The last few months have been very difficult for me to keep going with the business. Keeping your spirits up and having the drive to soldier on is really hard, as most small business and start-ups will know. This is compounded for me by the fact I am doing it all entirely on my own.
The financial side of business is of paramount importance, but being a creative person I know this is not my area of expertise. However, I have plugged away at the financial planning so that I should feel prepared for what I am investing into. After months and months of getting manufacturers quotes and suppliers prices in, I now have informed estimates of what my garments are going to cost to make. However, these costings are higher than your average garments due the premium nature of the product, using organic/eco fabrics and making in Britain doesn't come cheap! After contacted several independent boutiques with a mind to stocking my clothes with them, I checked what their mark-up would be. Adding this 250-300% mark-up on top of my own costs and tiny profit made my prices completely unsellable.
So I have had to completely go back to the drawing board in regards to my route to market strategy. It seems to me that really my only option is to have my own website and retail myself. I have spent weeks redoing all my financial planning to work out whether this will be viable. The garment costings are thankfully now coming in with workable price points but my cashflow and income statement spreadsheets don't look good! The big difference between going wholesale and retail is that I will carry all the risk and have to invest into a large amount of stock to sell on the site without really knowing if anyone is going to buy it!
One idea to help create interest and generate pre-orders is through a crowdfunding campaign. This seems to have worked well for other fashion start-ups so could be worth a try. Although, even with a large cash injection such as that, I am struggling at the moment to see how I can balance the books and be able to ever make a profit.
I am undaunted though and shall keep working at it until I find a solution, through perseverance or expert advice. I really believe in what I am doing and have put so much into it already that I will not let it go to by the way-side. There will be an answer somewhere, I am sure, to how I can set up the brand without completely over stretching myself at the start.
So wish me luck, and please keep reading to show your support and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest too. It all helps!
#FashionStartup #smallbusiness #mumboss
Read my guest blog post on this subject here: https://robertastylelee.co.uk/is-ethical-fashion-reserved-for-the-wealthy/
I am aware that the Boy Wonder name could be wrongly seen to be reinforcing gender stereotypes so I wanted to write about my position on this subject.
My son watched the BBC's documentary 'No More Boys & Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender Free?' with me and was incredulous at the suggestion that girls were not as good as boys and that boys can't express their emotions. While this made me feel that I am possibly getting something right as a parent, I am also aware he's not your average 'boy's boy'. For example some of the books he has recently enjoyed are 'My Adorable Kitten' & 'The Boy in the Dress'! I have always tried to encourage these traits, which are seen to be more feminine, as a way to counteract any overtly male stereotypes he may be exposed to.
However, I do worry that he could face some ridicule for his softer side by his peers as he gets older. In my opinion, gentler sensibilities in boys should be nurtured to create loving and empathic adults and how we treat and dress our children is all part and parcel of this. I do want my boy to grow up believing in himself, but also believing in others equally too, regardless of gender.
'Let Clothes be Clothes' are a campaign group challenging gender disparity in clothing. They highlight the many products in stores such as Asda, Gap, Tesco & Mothercare that are not gender equal. So I believe John Lewis's decision to remove gender specific labelling from their own brand clothes is a big step in the right direction. 'Girl' and 'Boy' sections are being removed from their stores and they have also launched a gender neutral range. Hopefully other major retailers will follow their lead.
The Boy Wonder brand was created to offer more choice to parents of boys amongst the vast array of girlswear. For me, the brand is not about defining gender, but celebrating individuality because every boy is different! The collections will not have the stereotypical 'boy' colours of black, navy and brown nor will they be covered in tractors, dinosaurs or cars. The garments will be unisex in style and shape and will look equally as good on girls as boys. I want to see more boys wearing bright colours including pink (which needs to be reclaimed from the princess squad!) and not looking like mini men but the beautiful children that they are. I hope you will join me in helping this happen!
Some of the brands that I love to champion on social media are gender neutral and all the better for it. My pick of the best are shown below.
#unisex #genderneutral #boyslovepink
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