You have a fabulous, fashionable idea for your own clothing brand. While you are in idea stage, ask and answer these 10 questions to get your clothing brand started.
- Where do you begin when founding a
You write a business plan first. It contains your mission statement, a description of your unique idea, the company goals and priorities. You’ll need to conduct market research and build a budget as a part of the business plan.
- What business models are there for clothing
In fashion, you’ll find three common business models – custom cut and sew line, print on demand and private label. If you choose cut and sew, you will design the clothes, cut the patterns, choose the fabrics and handle production. This option costs the most. With print on demand, you use pre-made designs that a third-party prints with your custom illustrations. It costs little to start, but you must profit share with the manufacturers. A private label lets you buy the materials in bulk, then customize them as you like. You are only limited by your storage space and illustration talents. It costs about one quarter of what a cut and sew startup does.
- How much capital is required?
This depends on your business model. It typically ranges between $1,000 and $10,000. The more you customize, the greater the cost. Imported materials also add to the cost, as does a designer and seamstress, if you need to hire them. Also, you’ll need to design a logo. If you are not an artist, you’ll need to hire this out, too.
- Where do you obtain raw material
While creating samples, you can use locally available materials in small batches. You can purchase bolts of material at a fabric store. Once you move into production phase though, you’ll need to purchase in bulk or use prefab clothes that you customize.
- Where do you locate manufacturers?
For print on demand or private label, you’ll need to contact clothing manufacturers. Use an app like Sewport to quickly find appropriate manufacturers. You can search for manufacturers based on delivery, quality and quantity.
“I am really proud that Sewport is fast becoming the place to go if you have a fashion solution to a very real problem,” said Sewport CEO Boris Hodakel.
- How do you design something marketable?
You need a clear creative vision that targets a specific age group. It needs to address a need or solve a problem. You may need to work with a professional designer. You can find them on platforms like upwork.com or freelancer.com or you may also use stock image websites to look for copyright-free designs.
- How do you market my brand?
You need a brand name, a logo, social media accounts, a publicist, a social media manager and high quality content to get started. You can either hire a public relations firm to handle all of it or hire freelancers using the same sites as listed in the above.
- When should you hire a staff?
You’ll need the hire the marketing staff to launch your brand. Once the brand takes off, you’ll need accounting staff and a product manager. If you make the clothes yourself, you’ll probably need to hire additional seamstresses or designers.
- What should you do when sales are low?
Conduct a formal financial analysis to pinpoint where you went wrong. Analytics will point to product issues, your business model, brand personality, etc. You may have to suspend production or fundraise before reviving your clothing brand.
- Where should you sell the clothing?
You can list your items on consignment at some niche stores when you first start out. You can also sell them online via sites like Etsy, on your website and via social media. Once you build your sales, you can open a kiosk or retail outlet.
Answer these ten basic questions and you’ll build a firm foundation for your business. Most you must answer before you start, but you will have a few to consider along the way. Start at the top and work your way down the list and you will be able to build your clothing brand.
Axeleo Capital has raised a $51 million fund (€45 million). Axeleo first started with an accelerator focused on enterprise startups. The firm is now all grown up with an acceleration program and a full-fledged VC fund.
Axeleo picks up around 10 startups per year and help them reach the Series A stage. If they’re doing well over the 12 to 18 months of the program, Axeleo funds those startups using its VC fund.
Limited partners behind the company’s first fund include Bpifrance through the French Tech Accélération program, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Vinci Energies, Crédit Agricole, BNP Paribas, Caisse d’Épargne Rhône-Alpes as well as various business angels and family offices.
The firm is also partnering with Hi Inov, the holding company of the Dentressangle family. Axeleo will take care of the early stage investments of Hi Inov, which represent $11.3 million (€10 million).
Axeleo is focusing on early stage rounds, from $565,000 to $4.5 million (€500,000 to €4 million) in anything B2B, from artificial intelligence to cybersecurity and SaaS. So far, the team has invested in Alsid, Vectaury, 365Talents, Jenji, Ermeo and others.
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