10 tips for Australian fashion startups in 2021

As we lead up to launch, we wanted to share 10 tips for Australian fashion startups covering some of the things we’ve learnt so far. Starting a business is such a journey and if you are new to this, as we are, then perhaps sharing some key tips will save you time.

The first thing to realize is that everything takes both time and money. At this early stage with Yuugen, everything is an outgoing expense.

As a small business owner, you do this in the hope that what you are aiming for will be realized. You have become a risk taker! Welcome to the club! 

So how do you begin a fashion start up? Here are our top tips;


1. Check your business name availability through ASIC

When you have decided on what you would like to call your business, you need to check its availability through ASIC. This is really important as you cannot register a business name that has already been registered by someone else!

You can check your name availability via ASIC here


2. Register your business

Register your business name with ABR (Australian Business Register – https://www.abr.gov.au/) and get an ABN. We have found that you need an ABN in a lot of different situations, whether it be setting up payments in your ecommerce store, or registering with Australia Post.


3. Snag your Instagram/Facebook account name

I’m listing this early on as it’s something to be aware of when you are naming your business. Ultimately it may even affect what you decide to call your business, especially if the name you really love has already been taken by another account on social media. Make sure you check for variations as well as this could be confusing for potential customers.


4. Join business networking groups relevant to you

These groups are an excellent way to receive free advice, read tips, and learn from other people’s firsthand experiences of starting a fashion business, (or any business really). Some good general groups that can be found on Facebook are: Like Minded B*tches Who Drink Wine (honestly not what it sounds like – I don’t know where the b*tches are and who exactly is drinking the wine but it’s really useful info), and The Lady Startup Lounge (by Mia Freedman).


5. Do your research

If it’s a product you’re intending to sell, then you will need to do research and development to either make yours stand out from the crowd, or work on carving out your own niche. In fashion, it’s about finding a gap and the right customer base. This is why we started Yuugen; boys’ pant options are limited and not practical. What started there, evolved and changed into a brand with Japanese influence as this is our forte. Read about our journey to starting here.


photo of japanese lanterns
Our branding has a distinct Japanese influence


6. Think about your budget and how you can save money

Think about your skill set. What do you already know? What can you already do? Decide on what you will do yourself vs. what you will outsource. For me, I’m incredibly lucky than Dan is a superstar and can even build websites! He built our WordPress website from scratch, saving us thousands. This leads me to…


7. Decide on the platform for your ecommerce site

This is a really important tip for a fashion startup. This is not an easy decision and there are many factors involved; your product, your target market, your budget, your future business plans, your IT knowledge (or lack thereof!) Choosing the right platform in the beginning is crucial as changing at a later date once you’ve set everything up (so many tools integrate and interact with one another…) will be costly, difficult and frustrating.

Aiming to develop a good website that allows for business growth and expansion means you won’t have to redo this as your business model changes and grows. Common platforms are WordPress/Woocommerce or Shopify.

Similarly, if you use WordPress you will need to find a web and email host as WordPress sites are generally hosted by external service providers/ We use VentraIP and are very happy with them. We use MailChimp for our email lists. This decision was made after reading many posts in the business groups mentioned above.


8. Find a manufacturer

This is so difficult and will be determined by your designs, prints, styles and customer base! If you want to stick to Australian made, be aware that your profit margin will be very small and your product pricing will be high just to cover costs. Also, there are certain manufacturing processes that are difficult to source in Australia for a reasonable cost (for example, digital fabric printing).

If you choose to manufacture overseas, do your research! For example, we avoided China as we have heard mixed reviews about Chinese manufacturers. When finding a good manufacturer you need to know your MOQ (minimum order quantity) and ultimately you budget. 

Furthermore some manufacturers are ‘full service’, that is they do everything including pattern making, labels, swing tags etc. Others only focus on the manufacturing of the actual garment and it will be up to you to source labels and swing tags from external providers (a whole other blog post that one!!!)

Some manufacturers will produce labels, others will not.

Don’t forget that shipping is expensive so factor that in to your costs. We have used DHL from India for some of our range and they were fast and reliable, but you should factor in $150 -$250 for shipping.


9. Learn about your primary target market

This is really easy if you already are your target audience! You already know the things you look for when making purchases! However, make sure you keep in mind who is actually buying the product from your fashion business. Even though we sell kidswear, we aren’t marketing to children…we are targeting the person who is going to dress the child!


10. Marketing and building hype

It’s really important to maintain a consistent approach for your brand and its image. If you have made a great product, it needs to be showcased in its best light.

Many people outsource to branding and launch specialists, but you can try to do this yourself also. Learn from similar businesses, take note of their strategy and make sure your brand stays true to your vision. Don’t copy, but focus on your individual strengths to build an ‘authentic voice’.


Summing up

So there you have it! Ten tips for Australian fashion startups in 2021 and few sneaky tricks on how to begin a fashion startup!

Please keep in mind that at Yuugen Kidswear, we are only at the beginning of our fashion startup journey but being transparent and sharing tips and advice where we can is something we strongly believe in.

We were so surprised to come across so many people who gave me their time and advice for free because they were women who had struggled at the start too. We just want to pay it forward a little as we really do believe they we rise by lifting others.

Liz & Dan xx

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