Being a new entrepreneur can be tough. Since you are new and there is already a multitude of others in your chosen industry, it can be hard to get your own customers.
As a fashion entrepreneur, this rings true since many people already have a preconceived bad notion about fashion designers. Although that narrative is changing, getting people, whether they are investors, family members or friends, to take you seriously can be very tough. However, it is possible.
Here 7 ways to get people to take you seriously as a new fashion entrepreneur;
How to be Taken Seriously as a New Fashion Entrepreneur
1. Know Your Craft
No one will take you seriously if you do not know your craft. Being a fashion entrepreneur requires a good level of skill and if you must be taken seriously in this field, you must know what you’re doing.
Knowing your craft as a fashion entrepreneur will see you gaining the confidence of others. As a shoe or bag maker, familiarise yourself with different types of leather and how they can be used. As a dressmaker, understand different fabrics, how they work with other fabrics, and what outfits they are best for.
If you want to be taken seriously, you must show that you know what you are doing. No one wants to give you money in exchange for substandard items. This is why you must know the basics of your craft. For whatever you do not know, there are platforms you can gain relevant knowledge from.
The more you know your craft, the more confident you will be and confidence is a game-changer in entrepreneurship. When clients or investors see the confidence you exude, they will begin to take you more seriously.
“As a new fashion entrepreneur, one of the first things I did was learn to sew well. I went to a fashion school and gained a wealth of relevant knowledge. When I finished from there and started my fashion brand, I always made sure all my outfits were nothing less than perfectly made.
One of my most loyal and biggest customers was my cousin. She gave me one fabric to sew just to see what I could do. I delivered a well-made outfit to her and from there she started giving me new fabrics every week. She just loved how neatly done my work was. She also loved that I understood her body and her needs as a client.”Yindie, fashion designer
2. Dress the Part
As a new fashion entrepreneur, dressing the part is important. If you don’t want to be doubted and want to be taken seriously by your clients and investors, you need to take care of your appearance.
You are the biggest marketer of your brand. If you promise to make someone else look good with your fashion products and you don’t look good yourself, chances are that they won’t believe you. Don’t show up to meetings or your store looking anything less than a professional.
When you look good and dress well, people will tend to take you more seriously. They also won’t try to haggle your price with you unnecessarily if you look like you know what you’re doing. Investors will also feel more comfortable doing business with you.
3. Build Your Reputation
As a new fashion entrepreneur, your reputation is key in getting people to take you seriously. Since fashion entrepreneurs are notorious for not being trustworthy, you need to make a difference with your brand.
Focus on delivering excellent customer service to everyone that takes that leap of faith with your brand. Always create quality products that will stand the test of time. Deliver on your promises at the right time and focus on meeting your clients’ needs.
As you build your reputation, remember to also build your character. You cannot build a good reputation if you don’t work on your character. Also, remember to be humble and willing to learn. This will help avoid mistakes you would otherwise have made.
When you are deliberate about building a strong reputation, your customers will become your marketers. They will tell everyone they know about you and this will make people begin to take you seriously.
4. Build a Strong Online Presence
We live in a digital age and virtually everyone that comes across your brand will want to check you out online. As a new fashion entrepreneur, work on building your online presence.
Begin by taking advantage of social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You don’t need to start with a website, although, as you grow, you will eventually need one. But in your little way, build your online presence.
Make the effort to put out quality graphics on your social media pages. No one will take you seriously if your social media has low-quality images of videos or typographical and grammatical errors everywhere. Show them that you take yourself seriously and they will start to do so too.
To make the most of your social media presence, you can always hire a professional to help you out.
5. Understand Your Brand and Your Audience
As a new entrepreneur, knowing your target audience is important. It is because of them you started your brand in the first place, so, you must put in the work to know them. If your target audience is pregnant women whose main concern is comfort and your main concern is making women look snatched, you have missed it.
Also, you want to know your brand in and out. Know what your brand is about and what problems it was established to solve. Know how you want to handle production, pricing, and delivery so when you are asked questions on this you will not be confused.
The more you know your brand and your audience, the easier it will be to get clients and investors to take you seriously. Outside of this, draw out a business plan that clearly outlines all your business is about and your strategies.
6. Leverage Your Network
Everyone knows someone. As a fashion entrepreneur, leverage the network you have to get people to begin to take you seriously. Your first customers will be family or friends. When you do a good job for them, they will begin to take you seriously.
As you do professional jobs for your network, they will begin to refer you to others and vouch for you. This will, in turn, make these new customers begin to take you seriously. Don’t ever look down on your network.
Also, try to help other entrepreneurs in your circle to keep you at the top of their minds. This will make them refer you to others when they meet someone that needs your products or services.
“As a new entrepreneur, what really helped me was leveraging my network. My first customers were my friends, family and church members. When I sewed outfits for them, they usually immediately fell in love with them and this made them refer me to others.
Just from the referrals of my family and friends, I started getting more clients than I could handle. Even without a social media page, I was getting orders every other day and my plate was always full. Leveraging my network really helped me.”Kunmi, fashion designer
7. Get Mentors
Every new fashion entrepreneur needs a mentor. Having a more experienced businessperson in the fashion industry supporting and guiding you along the way is invaluable. Having a mentor helps you avoid costly mistakes you could have easily avoided with a little guidance. It also shows that you understand the value of experience.
A mentor can be a source of useful contacts and future businesses for you. They can also teach you the tricks of the industry. In a mentorship relationship, you must remember to also provide value to your mentor. A two-way relationship always works better.
As you apply all of these steps to your entrepreneurial journey as a new fashion entrepreneur, remember to just do it. Go ahead and start what you want to do with plenty of determination and hard work. Resilience is also needed because you will face lots of disappointments along the way. As you strive on, you will surely pull through.