Is a fashion business still viable nowadays?


Hello guys,

first post here. I was wondering with regard to the above-mentioned subject: Is a fashion related business still viable nowadays?

Thing is, I´ve always been interested in men fashion. I love suits, but also streetwear, accessoires etc. anything related to men fashion really. My grandparents used to have a successful fashion shop in the 80s (where they mostly sold brands like Energy, Diesel etc) and I always liked the idea of doing something similar. Unfortunately, their shop failed in the early 2000s.

Now, I´ve been looking for ideas that I can start beside my 9-5 as a side gig that will hopefully boom one day and as many people suggest "go with what you love/have a passion for", I thought of Men Fashion.

Problem is, in todays world, where you can set up a tshirt online while sitting on the toilet thanks Merch and similar services, I wonder if this is still viable (if you´re not a superstar with 3million groupies who buy anything you put your name on).

I thought of giving it a try by building a online shop and marketing the hell out of it on social media (duh). I would start with some basic shirts, accessoires and stuff and just see what I can do. This at least, is the plan.

I don´t plan to get rich over night. I just want go after a passion of mine and see if I can be successful with it. But as I said, IDK if its worth it in this business.

Whats your opinion on this? Should I give it a try?

Thanks a lot!

Comments (6)

Most Helpful
Jun 24, 2020 - 7:36am

You should give it a shot. I started a small online fashion brand a couple years ago with the thought of the "real world MBA" in mind, not expecting to make money, but focusing on the learning experience knowing that it might be a sunk cost. I kept seeing all the small brands on Instagram and wanted to take a stab at it myself. Overall I learned a ton (developing custom products and sourcing them from China, managing graphic designers, social media marketing strategies, photography and editing, etc.) and had a lot of fun with it. Once I sold out of all my product I decided not to keep going as I felt I had learned enough about the process and I was putting in just too many hours for a break even return (Instagram ad campaigns can really add up). But it taught me a ton and I'd highly recommend it if you can make the time for it. PM me if you have any specific questions.

Jun 24, 2020 - 11:14am

I sure hope so! I'm in a very similar boat, albeit a little further down the road. I have always wanted to start something of my own, and it's easier than ever to do so with D2C ecommerce.

I tossed around a few ideas over the past year and a half and finally landed on one that I'm passionate about and somewhere I see a gap in the marketplace. Though niche, I view it as my perfect window. Are you familiar with smoking slippers? Think of it as a fancier loafer (check out Stubbs & Wootton for an example). I love the look and comfort, but can't fathom spending $550 on each pair so I've been surveying the landscape and am working to launch a brand in the space but with more of an environmental/sustainable focus.

I view now as the perfect time, as I can do my full time job remotely and still carve out ample time for my new "business". In terms of timing, I got serious about it a couple of months ago as I'm working with an expert in the space who's helping me get things going. Presently focused on customer research, and next step will begin actual design and eventually production.

By the time I create a trial run of shoes in the fall, I'll probably have invested $10k. From there I'll see if my product can really sell and assuming I can validate product market fit I can do a real production run where I make 500-1000 shoes (will take some serious capital), and aim to make 4x back in revenue. If all goes well, I expect within 18-24 months I'll make the call on whether to quit my 9-5 and have full control of my destiny. In a worst case scenario where I fail to make it, come this Fall I'll have invested $10k, learned tons along the way, and enjoyed the experience. I consider it a win/win.

In your case, figure out where you think you can really differentiate. Fashion is a very crowded space. T shirts and the like in particular as you can have any custom ones made in a few clicks. As you noted, having tons of followers is one way to make it happen. I think the other will require you get more specific and make it special. For example, maybe you've got massive biceps and hate how tight most polos are so you create the polo for guys who are ripped, but are sick of their shirts ripping on them. You learn how to speak their language and you market directly to them and eventually your product and brand may be able to stand on it's own in the crowded space.

What do you have to lose?

Jul 7, 2020 - 4:50pm

Absolutely doable. I scaled a small fashion boutique that was a week or two away from BK to $12MM+ in rev recently. We only invested ~$100k to get it there.

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