Ms. Rosie Gulati is the Founder and owner of Dress Bio, a Gurugram based luxury couture brand. The fashion enthusiast launched this luxury clothing brand almost six years ago to specifically to cater to the needs of 21st-century women who are strong, bold, and beautiful. She defines the brand ‘as an ode from one ambitious woman to another’. She envisioned launching her fashion label that would perfectly combine tradition with trend and hence she started conceptualizing Dress Bio. She focuses on delivering her unique collection that radiates tradition, innovation, and contemporary voguish styles. Her perfectly crafted designs reflect the persona and ideology of modern women- vibrant, strong, vogue, and confident.
Starting one’s own brand can be one of the most exciting but nerve-wracking things in the world. For a fashion entrepreneur , designing their dream range, prestige of selling couture collections in renowned stores, the thrill of seeing one’s favourite movie star wear the collection and the sheer amount of money to be made surely is very enticing. However, the reality of setting up a venture is a different ballgame altogether.
All designers come up with labels in the quest to satiate their creative hunger. However, amidst the focus placed on fashion, entrepreneurs often forget to focus on the nuts and bolts of setting up a business.
Challenges for a Fashion Entrepreneur
Let’s face it. Running one’s own business is no mean feat, and especially so in the fashion industry. When starting out as an entrepreneur in the clothing landscape, it’s important to keep certain things in mind.
Here we delve into the primary challenges that every entrepreneur in the fashion industry tends to face in the initial stages of setting up their business:
- Creating a Road Map
Fashion entrepreneurs tend to launch clothing labels in a whimsical rush to create something and then share it with the world. But the real struggle begins when they have to sustain and grow the label. In this industry, in order to stay relevant, one must keep re-inventing oneself focused on the vision to expand. One must know beforehand where one wants to head with the label keeping in mind the challenges that they are bound to face on the way.
Starting from the glitz and glamour industry to the ways of dressing of a person, there have been dramatic changes in the fashion landscape. The turn of the 21st century saw fashion trends explode. Defining fashion and making it a fusion of traditional outfits with the modernised look has been the biggest switch that occurred in the industry. Thus, the fashion industry has witnessed major trend and style transitions over a long period of time. It doesn’t only deal with apparels but even accessories and styling come within its ambit. The changing demands have led these apparels to style themselves as per one’s need and budding fashion entrepreneurs need to take note of what’s currently ruling and accordingly, create a strategy before taking the plunge.
- Designing the Right Product
Before launching the venture, it’s essential to have a clear idea about the kind of product that has to be launched. Sometimes it so happens that the product is created with a lot of zeal and passion, but it may not be accepted so well commercially. Hence, the idea here is to launch a line of work that is a perfect blend of commercial success and unique designs and styles. Understanding the brand DNA or, in other words, features that make the brand unique is important so that a story can be built around it. In addition, knowing the intended customers who would be interested in the same fashion point of view as that of the entrepreneur is equally important. Lending that personal touch with a sense of marketability to the final product is imperative for success. If one’s creativity isn’t supporting their business, then the business will not support their creativity. This is why both need to go hand in hand.
- Market Placement & Differentiation
Another important point to consider is whether one’s idea or product has a place in the current market. It’s great if it does but even if it is similar to something already existing, then it needs to be distinctive and unique in some way. Also, simultaneously, the product needs to have the basic attributes to find the right customers and persuade even one’s competitors’ customers to buy it. Certain factors need to be figured out prior such as if the idea is absolutely new and unique then how to define one’s market position, is the product aimed at consumers who appreciate casual fashion or the mid or luxury sectors, how pricey will the product be etc.
- Sound Financial Knowledge
For launching a new brand, it’s important to possess some business acumen. And before the launch, one needs to have a certain amount of finance to develop the product. This is a formidable challenge and a fashion business owner’s life almost every time. The funds as resources are the biggest aspect of any business as it cannot grow without financial backup. Higher investments in terms of resources will start reflecting right from the product level to the brand growth level. If bootstrapping doesn’t last in the long haul, then one should pitch in investors or stakeholders. For a fashion entrepreneur, the most vital thing to keep in mind is that people do not really buy clothes, but they buy identities. Once a clear identity is established, it becomes a lot easier to sell clothes. Also, this identity needs to be sold to the investor.
- Avoid Being Salesy
Fashion entrepreneurs, being in the world of glamour, tend to fall prey to cannibalizing sales jeopardising marketing. It’s imperative to build customer loyalty and a good referral network within the target market. Also, understanding the prevailing competition and their pricing models is crucial for knowing which marketing model can lead to more sales and profits. The growth of the brand relies heavily on marketing, especially in times of social media accessibility. While the survival of the brand is achieved by making and selling great products. Thus, very often, fashion entrepreneurs forego the idea of promoting their brand through marketing as they focus primarily on increasing sales.
The varying and constantly-evolving world of fashion is not an easy one to survive in and overnight successes seldom happen. Building something striking and worthwhile takes time, hard work and determination to overcome all odds. One needn’t feel disheartened because of the obstacles as there is a lot of support available for budding entrepreneurs and fashion startups. One just needs to look for the right platforms and groups that can prove helpful. This race is a marathon and one needs to take it up at a moderate pace. Once the business is run well, anything is possible under the sun.