6 Hidden Costs to Look Out For

Starting a new fashion brand can be an expensive proposition. Chances are, you have prepared for many of the expected costs, like marketing and production. In starting your brand, however, you may discover a few unexpected costs that can add up more than you expect, increasing your overall expense and making it harder to launch your brand. Here are six fashion brand hidden costs to look out for:

1. Training

You know a lot about fashion, but you might not know as much about marketing or maintaining your business. In order to make the best possible attempt at starting your business, you may need to receive some training that will make it possible for you to accomplish your goals in the most effective manner possible. Make sure that you leave room for training in your budget, whether that means going to a few seminars, connecting with a mentor, or taking a few business classes.

2. Online Marketing Expenses

When you think about marketing, you may assume that it’s the physical marketing–putting up signs, advertisements in print sources–that will actually cost you money. Online marketing is mostly free, right? You might prepare to pay a hosting fee for your website, but not factor in the expense associated with actual online marketing. Many people assume that social media marketing, for example, is free: you just have to create your page, share interesting and useful content, and people will see your brand, right?

In reality, a great deal of online marketing is based on the cost of paid ads. You may, for example, want to create Google Ads that will make your brand visible when people search for items related to yours. Even if you have a great Facebook profile and amazing posts, changes to Facebook’s algorithm over the last couple of years mean that your brand might not be visible unless people actively search for it. Using paid social media ads, instead, can help expand the reach of your business and make it easier to spread the word about your latest designs. The cost of those ads, while often worth the investment, may add up faster than you realize.

Then there are the truly hidden costs of online marketing. Consider some of these questions:

Are you creating your content yourself, or are you outsourcing content creation? If you outsource your content creation, you will need to factor that cost into your marketing expenses. If you create it yourself, you’re spending hours out of your busy schedule designing content that someone else might be able to accomplish much faster and more effectively. Remember, your time has value, too!

Are you managing your own social media posting schedule? As the founder of a startup, you might not have the luxury of turning your social media posting schedule over to someone else in those early days. On the other hand, you may discover that taking care of it yourself not only adds more stress to an already-busy schedule, it means that you miss out on marketing opportunities you should otherwise take advantage of.

3. Travel Costs

As a fashion entrepreneur, you’re going to need to travel. You may want to attend events to help spread the word about your business, or you may need to travel to trade shows. The cost of that travel can add up fast! Make sure you’re prepared to spend time on the road on a regular basis.

Remember, it’s not just the actual cost of physical travel that you need to factor in, either. You’ll also need to prepare for things like lodging, meals, and incidental expenses that pop up. If you’re transporting several of your designs to those shows and events, you may need to incorporate the cost of transporting your goods. After all, you’re only allowed to take so much weight on an airplane before they start to charge you more.

4. Improving Your Space

You may have chosen to lease a space for your fashion business: a store, a showroom, a co-working space, or a space where you can work on your designs in private, for example. Many people factor in the cost of the lease itself, but forget the cost of making improvements to the space after they lease it. You may not like the existing color scheme. You may need better lighting to showcase your designs to full advantage. Even minor improvements can add up fast when you want to make changes to the space!

5. Business Insurance

You’re a fashion expert. Do you really need business insurance? Not only do you need insurance that will protect your physical assets, including your inventory and items purchased for your store, you also need insurance that will protect you against things gone wrong on the premises. Sure, most people aren’t in substantial danger while trying on clothes or browsing racks, but one slip and fall accident could put you out of business without insurance to protect you.

6. Permits and Licensing

When you open your business, you will need permits and licenses to do business. Make sure you do your research and know what’s required in your local area. Keep in mind, too, that you may need to renew those permits annually. Failure to handle those permits can result in unexpected fees and fines, which can add up even more.

There are several hidden costs to doing business as a fashion entrepreneur. While they’re well worth the added expense, they can also add up fast. As you’re preparing your brand for launch, make sure you carefully consider those hidden costs. This way, you can more easily prepare for the true cost of launching your fashion 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.