My plan was to have been that LOST clothing would have been launched by now and business would be booming, but like all great plans they rarely every work like there meant to. Last year was a massive learning curve and I am glad it all happened at the start of my journey. Mistakes are going to happen and they will continue to but that’s how we learn. After taking two weeks off over Christmas just to re-group and well because I got snowed under in my part time job with extra hours. I am back working twice as hard to get LOST up and running.
1.Business plan’s and funding.
Writing a business plan can be challenging when your going into a complete new venture and especially if you are going it alone. I found myself spending hours scrolling through the web reading example’s of plans, trying to follow step by step guides and basically getting myself into a pickle. Then I came across Business gateway, you get to talk face to face with real people and they sit with you and talk you through your plan, what needs added in or what’s still missing and where to find it. Best of all it’s free to do so! Business gateway also help with the gathering information on the market that you are entering into and there backgrounds and turnovers. Which is part of your business plan but saves you hours of time trying to locate this information by yourself. This service is done via email or phone call and can take a few days to a week to gather all the information you require. Funding I slight shot myself in the foot underestimating the star up costs. Then having to find new manufactures, so be careful and maybe go slightly higher in your own estimates when tackling this part of your application. Make sure you have done plenty of research when it comes to the numbers don’t sell yourself short, you can over pay or pay back most business loans early. Which I never knew till it was too late. Also look into all the funding that could work for your business, any grants and start up loans you could be eligible for. You can find this out here. After completing my plan I chose to go with Transmitstartups.co.uk. This aloud me to borrow the amount I proposed in my plan along with the option to apply for a second loan if needed after 6 months of repayments.
This is a massive one if you are branching into the world of fashion! You probably won’t stick with the first manufacture you chose to work with for a number of reason something I learned only this week! Do you research. Living in Scotland there are not many clothing manufactures to be found so I started to look in Manchester and London. I came across hundreds and read and re read there website getting a feel for the company. I finally picked one in Manchester as the website stated it had worked with many start ups and you never need a minimum order when in production which is great news to hear when you are starting up. So I gave them a call and spoke to someone directly they seem to know what they were talking about so I arranged my first meeting. I went myself and to be honest I was quite overwhelmed by it all once there I felt like I had made the wrong choice but because it was just me in the office I felt under pressure and that I had to work with them. Which turned out to be a complete waste of money and time. I am however glad it happened at the start even though my launch date has been pushed back I am glad it never effective my customers just myself.
Top tips :-Visit as many manufactures as you can before picking one to work with you need to feel like your product will flourish and that they can see your vision as well as you can.- Don’t go alone go with a friend or family member this way you don’t have to make on the stop decision and you have a second set of eyes that might pick up things differently.- Ask question have a list of 5 or 6 questions. E.g. Lead times on production, Sourcing materials, Wash labels, Tech packs.
Last week was a very successful week. In December I decided that the manufactures I had originally chosen to work with were not up to my standard and could not keep to a set time line. This is very important when starting up as you may have a small budget and are unable to stock pile large volumes of stock. So working on a time scale allows you to order smaller quantity’s more often. The hard work paid off though and I have finally found a manufacture that is based in Glasgow and shares my values when it come to clothes and fashion. After a lengthy much needed meeting. They took me on as there first client of 2019. What a feeling this was. So I will be working with Be Yonder to launch LOST and I couldn’t be happier about this.
Sometimes you just have to ask for help. You think this would be something I would be good at because I write a blog, wrong I am honestly so bad at this side of things. Lucky for me as I will be an online shop, the girl who helped me redesign my blog is going to get my website up and running for me. She honestly is great and so understanding I can’t recommend her enough. You can find her here. Yes I have started writing about LOST clothing in my blog and have set up a Facebook page and Instagram for my brand, but I have no clue if what I am posting is correct, or if I have set it all up to early, what should I be posting! This is the one thing I feel like I am still massively behind on. There is just so much to learn when it comes to digital marketing especially in the fashion world. Lucky for me my friend has just finished a degree in fashion marketing and has kindly agreed to help me get up and running and answer some of never ending question! She is a absolute star. Social media takes a lot or time and can be quite pricey so don’t worry if your not blue stared on Instagram in your opening week or your posts aren’t trending as long as you believe in what you are selling then it will happen.
By no means am I a fashion start up expert, but if you can learn something from my learning or my mistakes that will save you both time and money then I am glad. I feel like there is a lot of information out there but its not always that helpful it very generic with sweeping answers. If you do want anymore information or you would like put in touch with anyone please just contact me. I will be posting more and more as I go as detailed as I can, I will also be posting videos on Instagram of my day to day so please give me a follow - LOST Clothing