There are many reasons why your fashion business will fail this year!
I can feel you channeling your inner Nigerian and saying “My business will not fail in Jesus name”, Amen. But please dear, hear me out first.
It is very possible to build a successful fashion business, but you’ll find success harder to come by if you don’t get the important things right.
So you want to start have started your fashion business and are feeling really good about things? Congratulations, so did hundreds of fashion business owners before you. I’m rooting for you all the way so I wrote this out to tell you what to expect, and help you succeed.
Starting a Fashion Business Is Not the Hard Part
In fact, new businesses are springing up as I write this. The hard part is making it profitable and building in into a long lasting business.
Experience has taught me a lot of things I know today. I made a lot of mistakes that cost me more money than I’d like to type out. Howbeit, fate might not be as kind to you. Your business might not be able to recover from some mistakes and subsequently fail.
Chill sis, it is not a curse.
But why do so many fashion businesses fail?
Here are 12 Reasons Your Fashion Business Will Fail This Year
Over the years I have seen many fashion businesses come and go and sometimes what made them fail was a very tiny detail they overlooked. I decided to let you know reasons why your fashion business will fail this year and what you can do to prevent it.
#1 You can’t handle criticism.
Criticism can come in a variety of ways; online trolls, upset customers defaming you online, or constructive criticism from people rooting for you. However, it is worthy of note that feedback isn’t always nice. You may put in a lot of work and expect everyone to marvel at your genius invention only to be greeted with sighs and criticism.
Sometimes it might be just an online troll hiding behind their keyboard to say hurtful things about a project you have put so much work into.
Advice: There’s no way I can tell you it is a good feeling. It is a very horrible feeling but when you start replying every single troll out there, you will allow them get to you, make you feel inadequate, and even make you start questioning your business skills. You have to recognize when a person is offering constructive criticism, and adjust accordingly to help you grow.
I have explained the types of complaining customers and how to handle them because that knowledge is very important. Just so you know how to deal with things and don’t block out helpful suggestions that can make you grow faster.
#2 You don’t connect with your ideal buyer persona
This one is real. You don’t know who your ideal customer is and you don’t know why they buy from you. You think it is because you post many pictures of your products on instagram or you take badass product photos. It is much deeper.
Advice: Identify your ideal buyer persona and align all of your marketing efforts to them and their age, financial status, pain points, likes, dislikes, fears etc.
#3 You thought it was going to be easy.
Entrepreneurship is not for the faint hearted. When you go into fashion business with the idea of “is it not just to sell clothes and shoes?” you’ll fail in no time. There’s a lot of work that goes into planning and execution.
Except you don’t plan to be in it for the long run. A seemingly unimportant thing like location, can make your business fail. Fashion business is not easy, I know because I’ve been doing this for almost a decade. You have to plan, execute, re-strategize etc. It is much worse when you don’t have the budget to hire a help.
Advice: Don’t underestimate the time and resources it takes to set up a fashion business. You have to be mentally, emotionally and financially prepared. And need to be constantly improving yourself because of the sacrifices you will be required to make.
You’d need to sacrifice time, learn from others that have been there before you, and spend money on the most important things you need, aka prioritize. Working only when you feel like will not an option and you’d have to show up on the good days and the bad days, especially at the early stage.
#4 You have no marketing strategy
Marketing isn’t only about running Facebook and Instagram Ads please! There, I said it. Social media sponsored posts are only one piece of a much bigger puzzle. I know people who have run Ads and didn’t make a single sales but got lots of likes. Too bad you don’t get paid #5 per like. Maybe you stayed a while without marketing and noticed you stopped making sales or getting enquiries, so you dove head first into running Ads screaming “I’m here, remember me!”.
You can’t just light a fire and let it die down, only to light it up again when you are broke.
Advice: You have to be consistent with your marketing. I have mentioned the marketing rule of seven many times and it works! You want to stay fresh in your customers mind always. Yes. It is a relationship and you have to be accountable. Have a detailed marketing plan which states activities, budgets, timelines and responsibilities – then following this plan throughout the year/ quarter/month.
#5 You expect everyone to be excitedly waiting for you with open arms
I hate to burst your bubble but, your dreams won’t come true immediately. Just because you have a killer idea that will make Nike a billion dollars richer, doesn’t mean they know this and have been waiting for you all their lives. Even indigenous Nigerian fashion brands might shut their doors in your face at first.
I need you to understand that contacting every brand you dream of working with and trying to convince them to invest in your billion dollar idea isn’t the right way. Don’t expect them to be as excited as you are and try not to burn the bridge when they are not excited about their killer idea. Forgive us all for not knowing your worth yet.
Advice: Let’s face it, you are still new, so established businesses would want to see that you have proven yourself before investing in your idea. They don’t gamble unless they are sure of the results they can get so instead, work with the smaller businesses that are easier to pitch to and you’d get the experience you need and even build your portfolio.
A strong portfolio might help you secure a deal with the brand of your dreams. Collaborations are not overrated. All you need is to create a strategy that yields positive results, because they are a cost-effective way to build your portfolio
#6 You don’t know which of your products or services are the most profitable
Seriously, do you even pay attention? You have no idea which products are the most profitable so you’re missing out on higher income! You don’t know what you should be pushing out more and what you should pull back on because you are just winging it. Your business will surely fail this year if you keep this up.
Advice: Figure out where you make the most profit then add those products/services to your push list to promote them and get even more sales! It is that simple. Learn how to generate effective testimonials to use when marketing them
#7 You have no unique selling point
It is true that there’s no 100% unique idea out there. Thankfully, there’s something called a unique selling point (USP). Your unique selling point is what makes you stand out from all the people doing what you are doing. It is what attracts customers to your business and not your competitors’.
Advice: You need to research, do the ground work and find your sweet spot. You need to do a proper SWOT analysis based on the stage your business is at. When you know your unique selling point and do your proper research, you sure as hell won’t start selling human hair on your shoe business page just because the next person is cashing out.
#8 You are a broke ass building castles in the air.
I’m NOT sorry for hurting your feelings. I’m tired of the whole quit your job and start your own business and live like a boss idea. It is not easy to be your own boss. Just because you dress nice on instagram and everyone keeps saying how you are a great stylist and should answer your divine call of becoming a celebrity stylist, doesn’t mean they’d pay you to dress them up or any celebrity has recognized your amazing talent yet. This would be great if you earned money off the likes and motivational comments on instagram. But since you don’t, let’s be real
Advice: You need money to start and scale your fashion business. Your passion alone can’t build a business. Too bad you can’t buy merchandize with your passion. So before quitting your job, make sure you have money saved up to fuel your passion!
#9 You don’t analyze the performance of past activities
You have been throwing shit at a wall and some have been sticking but you don’t keep track. You don’t really know what worked and what didn’t – from your Instagram activity to collaborations with certain brands and everything in between. You don’t think have this information is important. You just keep doing what every “coach” out there in the streets tell you is working and you never really have a laid out information of what works well for your business, how seasons affect your sales etc.
Advice: Analyze all your marketing efforts from Instagram metrics, Facebook stats, email marketing reports, sales reports and every single activity you have taken part in, then put down a detailed marketing report which includes performance evaluations for all activities.
This document is what you can always refer back to as your business progresses. When you have all your details, you can easily keep your customers coming back.
#10 You think being your own boss is about spending however you want
Do you pay yourself every month from your business or you just spend directly? Do you know how much you should be paying yourself every month? Do you know the right pricing model you should be using? Being your own boss goes beyond changing your instagram bio to ‘CEO World’s Best Fashion Conglomerate’.
Advice: You have to get your money right. You need to know the right things to invest in based on where your business is financially. It is only then you’d know not to enter into a; I-can-give-a-higher-bonus competition with your competitors. You’ll know when you should cut down on some things and when you can afford a vacation to Paris.
#11 You have no business strategy
You are just winging it and living your best life. You don’t care because you are actually making some sales. You don’t know what you should be doing different by next quarter and think you can just make up things as you go. Your business will fail this year sis.
Advice: Create a detailed plan which clearly states how you are making sales and where you are investing funds. If you want to build a sustainable brand that won’t just face out tomorrow, you need to have a strategy and be more serious with what puts money in your bag. I could care less about how many times you add #SecuringTheBag on instagram your caption, you will be securing an empty bag if you don’t set up your business to grow!
#12 You think you know it all.
One of my clients started a business sometime last year. Let’s called her Kemi. She was selling statement tees and had sold less than 10 in almost 2 months. Kemi was devastated and complaining about her poor sales. So we started talking about it and I found out she decided to re-launch the business after a 7 year break.
You see, Kemi had sold statement tees for about six weeks as an undergraduate 7 years ago, in Uniben. She got more orders than she could handle and made a lot of money in that short time. I went on to ask her why she stopped. And she said it was because that was final year so she graduated.
Long and short she remembered those days when she saw an old classmate that saved her number as Kemi-polo, and decided she could go back to the business. But she forgot that was 7 years ago, in a university setting, and in final year when everyone needed statement tees for their friends to sign on. She forgot that she knew the slangs and slogans students wanted on shirts because she knew her target audience.
She’s just one out of the numerous of the fashion business owners I have met that started without properly validating their business idea. Kemi got lucky, she didn’t spend a lot of money on set up because of her business model. If you follow me on Instagram, I mentioned a client who got a million naira gift from her dad to start a boutique and she immediately used six hundred thousand to rent a space. Yes sis, you read that right.
You might not make that mistake, but those are just 2 things I mentioned. Do you know the remainder of the right steps to take? These are just 12 reasons why your fashion business will fail this year. There are more and you should take steps to prevent it as soon as possible.
ADVICE: Let me help you
In my monthly one on one coaching, I start from scratch because I don’t want anyone failing along the line after I have coached you. It is bad for my reputation, you know? That’s why I put all the extra effort. But I can only take so many clients one-on-one. I have looked at ways I could help more people without burning out, while making it as personal as possible and affordable enough for the average small business owner.
So I decided to put it all in the “Fashionpreneur Launchpad” Ecourse. I’m excited about this because, it gives you access to all the lessons even after one month. I’ll like you to sign up to join the waiting list for this value packed baby! I’ll be sharing all the details with you and progress report with you until it goes live. Plus there’ll be an early bird discount for a small number of people (fastest fingers) and you’ll be the first to know once it is ready.