5 Huge Mistakes New Designers Make

As a fashion consultant to start-up brands in the fashion industry, I have compiled the top 5 mistakes that new designers make.

  • Want to manufacture their products in the USA but expect to retail for Target prices.  The main request I get from new designers is to design their collection and then they request that I help them produce it in the USA, yet they want to retail it for the same price as Target.  I let them know that that is impossible because the cost of production in the USA is 5-10X that of overseas depending on the product.  New designers need to educate themselves on production costs in the USA vs. Asia before they start their collection. 
  • Do not have a core target market.  Often new designers do not have a target market. They want to design a collection for everyone.  Big mistake.  It is nearly impossible to design a fashion item for a target demographic that is everyone.  When I try to pinpoint the demographics of their target market, their reply may be, all women age 20-80.  I cannot design a collection for them that will sell if I don't know who I am designing for.  Unless you are designing toilet paper, your core target market cannot be everyone. (even toilet paper brands have target markets).
  • No budget.  Starting a fashion brand is not free.  When I first started consulting I had a few clients that had the money to design the collection, but when it came time to sample or run production they had no funds.  Now I do not take on clients unless they have a budget set aside for the entire process.  Factories do not make samples for free and now more factories will not even make samples unless the customer can show that they have the funds to run production.  
  • Spend thousands of dollars on unnecessary legal fees.  One of the biggest mistakes that some new designers make is spending thousands of dollars on legal fees to patent or protect their idea. I have seen this several times.  Most fashion "inventions" don't need to be patented.
  • Set up an online store and do not have a digital marketing or SEO plan.   Many new designers think once they get their goods made, they can just set up an online store on Etsy, or another e-commerce platform and the sales will just start to flow.   It does work like that anymore.  There are thousands of online e-commerce stores selling fashion items on the internet.  New brands have to spend money and time on digital marketing if they expect to make sales.  The idea that if you make it they will come is no longer valid in the changing retail climate of today.  

  •  BONUS:  Expect to get funded on Kickstarter.  Kickstarter or other crowdfunding platforms are great, but that market is saturated.  They rarely fund a new apparel or handbag brand that does not have a super unique or tech feature.  Not to mention, even after you launch your brand on a crowdfunding website - you still have to have a budget to make a video and market your campaign.  Crowdfunding campaigns are rarely successful unless you have a video and those cost upwards of $5,000 plus another few thousand to market the campaign.   

Note: I have made half of these mistakes myself when I was launching my first brand!

If you need help with starting your collection please feel free to reach us at roccodante@gmail.com  www.tarasauvage.com 

For fashion accessories design and manufacturing you can also check out our website www.modalanedesign.com 


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