How to Start a Fashion Business

You Can Start a Fashion Business If You’ve Got An Eye For Style And a Passion For Fashion.

“Design is an art, fashion is capitalizing on a moment,” said Isaac Mizrahi. That is to tell you that fashion is always evolving and trending. Nevertheless, fashion business is not the type of business everybody can run. This may sound discouraging but it is a bitter truth. If the main reason you want to start a fashion business is to quickly make money, I may advise you not to start a fashion business. That is not to say that the business is not lucrative but it requires skills, commitment and dedication. There is a lot of hard work involved especially in the beginning before you can start making appreciable progress.

The Most Important Aspects of Fashion

The most important aspects of fashion are aesthetic, fit, comfort, and quality. Consumers look for fashionable and comfortable clothes. More importantly, they prefer garments that fit with their bodies and personalities. Last but not least, they want good quality products that worth the money they spend for.

Things Needed to Succeed in Fashion Industry

Business Mind Set

It is possible that you want to start your fashion business from home but you need to have a business or entrepreneurial mind set. Ensure you register your business and give it an identity. You need to find out which legal structure will be okay for you. There is nothing bad in starting out as an enterprise. When your business continues to grow, it can metamorphose into a limited liability company.  If you want to distinguish your brand in the market place, you may also develop a label.

Skills and Experience

Establishing and running fashion business require a wide range of knowledge, skills, and experience in retailing, merchandising, business management, as well as designing or products development. Having a degree in fashion is not a compulsory requirement to start a fashion business but it will help you a lot. There are terms you may need to get used to if you want to start a fashion business. In case you don’t possess a degree in fashion, you can still learn fashion business from vocational training centres. There are lots of things to learn in fashion but an average of two to three years training will get you equipped to start a fashion business. Based on your interests and strengths, you might choose to follow the fashion merchandising, apparel design or other paths within the fashion industry. I advise that you don’t jump into fashion business without having adequate knowledge and skills. Great numbers of people that think they could start a fashion business solely out of passion usually later discover they need training. Many designers and entrepreneurs suggest prospective entrepreneurs to work for companies or people before they actually start their businesses. “Virtually all of today’s successful designers have worked for someone else, learned or at least learned to appreciate all of the elements of running a business, and then embarked on a venture themselves,” says Peter Arnold, CEO of Cynthia Rowley.


Apart from the capital you will need to buy initial equipment, you need to have strong funding source(s) especially for the first two to three years. At the initial years, most of your funds will be tied up in materials and dresses that you need to showcase your designing skills by making some prototypes.

Read Also: Funding Options for Small Business


Before you start a fashion business, you should be able to estimate how much it will cost to secure your initial equipment.  You may not need to buy new equipment. You should ensure you buy good ones.

The following are the major equipment you will need to start a fashion business:

  1. Sewing or knitting machine
  2. Iron Board
  3. Knives and scissors
  4. Chalks
  5. Tapes
  6. Pins and needles

Choosing Location

Location may not be that important for someone that wants to start a fashion business with low capital. You can start a fashion business from home. Irrespective of where you want to operate, your workplace has to be spacious enough to allow cutting of materials. It should have storage capacity for both materials and sewed clothes. Both natural lights and spotlights are necessary requirements so that you can closely measure and cut materials without damaging them.

Read Also: How to Choose Business Location

Sourcing For Materials

Sourcing for good quality products with good pricing points is an important part of every business. In the fashion industry, starting a new apparel line requires fabrics, accessories, and materials, etc.; while opening a retail store requires buying merchandises. It is very crucial that you use quality materials and fabrics. You should not mind doing some leg works to find good suppliers that sell in a range within your budgets and creative needs.


If you want to start a fashion business, the place for marketing cannot be over-emphasized. A business would no longer exist if you cannot sell your products. Thus, bringing your products to the customers and convincing them to purchase your products is your biggest mission. The role of marketing and promotion is as important as designing or improving your garments. Fashion is not only about trend. It reflects an individual’s interests, personality, and lifestyle. You can market your business through the following media:

  1. Network, network and network. To succeed in fashion industry, you need to be known out there. People need to know you first. Getting to know few High Net Worth individuals can open doors of business opportunities for you. But the quality of your works and the creativity you put into it will speak volume.
  2. Display your skills with different attires in a showroom.
  3. Use social media such as Facebook and Instagram to your full advantage to promote your business.


If you want to start a fashion business, you need to keep an eye on your financials. Right pricing is very key. Price is often determined by looking at the major costs involved in the product development or merchandises buying process. Missing one of the costs might lead to losses and decrease profits. Some of the costs that go into the business may not be directly related to a particular work. Therefore, you need to determine the price that will your costs and also return profits. Some of the costs are:

  • Basic costs which include fabrics, trim and production costs.
  • Administrative costs such as staff salaries, shows and line sheets
  • Samples and pre-production costs
  • Distribution costs
  • Apportionment of other costs such as rent, electricity bills and others.

Also Read: Starting a Hair Care and Beauty Salon Business

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