Creating a Success Model for Fashion Designers

The British Fashion Council developed a report, Commercializing Creativity – Creating a Success Model for British Fashion Designers.   The authors of this report, Alejandra Caro and Alessandra Basso, wrote a report pinpointing the common themes that lead to success as well as highlighting common challenges emerging designers face in building a successful fashion business.   EDGE is committed to providing educational tips and best industry practices.   The following is a summary of practices that contribute to commercial success.  You are encouraged to read the entire report with links to the British Fashion Council website and report below.

1. Behave as a business – strategy and business planning
— Designers should have hunger and
entrepreneurial spirit to drive their businesses
— Business and creativity need to work
— It is important to draw up a business plan
and create a clear vision for the company
from the start
— Gaining credibility and reliability should be
a core value
— Designers who have a trusted business partner
tend to be more commercially successful but,
designers also need to develop basic commercial
skills themselves.
2. Recognize the importance of product development
— Successful designers have a clear brand
position, point of view and a unique selling
proposition that connects through to the
product and product development
— Initially there should be a focused product
ordering and limited Stock Keeping Units (SKUs)
— It is crucial to get pricing right and to stick within
industry norms.
3. Be clear of your unique brand proposition,
support with a marketing and communications plan
— Develop the brand’s identity and support it
with a marketing and communications plan
— Marketing and communications are key to
brand building
— It is important to see PR and media as part
of the broader marketing plan
— Social platforms can be a powerful part of
the communications strategy and allow direct
dialogue with the customer but they need
focused resources and constant development.
4. Tackle the challenges of production
— Designers need a good understanding of the
manufacturing process to make realistic demands
on manufacturers. Investing in relationships is key
— Balancing the challenges of finding a reliable
manufacturer in the UK and the challenges
of production overseas is crucial
— On-time payment to manufacturers helps
designers when agreeing production conditions
for future collections.
5. Find the key to sales and distribution
— The sales and distribution strategy should be
consistent with the brand’s positioning
— Designers need to understand contractual
conditions with retailers, distributors and sales
agents, the different available options and their
impact on the business
— Buyers’ feedback is essential to understanding
customer behavior and preferences, and
building relationships with them is crucial to
commercial success
— On-time delivery gives retailers confidence
in placing orders
— The direct financing of an own-brand flagship
store is not the only option. Opening stores can
be pursued through different investment options
including partnerships, joint ventures or franchising
— When selling online, it is important to consider
the opportunities and peculiarities of the
digital channel.
6. Understand the importance of funding
and financing
— The large gap between the funding of production
and the recovery of the revenue from sales is a
major challenge that has to be carefully managed
— British Designers’ Fashion Businesses must be aware of funding options, as well as what investors take into consideration in order
to maximize their chances of securing investment
— Grants and awards are instrumental for the
success of most designers at an initial stage
— The investor community has to be educated on
how the industry works so it can assess the risks
and opportunities of potential investment.

Source | British Fashion Council, Commercializing Creativity, May 2014

For more EDGEucation best practices and business tips, click on the EDGEucation Category.

Rhonda P. Hill

Founder, Publishing Editor

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