Our story is 5 years old and started, like many companies from the floor of our sitting room. So.....how do you start a fashion brand? Here are my tips in one minute:
Work for another brand first. Soak it all up whilst you still have no risk.
Find a mentor that has been down the road before. We spent quite a long time figuring out everything on our own so this is a learning from OUR mistakes.
Write a business plan.
Production will always be the hardest part of your business, so build up the best relationships you can with your factory. So where do you find a factory? The most tightly guarded of all secrets in the industry. Go to trade fairs, this is where the reps hang out. Have a business card and a list of questions ready in order to be taken seriously.
When you’ve got that product ready and you want to start selling. What comes next?… Marketing swiftly followed by cash requirements. You will likely always underestimate how much capital you will need. Selfridges knocking on your door in the first season is a dream come true right, but here’s the thing about department stores, they do not offer deposits. So, unless you have personal savings stored up you’re going to need cash. Metro Bank gave us a £10k overdraft very early on, we found a nice manager who was interested in our story. HSBC now help fund our production and we also have a pretty juicy overdraft with them. We have had outside funding also from individual lenders but, still being a young business we have always paid them back in order to hold onto our equity.
I am a Red Dot tonight - my name is Anna Williamson and I co-founded YOLKE a London based silk sleepwear and loungewear brand – our signature style of playful, contemporary prints has gained the brand a reputation as the new silk girls on the block. Come and connect if you think I can help. Thank you.