into the world, learning to budget becomes crucial. You should make a plan for costing each item of clothing and ensure that you can find a break-even point in order to calculate the risk of making items people don’t then buy. If you’re planning to hand your designs over to a factory, ensure that you have a clear prototype of the items before ordering hundreds of units, as you could be setting yourself up for disappointment if the item you ordered is not delivered. Having sound business sense is just as important as the clothes that you make.

Taking your hobby into the mainstream can be a scary thought at first, but if you have the drive and know-how to make it happen, then the process will feel incredibly rewarding. Just remember, simple increments are the best way to progress, and although business and admin can feel tedious, they’re the safety blanket on which your business rests so that you can have a picnic once in a while.