As a Fashion Marketing Specialist and Editor, I've helped many fashion businesses get started and noticed one of the biggest challenges is practical advice on how to start an online clothing business without it being too overwhelming.
Whether you're an individual looking to start a business, fashion designer or someone thinking about selling established Indian or Pakistani fashion I've highlighted three most top tips to get you started.
Step 1: Image is Everything
A website is like a shop floor, appearances are everything to shoppers. If it’s not professional, high standard or with friendly service they’re leaving and they will share their bad experience with others. It’s not only about having a website to sell your fashion clothes but an honest service that cares - being good to not only your customers but also people is critical.
I salute BUNO Designs for not only outstanding bespoke everyday modest fashion available via their clean website but exceptional service. Although the sisters behind the business don’t see it as a service but something brands should be doing as the minimum, caring for people with fashion as the vehicle to share a mission to change the fashion industry for the better. They prove this by being ethical, honest and always go above and beyond even if you aren’t going to buy, rare l know! Now you know why I love them. www.buno-design.com
Step 2: Don't Be Afraid to Promote yourself
Fashion lovers see fashion as a lifestyle, an identity and an element woven into their lives. So personalise your service for your ideal consumer, create those 1-to-1 conversations and make people feel special as if they are a part of your business. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to be yourself and promote yourself – research shows, women don’t feel confident when promoting themselves compared to men but remember you are your brand and shoppers like to follow and buy from people.
Urvi Vora-Trousseau, Trousseau Jewels
Trousseau Jewels is an astonishing business only because of an inspirational British Asian young lady behind the brand, Urvi Vora-Trousseau. She uses her warm personality, which you can see for yourself at her quarterly fashion events to express beauty with handcrafting unique jewellery pieces and her hard work is paying off as her pieces have been seen on several British celebs including Cheryl Cole. www.facebook.com/TrousseauJewels
Step 3: Get Online & Connect
As I’m sure you’ve heard, social media is powerful, from Facebook, Instagram to Twitter. Although my expert advice is to start with one such as Instagram as that’s exactly where fashionistas are hanging out. And don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s all about followers but the connections you make using Instagram. Start engaging with people, fashion lovers, and bloggers and commenting on posts – see it as building friendships in business.
An online fashion boutique, Viva Luxe do it well as they build relationships with bloggers and fashion editors using my favourite platform for connecting with experts, Twitter. Not only do they just connect but email and even after a year, still stay in touch with fans www.vivaluxe.com.
The best fashion labels are like your favourite designer bag. You’re like your best friend, they're loyal, won't let you down and you wouldn't ever betray them. To be the Louis Vuitton, Chanel or Mulberry of your niche by being your consumer’s best friend get online and start listening and talking to fashionistas.
I hope you enjoy reading the magazine, as much as I loved sharing the hidden fashion gems and supporting women promoting their fashion business. I'm always on the lookout for inspirational women running or thinking of starting up a fashion business. If you're one, please get in touch and you can join me at one of my exclusive meetups for women with fashion businesses.