I often get asked what the ideal budget is for starting a new brand + truth is, there's no such thing as 'ideals' in this industry! Unless you've got millions, there's always things that you will have to compromise on, especially at the start + the best way to decide what you need to invest in is by looking at your business plan. This post covers some of the costs assosiated with starting a fashion business. The list is long, but don't freak out! It's unlikely that you'll need all of these things for your particular plan + chances are you'll be able to do some of the work yourself - I just wanted to make sure that I cover a lot of bases + include things that a lot of startup + small businesses don't think of. Also keep in mind that you don't have to spend a huge amount on a lot of these things, for example a website. Some people charge £10k+ for a website, but if you're happy to put some effort in you can create a website for as little as £18 a month, like me. Before you get overwhelmed by all of these costs, keep in mind that I was able to start my business with a tiny budget (you can read how I did it + how you can too here), so there's nothing to stop you from doing the same!
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These aren't necessarily things that you pay for often, perhaps even just once a year, but these are items that contribute to the day to day running of your business;
- Software (such as Excel, Word, Photoshop, Illustrator), etc. Tip - unless you're experienced with Photoshop + Illustrator I wouldn't buy these - they take years to master + there's a lot of free versions that are simpler to use, especially for photo editing
- Car/ fuel/ transport
- Books/ education/ information/ consulting help
These expenses all contribute to the cost price of your garments + include the components you need to make a finished product for sale;
- Trend reports
- Visiting events/ trade shows/ seminars/ suppliers
- Designs (more on that here)
- Technical drawings (read about those here)
- Tech packs (article on what they are + why you need them here)
- Patterns (you might not need these if you work with a factory, they may include them in the production price)
- Samples (as with the patterns, these may be included in the production price)
- Fit model
- Production cost - labour
- Trims, eg thread, ribbon, elastic, buttons, zips, clasps, etc
- Labels, eg woven labels, size pips, card labels possibly with ribbon, kimbles or pins, barcodes
- Hygiene stickers if producing swimwear or lingerie
- Packaging, including poly bags, garment bags, hangers, shipping boxes
- Transport from the place of manufacture to you
- Taxes + customs fees may be applicable if the stock is made in another country
- Quality control inspections
- Stock preparation, eg steaming, scanning in, distributing
- Warehousing if you are using a company to store your stock + send out orders
Marketing + Sales expenses
Marketing is one area where you could literally spend limitlessly, but if you're a small business keep in mind that some of the best marketing methods, such as PR (getting featured in magazines/on websites) + social media can be done for free, you just need to put some effort in!
- Branding design
- Business cards/ flyers/ promotional leaflets
- Social media scheduler
- Advertising, such as Facebook, in magazines, on blogs, influencer marketing, etc
- Hair/make up artist
- Events such as press launch, pop-up shop, fashion show
- Travel to sales meetings
- Line sheet
As I said, I know this is a long list but please don't feel disheartened, there's a good chance that you don't need all of these things + I'm sure that you can do some of them yourself, without having to hire outside help.
As a treat for subscribers, I'm offering a free Excel template to help you keep track of costs. It's easy to use + allows you to enter any quotes you've received for your business to help you manage your expenses. It's available in the free resource library now + you can access it by clicking here. Not already a member? Sign up below for free to receive access to all of the freebies in my library + occasional emails with useful info on the fashion industry, to help your business grow. I hate spam too, you won't receive lots of emails from me, your details won't be shared with anyone + you can unsubscribe at any time!
If you'd like some help identifying which expenses you need to budget for + which aren't so important for your brand, I'd love to help you with this. My popular 1-on-1 consulting sessions allow you to receive information tailored to your personal situation. You can learn more by clicking here.