History

An ancient fashion remains a curiosity, a fashion but lately gone by becomes an
absurdity, a reigning mode, in which life stirs, strikes us as the very personification of grace.

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Fashion for Profit

“Fashion for Profit” was first conceived for the many talented students that I have had the pleasure of teaching who wanted to achieve their dreams of one day owning their own company and producing a successful line of clothing. The apparent lack of business information for start-up apparel manufacturers motivated me to provide this critical education and business training. I developed a class for the continuing education department at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. This hands-on, how to class, provided the one-on-one which assisted entrepreneurs develop a small, workable clothing line and get the business training needed to become successful in a business well known for its failures.

The classes were filled and proved to me there was a need for such courses. Some participants had the design talent and training but no business skills; others had business skills, but no idea where to begin when planning a line of clothing. It was stimulating to assist these talented individuals achieve their dreams by providing a solid business base and expertise on the various aspects of owning a small apparel company.

The fundamental material for “Fashion for Profit” has evolved over the many years that I have been involved with the fashion industry, both in the U.S. and in Europe, where I received my degree and began my design and teaching career. My experience as a teacher, consultant, and twice owning and operating my own business, has provided me with much information and experience.

“Fashion for Profit” has been developed to cover all the important aspects of going into business: licenses, business plans, bookkeeping, financing, costing, fabrication, contracting and the everyday logistics of running a small apparel manufacturing company, plus the marketing (including E-commerce) and sales. (The design information in this book is minimal, as there are plenty of other books and courses offered which cover this information).

There have been many textbooks written about the fashion industry, but “Fashion for Profit” is a unique book that is now in its 10th edition and has proven to fill an educational and information gap. The book provides critical help to a start-up apparel manufacturer, as well as resource information that a new manufacturer needs to operate a small business successfully. The book has been planned in four main informational sections to enable users to get immediate help on topics of importance to them. Starting with Product Development and Financing a business, which then leads the reader to the production section and all its various stages. The final part is devoted to sales and marketing of the product, E-Commerce, E-Tailing and M-Tailing plus a new chapter on the major steps involved in opening your own retail store.

In the day-to-day operations of running any business, there are always forms necessary: from licenses, specification sheets, pattern cards, purchase order forms, shipping forms, etc. All these various forms can be downloaded from the web site (www.FashionforProfit.com) or you can use the blanks provided with the purchase of this book. In order to customize these forms, manufacturers can add their own business details on the top, then they will be ready for immediate use. This will save immeasurable time and energy in finding these “must have” forms and other important contracts needed when starting an apparel business.

I am not a writer, an accountant, a banker, or a sales representative; I am a trained designer, and educator. Most of the information in this book has been put together with the help and advice of many experts, much reading, and my own expertise and experiences. To give the book more validity I asked a number of professionals from their own field of expertise to review and up-date the material covered in certain key chapters. This gives the book a solid basis of “real” material and expertise.  However, I would still recommend that a start-up company find the best experts available in their own area, who will help steer and guide them through the rough waters of this industry, which are not easy sailing but never boring. Towards the back of the book, there is a list of industry resources, which can assist entrepreneurs with more detailed information. There is also a glossary of fabric information included and a vocabulary list to educate the reader with necessary industry related terminology.

 

In 1999 “Fashion for Profit” led me to a new venture The Fashion Business Incorporated, a 501 c3 educational nonprofit, which was previously named the Fashion Business Incubator (FBI) (LA). I developed and co-founded the FBI with Sandy Bleifer, artist and realtor. It was already apparent to me while teaching, that the link most needed by emerging design-driven manufacturers was business education and training, or fashion economics, plus networking opportunities, promotion and resources.

For the past 19 years plus, the FBI was fortunate to have garnered the support and backing of a variety of apparel related resource members and an impressive board of directors. The center was designed to provide an educational space that will give apparel manufactures a training facility. Housed within the center is a classroom space, a photo studio and computer lab with a digital fabric printer. It was the first of its kind in the States and indeed the World. I am proud and humbled by the support and friendships that have grown from my vision! Many supporters helped to turn a great idea into a wonderful resource for growing apparel manufacturers within the LA area. Unfortunately, due to lack of funding we closed in August 2018. However, through my online presence with my consulting services much of the services are still available: www.fashionforprofit.com

I am convinced and committed to what we have developed here in LA. I know we will continue to grow on a Global platform. I believe we have a collective responsibility to create the infrastructure, community, educational resources, and the opportunities that will enable the next generation of new entrepreneurs to spring up and blossom wherever they happen to be on this planet.

Frances Harder