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5.11

Skip to 0 minutes and 4 secondsGetting started in fashion is not easy. Actually being successful in the fashion industry, even as an established company, can be difficult. There's a whole lot to get right. The design, fit, colour, style, quality, and price of your products. There's also your branding to consider and you'll need to think about sourcing the right materials and working with the right manufacturers. You'll have to think about where you sell your products, how to reach buyers, and how to find your customers. You'll need to figure out how to make money too and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Skip to 0 minutes and 37 secondsI think you'll find that for each and every designer that's started a brand or founder that's grown with their fashion business, the individual journeys have been at the same time quite similar and vastly different. They've probably faced some very common challenges and overcome wholly unique obstacles. Either way, making it in fashion, especially with the sustainable approach, is a process of trial and error, of discovery, of mistakes, and of course of happy accidents. Here, we speak with several founders of sustainable fashion companies that have seen some really great growth and success over the years. Let's hear what practical advice they can share about how to get things right from the very start.

Skip to 1 minute and 20 secondsThere are different parameters and different ambitions in life than just becoming Prada. It doesn't necessarily mean that you have to compromise your design and production in order to become huge. The young designers are looking at the possibility of perhaps being less ambitious in terms of monetary growth, at least for themselves, and looking at better ways to distribute this growth throughout many supply chains. Small is beautiful. Starting small, staying small should be supported and I kind of made some mistakes recently trying to grow the business too quickly without the right resources in place and it's really put a strain on the business. So that's something I wish someone had told me to save myself that headache.

Skip to 2 minutes and 12 secondsSome people will succeed and some people will fail. I may fail. I mean, hopefully not. But there's no point in not starting and see where that goes because things adapt and change over time. I think you go in naively not realising that kind of journey, but it is absolutely that kind of up and down kind of journey. I didn't do any business courses. I didn't do any market research. As most things I've done in my life, I just kind of jumped in. And I'm a hard worker. I think that one of the things is, is that if you have a small business you learn by making mistakes. I know that sounds a bit negative but it isn't negative.

Skip to 2 minutes and 48 secondsIt's a positive as well. Even though somebody's in fashion, there are just huge numbers of areas that you can have knowledge about, from designer right down to the high street. But equally it's the same for fashion, there's a whole heap of things to learn. So you're actually learning by you make a mistake or you make a success as well, and it's all a bit by mistake. The advice I would give to anyone starting out is start, definitely have a business plan, and USP and a customer. I guess you have to be quite tenacious. I guess it's not an easy ride.

Skip to 3 minutes and 28 secondsSuccesses for us sometimes are seeing yourself stocked in a shop that you really like and admire, and the pure fact that they believe in it and it's stocked there. And that's lovely to be respected by that. Another thing is maybe seeing someone wear it. That's about as nice as it gets. Not seeing my clothes on a celebrity or in a magazine but walking down the street and seeing just a regular person wearing my clothes. And that was pretty awesome.

Skip to 3 minutes and 58 secondsAnd then the other day someone tweeted at me saying they'd gone to a birthday party and almost all the girls there were wearing my clothes. Fashion is a profession that you need to love, live, and breathe, effectively. So it is incredibly satisfactory when it goes right. You know, when you start selling. When you suddenly see yourself in the window of that store that you've been admiring from afar. You're walking past Selfridge's and there I am. I'm in there. There's nothing quite so invigorating as that. So you know, it is worth it in the end, you know. The struggle, the toil, the difficulties, you know.

Skip to 4 minutes and 46 secondsIt is about this incredible satisfaction that you're doing something that you love and people are wanting to wear it. The intimacy of people wearing something that you've made or you've thought of is extraordinary.

Putting what you have learned into practice

Getting started in fashion is not easy, there is a lot to get right, especially when you want to work in the most sustainable way you can. In this video, get some first hand advice from fashion entrepreneurs and experts about getting started in the fashion industry and what it takes to make it. We hope you find this inspiring!

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This video is from the free online course:

How to Build a Sustainable Fashion Business

Creative Skillset

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