NGOZI DICKSON (MS.)ChPMP,MBA
Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening”
Coco Chanel defines Fashion so beautifully, and it is spot on because indeed, Fashion is Life, the way we live our life is culture and culture as we all now never fades, it evolves…therefore fashion is eternal and to the business of fashion effectively, you must understand culture.
The business of fashion cannot be dissected without facing the hard truth about fashion in Ghana; It is a fiercely competitive business where it’s hard to stand out with an estimated 95% of fashion start-ups failing in the first five years unless you’re a well-known brand and even then, it’s easy to fall in and out of the fashion business; in Ghana the industry has witnessed a number of prestigious brands and fashion houses succumb to competition.
African fashion industry currently contributes only a small fraction of what it is capable of contributing to the continent’s GDP and although Ghana’s fashion industry is one of the largest sector of all the creative industries, it’s economic impact is in comparison insignificant.
In all the despair, there is a massive ray of hope as African fashion has enjoyed massive media presence worldwide with several designers from the African continent being featured in international magazines and fashion shows.
It is simply a nightmare for fashion entrepreneurs seeking to stand out and attract customers.
The decision to start a business in fashion is by no means an easy feat, it is serious business that requires more than just passion and creativity, and it includes having a good head for business.
PASSION AND CREATIVITY
A good business head on your shoulders ensures that your passion and creativity finds its place in the fashion industry. It goes without saying that if you want to survive, you must bring something unique to the market that goes to meet the needs of fashion consumers.
To stay relevant and profitable, the fashion entrepreneur must understand the business side to the fashion business and develop sustainable business concepts that will stand the test of time.
There are a few things to be considered
A BUSINESS PLAN / CONCEPT
The concept of what your business is, expresses everything that your business is about and stands for, therefore take your time to design your business concept. A business plan is a definitely important, a simple business plan gives a broad view of what your business is about with clearly stated mission and vision statements, your vision statement is your eye into the future of your business and your mission is how you intend to get into that future.
A good business plans indicates how you intend to finance the business and a detailed description of the product or service you have on offer. In addition, your business plan should include a detailed SWOT analysis (acronym for STRENGTH, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES & THREATS).
It simply refers to consciously identifying what your strengths are and how you intend to capitalize on them to give business a competitive edge over your competitors, as a business, you must now your weaknesses, a lot of entrepreneurs live in denial and refuse to “own their weaknesses,” a good entrepreneur knows better…it is like knowing the exact portions of your roof that leaks so you know where to place the basin to collect the leaking water until you can afford to call the roof mechanic.
KNOWING YOUR OPPORTUNITIES
Ultimately, being aware of your opportunities as a business is what could possibly catapult into becoming next big thing in fashion. A classic example of making use of opportunities is how a lot of fashionpreneurs are taking advantage of emerging trends in blogging and online shopping to enhance their businesses.
FINDING YOUR TARGET MARKET
As a business, whatever your product/service is, it must appeal to the right target market, targeting your market simple means find niche market and then catering to their needs so you could target your market based on gender, age, lifestyle, marital status, social status etc. It is important that you understand the customer you are in business for, doing that makes it easier to identify right marketing and communication tools inform and encourage customer to buy… Therefore it could be brochures, T.V, radio, magazines but these days, social media is everything.
Breaking into fashion, means understanding that talent only is not a surefire guarantee of success for the” fashionpreneur”, it requires a tenacity and a passion so strong that you are willingly to go against all odds to bring you passion to fruition. Business success requires vision, Vision is about focus, the ability to spot opportunities .
The elements of planning and risk-taking are vital, so be prepared to take risk with your Time, Money, and people but of course, you must take calculated risks.
ADAPTABILITY AND FLEXIBILITY
Many businesses fold up or “refuse to grow” as a result of the fact that they lack adaptability and flexibility -being inflexible about client or market needs and trends is a sure route to failure.
A lot of fashion businesses forget about values but that is where they are mistaken because as a business, your core values add to you brand. You cannot fake it…OWN IT!
What is your brand personality? As a fashionpreneur, you must create a brand identity, define what is unique about your product and keep it focused. What does brand reflect? What’s your personal style? These are valid questions because like it or not, your personal style will always reflect in whatever you do and your brand personality speaks volume to the boom or doom of your business venture… so as an entrepreneur it is very necessary to develop the soul of your brand, you must stand for something.
It is the soul of your brand that connects people to your business so as an entrepreneur communicate your brand over and over and over again.
The start to building a great brand is believing that your product/ service is something the world needs and that you can deliver it regardless of the negativity around you and to thrive as fashion entrepreneurs, we understand that doing business in fashion must balance creativity and talent with the reality of doing business in a diverse world.