If you are interested in starting a new business, have you ever considered the Fashion industry? The apparent trivial nature of the sector might dishearten your enthusiasm. However, as an Entrepreneur, no matter the scope of your ambitions or your experience, Fashion is an industry wherein every Entrepreneur would find a space for laying the foundations of an exciting business.
Demand for Fashion is evergreen
From an entrepreneurial perspective, Fashion is a good industry as there is always a demand to address the need to cover human body parts. The market is vast as every human being needs to get dressed everyday single day. In most organized societies, going around naked is considered awkward, sometimes offending, and even unlawful. Also, out of physiological necessity, we need to cover our body parts to cope with adverse weather.
Whether it is shaped by prevailing customs, necessity or taste, the demand will not extinguish as long as homo sapiens continue to be.
Fashion sells and exports
Fashion could be a high revenue business. Some of the world’s most successful Entrepreneurs have amassed billions from the fashion industry: Amancio Ortega from INDITEX in Spain, Bernard Arnault from LVMH in France and the Fung brothers from LI & FUNG in Hong Kong.
According to the French Textile Industry Union, in 2016, 2/3 of the revenue of the textile industry is generated from export sales(1). Of course, France benefits from the prestige of its tradition but Fashion industries from other countries also draw a nice share from the international trade. Statistics from the WTO, show that the amount of clothing and textile goods weighted for more than 4,5% of the world traded merchandise value in 2015(2).
It is true that the amounts of wealth above mentioned are mainly generated by fashion moguls, but there are opportunities for your product to fit a market demand as there are many small and bigger companies that participate to the success of the Fashion industry.
There is always a niche market for Fashion Entrepreneurs
“Focus on your niche market” is a rule Entrepreneurs must abide by when launching any new business. Once the physiological need is fulfilled, the demand for Fashion product is triggered by the need to express one’s identity. So by its very own nature, Fashion is an industry where being niche and new is a powerful competitive advantage as the consumers are always looking for new products.
Fashion niche can grow mainstream
As Fashion is also a statement and the way we are dressed tells a lot about the community we aspire to you belong to, being niche can also lead to building strong mainstream brands: UGG boots were initially designed to serve the needs of competitive Australian surfers, SUPREME was launched as a high-quality clothing line for NY skateboarding community and NIKE originally focused on developing the best running shoes.
Innovation is in Fashion even for non-Tech Entrepreneurs
For a Fashion designer, every season or new product launch comes with the creation of new designs, new shapes, colors, and material. If there are no new regular product launches, customers would just walk away and the business would struggle to survive. This is the most elementary way for a business in Fashion to innovate. It is actually a requirement for the business survival.
Other ways to innovate require the use of technology. It does not necessarily involve expensive breakthrough technologies but rather a smart use of the technology to improve the business model or even the market. The examples are plentiful.
EVERLANE promotes radical transparency using an online platform to build a fashion business that reshaped the traditional distribution model, cutting out the various middlemen in the retail value chain.
LINDJER finds an innovative solution to address the high cash flow requirement for any new Fashion startup, by launching and pre-selling new collections on crowdfunding platforms.
FARFETCH solves the retailers’ overstocking problem by creating a BtoB marketplace that streamlines the flows of their stock management and enables new retail sales channels.
RENT A RUNWAY innovates in the shared economy. G-STAR RAW innovates in the circular economy.
And the list goes on and on.
Create, be different, find new ways to enter markets, address an industry problem, whether it is production, communication, management…etc. There are so many opportunities to innovate in the Fashion industry.
The Fashion industry is experiencing massive transformations
The traditional paradigm in the Fashion industry is being challenged by new technologies and societal development.
For decades the industry followed the same pattern: designers work on their next collections, then the new collections are presented to the press and to stores’ buyers who place orders for retail customers and finally the bulk production can start. The time between creation and the moment the product reaches the store can be as long as 12 to 18 months. In many respects, it is a highly inefficient system. The progress in the communication technologies accelerated the need for the industry to escape from the traditional cycles and to seek new processes and distribution channels. Although various sorts of experiments have been attempted, this topic is still work in progress.
Many issues of the evolution of the world economy are intertwined in the Fashion industry.
Increasing demand from our globalizing world would compel the industry to find solutions to address the environmental issues. Exploitation of natural and human resources would propel the principles of sustainable development to become a pillar of the transformation of the Fashion industry.
The use of new materials and production methods to better address the needs and to cope with the above-mentioned problems contribute to the creation of additional opportunities for innovation and new business launch.
The Fashion industry is frantically in search of new business, production and distribution models, new creation cycles, new materials… The current endeavors are only the first initiatives of a much larger and deeper industry transformation.
Your next business might become the New Black
Fueled by innovation, challenged by massive transformations with evergreen demand, the Fashion industry offers so many opportunities for an Entrepreneur.