Today, YHP asks Cleoni Crawford, founder of C-virtue, few necessary ingredients about running a business, especially a fashion business.
The Competition in the fashion is obviously high, how can a young entrepreneur break into this business with its competitiveness?
With such a competitive industry, I believe the best businesses serve niche markets. A lot of time, should be spent on first defining your target market and its needs. Be very specific as it will aid in your marketing initiatives. Also, market research will help in determining whether your product is not only liked by your market but will also be purchased by them.
How important is running a show for your fashion business?
Running a fashion show will definitely help to bring exposure and life to your clothing line. It’s a great opportunity to sell the story of your line to a greater public. When people purchase, clothing, they not only purchase the clothing itself but also the lifestyle and a fashion show would allow you to show this to your market. I would say it is very important, especially to the launch of your business. However, going forward, I do not think it is necessary to host more than 1 fashion show per year. However, if you can try to find opportunities where you can have a “travelling fashion show”, that is having mini-fashion shows on various events hosted by others. This will reduce cost and increase advertising and marketing opportunities.
In fashion, how important is getting a degree or going to university, a lot of people prefer to do
some apprenticeship with other experienced designers? What do you think about that?
I personally think that getting a degree/diploma is very useful and helpful to build a foundation. However, I think that an apprenticeship with an experienced designer is more valuable and necessary. In addition, by combining both eduction and volunteering with experienced designers, you will find your education more valuable.
What skills do you need to be a fashion designer/fashion business founder?
A Fashion Designer and entrepreneur is a jack of all trades. You need to be the technician, manager, and visionary, therefore, there are many skills that you must have. You should have an understanding of the whole design process (technical sketches, spec packages, pattern drafting and grading, and construction), business management skills ( how to complete financial statements and manage your money), marketing, business planning and administration (how to draft proposals, business plans, media packages, etc) and an understanding of how to conduct yourself online (social media and networking, web pages, email, blogs, etc). Also, as a fashion designer, you need to know what your strongest skills are and spend the bulk of your time focusing on that and delegate the rest to other professionals. Though in your first year, you want to minimize cost as much as possible, you do not want to waste time learning skills that would be best perfomed by a third party.
Where do fashion designers get their inspiration?
Fashion designers can get their inspiration from anywhere. It can come from art, fashion magazines, fashion shows, taking walks in fabric stores, viewing portfolios of other designers and people.
How important is pricing in the fashion business?
Pricing is EXTREMELY important. If your prices are too high, you have no customers, if you’re prices are too low, you have customers but no business. Either extreme will determine if you have a business or not. In order to find your pricing, it is important to conduct market research in order to test out your target market and see their willingness to pay. Also, when setting prices, it is important to get a good understanding of your direct and indirect costs. Your costs will determine whether you have profits, hence money for you, or not