Being an fashion entrepreneur is an exhilarating roller coaster ride! One moment you are killing it and the next minute you are asking yourself why you got out of bed that morning. We all have those specific challenges that can knock us down. Here at Stitch Method we encounter some we didn’t even see coming! For instance, when we started looking for office space we thought “this will be fun! Looking at real estate is awesome!” Wrong. Looking at real estate IS fun. But it takes time out of your day that you need to be working on other things. It takes more time and more money than you thought to find the perfect place, pack up everything, move everything, organize all the people involved, set up the phones and it goes on and on! It was exhausting!
We talk to a lot of new fashion design entrepreneurs and everyone has their own set of struggles. Since I had my own line, I can relate to so many of these. Here are a few that we hear the most:
1. Bridging the calendar from retail to wholesale.
A lot of fashion designers start their businesses selling direct-to-customer. This is a great way to get your product out there and do some initial market research! As things start picking up, it might be time to branch out into wholesale. However, when you are selling to boutiques you need your samples ready months before you do for direct-to-customer sales. Making that jump leaves many designers exhausted trying to chase down the calendar and determine whether or not to skip a season to make it work.
2. Finding the perfect materials for your product.
Starting small as a new designer is smart. However, when you start small that means that you only need a few hundred yards of fabric, or only 200 buttons. There are great vendors that will sell low minimums to new emerging designers, but there aren’t many of them. This means that the options are limited and this makes it very challenging to find the exact fabric or the exact button that you have in mind.
3. Pricing garments at the right price for a profit.
The cost of fabrics, trims and manufacturing decreases as the amount ordered increases. For instance, it costs more to cut and sew 20 shirts than it does to cut and sew 1,000 shirts. This means that when you start out with your 20 shirts, each shirt will cost more to make than it will when you produce 1000 shirts. Due to this, it can be hard to juggle the correct profit margin and still sell at the price point that a target market demands.
These are a few of the main struggles that we encounter when we meet new designers. Our job is to help you solve these problems! We want to hear from you. What other challenges do you encounter?