Start a fashion brand yourself: 5 frequently asked questions

In 2021, about 7,800 entrepreneurs started in online fashion. Half of these starters are younger than 25. They have their own clothing line or sell sneakers, bags, caps or jewelry via social media, their own webshop or an online platform like Shopify and Bol.com. Do you also want to start in the fashion industry? Take advantage of these 5 questions from beginners in the fashion industry so you can start well prepared.

How do I start my own brand?

The following steps will get you started:

  • Make your target audience concrete by doing customer surveys. This way you will find out on which online channels your customers are active, how old they are, how they make their money and what they spend it on, what their interests are, what they need and what they find important in life.
  • Think about the brand identity you want to reach your target audience with. Clothes, sneakers and jewelry are for sale everywhere. Why should anyone choose you? Think about what you stand for, what your story is.
  • Determine this segment. Are you going for high-end mode, very exclusive with a similar price, or are you going for a somewhat lower segment? This is an important choice: it affects many things. From the quality of fabrics and materials such as buttons and zippers to the website’s appearance, packaging and labels.
  • Think of a brand and a brand name. Check if the name does not exist yet. Need inspiration? Read the file 100 years worth of trade names.
  • Think of a logo. Make a rough sketch yourself or collect examples of what you like. Then you are looking for someone who designs the logo for you.
  • Develop a collection. Keep it organized: Start with some basic pieces.

How do I find a good producer?

Take a systematic approach to finding a manufacturer or supplier. Pay attention to, among other things:

  • Quality. Can the supplier meet your requirements?
  • Amount of. Can you make a small order?
  • Postage costs. How much freight do you pay? Note: far away is more expensive.
  • Send samples. How much do you pay for samples? This is often expensive. Ask if you can settle the cost with your 1st order.
  • Price. How much do you pay for the products themselves? With small numbers, you are often more expensive with the supplier.
  • Reputation. Are you dealing with a reliable party?
  • Mix order. Can you order several colors and sizes in one order?
  • Delivery times. Can the manufacturer deliver on time? Fast delivery is usually more expensive.
  • Payment terms. Do you have to pay (part of) in advance?
  • EU product requirements. Can the manufacturer meet all European product requirements?
  • Production capacity. Can the manufacturer quickly give larger numbers if you show success?
  • Slow fashion. What about sustainable production and working conditions?
  • trade agreements. Can you buy at a discount? This is often possible in countries with which the EU has a trade agreement.

Dutch designers often get their products made in Italy, Portugal or Turkey. But according to Fatma Sener, fashion consultant at the Chamber of Commerce, local production is a trend: “More and more entrepreneurs are deliberately choosing Dutch producers because it is more sustainable to produce close to home. In addition, the short lines ensure smooth communication, for example when correcting samples. ”

Taken seriously

Once you have just started, you are not always taken seriously by the manufacturers. Searching for contact online or calling will then become nothing. These organizations put you in touch with suppliers. Sener emphasizes: “Start-up entrepreneurs, who often order small numbers, are not interesting for large manufacturers. A start-up entrepreneur also causes a lot of uncertainty: It is doubtful whether those entrepreneurs really persevere. Therefore, a network like the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) is useful. There you can get in touch with small suppliers. ”

Events

At fashion events, you can get (online) inspiration and create contacts to, among other things, suppliers. For example, under:

How much does it cost to start a clothing line?

How much it costs to start a clothing line depends, among other things, on how much you make yourself. Think of a start-up capital of at least a thousand to several thousand euros.

do everything yourself

Do you do everything yourself, from design to shopping and from cutting to sewing? It will save you money, but it will cost you a lot of time. You also need good basic equipment. For a professional sewing machine, you easily pay between 2500 and 3500 euros. Consider buying a used one. It is sustainable and much cheaper: they are offered for a few hundred euros. For fabric scissors, measuring tapes and other supplies, you should think about a total of around 250 euros. You can also buy special software, for example to draw patterns. How much this costs depends on your preferences and the software you choose.

Get it all done

Do you outsource production? So your costs depend, among other things, on the quantities you order and the quality of the substance you choose. Later: “My experience is that starters start with e.g. 50 units. On average, they then have to spend between 2,000 and 3,000 euros for production, including transport, if they get it made outside the Netherlands. The manufacturers work with prepayment. They buy fabrics, labels and sewing containers (zippers, buttons, elastic and the like) from that prepayment and thus already settle the staff costs. ”

Get basic parts printed

Do you buy basic parts and work with a printing or embroidery center? The price of basic goods depends on the quality of the clothes and the supplier’s conditions, such as shipping costs. The printing method you choose also determines the price: screen printing, transfer printing or digital printing have different costs. Serigraphy gives great results, but is also the most expensive option. Do you not choose print, but embroidery? Ask for quotes from different providers. Take into account a start-up amount for the first order. The embroidery center makes an embroidery card, which they reuse for your follow-up orders.

Fixed and variable costs

You also need to consider the fixed and variable costs of your webshop. Think about the cost of a company bank account, insurance, an accounting package, maintaining your website, payment module for your website, social media ads, an e-commerce platform, packaging materials and flyers.

Financing

You may need financing to get started. For start-up capital, you can borrow money from family and friends, apply for bank financing, apply for microcredit or arrange crowdfunding.
Or involve an investor in your plans. Spend plenty of time preparing for the conversation with the investor. In addition to a well thought out plan, you also need to have all the numbers ready. Remember that an investor will often have an impact on your business. You can no longer make decisions alone. Does it suit you or do you prefer to hold everything in your own hands?

Tip: Watch the video ‘From dancer to fashion designer’, where Rochelle Willemsen from the clothing brand Kill Them With Your Color explains how she approached the funding.

I want to sell my products online. How do I start?

Many online fashion starters are starting to sell through social media channels and online platforms. This is relatively easy and inexpensive. In this way, they check if the products are successful. Then they open their own webshop.
Do you also want to sell online? Check and agree on a number of things:

Later warns: “I sometimes see successful entrepreneurs succumb to legal problems. It’s such a shame. Take out legal aid insurance so you can fall back on it in case of problems with a supplier or customer. The insurance company supports you with advice and assistance. “This way you can avoid high legal fees. If you start with others, make a contract. In the event of a mutual conflict, the rules of the game are clear and the company can continue to operate.”

How do I get my fashion brand promoted by influencers?

If you want your fashion brand promoted by influencers, start with research and an action plan. In the fashion world, influencers play a big role. They give brand awareness to your fashion brand. You pay influencers to promote your brand, or you send them products for free.

You can contact influencers directly or through an agency. The agency puts you in touch with an influencer that suits your brand and your target audience. Do your own research beforehand, check out the messages from the influencer you have in mind. Are they primarily commercial positions? Then followers often drop out. Did the number of followers grow quickly? Then check if the channel is reliable: it may be purchased followers. Decide for yourself in an action plan what exactly you want to achieve. How much money will you spend, who will you reach, what will you achieve and on what channels?

Make clear agreements with the influencer about the price, the number of messages and the type of messages. Agree that you will analyze how it goes in between. Do you see insufficient results? Then you can customize the campaign in consultation. Another kind of post about your brand or new collection may appeal to the target audience. Or maybe on another channel or time.

Prepare well for your conversation with the influencer or agency by following the step-by-step plan for influencer marketing.

Trends in influence marketing

Marketing platform Emerce notes that there has been a shift in influencer marketing recently. Brands choose authentic influencers. It is no longer just about great range, but also about the authenticity and personality of the influencer. Stay up to date with the latest trends, follow the podcast series on influencer marketing on the marketing platform Frankwatching.

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