Ending Soon! Save 33% on All Access

Tips for Newbie Fashion Retailpreneurs Starting fashion and apparel retail business is simpler than ever, but making it successful is not

By Puneet Jain

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


The term entrepreneur has become so common nowadays that the original essence of it has started disappearing in the mist. Today, whosoever owns an independent business is deemed as an entrepreneur, which is one aspect of entrepreneurship. When seen as stripped off of all the associated definitions and propositions, an entrepreneur is someone who brings innovation to society, market, and consumers through unique products and services. He, whom we often call social entrepreneur, is the one who addresses the needs of the time and brings a new revolution in the antiquated landscape.

The best example of entrepreneurs can be seen in fashion and apparel industry where some are reforming manufacturing practices to make them eco-friendly, some in fulfilling the fashion needs of the young generation, while others are supplying these products to the masses on time and in a cost-effective manner. With a special focus on economic development, environmental sustainability, employment, and empowerment of the population, entrepreneurs in the Indian fashion industry amounts to USD 7,864 million in which apparel segment is the largest contributor. According to Statista, the online portal for market data and statistics, the fashion market will attain the market value of USD 18, 732 million. And, this landscape nurtured by e-commerce bandwagon and initiatives such as Make in India and Ease of Doing Businesses backdrop the emergence of entrepreneurs, especially fashion retailpreneurs.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) India report 2016-2017 spotlights that nearly 11 per cent of the country's population is deeply involved in total early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA). Either the youngpreneurs are starting their new retail firms or are in the early stages of entrepreneurial journey. Starting a retail business is simpler than ever, but making it successful is not. Challenges such as funding, tough market competition, counterfeiting, the trust of manufacturing and supply chain partners are always standing in the way as major roadblocks.

Below are some relevant and useful pieces of advice for all those looking to launch their own fashion retail business.

Craft Your Business Concept Unique and Exciting

In India, hundreds of thousands of fashion and apparel retailers are in combat to get a competitive edge. And, many of them fail too soon because their business concept is dull and monotonous—pick the stock from manufacturers and sell it in the market. The apparel retailers should think of building their business on strong cornerstones of product quality, customer's trust & experience, employee loyalty, and profit, of course. A retailer can design his store with the impeccable interior, allow customers to try world-class clothes in leisure, earn his trust by sticking to purchase/return policies in customers' favour, and cheer his staff (even when there are only two people) who mainly shoulder all of the previously mentioned responsibilities. Strive to create value for them, dare to do something that no other competitor does, and presto! When all of such things are in place, the profits are promised.

Analyse the Market Needs / Forecast the Demands

As the fashion retail market is largely organised and lacks the full-stack of data, the retailpreneurs might find it tough to ascertain consumer demands and get relevant market insights. From afar, they might not know whether Indian ethnic wear is in more demands or Indo-western, which clothing type will sell better, which fabric is widely chosen by customers, and how to strike a balance between both online and offline modes unless they spend at least 2-3 years in the market. Therefore, one should analyse the market by himself through the means of crowdsourcing Big Data. Do surveys by yourself or hire a company which can empower you with a bird's-eye view of the market and help you decide the products and types. By this way, the risks of missing on opportunities are minimised while profits are amplified.

Choose Partners Wisely and do Business With Them Fairly

The apparel supply chain is not as strong as it is supposed to be. The supply chain partners are bound to market dynamics and changing consumer behaviour. The stories such as production partner cancelling the deal in between, the manufacturers suddenly spiking the costs, freezing each other's payments are not new to the market. The conflicts amongst the supply chain partners can bog down the apparel retailers. Therefore, the apparel retailers should build good relations with production and manufacturing partners and suppliers to ensure the proper and timely flow of goods and products. Good equations with supply chain partners help all support each other in times of market uncertainty and instability.

Puneet Jain

Director, ODHNI

News and Trends

CoverSure and CirclePe Raise Early-Stage Funding

Here are the Indian startups that announced early-stage funding rounds.

Business News

'Creators Left So Much Money on the Table': Kickstarter's CEO Reveals the Story Behind the Company's Biggest Changes in 15 Years

In an interview with Entrepreneur, Kickstarter CEO Everette Taylor explains the decision-making behind the changes, how he approaches leading Kickstarter, and his advice for future CEOs.

Business Culture

How To Keep an Entrepreneurial Spirit Alive in Your Small Business

These three tips will help you keep the spark for entrepreneurship that leads to long-term business success

Business Models

How to Become an AI-Centric Business (and Why It's Crucial for Long-Term Success)

Learn the essential steps to integrate AI at the core of your operations and stay competitive in an ever-evolving landscape.