“Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” –Coco Chanel
In the last couple of years there has been a growing influx of success stories from both the Retail Tech and Fashion Tech worlds. It is these success stories that are driving hundreds of startups to carve out their own place in an industry were everyone is hoping to become the next big thing. So how can you make this happen?
Well, in this new world where the merging of fashion and technology is taking place, being just fashion tech savvy is no longer enough, you are now also expected to have some business acumen and knowledge of what is happening in the ever evolving technology industry. So before you launch your start-up, be sure to first build a better understanding of the changing relationship between fashion and technology and retail and technology, by getting to know the industry you want to be a success in. You should be prepared to learn the ropes from the bottom up.
In the beginning stages of your start-up, aim to be a knowledgeable founder. By doing so, it will help you set a precedent as your company grows. Make time to take inspiration from those who have been paving the way for a while now. Learn from their mistakes and recognise their successes because the hardest challenge you will most likely face in the beginning as a start-up is leaning how the successful brands were able to standout from the rest.
To be the brightest star in a sky full of stars, you first need to be able to recognise that ideas are cheap if they are not executed properly, so therefore make sure your brilliant idea has the power to transform into something that could make an everyday person’s life better and easier. This is because the most powerful and successful brands are the ones that come up with a product that consumers can easily connect with. They are also the kind of brands that live and breathe the ethos of what they represent. You need to be the master of your own idea. Your role as entrepreneur is to assess your company’s idea in order to know the right amount of energy you need to apply to keep your business on the road to success. Be smart with your time.
If you feel you have a great idea but you need direction then an accelerator program could be just what you need. Before you apply be aware that although the application procedure is open to anyone, the process is highly competitive and that most programs have an application acceptance rates of between 1% and 3%. Also do not go into it blindly because most seed investments in start-ups are usually in exchange for equity. That all being said, a great example of such programs is the New York Fashion Tech Lab. Founded by Lisa Morales-Hellebo, it supports young and growing companies innovating in fashion, retail, and technology. Other accelerator programs worth looking into are; Fashion Technology Accelerator, Gener8tor, Y Combinator and of course TechStars. Be sure to read the small print, because some of them have specific requirements. For more fashion focused help, then we recommend that you cast your attention in the direction of Topshop and ASOS, because what they have to offer could be right up your street.
Lastly, as we progress in this new industry, one thing we can count on is that with the rise of technology, the fashion tech industry will continue to be disrupted in new and exciting ways. As your start-up brand matures and grows, you will come to quickly experience the speed that opportunities arise and disappear, but in the end always remember to be flexible and adaptable. Your start up is your baby, but in the end it is important to try and avoid burnout and disillusionment.