Artist and actor Marc Anthony is credited with saying, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Being able to earn a living by doing what you love is something that motivates many entrepreneurs – that and the flexibility to be their own boss and work on their own terms. Make no mistake: It’s still work, but if you’re going to spend so many years of your life working hard, why not work hard at something you love?
At Fashion for Profit, we get it. We work with budding entrepreneurs every day bent on pursuing their love for fashion. We help them find a balance between keeping the passion burning with the practical realities of getting a business up and running. The mundane aspects can be tedious, time-consuming, and somewhat stressful, but they are necessary. If you know where to look, you can find some shortcuts and practical tips from those who have taken the leap before you.
Business nuts and bolts
First, consider your setup. Do you have ample room at home for your fashion business? This depends on not just the size of your home, but also the type of business you are pursuing. If you are designing and making custom clothing, or have a tailoring business, you’ll need a sewing studio and a private dressing room for customers. If you’re opening a retail store, you’ll want to be where there’s traffic. On the other hand, if you’re starting a drop shipping business, your home office will likely work just fine, at least in the beginning.
You should also consider a business structure. As American Express points out, you assume risks when starting any business. However, this is especially true as a sole proprietor – if the business fails or you get sued, you put your personal assets at risk. It can also be harder to get a business loan for start-up costs or expansions. A corporate structure, either C or S, offers you better protection, but can be unwieldy and unnecessary at this stage in your business.
An LLC, or limited liability company, is a popular choice among entrepreneurs because it offers some protection and tax advantages, but without the constraints of a corporation. Each state has different rules – the steps to setting up a California LLC may be different than those in Michigan – so verify your state’s requirements.
If you need office or retail space, check with a commercial real estate agent to see what options are available in your area. Think about your network of business associates and friends to see if sharing a space makes sense. You could even take a note out of the food truck industry page and start with a mobile fashion business. It’s a model you can keep even if you grow your business to a brick-and-mortar storefront later.
As you’re growing (yay!), you’ll encounter some new challenges. You may need funding for expansion, both in space and in personnel. Research available small business loans and grants. You can also try the venture capital approach. Crunchbase notes you risk losing some control of your business, but you may gain some valuable business advice.
For personnel, unless you have a vast network of recruitable workers with experience in everything from accounting to color palettes, consider using the services of an employment agency. You can try out some employees on a temporary basis to see how they fit with your personal and business culture. When and if you make the decision to hire any employees on a permanent basis, you’ll be getting a pre-screened employee without any additional legwork on your end.
Dream in style
Successful entrepreneurs apply practicality to their dreams. Pursuing a fashion business means you get to dream in style! Your customers will witness your passion for what you do, and staying open to learning from others means you don’t have to re-invent every wheel. Reach out to Fashion for Profit if you need additional help in getting your fashion business up or growing!