In his 1776 book The Wealth of Nations, father of modern economics Adam Smith famously referred to the United Kingdom as “a nation of shopkeepers.”
It was a throwaway comment, but for the most part of two centuries, it’s stuck, even as the nation in question and the world around it have changed beyond all recognition.
If Smith were writing nowadays, he’d no doubt be focused on the same fundamentals that define commerce in every epoch and culture.
Instead of extolling the virtues of the industrial revolution and its army of mercantilists, however, he’d be waxing lyrical about globalization, the information age and the entrepreneurs who are at the forefront of both.
In short, a 21st Century Smith would be talking about a nation — perhaps a world — of startups. Because, whether we like it or not, that’s what we’re living in.
And that’s as true for fashion and textiles as it is for tech. So here are three useful tips for all you budding fashionistas who want to sell your wares on the web.
1. Become a fashion guru
First, you need to immerse yourself in the world of style, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Read as many industry magazines as you can get your hands on. Browse the high street with one eye on product lines and the other on prices. Surf the internet to scope out the competition. And go to as many events as physically possible so that you build meaningful and lasting relationships with fellow professionals.
3. Think like an entrepreneur
You’re going to have to knuckle down and study the business side of things. It’s probably not what gets you out of bed in the morning, but without great market knowledge, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
How much money will you need to get the ball rolling? Will you need outside investment? What kind of taxes will you have to pay? Will you be working with different suppliers, and if so, which ones?
All important questions that you’ll have to answer if you want to succeed.
3. Find your niche
Most profitable startups begin by identifying a gap in the market and coming up with a plan to exploit it.
So, start by asking yourself what you can offer that Joe or Jessica Bloggs can’t and work from there.
Once you’ve settled on an idea, you’ll need to define your target audience (millennials, professionals etcetera) and build a brand around them.
Remember – when it comes to promoting your business, the internet is most definitely your friend. Identify relevant platforms and share your unique ideas and business with your audience.
And there are a million different ways to use it to your advantage, from paying a digital marketing agency to do the heavy lifting to approaching likeminded fashion bloggers, but make sure that you use the right platforms to get your message out there.