Top Mistakes to Avoid When Starting A Fashion Business

Starting a fashion business involves complex strategic planning. Even when you think you’ve got everything covered, a few unexpected issues are bound to arise. One of the pillars of your startup’s success is your ability to learn from someone else’s mistakes.

Before making serious decisions, building your budget, signing contracts, and marketing your brand, look at what others have done wrong. By avoiding these mistakes, you can save time and money while getting a clear shot at success.

1. Failing to Invest in Brand Awareness

How many fashion brands are out there? Tens of thousands. The opportunity to offer something new in such a competitive environment is rather small. Even if you can’t create a truly unique product, you can come up with a compelling brand story.

If your buyers can identify with your brand, your company, and you as a person, they are likely to spend their money on your products instead of looking for cheaper alternatives.

2. Not Pricing Products Properly

Your goal as an entrepreneur is to make money. While it can be tempting to set a low price tag to attract more buyers, it can hurt your fashion business in the long run. Remember, there is always another place where customers can find cheaper products.

Make sure the price you set accommodates materials, shipping costs, brick-and-mortar store rent (if any), marketing costs, etc. Operating at a loss may attract numerous customers but can’t help you stay afloat for a long time.

Research what your competition is doing and find out what their retail price points are. Unpredictable pricing can make customers wary of your brand.

3. Not Doing Market Research

Even if you’ve always dreamed about selling three-tier hats, before doing it, stop and think. Is there sufficient demand for your products? While your friends and family may be ecstatic about hats you make, others might not be as happy to wear them.

Consider creating a prototype and trying to sell it to someone outside your close circle of acquaintances to get an idea about the demand. Figure out if people really need the product you are about to sell before making a major investment in it. Invest in market research if possible.

4. Failing to Promote Your Products ASAP

Marketing is the power behind the success of all top fashion brands. The majority of marketing tactics take weeks or even months to start bringing results. Make sure to dive into the marketing sea long before launching your first product.

Digital marketing may seem complicated. However, tons of learning materials are readily available online. If you have a limited budget, it’s possible to do initial marketing work on your own.

Even if you aren’t planning to sell your products online (which could be another mistake), you still have to invest in a website. It’s the foundation of all your digital marketing efforts.

5. Not Knowing Your Target Audience

The desire to attract as many customers as possible could lead to spreading yourself thin and failing to offer a high-quality product. Before creating your first product, you need to do consumer research and identify your buyer persona. Once you understand who your ideal customers are, you can have an easier time creating just the right product for them.

Remember, you can’t please everyone. In the fashion business, your niche could be very specific. If you manage to excel in pleasing a small group of customers, it can be more than enough to succeed.

It’s much better to create something a small audience loves than come up with a product that thousands of customers have lukewarm feelings about.

6. Doing Everything Yourself

Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of orchestrating a one-man show. They promote their brand, manage finances, negotiate with suppliers, etc. without any help. While this scheme may work for a while, eventually, as the demand for your products grows, it can hurt your business.

Learning to delegate early on can help you succeed faster. Of course, getting assistance means paying for it. As a businessperson, you need to learn how to calculate the return on investment.

If by hiring a marketing specialist, you can spend more time making your products while reaping the benefits of expert lead generation, the investment is worth it.

To save money, you can start by working with a contractor. If you choose wisely, hiring your first employee won’t be far off.

7. Not Following a Plan for Your Fashion Business

Even if you an improvisation guru, winging it with a business has one ending. A bad one. The number of things you need to get done when running a fashion startup is overwhelming. If you don’t have a clear plan, you risk making silly yet costly mistakes.

Make sure to have a plan for your marketing campaign, market research, sales process, revenue streams, and the like. There is a reason why you’ve created a business plan. Try to stick to it.

While a business plan may evolve together with your company, the core points should still serve as your guide.

8. Mixing Personal and Business Finances

When you are just starting a fashion business, it’s easy to see it as an extension of your life. However, to avoid issues with the IRS, you need to separate personal and business finances.

The other downside of mixing the two is the inability to have a clear picture of your startup’s financial state. This could hinder your plans for growing or scaling your business.

And lastly, mixing personal and business finances may show a lack of professionalism. For example, writing a personal check to a supplier may indicate that you are not a serious business venture.

The Takeaway

While starting a fashion business is an exciting process, it requires in-depth planning. To cut risks to a minimum, consider learning from mistakes made by other entrepreneurs.

Before diving deep into decision-making, make sure to do as much research as possible. The information you acquire now can help you succeed once you launch your first product.

Take advantage of the above advice to create a smooth path for your dream business.


StartUp FASHION is an online community where independent designers and emerging brands are coming together, helping one another, forming friendships, collaborating, letting off steam, sharing victories, and belonging to a network of people who get it; who are doing it too. We’re a place to access and discover the tools and information you need to build your fashion business. We help you define your path and give you the guidance, encouragement, and resources to follow that path.