Question :
Hey there, first of all thank you for your service on these hard times.Before this lockdown i was planning on starting a clothing line business and didnt know how to.I want want to know if there’s a better way that i could launch my business during or after this crisis. I’m definitely willing to put in the work and learn to get my business up and going. However, im in need of a mentor or guidance from someone who’s done and been through it before and is willing to advise me some insight on how i can provide value to start and grow my business.

Question submitted 16/04/20 @ 05:50pm
Industry: Fashion
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    Given I have been in the rag trade for 28 years, I am happy to talk to you about this.
    Note that it is not the easiest space to occupy, right from the get go you will be competing
    globally. So many get into this space given the perceived ease of digital selling and many more fail
    both big and established brands and smaller new entrants.
    Make sure that you look for the gaps in the market (what is your true point of difference?)
    However maybe a pause at the moment, given the uncertainty of what best fashion
    retail platforms will look like in 2021 so you establish your business to meet this need
    Happy to talk to you more on email annah@strettonclothing.co.nz


    Morena Bill – it is our pleasure, we are lucky that we have an amazing community of advisors, and that people like you are asking for input and guidance. You are 100% right on looking for people who have been there, done that before – as hopefully you can learn from what they did which will help you avoid some slip ups and be strong and we hope successful. I would think about who in your community do you know or could ask for intro’s who could be that guide. In times like this there are many business owners or past business owners who are prepared to give back, give some guidance.

    There are also a bunch of resources you can find online about starting your business and the steps to take that forward – free resources. The biggest challenge with starting a business is assuming you will sell your product – the number one failure is failing to find customers who will buy your product – so think about ‘how’ you can find the sweet spot customer in your market, and what you can do to test your thinking/assumptions around what they like and what they would buy from you – be clear also on your differentiation veruss others – many people will tell you that clothing is super hard to make money, so be clear that you can win and you know what to do to win! Good luck, god speed. Andy


    Hi Bill,
    I always love the sentiment of “never let a good crisis go to waste.” What a crisis teaches us is that there are new ways to do things that have been done in the past. I echo the sentiments from Annah that the rag trade is tougher than ever. Notwithstanding this crisis, the world is looking hard at the apparel sector from all sorts of perspectives including sustainability, values and principles, longevity and how unique the product is.

    Online retailing requires strong storytelling and a reasonable pocket to build brand awareness and a collective of raving fans. It’s pretty tough. Likewise, this COVID crisis means apparel retailers are not going to necessarily be looking for heaps of new brands, and their dollars will be tight, so what they buy will be likely very hand to mouth.

    Without knowing your product, what I can say is the last thing the world needs is more of the same. But let’s assume you have found an incredible niche in the market like All is for All – a fashion retailer focused on fashion for those with disabilities. Incredible and a clear gap in the market.

    How one local fashion site became a world first in accessibility

    You said you have got great ideas, now is a perfect time to sure up that research:
    – Offer uniqueness – why does the world need YOUR product? Where else are they getting their need fulfilled now?
    – Range and offer: depth and breadth – how do you create new news to get customers to lean into your offer again and again?
    – Cost of raw materials
    – Production and design costs
    – Packaging, storage and distribution
    – Souce supply of all of the above
    – Costing model
    – Operational overheads
    – Storytelling and content creation
    – Compliance – especially if you are claiming ethical or sustainable platforms
    – Retail channels to market – stockists, website and web stores, social and digital media, marketing and promotional activity
    – How are you going to connect with customers (ie. sales funnel if you need distribution) – what materials will you provide them
    – Size curves and seasonal timings – are you going to time production for a specific “season” – if you are going to keep stock on hand low, how quickly can you replenish/make stock
    – Photography – how and costs
    – How are you going to get everything done
    – Full costing model and pricing (plus markdown strategy)
    – Think about policies and process; refunds, returns, make sure you comply with Fair Trading Act and Consumers Guarantees Act
    – Terms of payment: if you use things like Layby, Afterpay, etc there is a cost to these which either erode margin or your factor into your pricing
    – If you are thinking bricks & mortar there is so much more to consider as well

    Best of luck and if you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at juanita@retailx.co.nz

    Kind regards

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