What’s Wrong with Being a Fashion Hobbyist?

Hey guys. It’s Syama Meagher, CEO of Scaling Retail, and this is a really interesting topic today. This is really geared towards new fashion startups who are kind of fashion hobbyists. And today we’re going to talk about why being a fashion hobbyist isn’t necessarily the best idea. And today we’re going to talk about what’s wrong with being a fashion hobbyist. Now those of you guys who started off designing brands and really, you know, doing a little crochet thing here, starting to build a bracelet there, all of a sudden you might say to yourself, “Well, I have all of these products now, how do I actually sell the products?” Or, “Oh, these people like the products, now I want to sell them.” And then you start to get from this position of, “I’m now a maker and a crafter,” to now all of a sudden, “I want to sell my products.” And so today what’s so important is to really answer the question of why it’s not a good idea to just be a fashion hobbyist. Because truly, guys, the moment you start to sell your product or you put it on your website, inadvertently you’ve created a business. So guys, why not create a sustainable business from the beginning? Why go ahead and just say, “Oh, I’m going to dabble in this,” just go for it. And so today we’re going to talk a little bit on why it’s not a good idea and how to get yourself out of that rut if you think that you’re a fashion hobbyist that might actually have a business on your hands, or that’s going to want to start a business. 

So the three main things that we’re going to unpack here is, are you sure you don’t already have a business, the topic of burning through cash flow, and deciding to go pro, right, and what does it mean when you really decide to go pro and how can we actually do so in the best way if you’ve already found yourself in this really sticky situation. So guys, if you market yourself in any capacity, whether you have an Etsy shop, whether or not you have something on Shop Envy, or you have something on Big Cartel, if you are selling online, chances are, sad to say, but you got a business on your hands. And with that means setting for yourself sales expectations, it means starting to treat your business and pay taxes on that independent contractor income. So if you are making something and all of a sudden you’re realizing that you do have other distribution points, you may want to say to yourself, “All right. I have a business on my hand and I’m no longer a fashion hobbyist.” Fashion hobbyists again, these are the people who are making things on the side, they want to try things but very slowly, but they are not actually putting the intention into growing something. They are not actually taking into consideration the shipping costs, the production costs, the cost of labor. And that brings us to a second point of burning through cash. When you do have a business, guys, you have to deal with things like returns, you have to deal with things like customer service, right? You are taking a better look at your labor cost, your sourcing cost etc.

So better than just saying, “I’m going to double here and there and not really think about what my product is worth at the end of the day,” it’s so much better to say, “You know what, I have an interest, that I actually enjoy crocheting. Is this something that I think I may want to eventually sell?” And this is important if you have any type of hobby, right? Even if it’s someone who’s interested in jewelry, you might enjoy making jewelry for yourself or some of your friends and family, but at certain point you need to ask yourself, “Okay, do I want this to be a business or not?” The moment you sell your product to someone is not only proof of validation in the market, but the very sheer existence of having a business. 

So lastly, the biggest problem with being a fashion hobbyist is really how it might hold you back when you start to think about going pro. Now, going pro in fashion is really starting to understand your market segmentation, spending more attention to your consumers, and less attention to what your own personal taste and preferences are. That’s more of the mentality of the fashion hobbyist, right? What are your personal tastes and preferences? What do you feel like making? But once you create a business that is geared towards selling to a consumer, you might find that the products that you’ve created are not scalable. You might find that you’re not built for profitability. You might also find that you have to make some tweaks and changes in order to speak to the customer who you have in mind that you really want to be working with. So, in order to stop yourself from that painful gap, it’s very important to ask yourself, “Okay, do I want this to be a business? How big do I want this business to be? What is the startup capital that I’m willing to invest to see if this can go anywhere?” 

And start small. You can still do the same handmade process, the same kind of maker feeling of doing things, you know, on your own, but at least you’re doing so with some parameters and you understand that you’re actually testing the waters to see if this can actually be something. How exciting is that? To be able to have raw skill and talent and be able to turn that into its own profitable business. That is something that not a lot of business owners have, right? Some business owners are strong on business, but need help with the creative side. You as someone who is a creative, who knows how to make things, who loves that process, have on your hands a potential gold mine if you’re willing to add the parameters and get a little bit of strategic advice on how to scale and maybe grow up your budding idea.

All right, guys. Get more on this topic on our top 10 reasons why you should not be starting a fashion business. Super duper interesting, really great in-depth content, people are starting companies you shouldn’t be. So, find out, maybe you should not be starting a business, right? Maybe you actually should be doing something else. So make sure you download our top 10 reasons in that blog post, take a read, super interesting stuff. And then, if you do think you’re ready to start that business, do download our 21-point checklist on how to start a fashion company. I guarantee, it’s the most amazing checklist, it will help you through so many of the hurdles that are taking you from fashion hobbyist, to fashion startup, fashion business entrepreneur.

All right, guys. Thank you so much for watching, please make sure you leave a comment below, do subscribe to our channel, and head on over to scalingretail.com to see all of the amazing services that we provide for businesses that are starting up, scaling up, and those enterprise companies out there. When you’re ready, shoot us an email. We are at hello@scalingretail.com and @scalingretail on Instagram. In fact, we are where you are. Talk to you soon. Bye.

Are you ready to turn your hobby into a full-fledged fashion design business? Start by downloading your free copy of our “21-Point Checklist to Launch a Brand”!

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