#5 Challenges Faced as a Fashion Entrepreneur, What Should Be One's approach towards them? If you are looking to raise funds for a fashion brand, be clear with the identity and test it and if you think it is working, sell the identity to the investor

By Sougat Paul

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All designers create labels driven by the quest to satisfy their creative hunger. However, amidst everything focused on the big F word(Fashion of course), one tends to forgo the importance of B (the Business).

Let us talk about the pillars for the F combined with the B :

Product: Here the first challenge as a designer starts. Sometimes the kind of work created through passion, may not be accepted very well commercially. The idea should be to make a perfect blend of commercial success with unique .designs and styles. Understanding what actually makes them a unique (Brand DNA) and building a story around it, secondly knowing the Customers who might be interested in their fashion point of view (knowing means understanding who they are, their culture and their lifestyle. It is very important to have that personal touch with a sense of marketability to the product that one is making. If your creativity is not supporting your business, your business will not support your creativity and that is why it is very essential to know that both will go hand in hand.

Funds: The biggest aspect of any business is the funds as resources. We should know that no business can grow without funds. One definitely has to invest bigger to reap larger. Better investments in terms of resources definitely will start reflecting from the product level to the brand growth level. One should try and pitch in investors / stake-holders etc, in the case where the business starts to burn one's pockets. However, a fashion entrepreneur should never stop inventing new ideas. If you are seeking investments for a fashion brand always keep in mind that people don't really buy clothes, but people buy identities and once you establish a clear identity, it becomes easier for you to sell clothes. Hence, If you are looking to raise funds for a fashion brand, be clear with the identity and test it. If you think it is working, sell the identity to the investor.

Supply Chain Awareness: Being a labor-intensive industry, fashion entrepreneurs should be trained well to handle the technicalities /legalities/compliance which comes along with manufacturing. The growth of a label definitely depends on their appetite to handle larger manufacturing while delivering great innovation at a great price with the best of the quality.

Marketing Vs. Sales and Vice versa: Fashion entrepreneurs being very closely associated with the glitzy world of glamour, often fall prey to cannibalizing sales at the cost of marketing. It is very important to know how to build your customer loyalty and referral network within your target market and understanding the competition and their pricing and how will the marketing lead to sales and profit because marketing will play a key role to make the product available. It's true, that the brand growth lies in constant marketing especially at a time of varied social media accessibility, The survival of a brand solely and solely is through making and selling great products. And looking at it the other way round, sometimes great salesmen, often overlook the importance of spreading around the awareness through aggressive brand campaigning.

An Early Road Map: Fashion entrepreneurs launch labels in a whimsical hurry to create and share something new with the world. However, the struggle hits in when one has to sustain and grow the label, after a certain point. As the saying goes " Change is the only constant", one must keep re-inventing oneself with a focused vision of expansion. So it is very important to know where one wants to head with the label while being aware of the challenges that await. Past few decades have witnessed the major changes. Starting from the glamour industry to the way of dressing of an individual there have been drastic changes. With the beginning of the 21st century, fashion trends have exploded exponentially. Defining fashion and making it a fusion of the traditional attires with the modern look has been the major switch for the industry. It has been the time when the fashion industry has undergone with a maximum number of shifts regarding the trends. Though this industry doesn't only deals in apparels but also accessories and styling have been one of the most important points that one has to take care of. With the changing demands in the on-going times, these apparels have styled themselves according to ones need. It is not necessary anymore to bind to the conventional style of clothing.

Sougat Paul

Owner/Designer of the Label Soup

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