How to start a fashion business with less than 80K!

Starting any kind of business requires determination, endurance and dedication. But the fashion business required even more than ten times of these qualities, especially now that everyone is a designer, right? The fancy idea of parties, creativity, runway shows is all a huge lie. In fashion business, you will spend less than 10% of your time actually designing or having parties. If you still feel like the fashion business is for you then stay on screen as I show you how you can start from scratch with less than a 100k.

First of all, not all fashion business have to operate at the high-end of luxury. It seems that many designers or wannabe designers focus to become Karl Lagerfeld, Zizi, Deola Sagoe and Vivienne Westwood. This is a big mistake, because remember, you want to offer your customers value, and you can also do that with world-class design at affordable prices. Some of the most influential fashion businesses are on the high street  becauses the real cash is in the masses, look at H & M. I do not want to kill your luxury-end fashion designer dream. I simply want to draw your attention to another market, because you can always start your high-end fashion brand after you have enough cash to eat and play around with. Ok, lets get started!

Create a plan, less than 8K > Take a week and create your business plan. Yes, especially in fashion design or tailoring, depends on how you decide to call your business, a plan is like oxygen. If you do not know how to go about creating your plan, check out our business course online. A tip while creating your plan is that you should use this time to develop a network of tailors.

Design & Development, less than 10k > Do what you love best. Design something irresistible, trendy, comfortable and wearable daily! If you do not love to design, then get someone to do it. What you will be doing here is to make your sketches, develop the patterns (where to get patterns? send me an email > [email protected]), research fabrics and materials you will need and then make the first sample.

I will share 2 tips with you on how to do this on a budget. 1.) Design just one piece. If it is a dress, then it is one dress. Focus on how you can use fabrics to make variations of that same dress. Now sew a sample for yourself to wear for feedback. Never believe those friends that tell you, “Oh my God it is a beautiful dress”. If they do not place an order immediately after seeing the sketch or sample, then they are lying to you and you will hardly sell that piece! Tip 2 > If your design demands that you import more than 20% of materials you need, then do not risk it. Design something else.

Produce the first lap, less than 25K > Remember as you were creating your plan, you started building a network of   tailors. Now you need them to work. Give them each, one sample of the dress you made and show them  how you want it sewn and finished. Tip 3 > let them make the first sample using cheap fabric. If you feel the quality is what you can sell, then pay the best two very well, i mean a really good amount to make you four to five outfits properly. One size 38 for each fabric variation!

Promotion, less than 15K > this is where you produce a small amount of your packaging and tags you thought about duning creating your plan. Get the campus photographer and a size 38 student to pose in front of a white background with your outfits. Take some editorial pictures conveying the idea behind the design and some neutral straight picture portraying the actual product.  Then get yourself a space online. I would not say you should get yourself a website, no, we need to stay beneath 100k right?, So get yourself a landing page on our website for example or on any other online store that sells fashion from others as well.There are platforms you can actually use. With our mobile app, you can actually create your own store and sell your designs directly to people you know.

Set up all this pictures on the website landing page, do not forget description and price. Now that your products is online, it is time to let your friends know that you are ready to  sell! In the digital age we have tools like social media to help people know your brand exists, and most of these tools are free. Now if your first design sells very well, repeat the same design, just with different fabrics. Let the tailors keep producing more sizes as people order. If it did not sell very well, get feedback to know why and make adjustments in next designs. The great thing here is that you did not stock much products. You make as you sell!

Doing all this could be really stay under 80k if your are creative and have a vrey good eye. Now, if you are excited and really want to venture this new ground of fashion business, come over to my creators lab program by subscribing with the form beneath. You can get my app soon where I will have more resources such as  video tutorials, blog articles, consulting service, Q&As, investors, retail stores and many more to help African entrepreneurs start off.  So subscribe to know when I release the Joadreapp on google play store and launch the programme. Also follow me on instagram to stay updated – @joadreapp.

Cheers, Joana

I am Joana, a Nigerian-born Austrian-based entrepreneur and activist. Founded Joadre in 2012 and continue to develop content to engage and empower African SMEs.

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