How To Get Started In The Fashion Business
Ever Since Project Runway and its many copycats made the fashion industry popular and famous, people have wanted to become fashion moguls or designers. The people of Project Runway made it look all so easy and that just about anyone can enter the fashion industry.
But that is just not the case. Anyone just cannot do fashion for it takes talent, and eye for trends, you need to know what is already out there (nothing kills a career faster than copying some old or unpopular look), and much more. There is more to the fashion industry than what meets the eye.
What this paper will do is guide you in learning what you need to know about the fashion industry before you get started. It is going to look at merchandising (you need to know fashion terms), where to obtain fashion education, how to get an internship and job in the fashion industry, along with how to become a buyer or start your own clothing store or fashion website.
This paper will also discuss wholesale clothing suppliers, the New York Fashion District and the fashion trade publications. In reading this paper you will be on your way to entering the fashion industry and hopefully, with some hard work, a success.
What Is Fashion Merchandising
Fashion merchandising is one of the key terms you need to be more than familiar with as it covers a large segment of the fashion industry. Being involved in fashion merchandising means you are involved in the business side of fashion.
Not only do you need an eye for style you also need to be able to do business as well. You will not succeed in the fashion industry if you are a lousy business person. You also cannot rely on others to do this for you, you need to know what is happening on the business end if you want to make your mark in fashion.
Fashion merchandising covers a lot of responsibilities from producing and product development to promoting, buying and selling fashion items like clothing, jewelry, cosmetics and other accessories. A fashion merchandiser can employed just about anywhere in the fashion world. They could be employed with a textile manufacturer, directly with a designer or in the many retail outlets that populate the malls and other shopping districts, this last one could be in children’s, men’s or lady’s clothing stores.
Then a fashion merchandiser needs to know fully the fashion world as well as the social, economic and cultural aspects of producing textiles. They have to keep up with market trends, fashion updates as well as what is popular in different locations around the country and the world.
There is a lot to master in being a fashion merchandiser but with hard work, lots of study one can become a great merchandiser. The key is to learn bits and pieces of the job as you go. If you try to do it all at the same time you will be overwhelmed and become discouraged. Take your time and master a little at a time. Then once you become a fashion merchandiser you will be amazed at what you have already learned.
How and Where To Get A Fashion Degree
If you think you have fashion talent then you should look for the right college program o develop that fashion sense. Not everyone is born a fashion star and studying is a great way to know if you are cut out for the fashion industry.
How you get a fashion degree is just like obtaining any other degree. You should search out the different schools to find out the best locations and programs for you. Then you compare the tuition costs, localities, the professors and see which institute is the best fit for you and your goals.
After you have made a first choice, make sure you select a 2nd and 3rd option as well. You need to do this because fashion design and merchandising is very popular and any other potential moguls are trying to be accepted by the top fashion schools
In this section we will list only a handful of colleges where you can get a good degree, searching out the rest will be up to you.
· FIDM or Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising—has 4 campuses in California, its own museum and a host of top faculty members. It has over 5,000 students enrolled
· The Art Institute of Pittsburgh—This school focuses on the business side of the fashion industry and with a system of 45 schools around the nation, it is highly likely that you will find one near you.
· St. Catherine’s University—located in St. Paul, Minn., a student there will learn Fashion history, retail buying & management, along with computer programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and Windowswear. And of course sewing. Everyone needs o be skilled in the basics.
· LIM College—located n Manhattan this college offers a great faculty and a chance to study abroad to broaden your fashion knowledge and sense.
· Houston Community College—This school prepares you with certificates and degrees in fashion merchandising and other fashion business related programs. If the other colleges are too expensive, a community college may not be a bad choice.
This should give you an idea of where you can study to be a future fashion mogul. Education is not a bad thing even for the fashion industry.
Online Fashion Classes
Now if you do not think you can afford to attend a brick and mortar school for your fashion education, then the other option is to find a credible school offering a good fashion education online. One of the previous section’s schools, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, offers both brick and mortar studies as well as an online program. Here are some other schools that offer online degrees making studying fashion a lot easier and more affordable:
· Academy of Art University—By studying at your own time and pace a student is not deprived of a to fashion education. AAU has been offering online degrees in fashion since 2002
· Southern New Hampshire University- offers an Associate degree in fashion merchandising and focuses on design, textiles, color theory, retailing & marketing. With this degree you are ready for an entry level position
· Penn Foster College—Studying from the comfort of your home will not hurt your fashion career. Online programs are as valid as any regular degree completed the traditional way. This college helps you sharpen your fashion sense, creativity and help your business skills.
· Berkeley College- Their courses focus on consumer behavior, product development, retail distribution, merchandising, marketing and much more. This college offers a top notch faculty department providing the best fashion education possible.
Online programs have matured from their early days and they are not as looked down upon as they once were. They are affordable, convenient and meet your schedule. This means if you are married, you do not have to take time from your family to become a fashion merchandiser. This may be the option for you and your budget.
Fashion management is the next big task one has to master if they want to be a fashion mogul. Fortunately for the student, they can take fashion management and marketing courses at the schools lifted above or other institutions.
Once you learn about the fashion world, spotting trends, handling design and color issues you still need to learn about how to manage the stores and fashion outlets. In other words, you need to learn how to get the customer in the door and purchase your product.
One school not mentioned in the above lists is the London College of Fashion. Its location in Britain helps the student learn the fashion management side of the industry on a global scale and not just a restricted local level.
Then you need to learn about how to get those customers into your shop. A good school to help you is SCAD. Their professionals guide you each step of the way. They teach you how to be innovative in your product promotion, help you understand the consumer and much more.
Marketing and management are one of the keys to being successful in the fashion industry. If you can keep ahead of the trends then you will be able to carve out for yourself a very successful and respected career. Then you will be able to maintain that success and respect by managing your fashion output wisely and correctly.
Good marketing will bring them in the door of your fashion outlet but if your management is not up to par, then you will not keep them in the store. Lean how t manage properly and you will avoid the many mistakes made by others who tried and failed to make it in the fashion industry.
How To Get An Internship In The Fashion Industry
Now that you have graduated from college and have lots f fashion ideas and information stored into your head waiting to be used, you now need t find a place to implement those instructions and ideas. Most reputable colleges will have leads and will help their students land a fashion internship. Berkeley does this as one of their students was hired by the very company she interned at.
Schools will do what they can to assist you in your career. But if the opportunities through your university are scarce there are other sources to help you find that much needed internship. Keep in mind that not all internship programs come with a salary. In fact most are not paid positions and your only revenue is more education and experience.
Here are some alternative sources to help you find that coveted fashion internship position:
· FreeFashionInternship.com – They offer the best fashion companies, designers and other fashion outlets to try to get your foot in the door in the fashion industry
· Indeed.com – While an employment search engine, placing the words fashion internship or interns in the search box should turn up what opportunities that are listing at this company
· Internships.com – This search function covers all internships but it isn’t hard to narrow down the results by adding the word fashion in front of the word intern
· InternQueen.com – This is supposed o be the place to go for your fashion internship needs. Run by Lauren Berger this search engine provides the details of the internship position offered, including if it is a paid position or not.
· InternMatch.com – This is a search engine where the student can sign up, create a profile and have the companies come to them. They claim to have their services used by over 10,000 companies.
In a nutshell, this is where and how you can get your prized internship position and really launch your fashion career.
How To Get A Job In The Fashion Business
We have all seen the movie The Devil Wears Prada and the star of the film works hard turning in her resume to different companies trying to get a job in the fashion industry. With a little luck she walks into the job from hell yet somehow she is hired.
This is one example of one way to get a job. A lot of hard work, perseverance and luck does the trick. Then if you land a good internship position, you just have to work hard, do extra work, demonstrating that you are a cut above all the rest and basically show that you are willing to go the extra mile for the company.
Other websites have a lot of basic tips that are really simple common sense like doing well at your interview, creating a wonderful resume and cover letter, target and educate yourself about the companies you want to work for and be prepared to start at the bottom.
They also have some good tips like making sure your social media presence is not risque or controversial. Companies do check these websites now and one should not have anything on the internet that would cost them a job, no matter how innocent they think their posting is.
Another good tip is to look the part. In other words, demonstrate that you know fashion by how you dress yourself for your interview. You can also create a fashion blog showcasing your fashion talent. You can direct the interviewer’s attention to your blog and they can see what you have to offer.
Finally, you can send your interviewer a thank you note. Other websites recommend that these be handwritten and personal. Some say to mail these and other experts claim personally delivering them is best, whichever way you choose is up to you, just be professional, intelligent and do not give up.
How To Become A Fashion Buyer
Becoming a fashion buyer is basically the same process as finding a job in the fashion industry. N fact, it is getting a job in the fashion industry. Stores and other fashion outlets need buyers to help them get the merchandise they need to market to their customers.
The basics are the same as searching for any job in any industry. First, you need to get educated not just in fashion but a degree. These days everyone has a degree and being without one is not a good idea. Second, you need to obtain an internship and gain valuable experience. Then, third, you need to develop your resume and cover letter so that it is interesting, factual and helps you stand out from the myriad of other resumes on the human resources manager’s desk.
Fourth, you can join the professional organizations that are part of the fashion industry. Two of these are—The National Retail Federation & American Purchasing Association. These organizations have job boards and leads on becoming a fashion buyer.
Fifth, you can become certified by taking the different tests offered by those organizations. Sixth, you can get an entry level position and work your way up the fashion ladder. During this time you can practice your fashion sense and sharpen your buying skills, like learning how to negotiate. Over paying is not helpful for the company you are buying for.
Seven, learn to be organized if you are not already. An unorganized person can waste time and money by missing out on good deals because they were not properly prepared. Eight, be willing to work overtime and show that you are dedicated to the success of the company. Nine, learn how to buy clothes and learn about how to buy at the right time.
Finally, learn how to properly present what you have bought so that your bosses can see that you have the knack to buy and market clothes
How To Launch Your Own Fashion Brand
Almost everyone likes to work for themselves and keep their own hours. This is true for many in the fashion industry including those designers who are actually fashion moguls. But there are some stumbling blocks to overcome which can get in the way of launching your own brand and becoming a mogul.
Like any other business, launching your own line needs you have to have some talent in fashion. You know what looks good, when the new trends are coming into vogue and so on. But being talented is not enough, as even the most talented people need luck. Launching at the right time takes skill, knowledge and a little luck for fashion can be finicky.
You also need to have the right connections. There is the old saying that goes, it is not what you know but who you know that counts. This is true in the fashion world as it is in other parts of the business world. Knowing the right people makes launching your own brand a lot easier and helps you get on the right path to success.
Then there is that old ingredient called money. Launching your own line takes money. IT costs to market, promote, and even sale your brand and very few people get rich quick in the fashion industry. The all had to make a name for themselves by proving their line was better, different and more fashionable than their competitors
Another key ingredient in launching your own fashion brand is support from one’s family. Family members will go the extra mile in helping their loved one pursue their dream. Support is important and provides the right emotional help one needs when things start slowly or do not seem like they are going your way.
Launching your own brand is tough and without these key ingredients it is almost impossible to do. Do your research before launching and make sure you have a fashion product the world can use. Research will also help find the right market to launch in and make sure you have customers willing to buy what you are selling.
How to Open Up Your Own Clothing Store
This is probably easier than launching your own line as you do not have to rely on customers liking and wanting to buy your own designs. You can tailor your business to the likes of your local community and stock the kind of clothes from different designers and manufacturers that fit the tastes of your customers.
But some of the same elements are needed in opening your own clothing store as there are in launching your own line. First, you need experience in fashion and now what trends are capturing the customer’s minds. Second, you will need money Rent and utilities and other expenses do add up and if you do not have the funds then you will not be able to stay I business for very long.
Making sure you have enough funds to fill your store and replenish any supplies is important. A lack of stock means less you can sell.
Third, you will need a business plan to help guide you. A good business plan will help you identify problems before they become a problem. For example, in real estate they say Location! Location! Location! A good business plan will help you research the real estate market for the right location for your clothing store
Fourth, you will need to get a business license. Navigating city hall and red tape is not fun and you need to be prepared for delays as you seek your license to run a clothing store. Then, fifth, you need a good marketing strategy. How will you advertise your store and product is important. You need to find your target customer base and prepare your advertising accordingly. Don’t forget to allow for the right signage to encourage people walking by to come in and shop.
These few tips will help you set up your own clothing store. Just remember these are just the starting point and there are other tips you should familiarize yourself with before you have your grand opening.
How To Set Up Your Own Fashion Website
This is probably the easiest of all three fashion outlets to open. You have less risk, less overhead but more potential for exposure to more customers. Setting up your own fashion website is more than just finding a good hosting company and placing a few pictures on a webpage along with a phone number.
But finding a good hosting company is vital to having a successful website and a little research will help you find the right one for your retail needs These hosting companies can help you set up a credit card or other electronic payment page. There are just too many to list here and their prices change without notice. The best thing to do is to make sure you write out what your needs will be and then scan the details of those web hosting companies to make sure they can meet your needs.
I personally host my websites through GoDaddy.com
Yet there are other details you need to be concerned about when opening up a website fashion outlet. You need to determine what kinds of clothes you want to sell and to what age group; then you need to find a good reputable clothing distributor to help you get stock and then ship those items to your customers. Bad shipping can sink a good venture.
Then you need to create a good sales policy governing purchases, returns or exchanges. Problems happen between purchase and receipt and you must be ready to handle those difficulties. Make sure your sales policy is clearly posted on your website to help you avoid these problems.
Next, you will need to create a good marketing or advertising campaign. Banners on other websites or search engines are a good start but they do not guarantee your ad will be seen let alone clicked on. You will need to make sure you have your advertising bases covered by having your ads reach your potential customers and be interesting enough to motivate them to click on your ad and proceed t your website.
You can also use online advertising tools such as Google Adwords, Facebook pay per click ads, and YouTube videos.
A good business plan will help you get through the rough spots and help you meet potential problems before they can ruin your business.
Finding Wholesale Clothing Suppliers
Finding a wholesale clothing distributor should not be too difficult. With over 300,000 such companies in the U.S. alone, finding the right one for you should not be too difficult a task. It may be tedious but not difficult.
Two of the ways you can use to find distributors is trying the wholesale clothing search engines or by using the wholesale clothing directories. These two methods should put you in touch with the majority of clothing wholesalers.
Of course if you are opening your clothing store in L.A. or New York, you can simply walk around the streets and check out the many different wholesalers open for business in those cities. Other options include looking through trade magazines or going to trade shows o find the right product for your store.
Sometimes you might get lucky when you talk to a brand manufacturer and they give you leads to where you can get your clothing stock. Remember that you should have decided which type of clothes you want to sell and to what age group you want to target. This will make your search for a good clothing distributor a lot easier.
Keep in mind that the wholesale business works on volume. The more you buy the cheaper your costs so you will need to decide how much you want to spend and how much stock you want to keep on hand.
Another important factor I your search will be the trade agreement between you and your clothes supplier. Make sure you are clear on and understand fully discount volumes, return policies and order processing time. Also watch the details like minimum orders, delivery schedules and so on. It is not a bad idea to have your lawyer review the agreement to make sure it is a good deal.
You can locate many wholesale suppliers by using wholesale directories and directories such as wholesalecentral.com, closeoutcentral.com, toptenwholesale.com, and wholesalequest.com
The New York Fashion District
The boundaries of the New York Fashion district starts at Madison Ave. and encompasses 5th and 9th avenues to 34th to 42nd streets. It is about 1 square mile in size. But don’t let its small size fool you. The New York Fashion District generates over 9 billion dollars in sales.
It is the mecca for the fashion industry. Well-known designers, warehouses, showrooms as well as textile suppliers and other fashion related companies make their home in this small area. The best fashion labels also make their home in this district, all of which makes this the fashion capital of the world.
Getting to the New York Fashion District is not hard as both Penn Station and Grand Central station are nearby as well as a number of New York subway stops. The Port Authority bus station is also very close.
If you are interested in fashion and happen to be in New York then it is worth your time to stop and explore this area. You never know if you will and an internship or a job by doing so.
My closeout business, closeoutexplosion.com, is located within a very short distance to the NYC Fashion District.
Fashion Trade Publications
To keep p to date on all the latest news and fashion trends one should invest a few dollars in purchasing one or two of the fashion trade publications. Here are a few titles to help you educate yourself in ongoing fashion, the fads and other trends
1. Fashion Apparel Publications
2. Fashion Accessories & Jewelry Publications
3. Fab Sugar
5. Fashion Net
6. Japanese Streets
8. The Look Online
10. Textil Wirtschaft- German but has bilingual website
Keeping up on the fashion news makes great sense if you are looking for a career in fashion or want to be a fashion mogul.