Thomasina R. Legend
Funding a business is a fundamental goal for any business, and fashion design is not exempt. It costs a lot to start a fashion business and costs even more, to keep it afloat. Here are some of the ways you can fund your business
Savings: One of the easiest ways is to save towards it. Do the research beforehand to know how much it will cost to set up your brand and begin saving for it. Do not rush the process if you are not ready because it takes a lot to start and even more to keep going year in and year out.
Family & Friends: Believe it or not, but some brands have been lucky enough to launch their businesses off the backs of their families and friends. To do this, work on a business plan, share that with those you know can afford to either lend you the money or invest in your vision.
Loans from The Bank: Borrowing from the bank is another option you must think carefully about before venturing into because if granted the loan, it means paying back based on your payment plan. You have to think of how you can turn a profit immediately after you launch your brand, or else you will be in debt. Again, research is key.
Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding has been around for a good few years now and has been a source of success for some brands that were smart to go down this route. Using platforms like Kickstarter, GoFundMe or SeedInvest, you can set up a page with a specific target goal telling people about your brand, why people should invest in it and what you are in turn going to offer them for investing in your brand. One of the best things about crowdfunding is that you inherently communicate directly with your potential customers pre-ordering your product. If your brand is a hit with them, they will become repeat customers, which every brand needs.
Incubators & Contests: A significant number of organisations and platforms create initiatives to fund startup and emerging brands, each with its own unique sets of requirements and barriers to entry. Some have contests with fantastic cash prizes like CFDA with the Vogue Fashion Fund, LVMH Prize, the British Fashion Council’s Change Makers Prize and of course, Arise Fashion Week’s Star Prize. In 2020, the Arise Fashion Week Price awarded $5000 to 30 contestants to compete to win money totalling $500000, with designer Kenneth Ize winning $100000 of the price money.
Incubators and accelerator programs are also pooling together to create opportunities for startup brands by making available under a million dollars and sometimes pounds depending on the country in cash with a year or two of mentoring alongside other services. The CFDA has a famous incubator program that has evolved into ‘The Network’, which provides its members with business mentorship and access to workshops and investors.
Venture Capital: This is where an investor provides money for a startup that they strongly believe has potential long-term growth. For emerging brands, a venture capitalist could come in the form of an angel investor. An angel investor is someone who is a high net worth person who provides a ‘seed round’ of funding. To approach venture capital, you must have your business plan ready and your vision well mapped out to show how the business could grow and be successful.
No matter what you decide to do or which way you feel will work best for you, make sure you do your research. Create a business plan, map out the costs of starting and how much you need to stay in business for at least three years, and then go from there. Research is key. Never forget that.
Photographer: Daniel Obasi @iamdanielobasi
Production/Creative Direction: @whitespacelagos
Casting Director: @thegodwinokoruwa
Models: @_queendammy @queen.idakwo