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Amy Chilaka: 7 Myths About Becoming A Profitable Fashion Designer

It’s funny how, when we have to build or scale up, all the resistance we have and the ones we didn’t know we had start to show up. I can’t wait to share some of my experiences with you.

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The success of your business doesn’t depend on your personality traits or on stories you’ve heard, but on the actual work you put into growing your business (and minding it).

Amy Chilaka

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Hi Fashionista,

I hope you’ve had a great week. I’m a serial fashion entrepreneur with years of experience under my belt. The fashion space is very exciting, and a lot of startups dream about starting, growing and becoming successful in the business of fashion.

It’s funny how, when we have to build or scale up, all the resistance we have and the ones we didn’t know we had start to show up. I can’t wait to share some of my experiences with you.

Today, I’ll share seven myths about becoming a profitable fashion designer. I tag myths as rumours and excuses that might stop you from taking the right steps to getting more people to buy from you.

There are loads more, but let’s start with the seven.

You have to make your clothes really expensive or people won’t respect your brand
So not true. The mass market is a yummy place to make a lot of money as a fashion start up, and if you’re targeting the mass market and making your prices accessible, then more people can afford them. More people, more sales, more money. I love the sound of that.

Designers don’t just set prices based on rumors. There are pricing methods to follow, and decisions to make about who the target audience/buyer is. There’s also the cost of production and quality, the kind of fabric you work with, the feeling you want your customers to have when they buy. If you identify and target your ideal buyer correctly, people will buy regardless of what price points you have set: low, mid-level or high end.

You need to know how to illustrate professionally to be a successful designer
Not true. Creativity is fantastic, but you can be successful too if you’re not ‘Jane Artistic.’ Sketching is a communication tool. You don’t have to be an artist. As long as you can pass across the message you want when you sketch and the person you are sketching for can understand. “This here is a flutter sleeve,” for example. “A fitted or flare dress.” “Ruching.” Etc. You’ll be home and dry. You just need to know how to communicate your design.

You can’t be successful in the fashion industry if you don’t know ‘anyone’
Absolutely not true. Yes, a good network is important. Connections help. But it’s not the only way. There are times when you need to make the right connections in the industry, but this is not a limiting factor. Work hard at creating a banging marketing plan, implement it, and see if you don’t sell. You will.

You have to have a lot of money to start a business in fashion
Start-up capital, of course, is important, but start-up capital to what extent? You can start small. There are easily accessible production houses to help reduce your stress and cost of production if you decide not to invest in equipment as well as tailors. You can sell online to avoid getting a physical store. Think overheads.

You can’t be an introvert and succeed in the business of fashion
You totally can. As a business owner, networking, charisma, etc., is very helpful. The thing is, you can be extroverted, know a lot of people, release products on the market, and a lot of people will buy from you. Or just a handful. Or, nobody. It can go either way. You can be very introverted and not know a lot of people but spend a lot of time marketing, researching and implementing new innovative ways to grow your business and you’ll succeed.

It all boils down to your plan. What you actually know about your pieces, the fabric, finish, everything that went into producing them, and how much effort you dedicate into putting plans for growth in place.

Everyone is fighting to bring you down in the dog eat dog fashion industry
I don’t think so. I have met some beautiful hearts in my journey in fashion. It’s not nearly as dog-eat-dog as it may seem. Yes, it’s competitive, and, of course, there are a few bad eggs. But that’s the same as in any other industry. A lot of creatives will collaborate with you for growth. Guess what, they want to grow too. Some will promote your brand for and with you. Some others are just minding their own business and focusing on building like you are. They’re honestly not waking up every morning plotting and planning how they can topple your glass house over.

Designers wear only expensive, high fashion clothes every day. It will be too hard to keep up
Some do, some don’t. Some live in tracks and kaftans, some don’t. Some can afford it, most can’t. Some designers haven’t even discovered their personal style yet.

How do you measure success? I don’t measure the success of my businesses by the number of people that know me, but by the number of people that buy from me. I measure by the amount of money and time I have invested in the business and how much returns I am getting, how much profits I am making.

Nugget: The success of your business doesn’t depend on your personality traits or on stories you’ve heard, but on the actual work you put into growing your business (and minding it).

Questions for me? Click here to stay plugged in, so you can receive more actionable steps on getting more people to buy from you, and my signature step by step methods to becoming profitable as a fashion designer.

Amy runs her fashion studio in Lagos, Nigeria. With more than 7 years of experience in the business of fashion, the design and creative process, sampling, production and fashion marketing, she teaches how to set up and position your fashion brand successfully so that more people want to buy from you. She works with you to ensure you're making the right decisions along your journey and always gives honest actionable advise. Amy shares tons of lessons via her email subscriber lists on www.amychilaka.com/bn-optin-page/ as she is very passionate about defined growth in the fashion industry in Nigeria.

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