Do you want to learn how successful fashion designers became successful?
They will tell you that every designer makes mistakes along their journey, no matter the price point or target market. It’s just a fact of life in this industry. However, what differentiates the winners from the losers is how they turn these mistakes into lessons learned.
Every year I sit down with some of my favorite designers and ask them about making mistakes so I can share their wisdom with budding fashion designers. This series has been incredibly insightful over the years but even more so now as we enter an era driven by technology, social media, and mass customization. Today almost every business is running online. Many fashion designers have gained popularity through online companies such as Italian fashion online have outstanding quality fashion items that are being sold around the globe.
Mistakes Every Emerging Fashion Designer Makes
Today I bring you five critical mistakes every emerging fashion designer should avoid, which are relevant whether your focus is women’s, men’s, or children’s clothing.
1) Hiring Too Many Staff Too Early
Every fashion designer I know has done this and regretted it. It happens because the business is growing, and you need to meet demand but what ends up happening is that your bottom line becomes worse than when you started due to all the extra costs involved with having employees on board. The solution? Stay small and nimble and hire staff only when you can’t handle production by yourself anymore or when a particular task requires more skills than you possess (i.e., cutting patterns).
2) Using Others’ Advice When You Know More Than Them About Your Own Business
If someone at a cocktail party where guests wear product tells you they like your dress, don’t tell them that it’s a top. Why give up all the benefits that come with selling dresses? It is an easy mistake to make because you try to please everyone, but you please nobody when everybody is your client.
3) Doing A Homework Assignment for School Instead of Making a Collection
I know fashion school is expensive, and students are often under pressure to present something at the end of their program, but not every project has to be turned into a business venture. Many designers who have never had success in the marketplace started by solving someone else’s problem instead of making clothes they want to wear themselves. Sometimes this leads designers toward starting businesses that aren’t even in fashion but home decor or jewelry.
4) Not Being Aggressive Enough When Selling Yourself
Even if you don’t have a ton of experience, every designer needs to hold their own in a conversation by showing passion and insights into the industry. They need to communicate a clear vision of what they want to do with their brand and why it differs from others. If they can’t, retailers will pass over them for designers who have more potential. By not being aggressive enough, some designers are losing opportunities that may never come around again.
5) Wasting Time On Social Media Instead of Focusing on Sales
Social media has its place but is no longer an effective way of getting the word out about your brand. If you haven’t had a sale in 6 months, then it’s time to reevaluate who you are targeting and how you are getting in front of them. Tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram photos can go viral but not for you if the right people aren’t viewing them.
The fashion industry is a highly lucrative one, it always has been, and it most likely always will be. However, it is also difficult to break into, especially if starting as an emerging fashion designer.
As an emerging fashion designer, it isn’t easy to navigate your way through business and design school simultaneously while also trying to make a name for yourself among other designers who have already made their mark on the industry. However, what I’ve learned from my conversations with today’s biggest names is that every mistake has the potential to become a learning opportunity and lead one closer toward becoming a successful fashion designer. There are five critical mistakes every new fashion designer makes when they first start in this business or after they have had it for a few years. Ensure that you do not fall prey to them to ensure your success in the fashion design field.