4 Success Tips For Fashion Businesses In 2018 (Even If You’re A Nobody Right Now)

by Jan 25, 2018

What are chameleons best known at?

Changing colors.

Why do they do that?

No, it’s not at all to camouflage themselves against a background. That’s a misconception hard to die.

Chameleons change color ranging from pink, black, green, brown, yellow, blue, purple, red, orange, black, and turquoise… to communicate with their peers.

Your new fashion business needs to show its beautiful colors to the world as well, right?

But colors are not the only cool trick chameleons can do.

The fashion environment is fast-changing. And fashion businesses must adjust their colors, behaviors, visions, strategies… to stay alive. Chameleons are masters of adaptation. But do newcomers in fashion business adjust to the new fashion environment

Yet not only it’s not that difficult to do, but it’s the stairway to fashion business success.

Let me walk up the steps with you… with the help of chameleons’ smart features.

Show your colors on the right platform

Still today, new fashion designers try to start in the fashion business like others did decades ago.

What’s the problem?

Those strategies cost a lot of time and money. Yet, today’s environment provides others ways to do business. Much faster, easier and cheaper than ever before.

When the world changes, the rules change. And if you insist on playing today’s games by yesterday’s rules, you’re stuck and sink.

Fashion shows are one of those yesterday’s rules and a massive waste of time and money for fashion startups.

Someday designers might show their collections only digitally”.

Diane Von Furstenberg

Chairman, The Council of Fashion Designers of America

Big fashion brands need spectacular runways to drive makeup, fragrance and accessory sales. Just like Formula 1 helps sell millions of family cars.

As a new or aspiring fashion designer, you are not playing in that field anyway, and that game is irrelevant for you. You cannot get any ROI from a fashion runway when you are a brand-new label.

When your business is bigger, needs more exposure and can finance a fashion show from its revenues, you will still have time to think about it.

For now, your best catwalk is online. Selling on marketplaces and being active on social media will get you much closer to sales than any fashion show.

Chameleons adjust their colors to communicate and socialize. Show your colors to the world at no cost too and start the conversation with your future customers.

Camouflage is your worst defense

Do you believe that doing everything the way everyone else does will make you stand out?

Doing market research, building customers’ profiles and buying trend books are a waste of your time and money, just like fashion shows.

You may have an idea about your preferred market and your target customers. But you may also be wrong in your assumptions. You may have planned to sell your products to female Millennials… to find out the majority of your customers are from Generation X.

As you haven’t sold anything to anyone yet, you cannot know, right?

I don’t really follow market research. In the end, I respond to my own instincts.”

Anna Wintour

Editor-in-chief of American Vogue and Artistic Director of Condé Nast

Many successful labels started with something that was missing for them on the market. Helmut Lang or Asket couldn’t find anywhere the tee-shirts they liked to buy and wear. Vanessa Bruno designed a shopping bag for herself. It became the top seller of her fashion products in all categories combined.

These designers didn’t follow any trend book to reach that business success. To the opposite.

Trends don’t make the designer. The designer makes the trends.

Fashion-loving customers cannot see the value you bring to them if you camouflage in an ocean of fashion labels and similar products. Shine bright, like chameleons, and you will get to know and grow your customers’ list and your market.

Focus on a vision, not on a business plan

Do you know that chameleons have unique eyes?

They rotate independently so they can focus 2 images at once. Pretty efficient to see any danger earlier than all the other animals.

If you haven’t started yet, how do you know the revenue you can make in the next 3 to 5 years?

Any figure you could write on a business plan would be like a bet, right?

Motorola did bet $5.2 billion on a company called Iridium in 1987. It became one of the most expensive and unreasonable startup mistakes ever made.

They missed seeing something vital.

No startup business plan survives first contact with a customer”.

Steve Blank

Silicon Valley Entrepreneur

A business plan makes sense for your fashion startup after, not before. With real sales and revenue figures. Doesn’t that feel more trustworthy for any potential investor?

With the vision that you have for your business and the feedback of your customers, you can adjust your business strategy the right way and stay ahead of the competition, like chameleons always are one step ahead from their predators.

Fashion clients buy products, not a line of products

As chameleons shed with the passage of time and outgrow a new layer of skin, your business will benefit working with layers too.

When launching a fashion line, all the financial risks are on your side before you know if you can sell anything.

When you start with one product, you can already test the market. This is the most useful information to understand where your business can and should go.

You may reach the number of a complete collection at some point. But you will have earned money already instead of having spent it only.

The entire idea of a collection – a set of clothes that tells a one-off story – is increasingly irrelevant. Instead what feels modern is product drops.”

Lauren Sherman

New York Editor, The Business of Fashion

This is why, regarding products and business, start with an MVP, aka a Minimum Viable Product. As soon as you get some success, you are ready for the next step, and it’s time to add new products and new layers to your fashion business.

That way, not only you grow your business at a pace you can master, but your fashion label will stand the test of time like chameleons have been on earth for a very long time.

The stairway to success?

3 small steps only:

1. Fast: Create only 1 product first instead of a collection of 30 to 50. Start fast to sell and visualize as fast what’s working and what’s not, to adjust even faster.

2. Easy: Online is the easiest sales channel today. You have no entry barrier, no intermediate and a lot more traffic than in any retail store. Wear your colors instead of the ones of middlemen.

3. Cheap: A fashion startup can launch with very little money. No need for investors to start in the fashion business today and social media is a cheap yet efficient marketing strategy.

You don’t have to have a lot of money, a complicated business plan, or a great deal of experience to start something.”


Co-founder, TOMS

Why wasting money and time to set up a fashion business through a laborious and costly way? Try a new way: in no time and with no debt. It’s game-changing!

When do you start your successful and “lean” fashion startup?

This article is about the 3rd step of our essential guide for aspiring fashion designers called: 10 Steps To Success – How to start and grow your fashion business. If you would like to know the 10 steps to make it in the fashion business, you can download that guide for free here.

(Photos from Unsplash: Averie Woodard, Soren Astrup Jorgensen, Drew Graham, Greg T, Rawpixel).

P.S. Fashion Talents is an open marketplace where you create your fashion eBusiness in minutes.

Or contact us to get a demo.

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