India is rapidly becoming one of the most lucrative marketplaces for the entrepreneurship business models. We have already seen the exponential growth of huge startups in India.
“India is becoming an entrepreneurship model for the World” – John Chambers, former CEO of CISCO
Fashion entrepreneurship may collectively represent all productive activities, creative works, interdisciplinary collaboration executed primarily within but not limited to the fashion industry focused on creating a wide range of networks to attain profitability, spreading awareness, sharing of acquired knowledge, generating business plans, management of finance and investments for creative innovations, writing blogs.
As grand or exciting the idea appears to be, at present its challenges are similar to those in any other existing forms of businesses (perhaps more than we may anticipate). Constrains may appear in many forms ranging from ambiguity in visualization/conceptual development, incorrect budgeting, lack of clarity in terms of structure, improper exit strategies (including legal framework) for future merger or acquisition by another company, or by a private equity firm for broader expansions (around 70 per cent of all entrepreneurship/startups, whether in India, the EU, US or any other emerging economy, have an exit strategy). Another key area would be consistency, irrespective of the mode of business, whether designing/manufacturing, sales, consultancy, fundraising, multidisciplinary collaborations. So often, we come across innovative ideas but most never get off the drawing board.
Entrepreneurship in fashion is no longer limited to just stand-alone stores/ boutiques. A whole lot of avenues have surfaced with the advancement of the internet. Designers today should exploit all the benefits modern technologies have to offer, whether it’s an e-commerce website, use of latest 3D printing/ ‘Computational’ Technologies or AI-based marketing strategies.
Once we cross the initial hurdles of planning, the rest is straightforward provided we remember a few cautious guidelines:
- Have a clear vision or direction to run the company on a day to day basis including room for improvisation
- Detailed market research and analysis of the garment (design & material), services including the marketing strategies, demand & supply, competitiveness
- Building a strong brand identity with a distinct style is crucial. And it certainly helps in developing individuality that is unique and refreshing from the competitors
- Thinking long term is a virtue as is the patience to have a steady base of clients and strategies should be in place to understand the clients, learn about their preferences
- Ups and downs are part and parcel of any commercial activity. It is essential to stay focused on the broader goal
- There is no substitute for genuine hard work. Hard work combined with smart, strategic planning leads to success.
- Flexibility in terms of product development is highly recommended. It should be a priority to have an integrated system in place to receive feedback and necessary improvements should be made regularly based on clients’ preferences
- Before diving into the business of fashion measured efforts should be taken to prepare a comprehensive conscious/ rational startup plan regarding the budget and extreme clarity in operational cost or other expenses
- Instead of relying entirely on product development, it is required to take calculated risks from time to time depending upon the market and client feedback.
- Failure is part of the learning process. No person has ever been successful without suffering a few minor/major setbacks. Instead of putting failure in the ‘cons’ column, it’s best to learn from it and continue.