Every brand has had an interesting journey when building their business. Sadly, many small businesses fail within the first few years, especially apparel brands. This is due to the many challenges that the fashion industry face and the fact that it is a highly competitive industry.
‘While other industries enjoy a 50 percent or higher business success rate after four years, retail and apparel do not. Indeed, a full 53 percent of clothing lines will fold by the fourth year’s end.’ – (Entrepreneur, Toby Nwazor 2016)
However, there is no reason why you can’t start your fashion brand on the right foot and lead it to success. To find out some key steps in how to do so, check out our article; ‘8 Key Steps on How to Become a Successful Fashion Designer.’
It is good to establish why start-up fashion brandsend up failing; this way you will know what to avoid doing when starting up your own fashion brand. By analysing why these brands fail and looking into key tips on how to be successful, there is no doubt that your fashion brand will do well long-term. Conducting this market research will take you a long way!
Here are some key reasons as to why fashion brands may fail;
1. Lack of Knowledge: Your clothing line will most likely be catered to a specific market and you will be selling specific products. Therefore, you need to have a healthy amount of knowledge about the product you are selling. This includes knowing about industry terminology and how businesses operate. You will find that a lot of brand owners rush the design stage and send it out to garment manufacturers before going into in-depth research about their target market. Figuring out whether your product is in demand or not is important and working out your price points is vital. For example, not many people will invest into a fashion brand that sells winter jackets in the summer! Therefore, think of what is in demand at the time.
Additionally, whilst some of your innovative fashion ideas may have no competition and therefore are ‘niche’, this is not always a good thing as it may mean that people are not really into it; this means they will not invest into your idea. This shows that conducting a strong amount of research beforehand will help you identify whether your idea will be a success or not.
2. Lack of Authenticity: Starting a fashion brand that sells products that already exist in mass stores will mean that you’re unlikely to drive business. For example; you will see that in recent years many small brands will promote items such as symbol T-shirts. The likelihood that the T-shirt will sell is very small. There is no design element to it therefore consumers are unlikely to buy into it unless it has had a heavy amount of celebrity endorsement, and even than it is not promising.
Designing something interesting, visually pleasing and in-demand will be more beneficial to you. Going back to step 1, do your research and identify what your target market want.
3. Quality: Another key reason why fashion brands fail is because of the quality of their product. Customers will not be willing to pay for a poorly made product and will likely go to another fashion brand for a better-quality product. There are a ton of brands that will decrease manufacturing costs by using poor material quality; this is a big risk as your brand will lose its value and customer loyalty. Word of mouth goes a long way, therefore if you leave your customer un-happy this won’t be good for your brands image!
Requesting samples from your manufacturer and sending out a Tech Pack before processing your designsis a good way to check up on the quality of your future fashion designs. Getting an opinion from somebody in the textile industry will also be beneficial to you and will reduce the chance of you retrieving poor quality products.
4. Over-expansion: Even if a fashion clothing line has a successful beginning, expanding the brand too much and too quickly without many resources will only result in a downfall. By doing this, fashion brands may face not having the capacity, financial concerns and logistical challenges. Of-course expanding your fashion brand is a must, however you must ensure you do this in a logical manner to avoid facing future business errors.
5. Lack of Promotion: Fashion brands may have perfected their designs and got them made into real life products, but the challenge doesn’t stop there. Promoting your brand before, during and after the release is crucial, otherwise it will die out. With the increase of e-commerce, online brands are at an advantage because they can use a variety of online tools such as Instagram, Twitter and Depop to promote their brand.
There are a variety of other reasons as to why fashion brands fail, but we have highlighted what we think are the top 5. Starting up a fashion business is an exciting venture, but you must ensure you do all the research beforehand if you want your fashion brand to last long-term.