Starting a Business, One Stitch at a Time

BY JANE KIM, FW Contributor

While many dream of becoming the next big
fashion icon, few know how to go about getting
started. One might have the passion, the talent
and the ideas but if he or she does not have the
proper information and resources to start up and
market a product, these valuable qualities will
likely go to waste. And let’s face it; it’s a highly
competitive and cut throat industry we’re talking
about. Nothing has called out to women and men
more than fashion throughout history, and today
is no different.

It is hard to break out onto the scene for the
young artist trying their hand at fashion design
today, but it is not without hope. Whether they
are a university or college graduate looking
for an apprenticeship or someone who has
designed clothes all their life with no formal
education, there are avenues that will lead them
on the right path.According to Susan Langdon,
business advisor and mentor for Toronto Fashion
Incubator, an organization which dedicates itself
to supporting new entrepreneurs in the fashion
industry, education is highly valued in our society
today, so if there is a chance to take a course, one
should do that. Not only does school help to
perfect one’s skill and talent but also teaches
them to avoid scams and learn the laws of
protecting the final product.

Aside from the obvious knack for marketing
and business, the government of Canada offers
multiple opportunities for obtaining grants and
loans for small business start-ups. All they need
to see is that one is serious about their future and
that can be comprised of nothing more than a
carefully drawn up business plan and a drive to
succeed. Everything a young fashion designer
might want to know about the financial aspects
of venturing into a new start-up is available
on the Enterprise Toronto website, www.
enterprisetoronto.com.

When investing money is the issue, there are
resources available to guide a young designer.
Experts provide their advice on websites like
Toronto Fashion Incubator, banks are willing to
provide generous grants for new entrepreneurs
and for those in need of hands-on experience,
there are shops on Queen West always offering
apprenticeships.

Langdon also stresses the importance of
experience in the field. Whether it is volunteering,
styling or fashion marketing, experience is
essential when launching a successful start-up in
fashion.

But the most important thing is to take time.
Take time to develop one’s talent, to come up
with the best product and to market that product
the best way possible.

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