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Style Diaries: How To Start Your Own Fashion Line

Career

From selling T-shirts to developing a signature line of summer dresses, fashion is big business. There is always room for new ambitious entrepreneurs to take advantage of the overwhelming demand for newness in the fashion industry. Some $250 billion was spent by consumers on fashion in 2015 according to Statisticbrain.com.


The Internet has utterly transformed the way we do business, making way for new entrepreneurs to come up with innovative start-ups that take a unique approach towards work. No matter what business a person wants to get into, there is plenty of help available all around. In fact, this is due to high percentage of outsourcing services available, letting managers concentrate on core functions of the business.

If you are looking to start a clothing company, you can easily find companies that are already established as wholesale clothing distributors and develop well-oiled supply chains to get your business rolling.

Remember, Fashion is a Business

Before we get started, you have to keep one thing in mind; fashion is a business. Most people who get into the fashion industry, do so because they like clothes, like to design clothes, or like looking good in clothes. You may fit the bill on all of those things but all of that does not create a business.

You’ll have to know just what it requires to keep profit margins, how to deal with legal problems (like agreements, insurance policy and also producing a partnership or an LLC), and how to supply products to your customers in a prompt and also cost-efficient manner. Taking time to plan for the business aspect of style will certainly be crucial to your success.

It Probably Takes More Money Than You Think To Get Started

Like a lot of things in life, starting a fashion business isn't cheap. You’ll need to take the time to produce sensible quotes on just how much it will indeed cost to begin as well as maintain your business.

When you’ve started that procedure, it will likewise be important to start finding out where the start-up capital is coming from (is business being funded by your individual financial savings, assets from family members, a bank loan). A tip is to multiply what you assume it will cost to preserve your operations by five.

Manufacturing

Whether you are printing T-shirts or you are developing an entire unique fashion line, someone has to make the stuff. You have to find a manufacture that can create the clothes to your exact specifications. Visit Makersrow and search for manufacturer that can make your products. In the beginning, you may be able to get away with sewing and printing the clothes yourself. However, if you begin to gain some traction, there will be less time for you to dedicate towards production. Which leads me to my next point.

A Lot of Your Time Will Be Spent Doing Other Things

When I was in college, I used to develop fashion jewelry as well as offered them shops to make ends meet. I can tell you, firsthand, that a lot of my time was not invested creating brand-new precious jewelry styles. Instead, about 70 percent of my day was spent on doing everything else that it takes to run a successful company.

You need to be ready to do everything on your own until you can employ others. You will find that a lot of your time will be invested in paperwork, customer invoices, tracking online orders and expenditures rather than milking your own creativity. You likewise have to be prepared to deal with logistical like shipping, customer support, creating and distributing, press kits, and figuring out a plan for operations development.

Building the Brand

Your is your company’s identity. The goal is to not only gain followers but to build loyal followers. The loyalty of the people who choose to buy your products will spread to others. Think of your brand as a person. What your brand does and how it responds to those who interact with it will make all of the difference.

In a world where everyone wants to start a clothing line of some kind, personalizing your brand and connecting with customers will give you a leg up on the competition. Here are some important things to remember when building your brand.

Be Everywhere

Seeing the brand name and logo everywhere is an important part of marketing for any business but is especially crucial for clothing lines. The fashion industry relies on social proofing more than most sectors. No matter how much people want to be unique, they tend to wear what their friends and style icons are wearing. The more people see your clothes being worn, the more people will want to wear them. Once you’ve identified your target market, get in front of them somehow and stay in the forefront of their minds.

Be Known for Something

There is nothing like a good story to go along with a good brand. Your clothing line should be known for something special in order for it to stand out. FitMeSo.com, for example, is a clothing company that makes dresses to the exact measurements. You pick the exact style, patterns, and materials and the dress is made to fit each customer perfectly. They have a reputation of delivering clothes that fit. Your brand should also have its own identity and reputation.

Create Fans First

Think ‘fashion bloggers’. People who are fans of you or your style will be your first customers. Even if you are not in the fashion field it is also possible to use your personal awesomeness as a springboard. Youtubers Wong Fu productions launched their clothing line Mr. Nice Guy and Awkward Animal, LLC after the gained popularity making comedy Youtube videos.

Customer Service is Still King

Even though the fashion industry is about selling products, your service will be what keeps people buying. Make it a priority to ship your online sales to your customer quickly and accurately, and figure out a way to help customers make shopping decisions with a knowledgable sales associate (be it virtual or human).

Set Up Shop

The mistake many new fashion entrepreneurs make is that they try to get their product in the stores and on the runway right away. With the fashion industry being as competitive as it currently is, the best way to get the attention of larger retailers is to prove that people like your designs, starting small, then expanding later.

To do that you have to sell the stuff yourself first to get noticed. The easiest way is to get it out to people is online. I recommend using Shopify to set up your online store. With Shopify you can set up an online store pretty quickly and post your designs.

The mistake many new fashion entrepreneurs is that they try to get their product in the stores and on the runway right away. With the fashion industry being as competitive as it currently is, the best way to get the attention of larger retailers is to prove that people like your designs.

To do that you have to sell the stuff yourself first to get noticed. The easiest way is to get it out to people is online. I recommend using Shopify to set up your online store. With Shopify you can set up an online store pretty quickly and post your designs.

It Could Take Time For Your Fashion Line To Take Off

Real success often takes some time for the majority of us. You don’t earn a profit until you have repaid your start-up costs (such as material costs, money spent constructing a web site, press set production/ mailing expenses, and so on).

It took years for Shark Tank star and founder of FUBU, Daymond John to take his clothing to take off.

“I would wake up at about seven or eight in the morning, and I would sew the hats by myself, tag them, answer a couple of orders that came in overnight. Then I’d take the hats, package them, and begin to ship them out. I took care of all of that until about Noon or 1 PM. Then I’d hit up Red Lobster around 4, work there until midnight, come back home, make more hats, and tally up any orders until about 1 or 2 in the morning. I’d start the routine all over again the next day. I did this for about two years straight”, John said in this interview.

The fashion industry can be highly competitive and highly lucrative. Use the tips above and you can begin to stake your claim.

This post was originally published on StartUp Mindset.

Culture

A Modern Day Witch Hunt: How Caster Semenya's Gender Became A Hot Topic In The Media

Gender divisions in sports have primarily served to keep women out of what has always been believed to be a male domain. The idea of women participating alongside men has been regarded with contempt under the belief that women were made physically inferior.


Within their own division, women have reached new heights, received accolades for outstanding physical performance and endurance, and have proven themselves to be as capable of athletic excellence as men. In spite of women's collective fight to be recognized as equals to their male counterparts, female athletes must now prove their womanhood in order to compete alongside their own gender.

That has been the reality for Caster Semenya, a South African Olympic champion, who has been at the center of the latest gender discrimination debate across the world. After crushing her competition in the women's 800-meter dash in 2016, Semenya was subjected to scrutiny from her peers based upon her physical appearance, calling her gender into question. Despite setting a new national record for South Africa and attaining the title of fifth fastest woman in Olympic history, Semenya's success was quickly brushed aside as she became a spectacle for all the wrong reasons.

Semenya's gender became a hot topic among reporters as the Olympic champion was subjected to sex testing by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). According to Ruth Padawer from the New York Times, Semenya was forced to undergo relentless examination by gender experts to determine whether or not she was woman enough to compete as one. While the IAAF has never released the results of their testing, that did not stop the media from making irreverent speculations about the athlete's gender.

Moments after winning the Berlin World Athletics Championship in 2009, Semenya was faced with immediate backlash from fellow runners. Elisa Cusma who suffered a whopping defeat after finishing in sixth place, felt as though Semenya was too masculine to compete in a women's race. Cusma stated, "These kind of people should not run with us. For me, she is not a woman. She's a man." While her statement proved insensitive enough, her perspective was acknowledged and appeared to be a mutually belief among the other white female competitors.

Fast forward to 2018, the IAAF issued new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development) that apply to events from 400m to the mile, including 400m hurdles races, 800m, and 1500m. The regulations created by the IAAF state that an athlete must be recognized at law as either female or intersex, she must reduce her testosterone level to below 5 nmol/L continuously for the duration of six months, and she must maintain her testosterone levels to remain below 5 nmol/L during and after competing so long as she wishes to be eligible to compete in any future events. It is believed that these new rules have been put into effect to specifically target Semenya given her history of being the most recent athlete to face this sort of discrimination.

With these regulations put into effect, in combination with the lack of information about whether or not Semenya is biologically a female of male, society has seemed to come to the conclusion that Semenya is intersex, meaning she was born with any variation of characteristics, chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals. After her initial testing, there had been alleged leaks to media outlets such as Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper which stated that Semenya's results proved that her testosterone levels were too high. This information, while not credible, has been widely accepted as fact. Whether or not Semenya is intersex, society appears to be missing the point that no one is entitled to this information. Running off their newfound acceptance that the Olympic champion is intersex, it calls into question whether her elevated levels of testosterone makes her a man.

The IAAF published a study concluding that higher levels of testosterone do, in fact, contribute to the level of performance in track and field. However, higher testosterone levels have never been the sole determining factor for sex or gender. There are conditions that affect women, such as PCOS, in which the ovaries produce extra amounts of testosterone. However, those women never have their womanhood called into question, nor should they—and neither should Semenya.

Every aspect of the issue surrounding Semenya's body has been deplorable, to say the least. However, there has not been enough recognition as to how invasive and degrading sex testing actually is. For any woman, at any age, to have her body forcibly examined and studied like a science project by "experts" is humiliating and unethical. Under no circumstances have Semenya's health or well-being been considered upon discovering that her body allegedly produces an excessive amount of testosterone. For the sake of an organization, for the comfort of white female athletes who felt as though Semenya's gender was an unfair advantage against them, Semenya and other women like her, must undergo hormone treatment to reduce their performance to that of which women are expected to perform at. Yet some women within the athletic community are unphased by this direct attempt to further prove women as inferior athletes.

As difficult as this global invasion of privacy has been for the athlete, the humiliation and sense of violation is felt by her people in South Africa. Writer and activist, Kari, reported that Semenya has had the country's undying support since her first global appearance in 2009. Even after the IAAF released their new regulations, South Africans have refuted their accusations. Kari stated, "The Minister of Sports and Recreation and the Africa National Congress, South Africa's ruling party labeled the decision as anti-sport, racist, and homophobic." It is no secret that the build and appearance of Black women have always been met with racist and sexist commentary. Because Black women have never managed to fit into the European standard of beauty catered to and in favor of white women, the accusations of Semenya appearing too masculine were unsurprising.

Despite the countless injustices Semenya has faced over the years, she remains as determined as ever to return to track and field and compete amongst women as the woman she is. Her fight against the IAAF's regulations continues as the Olympic champion has been receiving and outpour of support in wake of the Association's decision. Semenya is determined to run again, win again, and set new and inclusive standards for women's sports.