Incubating A Fashion Startup

Research indicates half of all business fail in the first four years. According to Statistic Brain, the factors leading to failure include:

  1. Poor business acumen (46% of failures)

  2. Poor practices in funding the business and granting customer credit (30%)

  3. Poor inventory control (11%)

Rule #1: Don’t Fear Failure … But Don’t Embrace It Either

The more organized and sleek your management systems are at launch, the better your chance for success. Where can you go to learn how to launch a business properly?

Business incubators. If you have the passion and desire to start a business, you should investigate incubators in your area. Incubators nurture new entrepreneurs by providing:

  • Low-cost office or studio space

  • Mentoring

  • Educational seminars

  • Networking

  • Capital sourcing

How can you choose among the thousands of incubators? Decide if you need help with general business services or industry-specific challenges. The National Business Incubator Association has a searchable database.

Some incubators perform accounting tasks, phone answering, payroll service, even research. Some incubators use a hoteling office structure where you do not have permanently assigned space, but receive daily assignments as warranted. Fee structures vary. Do the due diligence.

Rule #2: Learn Something Every Day That Increases Your Odds of Success

Caron’s passion is a fashion startup business. She spent three years as a buyer for a boutique dress shop. As a talented fashion designer, she decided to hone her business skills, but she ignored industry-specific help that was available.

While checking out incubators, she began to understand the networking aspect of these institutions. Every fashion startup benefits from collaborative discussions regarding trends, shows and design, but most important, fashion investors more efficiently hunt new talent when they are grouped together.

Attract angel investors by standing out among your peers. This technique reflects the reality of the marketplace.

Rule #3: Compete Every Day

Get in the habit of progressing. Caron reconsidered and qualified for a fashion incubator. She spent two years honing business skills and networking. After refining her business plan, marketing plan, and fashion designs ― with the help of incubator mentors ― Caron attracted financing and launched.

Follow Caron’s example. Look for incubators that are specific to your niche because that’s where you’ll find the most relevant advice and leads to the markets your products need to reach.


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