The Free Fall of the Fashion Designer

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In retrospective, launching your own fashion label is in a way like jumping off a skyscraper.

A short jump, requiring a lot of skill and… a parachute. (Dah!)

Based on my experience 99% of fashion designers jump without the parachute, and even though it feels like flying, well, you know how it ends.

95% don’t survive the 1st year.

2% suffer painful crash in the year number 4.

2% turn to Walking Dead.

And only 1% land safely. The Wild Cats. Those with a parachute.

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When we started as a manufacturer for the new fashion labels in 2011, little did we know about all those different types of entrepreneurs and their success rates.

We simply mobilized all our resources to make sure our clients succeed.

Great quality products, small order quantities. Insane combination.

Those among us who ventured into launching the own fashion brand know exactly how difficult it is to find a top quality manufacturer with flexible order volumes.

You either get quality products and need to invest into a huge stock.

Or you get your small quantities done and hope that clients don’t notice the garbage craftsmanship.

We have solved this problem for our clients.

And evidently, it was not enough.

Great quality products were not enough to succeed.

Flexible manufacturing quantities were not enough to succeed.

Great designer talent was not enough to succeed.

I am not talking about the 95% Lazy Cats, who figured that being an entrepreneur is way too much work by the end of the first year.

We have learned to spot them soon enough and declined their inquiries.

I am not talking about the 2% of the Walking Dead, who, although incredibly talented, decide to bury their talent in procrastination.

I am talking about the immensely talented and greatly committed Crazy Cats, these 2% of fashion designers who really deserve to be successful.

The cat walks are covered with their sweat. The moon barely sees them asleep.

They sacrifice everything for their goal, for their dream…

All that to go bankrupt in the year number four, the latest year number 5.

Logically, following such dynamics, by the year number four we, the manufacturer, have experienced a huge crisis.

At the end of the year number four, our most promising clients, the Crazy Cats, started closing down one after another.

This was an extremely difficult situation.

It was painful to see label owners we have been working with for 4 years straight, labels we have put our whole soul into development of, going suicidal, going deeply burned out, incapable to continue, desperate and deeply in debt.

It was a time of a serious crisis.

We had to restructure our whole business.

It was horrifying.

However, middle in this horror did I notice for the first time, that amides this chaos, we still have a small group of clients, that instead of going bankrupt – were THRIVING.

This thriving group were the Wild Cats.

And I remember this one dark night.

Me standing middle in the rice fields deep in rural China, asking my guardian angels for guidance.

Asking them this one question:

What do Wild Cats, the ones who thrive, do different?

And the answer came…

They jump with a parachute!

Now, seriously:

All those who failed, were FASHION DESIGNERS.

All those who made it, were FASHION INVENTORS.

There are three key differences between fashion designers and fashion inventors.

We can call these differences Success Factors, or we can call them a parachute.

Would you love to learn exactly what success factors are those? Do you want to know what Wild Cats do differently?

Support me with your subscription, and learn those success factors in my next article. 🙂 👇🙏

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Wear your passion!

Julia Antufjew

Julia Antufjew is a Fashion Inventor and Manufacturer, 15 years in business, Bestselling Author and driving force behind Manufacturing Club Quantumfactory, Founder of Fashion Business Mastermind™, the one and only mentorship program that helps you quit fear, get focused and streamline your fashion business.

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