Building any business from the ground up is an exciting challenge, and few industries are more tantalising for prospective entrepreneurs than fashion.
There’s huge income to be made, especially online. As David Jinks, Head of Consumer Research at ParcelHero says, “The online fashion industry could reach £36.2bn by 2030: 63% of the market compared to today’s 21%.”
In 2016, Parisian Alexandra Van Houtte created TAGWALK, a website marketed as fashion’s answer to Google, enabling a quick and easy search of archived designer collections via keywords and hashtags. Though the site doesn’t sell any products directly, Alexandra has successfully monetised the site and recently secured major financial backing from Venezuelan fashion investor Carmen Busquets. With no previous experience in fashion business services, Alexandra is proof that spotting a gap in the market and good business sense can translate into a commercial win.
However, that’s not to say that business expertise has to be instinctive. Many aspiring fashion entrepreneurs may feel their skillsets are unbalanced - with more focus on creativity than commercial acumen. But, as we explore here, we believe the most essential business skills can be learned via an effective online programme.
Strategic business planning
Even the best creative ideas risk falling flat without a solid business strategy behind them. To build something sustainable, you cannot make decisions based on a gut feeling.
Each action you take, both short and long-term, must be moving towards a set goal or business objective, one that you have researched, planned for and that will propel your enterprise forward. This includes buying and procurement decisions, how you source the various elements of your supply chain, retail pricing plans and how each of these aspects feed into pre-determined yet fluid Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). As your business begins to work, you will then need to analyse financial performance in order to estimate projected growth.
Even if you have little experience of strategic business planning, the right online course can help you learn and master the complexities of fashion buying and financial management.
Knowing how to draw attention to your brand through an integrated marketing strategy is a crucial element of any business,particularly within the fashion industry.
Today, effective marketing skills are as much to do with identifying the right channels as they are to do with understanding the fundamentals of traditional marketing itself. Establishing a fashion brand can hinge on finding and communicating with your target market in ways that inspire them to buy into what you offer, often through other areas of popular culture.
In recent years, hitting this mark has taken an increasing number of forms, from collaborations with celebrities and cult entertainment shows, to leveraging social media and sourcing a hero product that strikes a chord at exactly the right moment. Becoming familiar with this dynamic marketing environment and how its external and internal factors effect the fashion industry can help you to take advantage of these opportunities for yourself.
Leadership and self-development
As the driving force behind your fashion business, it’s crucial that you recognise yourself as a leader in order to succeed . The realisation that, at least in the early stages, nothing in your business will happen without you making it happen, can help you stay focused on what you’re trying to achieve.
Despite what some say, leadership skills are not necessarily innate. By working on your own continuous professional development and learning to make this a career-long habit, you can build your confidence and grow into your identity as a leader over time. Understanding that you will never stop learning is a key part of this; the best leaders aim to continually improve their own skills and knowledge, and know that there is always more to discover.
Of course, these skills, and others essential to creating a fashion business, are all interrelated and need an over-arching approach to the industry, as well as an emphasis on each area. Our 100% Online MBA with Fashion Management covers both the commercial side through core business modules and the industry-specific side through four fashion-focused modules, giving you a rounded and comprehensive foundation on which to build a fruitful fashion enterprise.
Find out more about what this vibrant online programme could help you achieve by requesting further information from our admissions team.