Becoming a fashion designer isn’t the easiest profession a person can choose. The market is over saturated, extremely competitive with a high failure rate. You have to really love it because it will test you. But there are things you can avoid to make your journey to success a lot easier. Follow these six steps to save you time and money as you create your very own fashion empire.
This may not be what you want to hear, but do not go mad buying fabric. I know it excites you. Producing a collection when you don’t have customers is just stupid. You want to see your designs come to life but this is a business. You’re in business to sell and make money doing what you love. Please keep that in mind. You’re new designer going into the market, think and grow. Buying fabric should be viewed as an investment when becoming a fashion designer. Fabric is a tool that you will use, just like cutting shears or tailor chalk. Don’t look at it as a toy you’re about to play with. Buy fabric for samples only. Do not produce more garments until you have orders lined up.
I worked with a designer who was besotted with having a runway show. If you don’t reside in one of the major fashion markets, it’s a waste of time. There are cities that have fashion shows for entertainment. Buyers are not sitting in these front rows, therefore what are you having a fashion show for? You must focus on the business side of fashion if you wish to succeed. Do not spend unnecessary money producing a fashion show that will not yield orders. If you want to have a presentation, do that. Better yet have a video presentation, stream it live and invite a list of buyers, bloggers, and friends to view it. Build intrigue. Buyers will want a closer look if they’re interested.
Do you remember when Juicy Couture came on the market? All they sold were velvet track suits in the beginning. They became the go-to brand for women’s track suits. Everyone wanted one including me. I didn’t even like track suits, but the thought of being wrapped in velvet comfort was too alluring. The launched into the market at a high price point for a track suit and women bought them like crazy. Juicy Couture became a cultural phenomenon. Today Juicy Couture is now a full-service brand selling everything from dresses to shoes. My point is launching in a niche market doesn’t mean you have to stay there. What it does mean is guaranteeing a revenue stream that will allow you to expand.
Setting up your website immediately is necessary. You can build momentum for launching a line. First pick your fonts and colours. Don’t take this lightly, this will be your brand identity for years, choose wisely. If you don’t have to ability or care to learn about this, I would suggest hiring a brand expert to create an identity for you. Invest when it’s necessary. You shouldn’t have to do it all. Choose a brand expert by networking within your tribe. Start a blog. Blogging will keep your viewer engaged and it will keep them coming back to your site. Convert viewers into customers. Have a box in your sidebar or a pop-up box for your collection. Your collection doesn’t have to be complete.Blogging keeps your customers updated with your progress.
Becoming A Fashion Designer
The fashion industry is smaller than you may think. It has become even smaller with the internet, so stay humble. Treat everyone the way you wish to be treated. You need people to realise your dreams. When becoming a fashion designer you will work with other people. If you’re not a people person you haven’t any business getting involved in the fashion industry. You will work with sewers, stylists, photographers, public relations experts and accountants.This is a people driven business. Word travels fast when you’re not a decent person. It can hinder your progress. Getting your work seen is the goal. Everyone talks all the time. A general rule of thumb is to treat others the way you wish to be treated.
An Average Collection
Becoming a fashion designer isn’t glamourous at all. It isn’t all ball gowns and couture. Do not get seduced by the spectacular displays of craftsmanship on the major runways. Those collections are designed for a very small group of people who have incredible wealth. Concentrate on selling to the average woman. One of the most successful designers I ever met, designed for the average woman. He drove a hummer, lived in a beautiful home and designed for the average woman. This is still an underserved market. The average woman will need clothes for her career, or special occasions. Cater to their needs and you will be financially successful. Make them look beautiful by designing great clothes made from ethical fabric.
How to maximize your time by doing less sounds like a dream doesn’t it? When you first start listing out how much there is to creating an online magazine, the punch list is very long. By talking about how busy you are and trying to do all things at once will only overwhelm you. I know, because I hear this all the time from so many fellow business owners who are running around with their heads cut off. Their cries of being busy, their heightened anxiety, and their lack of listing accomplishments tells me one thing. They’re not getting anything done.
What they’re busy doing is creating a mountain of tasks and getting stressed. Online businesses can flourish and yield a wonderful income if you are willing to work at it. It is the future where people can create a side income that generates revenue 24hrs per day. But the big trick here is to get organised and focused. Getting into this habit for some can be daunting, especially if you’re not sure where to start. Content is king after all. but creating content just for sake of it is silly.
Spend your time doing less to achieve more is far easier than you think. If your goal this week is to write 4 blog posts, increase your Instagram followers, and write a newsletter series. Choose which one you want to concentrate on that day. If you want to batch write your blog posts schedule them to publish on specific days using co-schedule or WordPress. I also use a free plug-in called WordPress Editorial Calendar. You can drag and drop all your posts into the calendar to see what your editorial schedule looks like for the week. Editorial calendars can put you on the road to doing less because they organise your thoughts before you commit to publish anything. You want to create a strong theme on your site that tells your viewer exactly where you are in the marketplace.
These free magazine themes are all WordPress themes and are intended to work with WordPress. So if you’re not using WordPress they may not work properly or at all. However, if you are building your business on WordPress this is for you. Designing a site isn’t easy when you’re first starting out. There are important factors you must now include for Google to consider crawling your site. You must have a responsive site.
All the free magazine themes listed here are responsive, you don’t have to worry about that. I would suggest learning as much as you can about your site and how it works before handing it over to a designer to maintain. Find out how your site works, and you will always know what errors you should look for. Don`t rely blindly on someone to do the right thing because in the end they may not. You wouldn’t blindly hand over the keys to your shop and never check on it would you? Same rules apply.
Is a clean minimalist looking site that allows you to launch an elegant site straight away. I suggest keeping your site as clean as possible. Out of all the free magazine themes, this has prime customization options that allow you to build your site as you want it. You can play with the theme layout, choose different colours, and manipulate your code if you’re an advanced designer. If you’re not advanced not to worry, you can still create a great site on your own with Bubbly. If you like large images this layout automatically shows this, without the heaviness of big files.
Each year WordPress debuts a free theme named after the new year. 2017 debuted as on of the best free magazine theme in this series. When I started my site I believe it was on their Twenty Fifteen theme. It was manipulated to look the way I wanted by a friend of mine who was building a freelance web design business at the time. Nevertheless, this theme offers a large image which fills the screen and acts like your welcome mat. The viewer has to scroll down, then the large image will move up, giving that parallax feel without the work. I really love this theme for its appearance. You can change your main image easily to freshen up your site. You can even use a video as your main image landing area.
Like its title, this free magazine theme is probably the one that looks most like a magazine. It is designed for blogs and magazines. It’s super clean, it has a news ticker, sliders and featured content. It’s a light responsive theme with an abundance of layout options. If you want to feature headlines articles you can do it very easily. I would suggest planning out your editorial before using this site. You want to make sure the front page is cohesive. This also translates to Brazilian. Danish Portugese, German and Swedish. The menus are limited only to your imagination. You can modify the layout is easily by using the drag and drop feature. If you`re technically inclined you can easily edit the already existing CSS3 or HTML5.
The Most Popular THINKmag posts were a surprise to me. After checking my statistics, it occurred to me that 2016 was a very good year for this site. My pageviews increased dramatically. I made some interesting contacts and grew my instagram page past my target number of 300. I know it doesn’t sound like much but I started the year with over 400 Instagram followers and counting. So I decided to do a round-up of the success of THINKmag in 2016 and list the most popular blog posts.
First on the list is not a blogpost at all. I know there was a blog post written about it so it’s not entirely a fib. But the upcycle issue of my magazine where all the designers showcased used waste to design something new was a popular destination to visit on THINKmag. This was one of the most enjoyable issues to curate. It was challenging to find all the designers in this issue, but that was also part of the enjoyment. The cover was shot in Spain by Ruben Iglesias who also designed the chair on the cover. We chatted about what I wanted to see on the cover for weeks. I skyped in for the shoot at 4:30AM in the morning. It was a great way to start my day whilst I had my breakfast.
I had great response to both my vegan fashion posts. The feedback on Instagram was fantastic. I received a lot of reactions to both the vegan shoe and the vegan bags blog post. People seem to think vegan shoes look terrible. They used to look really geeky, but these days there have been some great shoes to hit the market. They don’t scream vegan treehugger either. What they do say is I’m sexy and I know it. I learnt a lot from the designers too. They are all very careful about how their shoes are made. So if you do invest in a pair of vegan shoes, just know that a lot of loving care went into making these shoes.
This post was popular because there was a free download accessories guide at the end. I decided to make a shopping guide to help people find a lot of these products. I know you’re interested in shopping ethically so it only made sense to create a shopping guide to make life a little easier. The guide only listed the best in quality, style, and uniqueness. I wanted it to be special enough that you’d want to keep it as a reference forever.
4.Neal’s Yard Remedies Contest
Another popular blog post saw a lot of traction on instagram. It led to a quite a few people entering to win $222 worth of Neal’s Yard Remedies. I intended to announce the winner at Christmas. The holidays came up so fast coupled with a few family emergencies delayed the announcement. The contest is still open to Canadian Residents only. So if you’re reading this and you’re in Canada, click here to enter at the bottom of this blog post. I have only three more products to include. The winner will be announced by the end of January,2017.
5.Do You Want To Create Your Own Digital Magazine?
I decided to open the vault to create a resources section for independent ethical designers to launch and sell their own products. Creating editorial for your products gives you another revenue stream that can increase your bottom line. Some remarkable things happened in 2016 because of THINKmag. I had more interesting freelance work in 2016. Curating an archived clothing collection for auction was one last year’s highlights. I worked with another designer on her first capsule collection. The landing page for THINKmag got finished by yours truly. And I have to say the feedback has been quite good. It also forced me to a look at my content more closely to decide the editorial line-up. If I didn’t have a digital magazine, I don’t believe I would have had so many opportunities.
Can a fashion designer survive in today’s market is a great question to ask yourself before you get started? How many collections do you want to produce a year? What is your budget for fabric? Do you have investors? Who is your target audience? I’m watching a staggering increase in people who lacked the education and/or did not have any experience in this area launch into the fashion industry. So, I thought I’d write about the business of fashion. Most of them didn’t make it, not because they weren’t talented, but because they lacked a plan of execution. Working as a designer is far different than people think. First off you are like a factory worker churning out look after look to keep up with a demanding retailer/consumer if you’re lucky.
Ask yourself what type of designer do you want to be? It is highly competitive with a higher failure rate. A fashion designer’s life can feel like a hamster on a treadmill. There are a lot of moving parts to consider when you’re starting out. Who is your target audience? What does your brand look like? Where in the market do you want to launch your brand? These questions are just the tip of the iceberg when deciding whether to be a fashion designer or get a desk job. If you’re able to test out the water before wasting time, try working with a designer as an apprentice or volunteer. This will help you decide if you love this industry enough to be a fashion designer.
An Underserved Market
One of the ways to break in and ensure success is to start a niche label. To date, the plus size market is limited for beautifully well tailored stylish clothes. Now as one designer put it, ‘I don’t want to design plus size clothing.” I didn’t understand it since she was a size 14-16 herself. It’s like leaving money on the table when you choose to ignore most women’s needs for variety. The plus size market starts at size 12 and that is the dress size of an average woman. For some reason plus size seems to have a negative stigma attached. It is a multi-billion dollar market that is greatly underserved.
The Ethical Fashion Designer
Another way in is to design an ethical line. If you think this limits you as a fashion designer, think again. Getting in on the conscious economy now before it peaks can only generate revenue for you. If you create quality garments that are highly identifiable it will secure a loyal consumer that wants to buy ethically. Do you have any idea what this could mean for you and your consumer? You can work with local artisans to include handmade touches and accessories. Working with natural fibres such as silks, cotton, and jersey are easier to find today due to all the ethical fabric choices available today. Your goal is to sell, so why not sell to a market that is growing and hasn’t a lot of choices? On a side note, do you have a website? Sign up below for the 7 day kick start course and secure your online presence before you launch anything.
How to market your magazine online for free sounds too good to be true right? Well it isn’t. Once you’ve produced your issue you need to get it out there. Just having it online isn’t enough. Sending out your content to various sites can help to bring traffic and it’s something you need to do constantly in order to raise your site’s profile. So without hesitation is a list of sites you should be using.
Create a page for your magazine immediately. Don’t wait before you have something to publish do it now. I tend to aggregate and re-publish posts on my Facebook page. I give updates about my business, I let my followers know what’s happening with the future of the magazine. Creating intimacy with your audience so they care about your magazine takes time. But it’s not impossible. Decide how often you’re going to post and what you’re going to post. Stick to a schedule, so your viewers know what type of posts to expect on certain days. Interactive comments in real time seem to have worked well for driving traffic
Twitter is also a great resource to market your magazine for free. Unlike Facebook you only have 140 characters to get your message out there. So you better make it count. Using hashtags to index your tweet is easy enough, I would suggest using a couple of hashtags at one time. Don’t over stuff your hashtags, it may be yielded some traffic once upon a time. But that has all changed. People will respond to quality over quantity. Tweet your posts multiple times during the week by changing the wording a little. Again, use common sense, don’t tweet the same post twice in one day. Try to space it out a little that way you can still market your magazine with integrity.
I got turned on to this new blogging platform by a fellow publisher. It is a fast-growing blogging community where you can promote your content. Earn money on your first post is easy to achieve. You don’t make a lot, but it’s still something and it exposes your content to a growing audience. There are a lot of categories to choose from so there’s something for everyone. You can view your stats and revenue easily to see which posts are popular. Do more of those to market your magazine and again you’ll see the rewards of your efforts. I would suggest reciprocating by reading others posts and commenting on them too. Again I cannot stress this enough it’s a give and take system.
I’m still quite new to Instagram, but I’ve noticed traffic coming to my site from “the gram.” It’s still in its infancy stage, so again you have a chance to tap into a growing market that hasn’t reached it’s peak yet. Instagram works a little strangely, beware of false followers. People will follow you only to unfollow you after you’ve followed them. Instagram doesn’t show you this activity so it can be difficult to track who is genuinely a follower. I use an additional app called Padview, which shows me who is a mutual follower. Instagram now shows you stats about your traffic and when is the best time to post. Use the same hashtags that are relevant to your image. This will show you are an authority in this area and it will also bring unique viewers with similar interests.
This started as an experiment, that I still use today. Reddit is a news aggregator where I saw a substantial increase in traffic through sharing content on this site. It’s very easy to use. Subscribe to a few subreddits, then submit your link. Some Subreddits can reject your link if you didn’t adhere to their submission guidelines but it’s easy enough to correct. You can submit text posts and direct links only. Content is then moderated according to the area of interest. It is highly competitive and your content may not see a lot of attention on their site. I still like it because it can bring a few hundred viewers to my site, so I would suggest again using this site to share and to give back.
I haven’t used youtube yet and I am not in a rush to do so. I recommend using youtube when you have content that works for your brand. What I don’t recommend is throwing up any old video because you think you have to be on youtube. Content is still king and that will never change. If you have youtube content that is worthy and at the same standard as your site then go for it. It can drive traffic to your site, it can sell your product. But if you aren’t ready to launch a channel, I would suggest waiting. You can invite a group privately to view content if you wish. It can be a good platform to test out material to a private audience.
Make sure to create an editorial calendar before getting started. You want all your content to work for you in a cohesive manner before you start to market your magazine. Your content should curate into a strong library with an identity that attracts your target audience. Companies will see the potential for advertising their own product to an established targetted audience. This does take time, but it’s not impossible. I can’t stress sharing online and creating integrity whilst you’re doing it is the key to your content gaining traction.