In any industry, including the fashion industry, startup businesses have a higher chance of failing within the first few years of starting. According to statistics, 80% of new startups and businesses fail within the initial three years of starting.
As fashion entrepreneurs, gaining new knowledge and insight into the fashion industry from industry experts will help in preventing mistakes and errors that could lead to the failure of a business. We also understand that sharing the experiences of top fashion designers would further prevent fashion failures, and with this in mind, we spoke to the founder of Dress My Closet.
Atinuke Awobode is the founder and fashion consultant of a wedding and custom fashion designing brand, with a ready-to-wear diffusion line, known as Dress My Closet. With their structured detailed designs, the brand’s mission is to create a uniquely precious experience for their clients while catering to their wedding and custom attire needs.
“Dress My Closet was born from both inner and outer strength. It was born out of the need to make a unique difference.” – Atinuke Awobode
How Did She Start The Journey Into Fashion Designing?
As a fresh graduate with the dream of starting a career in Business Consultancy and Human Resource Management, Atinuke was ready to conquer the world. But owing to a few months of delay in the start of her National Youth Service Corps program, she decided to learn fashion designing to pass time.
“Who knew fashion designing would turn out to be a full career for me?” – Atinuke Awobode
After many months of job hunting, Atinuke decided to build a brand out of the skills she learnt in fashion designing.
What Are Some Of The Mistakes She Made When She Launched The Dress My Closet Brand?
Lack Of Specialization: In starting her fashion brand, she designed a large range of clothes for a large range of customers. Dabbling in aso-ebi, male clothing, kids’ clothing, workwear, accessories, and many more, specialization wasn’t one of the key things Atinuke focused on in her brand.
“Instead of focusing, I tries to do everything because I knew how to do everything.” – Atinuke Awobode
Poor Business Skills: At the start of her brand, she wasn’t very focused on the business aspect of fashion. As you may already know, running a fashion business is not all about designing and creating spectacular outfits for clients, fashion entrepreneurs need to understand the concept of the fashion business. Creating brand awareness, pitching to prospective investors, and having good customer service are some of the aspects a fashion designer needs to know.
Lack Of Clear Measurable Goals: Without clear and set goals, a brand would not grow as it should. Setting goals to achieve in one’s brand whether monthly or quarterly would help keep business owners in check.
“Being in business for over 10 years, we would have gone farther if we were more focused from early on.” -Atinuke Awobode
How These Mistakes Affected The Dress My Closet Brand, And How They Were Able To Correct Them
Since the brand wasn’t specializing at first and not developing capacity and structure, the growth of the Dress My Closet brand was quite limited and slow.
“I took some time off to set my priorities right after being overwhelmed a few years back. I also dropped all the dead weight and started taking structure seriously.” – Atinuke Awobode
Having the right structure in a fashion business helps to make the business side easier to manage, as delegating team members is important for growth. Having the right team members who take up the brand’s vision like theirs is priceless in a fashion brand.
“Treating all team members as individuals who are not just seen, but also heard encourages getting the best results from them.” – Atinuke Awobode
Writing out clear goals and sticking to them, is one of the ways fashion entrepreneurs can help keep their business on track. In setting these goals, it is also important to develop some extra skills by taking up training, master classes, and mentors to help in the fashion journey.
“In this age, networking, personal development, stepping out, and understanding financial literacy in business is key.” – Atinuke Awobode
What Are Some Of The Best And Worst Decisions Made In The Dress My Closet Brand?
Here’s what Atinuke Awobode had to say,
“One of the best decisions I have made in my brand is to stick to my best competence and letting the team stick to their best competence as well. It is amazing how we have developed by this simple rule.”
As regarding the worst decisions made in her brand, she shared this with us,
“Taking in clients or jobs with little or no profit has to be one of my worst decisions. I’ve learnt that most people who don’t want to pay your price do not know, recognize or are not familiar with the value you offer.”
These are some of the mistakes Atinuke Awobode made in her Dress My Closet brand, how it affected the brand, and ways in which she was able to bounce back!
What other mistakes do you think fashion entrepreneurs make at the start of their brand? Let us know by dropping a comment in the section below!