Last week I spoke at the London Fashion Network about how to fund and grow fashion brands; the whole climate for starting a fashion brand has changed dramatically during my 20 years in the industry.
When Boxfresh first started on a London market stall, streetwear clothing was in its infancy and only a handful of pioneers stocked our product. Nowadays major high street retailers offer streetwear product at discount prices. How do you compete in this environment? The frank answer is – with great difficulty.
The days of learning as you go are numbered. It is essential that new brands have good product, price and promotion.
There are designers who want to set up their own brands but some don’t have an industry background and knowledge is everything.
If you don’t know about production, operation, finance, sales or marketing then recruit people who are experts in this area. Or, if you can’t afford to recruit, go and work with a bigger company and learn at its expense.
Events like those at the Manchester and London Fashion Networks are great resources for learning more about our industry.
My advice is to focus on the core issues of design, sales, and marketing and use third-party specialists to focus on non-core areas like warehousing and manufacturing.
Develop retail partnerships with indies and key accounts – if you don’t have a good sales force use experienced UK agents and foreign distributors. You also need to look for areas of growth, like ecommerce and environmentally friendly product. The golden rule is to register all your trademarks. I wish you the best of luck.
Roger Wade is the founder of Boxfresh and now runs brand consultancy company Brands Incorporated