The fashion industry has many arms and many people in it, there are clothes designers, footwear designers, jewellery makers, cosmetics manufacturers, and so on. Each of these areas is related in many ways but still diverse in some ways.
Everything, from starting a ready-to-wear line to starting a footwear line and even starting a fashion business with no money has its own unique set of rules.
For this week’s video review, we reviewed a video of Mr Babajide Ipaye, the co-founder of Keexs footwear brand, by Union Bank of Nigeria. In it, he gives top 9 tips for starting a footwear business in Nigeria.
The video aims to let up-and-coming fashion entrepreneurs know what to do to successfully start a footwear business in Nigeria. He expounds on the tips and shares bits of his story to starting a fashion business in the video.
Our review will cover:
- useful points fashion entrepreneurs can learn from,
- important points missed out, and
- the usefulness of the information provided to fashion entrepreneurs.
Now, let us get down to it.
Useful Tips Fashion Entrepreneurs Can Learn From
1. Generate Your Business Idea
For you, as a fashion entrepreneur, your business idea can come from a problem you, or someone you know, have. For example, he started his fashion brand because, as a size 48, it was hard for him to find shoes his size, and when he did find any, he did not like the style or design of the shoe.
Your business idea should not only solve problems for you, but it should also solve problems for others that are like you.
2. Do Your Research
You need to do your research and properly educate yourself before you launch into footwear business. Find out if other people in Nigeria and Africa are into the type of business you want to start so you know how to position yourself in the market.
Also, in line with educating yourself, you might need to go to great lengths to learn the skills needed to successfully run a footwear brand.
3. Don’t Go It Alone
Before you start your business, you need to run it through others, like your family and friends, because the fact that you think your idea is good does not mean it is. Sometimes, these people you run it through will spot flaws in your idea and even suggest better ways of doing things.
Also, apart from family and friends, look for professionals that are experts in their different fields and run your ideas through them because you will encounter many challenges along the way.
4. Create a Business Plan
For your business plan, you do not need to create a very wordy document, you just need to break down the different elements of how you want to get your business done. You need to do a write-up stating what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it.
You have to also look at creating some form of a financial model. You can use Excel for this. Create a document for the financing, cost, sale price, and all other monies you require to start and run the business successfully for a couple of months.
5. Make Sure You Have the Capital
You need to make sure you have the money to start your footwear business. You could get money from profits from a sister business, savings, family and friends, loans, grants, and so on.
6. Get Professional and Legal Advice
You need to get a lot of professional and legal advice before you launch into business so you do not run into avoidable mistakes. You need to know about things like intellectual property rights, tax, and what the law requires of businesses so you do not violate them.
You need to get a lot of professional and legal advice because it saves you a lot of trouble in the long run.
You do not want to start a business and have spent a lot of time, money, and resources only to realise that you made some mistakes you could have prevented. This might even lead to you ending up losing a lot of money in the long run.
7. Be Passionate and Wise
When you are starting a business, you will face many challenges, be it with the environment or people who will give you a hard time, and your passion is what will drive you through.
When you are passionate about your dream, you will be able to block out the negative words spoken to you. When you are wise, you will find ways to overcome the challenges people see in your way.
8. Start Lean
Think zero cost if possible. You can find ways to outsource your production to experts in the field at the start of business to save cost. Also, when you start lean, you might find out variable costs you did not know about before and be able to plan for them.
You can learn very quickly, for example, what price the market is willing to pay for your products and be able to go back and make changes to some of the designs you started with if you start lean. If you start big and things change in the market, you will have wasted a lot of investment as opposed to if you had started lean.
9. Earn While You Can
This ties back to starting up lean. Most businesses cannot pay your salary at the beginning. And if you decide to pay yourself what you are worth, you will stifle the growth of the business.
If, for example, you have a 9-5 job, you can consider keeping it and running the business at the side so you have an extra source of income. But, it is very important to understand that there must not be a conflict of interest between both your jobs.
Important Points Missed Out
1. Register Your Business
One of the first things to consider in starting your footwear business is registering your business. Once you have your brand name, business plan, and all other things you need to get your business started, business registration is the next step.
When you fail to register your business, many things can go wrong along the way. Someone could steal your brand name and register it as theirs after you have put a lot of work into building and marketing the brand, and you will have to start from scratch.
2. Pay Attention to Branding
Branding is an aspect of business that should never be overlooked. Everything about your brand, from your brand name to your brand logo, brand colours, and how you want your brand to be perceived by potential customers has to be paid special attention to.
You need to focus on what you want your brand to say to people and how you intend to infuse it into your brand.
3. Learn About Your Target Market
Your target market is who you will sell your footwear to so you need to understand them and what influences their decisions to patronise you or not. You need to know what their pain points, what kind of people they are, their spending power and habits, why they make the choices they make, and so on.
Understanding your target market will help you decide on how to approach them and how to set up your business to appeal to them.
4. Market Your Line
You need to get your brand out there to create a buzz about your brand. Even before you launch your footwear line, let everyone around you know that something is about to happen. Announce your brand to the world just to create anticipation for it.
Never be afraid to try out creative and innovative ways of marketing your line. You must, however, note that after you have created a buzz about your brand you need to deliver to people what you said you will deliver.
5. Create an Online Presence for Your Fashion Brand
Having an online presence for your fashion brand is non-negotiable. Create a website and e-commerce shop to show off and sell your shoes. Look for social media platforms, like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, where your target market is most active and create a page for yourself there.
Right from the start of business, you need to have some form of online presence so people can see what you have and decide to for or against your brand.
The Usefulness of the Information Provided to fashion Entrepreneurs
The tips given in the video are very practicable by Nigerian entrepreneurs and also very useful. Seeing the rate at which many startups die even before they have seen the light of day, this video is very timely and helpful in many ways.
Fashion entrepreneurs that want to venture into the design and production of footwear have a lot to learn and gain from the video.
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