Developing a Fashion Collection Plan

As you think about the overall size and breadth of your fashion collection, you should identify the number of items required to fulfil your vision, but cross-reference that with a reasonable assessment of what can fit in a store, on a website or into a retail account’s buy.

There are three fundamental elements to planning a balanced collection and it’s essential to keep these in mind, over the long-term development of your product assortment, as well as in each and every collection you produce. We often think about these as a collection pyramid.

The Base: Every successful fashion company rests upon the success of one or two items which form the foundation of the overall product assortment and a more predictable stream of revenue around which a real business can be built. These products don’t change dramatically from season to season and they become the staples of your product offering. Tory Burch has her Reva ballerina flats, Louis Vuitton has its leather goods and Acne has its denim. Without this kind of solid foundation, it’s difficult to build a successful business.

The Middle: In the middle are the products that you adapt and refresh each season with new colours, fabrics or prints, but the basic silhouettes remain the same. Over time, you may choose to slowly adapt these products and perfect them, but in general, you are using tried and tested shapes which have already been proven in the market.

The Top: At the top of your collection is the purely seasonal elements which are more about driving interest and bringing new energy to your product mix. This may be the pieces you show on the runway and which are featured in the editorial. From time to time, you may have a huge commercial hit at the top part of your collection, but as it’s generally hard to predict exactly what will strike a chord (or which product your favourite A-list celebrity decides to wear), it can sometimes be hard for a small fashion business to capitalise on the short-term buzz generated by these types of products.

Use a stylist – smartly!
Many designers choose to employ the services of a stylist. These can be hired professionals, in-house team members or even a friend or colleague with a good eye. The most important outcome here is that you receive a second opinion on how the collection sits together best and how to present it to buyers or customers. Don’t underestimate the importance of this step, as it can greatly impact your eventual sales.

Make sure that you are designing and developing a product that can reasonably be produced. While that may sound like an obvious point, many talented designers create beautiful concepts that prove to be too expensive or complicated to produce at scale.

Fashion Design and Development

When we think of design, we often focus on the creative side alone. This is no doubt important. But it’s also critical to consider market feedback that may influence how you present your product. Everything you create produces a reaction, positive or negative. And the most successful business people tirelessly look for these signals, embrace their genuine meaning, and then react. Structured cost analysis, collection planning and smart presentation are also essential.

Here are four things you can do to make your design process more effective — and profitable.

1.  Pore over your sales results from each season
If you are already selling a product, you should have excellent access to every valuable sales data. Use it.

Read the reports generated by your store or website and ask your stockists for sales summaries. The information is generally available, you just have to ask for it.

Important metrics to focus on are: unit sales, total volume, sell through percent, net gross margin, net average retail price and returns. A quick note on the all-important sell-through, however. Sell-through is only a function of the success a product achieves related to how you or your buyers purchased it. So, while this is an important measure, it can exclude some important contextual information that should always be considered, as well.

A good buy from the same collection can significantly lift sell-throughs.
You should also spend time with your buyers and retail partners to add qualitative colour to the quantitative data you get from the reports. Ask them about specific styles. Why did they or didn’t they work? What might they do differently? What did you miss in your offering?

2. Talk to floor associates and check out the competition
Fashion is not a desk job. Get out there and see the state of the world for yourself. While buyers and company executives will give you good intelligence, the sales associates who work on the front lines can also be valuable in painting a vivid picture of how your product performs on the shop floor.

Initiate these relationships as often as possible and encourage the associates to speak candidly about what is and isn’t working, and what’s missing. As an added bonus, you may be pleasantly surprised by the attention your product gets on the floor once an associate is better acquainted with you.
You should also spend some time observing your peers (also known as competitors). Most customers have a finite amount of money to spend on fashion and it’s important to understand what other brands competing for that same share of wallet are doing and, in particular, which types of products seem to be performing the best.

3. Gather first-hand customer feedback
There is nothing quite as valuable as a direct interaction with your customer. Reports may tell you what consumers bought, but spending quality time with them or at least watching them shop will help you to understand how and why they make purchase decisions.

You’ll also get a better handle on what they chose not to buy. This is a particularly good way to identify styling issues, in addition, to fit and quality problems. The most tragic failures occur when a designer creates a beautiful product that’s poorly executed in terms of fit or quality. Without these elements, your hard work will be for nought.

So, if you are lucky enough to be selling product out of your own store, spend as much time as possible on the floor interacting with your customers. And if possible, when visiting your accounts, observe (or work!) the sales floor. Trunk shows are another great way to meet customers directly.

If you have a mailing list, you can consider reaching out directly to your customers for feedback. Posting a feedback link on your website or via social media is another quick and easy way to get more structured thoughts from your customers. You may be surprised how happy your fans will be to help you out. Sending a personal thank you note or offering a discount on the next purchase are both nice touches and good incentives for your customers to make future purchases.

4. Consider costs carefully
Make sure that you are designing and developing a product that can reasonably be produced. While that may sound like an obvious point, many talented designers create beautiful concepts that prove to be too expensive or complicated to produce at scale.

Be sure that every detail of the product is truly creating value for a customer. With a retail markup, on average, of 6 times production cost, every naira you are adding to the cost of producing a garment will add around N600 to the final retail price.

Your products should have clear cost targets, derived from working backwards from final retail pricing. Make sure to build in a realistic margin for yourself that considers not only the pure costs of production but also other monies that you will have to spend in order to get the product into a selling environment. This includes things like duties, freight, fees, comissions, warehousing, sampling and development costs.
Keep in mind that samples are often one of the single biggest line items in the design process and can swing a seemingly profitable collection into the red.

To know more about managing the business angle of your fashion business, you can register with us or find out about our upcoming Fashion Acceleration Program

5 Principles of Allocating Money in your Fashion Business

In an earlier post, we discussed Financing your Fashion Brand, in your fashion business by utilizing three different sources equity, debt and other income. Now that you’ve done it. The question is, now what to do with your funding? And, how do you make it last?

It’s likely that you will have had to agree to fund allocation to some extent with your investors prior to securing the funds, but it will be important to re-visit and re-confirm this now that you are past the negotiation stage. In reality, you will make spending decisions every single day, however small.

We will discuss the allocation of your capital, or more simply, how and where to spend your money.

The easiest way to think about allocating capital is by using a series of principles. Allocating money is about tradeoffs, and making those tradeoffs means choosing between spending on things that might seem equally important, on the surface.

For example, every fashion business will have to choose how much money to spend on building and shaping a collection and how much to spend on actually selling the collection. How do you make these decisions?

By using the principles below combined with the priorities for your own business. The ultimate decisions may differ from business to business.

So here they are, the 5 principles of allocating money in an early-stage fashion business:

Key Principle 1 – Carefully manage product development costs

While fashion is a product business that often comes with exacting standards, it is still important to carefully manage your product development costs. Creating large, unfocused sample collections with very expensive fabrics can be a death knell for a young fashion company. Not only will you have spent a fortune on developing a set of samples, you may have also created a collection that could never sell at retail because it would be far too expensive. Always use a collection plan to specifically identify the size, structure and price points for your collection, and select your fabrics with this in mind. This way, you won’t need to buy a bit of everything and sort things out once you are back in your studio, wasting money and time all the while.

Key principle 2 – Advertising is a cash sink

As a young designer, you probably don’t need to spend money on advertising, and the expensive photo shoots and super slick branding that come along with it. You can still craft a very strong profile by building relationships with editors, journalists, photographers and fashion insiders who take an interest in you and your work and may help you for free. Those relationships will not only generate valuable editorial, their impact will also be felt longer than even the best-placed one-page ad in Bellanaija.

As a young designer, you have a new and interesting story to tell and people will want to tell it too — you don’t have to pay them for this privilege. Supplement this with a professional looking website that is in tune with your creative vision and a clear brand identity that speaks to who you are creatively.
Key principle 3 – Focus on growing sales

As a growing company, you will likely be best off allocating your capital to people and assets that help increase your revenues. While you must invest time and resources into your product, brand image and identity, it is crucial that you are able to then leverage this raw potential to sell. Even if you have a strong collection and a growing brand profile, this will mean nothing if you don’t have a professional sales organisation to support it.

One of the first people you should consider hiring is someone who can help you with sales. Also, investing in an e-commerce portion of your website (or through a partnership) helps you to increase both sales and profits, as you begin to capture the full-retail margin.

Key Principle 4 – Don’t forget about working capital

Not all of your funding should be invested in fixed assets like sewing machines, office furniture and computers. You will also need funding to make sure you can counterbalance the difference between the cash coming into your business (e.g. from sales, sponsorship and consultancy) and the cash going out of your business (e.g. for fabrics, rent and salaries) In a growing fashion business, the amount of working capital tends to grow quickly as payments for clothes delivered to stores are often not received until well after the designer has made significant investments in everything it takes to bring that collection into a store – a large part of this is a variable cost of fabrics and productions costs that will increase with time as your business grows.

Key principle 5 – Use a budget

It is absolutely essential that once you have thought these issues through, you create a budget to track your spending against your plan. Without this roadmap of sorts, you could lose control of spending and suddenly find yourself without enough money to keep your business afloat. You should track your budget, at the very least, on a monthly basis, which means investing in a good bookkeeper to help you regularly track your accounts.

Next time: Value Chain – Design and Development

The design and development process is often a very personal one that differs from designer to designer. It is important to keep this process free and unrestrained to unleash the best ideas, but there are also things designers can do to stay on track and manage their time (and their team’s time) efficiently. For fashion business people, in particular, understanding your designer’s creative process is a crucial part of a successful creative-business partnership, and so designers must also be able to explain to others how you work, in order that they can work with you.

To know more about managing the business angle of your fashion business, you can register with us or find out about our upcoming Fashion Acceleration Program .

Creating a Business Plan

A business plan is an essential tool, not just for raising investment, but also for clarifying your goals and objectives and communicating these to your wider team of employees, business partners and clients. There are five essential components:

A business plan is an essential tool, not just for raising investment, but also for clarifying your goals and objectives and communicating these to your wider team of employees, business partners and clients. There are five essential components:

Executive Summary: The executive summary is at the beginning of your business plan, but should be the last thing you write. It encapsulates all the key points, ideas and objectives of your business in a very short and concise “elevator pitch.”

Vision & Objectives: This section will help investors, and anyone else reading your business plan, understand what particular market need you are going after and what you will offer that is unique and differentiated.

Market & Competitive Landscape: This section describes the market that you plan to operate in. How big is the market? How fast is it growing and what evidence do you have that this part of the market is a viable opportunity? You also need to identify who the competitors in the market are, whether they are growing and what their position is on the market. What are you going to do that is different?

Implementation Plan: This is probably the most detailed section of your business plan, identifying the specific actions that your business will take to go after the market opportunity you have identified. Ideally, it should cover three years of activity, on a seasonal basis, and should include everything from how you communicate as a business and the staff you will hire, to the space you will need and the outside expertise you will require, in terms of marketing, communications or PR.

Financials: Your financial plan shows how your business will grow in terms of both profit and revenue and what financing you will need to make it happen. An income statement uses projections of how your business will grow at the top line, through sales and other revenues, and will also project the costs of delivering that growth. The cash flow statement shows the peaks and troughs of your cash situation on a monthly basis and identifies what funding you will need to finance growth.

To know more about managing the business angle of your fashion business, you can register with us or find out about our upcoming Fashion Acceleration Program .

Creating Brand Awareness

In fashion, creating brand awareness is essential, the person designing and developing the product is often also responsible for the advertising campaigns and the brand communication. As a creative director, you will be overseeing multiple parts of the marketing mix.


Know Your Customer: A designer should keep a specific target customer in mind as they develop the collection. Think about their lifestyle, budget and what is important to them. Understanding all of these things will help you communicate with your customer and create awareness about your brand.

Brand Story: A brand story is what people will talk about when they think of your brand. It summarises why your brand exists and what are the unique characteristics of your product that makes it distinct from everything else in the market.

Marketing Mix                                                                                                                                The Four Ps: The marketing mix is a set of tools that allow you to craft a clear marketing direction and tell your story.

Product is the tangible physical product or service you provide. The fashion industry has all sorts of different products. You might be known for footwear, evening dresses or active wear. Be specific about what you are selling.

Price effectively positions you in the market. This determines who your competitors are and also the different materials and quality of materials that you will use for your products.

Place is where you distribute and sell your products to customers. You want to make sure that your product is available where your target customer shops and at a place that is consistent with the positioning of your product.

Promotion includes everything from traditional marketing with advertising and PR, to new media marketing on social media. Today it is absolutely essential to have a website and a digital presence.

Advertising: Advertising can help you reach a large audience, control and increase brand awareness and secure press coverage. However paid media comes at a high cost and it will probably be a long time before you can afford it. The real potential for moving your brand forward in terms of image and what you control is online.

Public Relations: When you have things to share, new products coming out or announcements to make, working well with different types of publications is going to be a key part of building your brand. Therefore you should build a good relationship with the press, especially the ones that have taken interest in your product and what you are doing.

Social Media: Social media is a powerful and affordable way to build awareness about your brand. Only engage in those platforms that address your target customer. Be aware that it takes time and resources to manage and provide content on social accounts, so it is probably the right choice, to begin with only one or two social media channels. The fashion community really engages first on Instagram and then on Facebook.

To know more about managing the business angle of your fashion business, you can register with us or find out about our upcoming Fashion Acceleration Program .

Financing your Fashion Brand

Financing your fashion business can be overwhelming. Each season as your sales increase and your business grows, your upfront costs will increase and the money you earned from previous sales will not be sufficient to finance the growth. You will need some kind of financing to bridge the gap. There are generally three different sources of available financing for a fashion start-up.
Equity: Equity investors provide cash to invest in your business. When you take on an investment from an equity investor, they become part owners of your business, which inevitably means that you will have to share some decision-making with that investor. The best equity investors can offer you smart money, which is money that comes with expertise; contacts and other types of advice that can help you build your business. You will have to report to a board for key decisions and regularly report on how your business is progressing.

Debt: Debt financing usually comes in the form of a loan. You are required to pay back the money you have borrowed plus interest in a defined schedule of payments. Taking on the debt will mean that you will have additional cash outflow that your business will have to support each month and that can be an additional burden for a business to bear in the early stages. The big advantage with a loan is that you are not giving away any equity of your business and you maintain full control. Debt providers will not actively get involved in your business; they are mostly concerned with getting back the money they have lent you with interest.

Other Income: This can come from a variety of sources, including awards and competitions and providing advice or services to other companies. The benefit is that this kind of funding is non-interest bearing and you are not giving away any equity in your business. However, these other commitments can be a distraction from your core business, as they require your time and energy.  To know more about managing the business angle of your fashion business, you can register with us.

Creating a Business Plan For Your Fashion Brand

The term “business plan” is casually bandied about like a hot potato in the studios of emerging fashion designers. Everyone knows you need one, but still, so few emerging design businesses take the time upfront to properly plan for their success. Success is very rarely accidental. Sure, we all benefit from some good luck from time to time, but real success can only come through hard work and good planning. For this, a business plan is critical.

So, what is a business plan for?                                                                                            Many people think that the primary purpose is to secure funding – i.e. loans from banks or cash from investors. And while this is certainly one important objective, it is not the most important one.

The truth is, the business plan is, above all else, for you: the person or people who will drive the business forward. It is the document that lays out your vision and objectives. It is your roadmap for how you think it should evolve and grow to achieve this vision. It contains the budget and projections for how your business will manage is finances and fund growth. It is the document that helps you decide what to do, and just as importantly, what not to do. It is a living, breathing document that you should use to measure your progress, while still being willing to adapt it to reflect new insights, unexpected competitive threats, and changes in your business environment. In short, it is like your company bible – except that this is a bible you can adapt as you go along.

You can also think about the business plan as a tool for communication. Anyone who has set up a new business knows that when you are looking for investors, employees, suppliers, office space, banking services, professional advisors and everything else that you need, you have to tell people about your business and its aims. When you have spent the necessary time in crafting a business plan, you will be able to more clearly articulate what your business is all about. This makes you seem more professional and organized and will enable you to attract the people, support, and money that your business needs to succeed. Going through the business planning process will enable you to distill your business down into a short “elevator pitch” of concise points that together provide a good understanding of your business aims in a short period of time. When people understand your business, they will know better if it is something in which they would like to be involved.

Now, if that all makes sense, what then do you need to include in a business plan? Essentially, it should address all of the constituent parts of your business starting from the broadest vision of the business right down to the most minute operational issues of job descriptions and work plans. The first thing to do is create an outline for all of the topics that need to be covered, and then for each of those topics jot down all the ideas and thoughts you already have. If you don’t have a written plan already, then it’s likely that much of your business plan is in your head and so you need to start getting your current thoughts out on paper in a structured way so that you can then go and revisit each of the topics in more detail.

A sample outline of a business plan for a fashion business might look as follows:

1. Executive Summary – This is something you do at the end, once the rest of your plan is fleshed out, It will quickly become the so-called “elevator pitch” for your company when you need to describe it in a short interaction. It only needs to be a few paragraphs long.

2. Vision and objectives – This section describe the vision of your business — essentially, why you set it up. What specific market need are you trying to fill? Which customer are you targeting and why?

The more specific you can be about these issues, the more compelling your business plan will be. If the reader (or listener) can really understand the market need you have identified, then they will be much more likely to buy into your overall business plan.

Understanding everything about your customer’s lifestyle and preferences will make your job as designer and manager all the easier. You will not only know who you are designing for but also where they shop, what magazines they read and what influences their buying behaviour. All of this will feed into important decisions you make every day about how you design your collections, manage your business, and promote your brand.

3. Market and competitive landscape – This section describe the market you plan to operate in. What is the size of the market and how quickly is it growing? Who are the other players in this space?

To be clear, the market size you need to describe is not the size of the global market for clothing, but your estimate of the size of the specific market you have identified, in the geographies you are focusing on. Yes, this information can be hard to find, but you can take larger market size figures and estimate what share of the overall market your business is going after.

As for your competitors, the better you can describe and understand their products, their style and aesthetic, and their positioning and strategies, the better you will be able to shape your business to stand out from the pack.

In general, quickly growing markets of a good size with few competitors (or few strong competitors) are usually quite attractive. However, if you have identified a clear niche market that is currently -unfilled, then that can also be very compelling.

4. Implementation plan – This section clearly describes all of the resources you will need to make your business successful. How many staff will you need in which roles? What type and size of space will you need to design and sell your collection? What outside expertise may you require operating successfully?

An implementation plan, therefore, contains a detailed description of all of the operating requirements in your business including Design, Production, Sales, Marketing/PR, and Retail. You should have a detailed plan for each of these core steps including human resources, expertise, space, and timing. Thinking very clearly about the various roles and responsibilities that need to be filled will ensure that you find the right people to make things happen for you. In turn, attracting the right team will also make it easier to attract funding. Most investors invest in people and teams, not just ideas.

Without an implementation plan, your business plan can lack the concreteness and specificity required to convince people you can take your vision and make it a reality.

5. Financials – This section is absolutely critical to your plan as it will identify your projections for how the business will grow, in terms of both profits and revenues, and what financing you will need to make it happen.

An income statement uses carefully thought-out projections of how your business will grow at the top-line (i.e. sales and other revenues) and will also project the costs of delivering that growth, including the team and other resources you have identified in the implementation plan. This statement will then project profit, by taking projected revenues and subtracting projected costs.

However, the income statement does not tell you how much money you will need to raise as it does not reflect the timing of cash inflows and outflows. This is where the cash flow statement comes in.

The cash flow statement is one of the most important parts of your plan as it shows the peaks and troughs of your cash situation on a monthly basis and identifies what funding you will need to make it through the troughs. You can think of the cash flow statement as a monthly account of cash coming in and cash going out. The difference between these two figures is your funding need for that month – and you are better off knowing your funding needs in advance as opposed to finding out later when your bank account is empty and suppliers are asking for payment before they release your goods. This is particularly important in the fashion business where you incur many costs up front (designing, sampling, sales efforts) before any of your revenues even come in.

If you can, you should have a trained financial or accounting professional (a friend, family member or other contacts) to help you with this section. They will have the expertise to sense check your assumptions to ensure that they are sound and believable. It’s better to have their input before you take your plan out to investors who will inevitably ask you the same probing questions and who will be looking for concrete answers.

Next time: We would discuss finding the right investors and partners

Once you have a plan in place, you will then be ready to start soliciting financing.

To know more about managing the business angle of your fashion business, you can register with us.

Setting up your own fashion business

Many young designers rush into setting up a business, attracted by the perceived glamour and fun that is associated with the fashion industry. There are wonderful success stories of designers like Ohimai Atafo (Mai Atafo) or Folake Coker (Tiffany Amber). The stories we hear less of are those that describe all of the failed companies and dashed hopes that are the cruel reality of this industry.

One of the most common questions designers’ fresh out of fashion school (as a bachelor’s degree or from a vocational school ) ask is: “Should I start my own business or should I go work for a big fashion house?”. The truth is, the right answer depends on you and your aims.

The first thing to think about is “Do I really want to run a business?”

Displaying your collection in a fashion display, completing designs for clients– what more is there to want from a career?

Here’s a reality check: it’s not as glamorous as it sounds. Running a fashion business means, steaming clothes over and over again, and pouring through receipts with an accountant will become part of your routine.

You will likely spend less than 10% of your time designing, while the rest of the time you will be managing production, dealing with suppliers who want their money (now!), managing your employees while hoping they don’t fall ill, and trying to eat and bathe in between. On top of all that, you have to worry about making enough money to declare some kind of dividend from the business for all your hard work. You will eat, live and breathe your business 24/7. If that doesn’t turn you off, then keep reading.

Starting any kind business requires tenacity, endurance, and dedication. Setting up a fashion business is all the more challenging because this is a hyper-competitive industry (who doesn’t want to be a fashion designer these days?) and a very complex one as well, even at the smallest of scales.

What other kinds of start-up businesses so quickly find themselves with customers and suppliers scattered around the world, requiring so much coordination and organization?

Managing to get all of your raw materials (fabrics, lace, Ankara, etc) to start your production and then sending it all out to clients in different corners of the world (each with their own customs procedures) in only 2 months can be a nightmare, even for those with great forward planning and troubleshooting skills.

All of this is to say that one of the key drivers of success will be your entrepreneurial skills and your commitment to running a business. In order to be successful, you should think of yourself as a CEO first, fashion designer second. A CEO is a manager of people, finances, and processes. Therefore, you will have a great deal of responsibility and important business decisions will face you each and every day. The buck stops at you and the business should always be at the forefront of your mind, not just an afterthought.

Next, you should ask: “Do I already have or can I find the necessary skills, contacts, and funding to create a successful fashion company?”

Clearly, you won’t be able to do absolutely everything yourself. This is where you need to find other people who believe in you to join your team or provide support in some other way. Doing a self-assessment of your skills and abilities will tell you what gaps you will need to fill in order to make your business work.

You may assume that having completed a design degree, there are no skill gaps there. However, the design process in a business can often feel very different to that of the design process in school, where you don’t have to worry about things other than the product. Running fashion business means developing and following an organized creative process that works for you – and that other people can work as well.

One of the great things about designers who have previously worked in a large fashion house is that they have seen how other people organize themselves and can take lessons from there as they start. Having a clear design methodology is crucial to getting the best out of your abilities. If you don’t have this in place now, perhaps you may want to spend some time learning from someone else first.

Apart from mastering the design process, something that some of the smartest designers do next is to find a business partner they can trust, who brings different skills and connections to the table. Often it is a spouse, sibling or a friend who might take on this role. In this way, not only do you have someone to lean on in times of difficulty, you also have a division of roles, which allows you to focus on more on the creative aspects of the business.

You will also need to find people in the Industry who agree to support you and work with you. You’ll need a PR who will (at least initially) give you his or her services for almost nothing and a factory that will make your clothes in small quantities. You will also need accountants, lawyers, stylists, photographers, graphics designers, production managers and interns – hopefully, all at discounted prices. You, therefore, need to ask yourself if you already have a set of contacts which you can leverage to make your business work. If not, you need to get out there and meet people so you can start your business on the right foot, with the right team behind you.

Finally, for most designers who don’t have Bill Gates as a father or Uncle’s like Aliko Dangote, starting a business is also a question of finding money. There are many sources of funding, but each source will take time and effort before it bears its fruit. Having a network of people who may be able to introduce you to potential sources of funding is imperative to set up your business. You can have a brilliant business concept, a fantastic team, and all the energy in the world, but without funding in place from the start, it will be difficult to get up and running.

Lastly, you should ask yourself: “Do I have something unique to offer the market?”

If there is one crucial thing I recommend that you do before rushing off to start a business, it is to carefully craft your business concept. What is it about your business that will be unique? Why will people choose to buy your product over someone else’s? Is it the design, the price, the value or the dream that they are buying into?

You will need to think carefully about who you are designing for. It is cliché by now, but you need to ask yourself “Who are you designing for? And why?”.

Most of the time, this simple question is met with groans or blank stares or platitudes like “I can design for anyone” or “A very glamorous man or woman with lots of money”. This is not enough. You need to get into the mind of your customer and understand what motivates them. Where do they spend their time and for what occasions will you dress them? What makes them buy a garment? Understand their psychology, emotional needs and relationship with clothing. Visualize all the aspects of their lives and assess how your business can blend into making them even better.

Remember, your business concept needs to offer a clear proposition of value to your customer and if you can’t identify that yourself, seek help from Fashion Business School or subscribe to Incubation Programs.
To know more about managing the business angle of your fashion business, you can register with us.


All You Need to Know About Fashion Acceleration Program

Starting a business is hard when you feel like you’re on your own. Fashion acceleration programs immerse designers and entrepreneurs in a community designed to equip and propel “on the rise” fashion businesses.

What is a Fashion Acceleration?
You might have heard of the term business incubator or accelerator. Similarly, a Fashion acceleration is a program that helps new and startup fashion companies to develop by providing services such as business training or workspace.

Many offer low-cost design studio space, business mentoring, educational seminars, and networking opportunities making it ideal for those who thrive in the community.

Fashion acceleration is not an alternative to fashion school. They primarily focus on business, not design.

What’s great about entrepreneurial and tech accelerators is, in the time span of somewhere between a few weeks and a few months, their goals are to help brands that are in the growth stage to get past that wall of not being certain of what to do next.

If you’re in this stage of business, you probably know what I’m talking about. You’ve built something great, it’s working, but it’s a bit stagnant. You need help in areas like financial planning, advanced marketing techniques, and operations in order to hit some desired milestones like reaching a certain amount of revenue and hiring a team. The accelerators’ job is to help you with that.

That’s a lot of training in a short period of time but accelerators leverage their large mentor networks to provide guidance and direction, making it possible to cover a lot of different territory in a short period of time.

First, if done right, these programs would not be meant just for those designers who are following the traditional path to success but instead would recognize talent and business models of all kinds and provide guidance, direction, and resources based on the brand’s desired direction.

360 Creative Innovation Hub will be specializing their next set of training on Fashion Acceleration Program which is aimed at incubating emerging fashion designers to becoming the next high street Nigerian brands. Transform their fashion label into a sustainable business and brand.

To know more about the fashion acceleration program, kindly register here.

Create the Right Logo For Your Fashion Brand

When was the last time you took a good look at your logo and made sure it was working for you? And I mean working as in “doing work.” Your logo isn’t just there to look pretty; it needs to attract the right customers and establish trust.

As a fashion business, this is even more important. Your customers are coming to you with an aesthetic top of mind. They are deciding whether or not your aesthetic is the one they will put on their bodies to reflect themselves to the world. They see your logo at the top of your website and quickly judge whether or not your brand reflects them – even before they have scrolled down to see your products.

But how can you even tell if your logo is doing a good job?

What makes a logo good?

Often when non-designers are making logos, their impulse is to over-design. Don’t fall into this trap! Nike’s logo is a simple swoosh. Club Monaco is just text. Heck, so is Anthropologie, Topshop, The Gap, and many more.

Memorable: A customer sees the label in one of your garments, continues wandering through the boutique, and picks up another piece of yours. Will they connect it to the first one they saw?
Timeless: It’s hard to avoid trends entirely – that’s what makes something look current! – but the trendier your logo is now, the faster it will look outdated. (e.g. the Lobster font recently experienced a heyday, and you’ve probably seen a lot of geometric animals around)

Versatile: Your logo needs to work in a variety of settings, from the side of pens to a black and white ad in your local paper to the sew-in tag on the back of your garments. And it needs to be just as effective in each of these settings.

Appropriate: Above all, your logo has to be appropriate for the audience you are trying to attract. Just like bright purple might not be appropriate for an outdoorsy brand, elaborate script fonts may not attract people to your minimalist clothing line.

Identify What Your Brand is About

What is your brand about? What’s your “thing?” What’s your niche? Are you a personal style blogger? A fashion news? Vintage? What are your values? Are you luxury or budget? Who is your market? Is it preppy or urban? Write down what your brand is about and keep this in mind for the next step.

Research Logos You Like

Make an inspiration board (real or virtual) of EVERY logo you have ever seen that you love. It could be the MTN logo, whatever, Chances are it could be something elegant and fashion related like Vogue’s logo, or Chanel, Louis Vuitton, whatever, collect every. logo. you. like.

Research Your Niche, What is The Visual Language?

Think about fashion magazine logos, how they all look similar, all caps, serifed fonts. Newspapers tend to use black-letter type like The Guardian. These themes are the subliminal message that the brands belong to a certain niche and have particular values.

Work in Black & White First, THEN Add Colour

Back in the day before digital where colour is ALWAYS an option, logos had to look good in black and white so if you needed to submit your logo to a print publication or use it for marketing material and you didn’t have a budget for color (more expensive) you had to have a logo that looked good in black and white. Nowadays, especially in digital, colour is always available, do you know anyone with a monitor that doesn’t have colour?

That said, it’s still a good idea to at least work in black and white. Why? You get an idea of the contrast, your logo isn’t dependent on color. And if you do happen to need it printed in black and white, it doesn’t lose impact.


Keep it simple

If you don’t have the skills, keep it simple. If you do have the skills, why are you reading this? Kidding! Even simplicity takes skill… sometimes, even more, skill than a complex logo. Think about Nike, how simple that logo is. Or Chanel. Less is more!