The latest McKinsey Global Fashion Index has reported that the international fashion industry has grown at 5.5% every year for the past decade and is now worth $2.4 trillion, proving the massive commercial opportunity on offer.
The undeniable allure of the fashion industry makes it a draw for many budding entrepreneurs, and as such, fashion is a competitive arena to break into. Hard work and industry connections are both vastly important, but what else will you need to create your own enterprise, such as your own label, online fashion boutique or fashion PR company?
While there’s no blueprint for success, there are certain characteristics shared by thriving entrepreneurs, as we explore here.
Successful entrepreneurs are passionate and ambitious
Without a burning desire to carve a niche for yourself in the fashion industry, any plans you make are liable to be lacking a vital ingredient. A passion for fashion and a drive to succeed are arguably the most important elements.
If you are in the fashion industry, it’s likely you already have passion and ambition in spades. Let it keep you motivated; your love for the industry will be the most effective incentive to keep pushing forward.
Ralph Lauren is a great example of a will to succeed in action. As a tie salesman in his twenties during the 60s, his conceptual wide-necked tie went against the skinny necktie trend of the time. Not to be deterred by the negative response of his employers, Lauren created his own tie start up company using off cuts and textile waste. After going store to store in New York trying to sell his ties, it wasn’t until Neiman Marcus made an order of 1200 units that Lauren’s fortunes began to turn around. Today, the Ralph Lauren empire is worth an estimated $5.8 billion.
Successful entrepreneurs are good communicators
As the founder of your own fashion venture, you will be the one making strategic decisions about the direction your business takes. You’ll need people in your corner to help you achieve your goals, be they team members, suppliers, stakeholders and/or business partners, so great communication and leadership skills are a must.
The best entrepreneurs in any industry are the ones who can clearly communicate their vision, get others to buy into it and build positive relationships with the people around them, and fashion is no different.
It’s very much a people-centric business, so you’ll need to create and maintain a good reputation for you and your brand, as a manager and within a wider network of industry associations, such as designers, manufacturers, distributors and publicists.
Successful entrepreneurs are confident
Any entrepreneur needs a healthy reserve of self-belief, after all, if you don’t have faith in your own brand, how can you expect others to buy into it? However, too much confidence can be as detrimental as none.
Confidence can be difficult to sustain, and while it’s natural to have moments of self-doubt, you’ll need to fall back on an in-built sense of confidence when times get tough. The course long Professional and Leadership Development (PLD) module is designed to help you enter into a career-long cycle of self-progression and personal growth, and includes methods of building confidence and resilience.
Successful entrepreneurs are willing to take risks
Following on from self-confidence, to create your own fashion business you’ll need to be comfortable taking risks. That’s not to say you should make rash decisions, but that you will need to be able to assess business situations as they arise, and identify and mitigate risks worth taking.
Waiting for the ‘right’ or ‘perfect’ set of circumstances can mean waiting forever, and ‘perfection paralysis’ can stop many budding entrepreneurs in their tracks. Learning to seize the opportune moment and make calculated risks is covered in the MBA module Business Information and Decision Making. By understanding how to use data and business intelligence to inform your decisions, you’ll gain the confidence you need to identify which hunches to follow.
It’s the nature of setting up your own enterprise that not everything you do will be sure to succeed, but without pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, you’ll be unlikely to reveal new opportunities.
Successful entrepreneurs understand business
Of course, even if you embody all of these qualities, you may not get far without a thorough understanding of business. As cutting-edge business tactics continue to shape today’s fashion industry, fashion entrepreneurs must be able to employ strategies that will help them negotiate this commercially-driven sector.
We have created our Online MBA to achieve this and more, with modules designed to hone your business skills. The Operations Management module is one of these, and explores the theory, principles and realities of running a business operationally, from manufacturing, service, supply chain and project. The Business Research Project also allows you to apply the skills you have developed throughout the course to investigate an element of commercial management in detail.
Throughout the course, you will be able to use your own developing fashion venture as a case in point, applying your learning directly to cultivate your brand and business. With our Online MBA behind you, you’ll be well-equipped to give your fashion business the best chance of success.