Building a business as a fashion designer

fashion design
Fashion designer studio with dressmakers professional equipment: mannequin cloth sewing machine irons Patterns of clothing

Growing up in Nigeria and migrating to Australia with my family of fashion designers when I was eight years old, meant that culture, colour, patterns and style have always been a huge part of my life. Working in fashion retail for a number of years before I enrolled in TAFE to study business management, marketing and events management meant that my affinity for style just continued to grow.

It was during my time studying that I recognised a lack of opportunities for young fashion designers and decided to bridge the gap to create a platform for these emerging designers to showcase their talents to industry leaders.

Now more than a decade on, Face Fashion has opened so many doors for young people in the industry, with our designers going on to showcase at London Fashion Week and other major fashion events around the world.

Not only do we provide the opportunity to showcase their work, meet buyers and industry leaders, we also mentor the designers through the process; I love giving these young designers the tools to succeed.

The best piece of advice I‘ve ever been given was to always strive to love what you do, and to do what you’re passionate about; and I want to give these young people the opportunity to fulfill their passions.

I absolutely love what I do and have learnt from so many people over the years. Some key pieces of advice I would give to young and emerging designers, which I believe can be translated into any profession include:

  • Don’t forget why you’re doing it. Reminding yourself of your passion and love for design is the best fuel to keep you motivated and on the path to a successful career. Constantly finding new inspiration is a great way to stay excited and driven.
  • Avoid complacency. Keeping your skills sharp is so important. You can never know too much, and especially for emerging designers, you should never let yourself think that you know all there is to know or believe there is no room to improve.
  • Become brilliant at managing finances and budgeting. The nature of starting your own business is that it can be costly, and until you’re making a constant stream of profit, there will likely be some financial volatility, and a lot of outgoing costs. Learn how to manage the financial side of business. This includes how to price your products, understanding tax and how to best utilise your profits.
  • Network. Attend industry events, meet like-minded people and make plenty of great contacts, you never know how helpful these will be in future.
  • Don’t expect overnight success. Becoming a well-known brand can take many years and tons of dedication. In an age of social media, people expect instant popularity, but for the majority of small businesses, it is a slow burn until you can enjoy that kind of return on your efforts. It takes patience and long-term strategy.
  • Don’t get disheartened when you have setbacks. If every business owner gave up when things got hard, there would be no businesses! Just take time to pause, reflect and then get back up and keep going. In saying this, learn from every setback and figure out how to avoid future issues as best as possible.

It’s so important that anyone who wants to create a business from their passion is proactive, seeks guidance and learns beyond their specialty. This way they will continue to grow and succeed beyond their expectations.

Marvin Osifo, Founder, Face Fashion