How To Start a Luxury Fashion Brand as a Female Founder
Starting a luxury fashion brand as a female founder is no easy feat, but you have this! It takes determination, skills, and a solid network to make it in this competitive industry. That's why it's important to know what you're doing and have a realistic business plan.
To start your fashion dream, you must have some funds in the bank. You may have to save up for a bit before you can start. But don't worry. Look for suitable value suppliers and always stay innovative.
Now, let's get into the nitty-gritty of it all! This article will discuss how you, as a female founder, can start a luxury fashion brand in greater detail. Keep reading to learn more!
The money piece
First things first, let's talk about cost. Starting a luxury fashion brand can cost a pretty penny, depending on your goals. If you're looking to go big and hire trustworthy manufacturers to help you create the perfect luxury clothes, you're looking at spending at least a few thousand dollars.
Since you want to make a luxury brand, the cost will be higher than a standard clothing brand. The initial cost can be as high as $50,000, but you can spend less if you start with a small launch.
It's no secret that entrepreneurs must make financial sacrifices in the beginning. Creating a business plan is the best way to determine how much everything will cost. Consider everything you need to buy and all your expenses. Such things would include:
Wages for anyone you may hire
Rent (if using an office or factory)
With a solid plan, you can make your fashion dreams a reality.
Where Can I Get the Money To Start a Fashion Brand?
Starting a fashion brand takes hard work, but it's totally possible. There are a few ways you can get the money you need to bring your fashion dreams to life. You can get the money to start a fashion brand by working and saving, finding investors and showing them your business plan, or getting a loan.
Plenty of startups start from practically nothing and make it big, but it’s super vital to have that determination and desire to work hard. Let’s dig right into some examples of how you can get the money to start a fashion brand:
Work & Save
As I briefly mentioned above, one of the best ways to get money to start a fashion brand is to be your own investor (i.e., save your own money)!
You can do various jobs, like working in a restaurant where you will get tipped well. If you have other skills, you might want to work in an office job or a different industry to save money.
Be sure to go for a job that will give you as much money as possible with your current skills and educational background. Although it might be hard, you'll need to be frugal during this period to ensure you have enough money for your luxury apparel brand.
Last but definitely not least, you should seriously consider getting a job related to fashion when trying to save, as this could open doors for you in the industry and increase your network. You'll also gain valuable experience that will help you start your own company. We often talk on Female Startup Club about the value of working for a company when you first start thinking about entering entrepreneurship. It will provide you with stability and a secure playground to educate yourself on the industry.
Look for Investors
When starting a luxury clothing brand, you must get the word out so investors know your presence. Networking is a vital part of business entrepreneurship!
Talk to everyone you know about your brand. Even if you don't know any investors, a friend of a friend might know. Always keep your options open and talk to everyone about your plans!
An example of an excellent place to network is Linkedin, where you can connect with other female founders and women in business. Some might be willing to help you if they like what they hear. Many CEOs are contactable through the platform, so it’s worth a shot. Besides LinkedIn, private communities are another great way to connect with others in your industry. Within our community, Majic, members place a lot of value on the networking opportunities within the group. We catch up over coffee chats at least twice a week, and our members often link each other up with their investor connections and share insights from their past experiences. It’s pretty majical stuff. Besides that, social media is another excellent way to gain traction and find investors.
When looking for investors, it's best to have a business plan ready. It will show potential investors they can trust you and that you know what you're doing. The luxury fashion industry is harsh, so you want to show them you're as prepared as possible because they will be taking a risk if they invest in you.
Get a Loan
If you're feeling super confident about your new fashion brand, you might consider getting a loan to help you get it off the ground. But, as with any financial decision, you need to be smart about it. Getting a loan can be risky, so it's best to only borrow what you need to cover your expenses. You don't want to end up in debt before your brand even takes off! If you're considering taking out a loan, be sure to have a solid plan and goals in place before making any moves.
While banks are one option, you could also consider contacting friends or family for help. Just be sure to pay them back in a timely manner and make it your mission to get back every penny.
That being said, borrowing money should be a last resort. It's always better to save up and not owe anyone anything. Only consider a loan if you're absolutely confident that your brand will take off and the launch will be a success.
Move Back Home
If you want to save money for your business, consider talking to your parents about moving back in with them for a little while. I hear this money-saving solution on the Female Startup Club repeatedly, though I’m definitely aware it’s not a feasible option for everyone. It might not be the most glamorous option, but it could save you a ton of cash that you would be spending on rent. Plus, it could be a chance to spend quality time with your fam!
If living with your parents isn't an option, think about asking a close friend or family member you trust if you could stay with them for a bit, and maybe even offer to pay a small amount each week or month to help out. Just make sure to plan for when you'll be able to move out, especially if you're staying with a friend.
And don't forget, if you're not spending as much on rent, you can put that extra money toward your business expenses, like buying some fancy textiles. So, consider your options and make the best decision for you and your biz!
Have you ever looked in your closet and thought, "Wow, I have so much stuff that I don't even wear anymore!"? Well, it's time to put those items to good use and make some extra cash for your luxury apparel brand.
There are many ways to sell your items online, like eBay, Depop, and Facebook Marketplace. You can even sell gently used clothes on Depop, specifically designed for fashion lovers like us! Not only will you make extra money, but you'll also be decluttering your home and freeing up some much-needed space. It's a win-win situation, so start selling those items and watch the extra cash roll in.
How Can You Start on a Budget?
If you're dreaming of starting a luxury apparel brand but are worried about the budget, don't fret. You can make it happen by being innovative and having a plan. You don't have to hire a bunch of people right away. Instead, try to do as much as you can by yourself to keep costs low. Start small so you can viably get the job done with little help.
Let's say you're starting with luxury dresses. Start by making a small batch of them, so you don't spend too much initially. If your business takes off, then you can make more later. It's all about being realistic with your expectations and setting achievable goals.
Here are some other tips for you:
Score the Best Supplier Deal
Let's talk about getting the best bang for your buck when starting your luxury brand on a budget. Just because it's a high-end brand, it doesn't mean you can't be savvy with your money.
When it comes to purchasing materials like textiles, you want to shop around and compare prices. Some suppliers may offer discounts if you buy in bulk, while others may not, so it's essential to do your research. You can also ask for recommendations from other successful designers in the luxury fashion industry.
Remember, don't settle for the first supplier you find. Keep looking until you get the best deal possible. With some hustle, you can get top-quality materials without breaking the bank. For one founder on Female Startup Club, this exact journey took her all across Latin America to meeting countless master artisans.
Research and Make a Realistic Plan
One of the smartest things we can do is research, research, research! Look at the luxury fashion industry and other brands in your area. See what makes them successful and what you can learn from them. Do you want to be a strictly online business or have a physical store? Maybe both? And who's your target audience?
You want to stand out from the crowd, so aim to offer something unique and make sure to include those ideas in your plan. Once you have a solid plan and clear vision, it'll be easier to work with your budget and achieve your goals!
Insider Tips from Successful Fashion Designers:
The best people to get advice from are our successful female entrepreneurs who started with nothing, just like you, and have some wisdom to share. These people will have valuable advice, so don’t be shy and hit them up on social media or find other ways to get in touch. You don’t ask if you don’t get, and the power of a cold outreach could rock your world.
Be on the lookout for meetings or conventions being held around the country, as they can also be excellent ways to meet people and get advice. We publish the latest go-to events in our weekly Female Startup Club newsletter.
It's not easy to start a luxury fashion brand as a female entrepreneur, but this article should have helped you learn the most vital information to help you get started. So, a big congrats on taking this first step.
From now on, we know the key to success is to start with a solid business plan. That way, you'll know exactly what to do and how much it will cost. Plus, it will help you get potential investors on board! Money is also a big deal when starting a business, so save as much as possible. You can even sell some of your items to make some extra cash. It's all about being resourceful.
And don't forget to network, join clubs, and seek advice from industry professionals. These connections can be super helpful in the long run. I will shamelessly plug our private community of founders and future founders here, where you can access direct mentorship from female founders you actually admire.