Chic To Chic

Sew And Tell

Want to start your own fashion-design firm? Here's the experts' best advice:

  • Find a niche or a unique specialty.
  • Get some formal education and/or real-life experience working with a designer.
  • Create a realistic business plan.
  • Make sure you have enough capital to keep going for one year.
  • Keep overhead low by working from home, if you can.
  • Get media attention by sending samples and press releases to members of the fashion press, industry movers and shakers, and celebrities.
  • Be prepared to meet many challenges.
  • If you're not near Manhattan or Los Angeles, be willing to move. A niche business outside these fashion hubs, such as designing cowboy boots in Texas, "could make a living," says Joan Volpe at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, "but your chances of becoming nationally recognized and picked up by the big chains aren't very good."

Pamela Rohland, a freelance writer in Bernville, Pennsylvania, can barely sew on a button, but she loves well-designed clothes.

Contact Sources

Malia Mills Inc., (212)210-7328

Rudwear, (310)657-3032,

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This article was originally published in the December 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Chic To Chic.

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