If you've got a passion for fashion but you're lacking a knack for business, don't worry — you can still turn your creative flair into a successful entrepreneurial endeavor. What you need to make it work is a savvy business partner.
"It is very rare to be a creative and a business person contemporarily," said Alessandra Basso, London Business School graduate and co-author of "Commercializing Creativity," a report offering advice for up-and-coming fashion designers.
"That is why many designers look for a trusted business partner, initially someone from the designer's inner circle, who can focus on the day-to-day operations of the business, allowing the designer to concentrate on the products and creation process," Basso added.
In the report, Basso and her co-worker, Alejandra Caro, outline the six principles that fashion designers need in order to run successful businesses. Designers need to have a strategy and a business plan, understand the importance of product development, have a clear and unique brand proposition and marketing plan, be realistic about their production needs, have a solid sales and distribution plan and understand their options for financing and funding. [4 Steps to Startup Success ]
These six principles, Basso said, are all interconnected and equally relevant, and need to be used together to create a successful business.
"For example, having a clear understanding of how to develop a product is necessary but not sufficient per se to successfully market fashion products if there is not an equal understanding of production or financing," Basso explained.
This is where having a business partner comes in handy. Being a designer is time-consuming enough, and even for those who are business-minded, running it all can be difficult. So how does a budding designer find the perfect business partner?
A good option, Basso said, is working with a Master of Business Administration student.
"MBAs have a global business perspective, skills and competencies to support young designers' creativity while keeping a business orientation to a fashion brand," Basso said. "MBAs can contribute to a fashion business by enabling an environment where creativity is rewarded and where designers are encouraged to take risks, while providing the proper business boundaries to monetize creativity and ensure commercial success to it."
The report also notes that many of the most well-known designers, like Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein and Alexander McQueen all had business partners who helped them achieve their fashion fame.
At the end of the day, however, making it in the fashion design industry is all about having confidence and understanding what you want out of your business.
"Designers need to know who they want to be and what they want their brand to be; otherwise, it's very difficult to emerge from such a competitive industry," Basso said.
Originally published on Business News Daily.