- The first and most important step is to be true to yourself and your creativity. Identify your passion and try to understand if you can turn it into a profitable business. Are you solving a problem or providing a solution? It's more than just making a sale. Understand who your customer is. Who are you targeting? Who would you like to offer your products to? What makes your product/designs different?
- For the areas that you aren’t an expertise in, take the initiative to outsource i.e. Business plan, marketing strategy, copyrighting, etc. Its worth the investment of you want it to be done properly. I was able to connect with great service providers just by looking through hashtags on Instagram, word of mouth, and fivver was a big help as well.
- If you have a creative business name, purchase the domain and create the accounts for the social medial handles. If the name is really particular and catchy, you should even go as far as trademarking the name. I had to learn my lesson the hard way, so jump on it NOW!
- Test your ideas and designs out. Ask your friends and people who may have some interest in your product if they like your designs. Post your creations on your social media page to see if there is demand for it. Be receptive to feedback.
- Network, go to local events. I was able to meet and connect with trademark attorney’s, factory agents, marketing coordinators, models, investors, funding providers, all just by going to free events and sharing my story. You never know who will run into…So get up and get out there.
- Save as much money as you can. If you really want to pursue this endeavor, cut back on your spending and save to contribute to building your brand. You will definitely need it. I was able to save my tax refund, which jump-started my business.
- Find a mentor. Receiving advice and learning from someone who has been through the motions is always a plus. You can find mentors through local fashion or networking events.
- Finally, attend tradeshows to find a manufacturer. For shoe factories, you can google footwear or fashion tradeshows. Los Angeles has a fashion district that you can visit. Do your research and make that trip. You have to actually get out there and make connections for things to start. I actually went to Italy (Micam) to look for a factory. There are a few tradeshows in the US as well. GOOD LUCK, YOU GOT THIS...... :)
Micam Tradeshow, Italy (Meeting with Factory Director)