The Secret to Being a Successful Fashion Entrepreneur
It's very much a people-centric business, so you'll need to create and maintain a good reputation for your brand and yourself
The allure of the fashion industry draws many budding entrepreneurs, and as such, fashion is a competitive arena to break into. Hard work and industry connections are both vastly important, but what else will you need to create your own enterprise?
While there’s no blueprint for success, here are certain characteristics that are a must.
Passion and Ambition
Without the burning desire to carve a niche for yourself in the fashion industry, any plans you make are liable to be lacking a vital ingredient. A passion for fashion and a drive to succeed are arguably the most important elements.
If you are in the fashion industry, it’s likely you already have passion and ambition in spades. Let it keep you motivated; your love for the industry will be the most effective incentive to keep pushing forward.
As the founder of your own fashion venture, you will be the one making strategic decisions about the direction your business takes. You’ll need people in your corner to help you achieve your goals, be they team members, suppliers, stakeholders and/or business partners, so great communication and leadership skills are a must.
The best entrepreneurs in any industry are the ones who can clearly communicate their vision, get others to buy into it and build positive relationships with the people around them, and fashion is no different.
It’s very much a people-centric business, so you’ll need to create and maintain a good reputation for you and your brand, as a manager and within a wider network of industry associations, such as designers, manufacturers, distributors and publicists.
Any entrepreneur needs a healthy reserve of self-belief. After all, if you don’t have faith in your own brand, how can you expect others to buy into it? However, too much confidence can be as detrimental as none.
Confidence can be difficult to sustain, and while it’s natural to have moments of self-doubt, you’ll need to fall back on an in-built sense of confidence when times get tough.
Following on from self-confidence, to create your own fashion business you’ll need to be comfortable taking risks. That’s not to say you should make rash decisions, but that you will need to be able to assess business situations as they arise, and identify and mitigate risks worth taking.
Waiting for the “right” or “perfect” set of circumstances can mean waiting forever, and “perfection paralysis” can stop many budding entrepreneurs in their tracks.
By understanding how to use data and business intelligence to inform your decisions, you’ll gain the confidence you need to identify which hunches to follow.
It’s the nature of setting up your own enterprise that not everything you do will be sure to succeed, but without pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, you’ll be unlikely to reveal new opportunities.
Of course, even if you embody all of these qualities, you may not get far without a thorough understanding of business. As cutting-edge business tactics continue to shape today’s fashion industry, fashion entrepreneurs must be able to employ strategies that will help them negotiate this commercially-driven sector.
Vandana Malhotra is a well-renowned designer of the fashion industry who studied fashion designing in New York in 1990 with her first break at the house of Givenchy. From the age of 18, she has been passionately following her love for designing.
In 2013, Vandana launched her own individual label Vandana Malhotra label.