What’s Wrong with Being a Fashion Hobbyist?

Those of you who started off designing brands and really 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.” Then you start 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 really answering the question of why it’s not a good idea to just be a fashion hobbyist. Because truly the moment you start to sell your product or put it on your website, inadvertently you’ve created a business. 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.

You’re Probably Already Running a Business.

If you market yourself in any capacity, if you have an Etsy shop, if you sell on Storenvy or Big Cartel or anywhere online, you have a business- whether you like it or not. When you own a business, you need to set sales expectations and start paying taxes on that independent contractor income. If you’re making something and all of a sudden you’re realizing you do have other distribution points, you may want to say to yourself, “All right. I have a business on my hands and I’m no longer a fashion hobbyist.”

Fashion hobbyists are the people who are making things on the side, they want to try things but very slowly, and they’re not actually putting the intention into growing something. They’re not actually taking into consideration the shipping costs, the production costs, the cost of labor….

Your Hobby Will Make You Burn Through Cash.

When you do have a business, you have to deal with things like returns and customer service. You’re taking a better look at your labor costs, your sourcing costs, etc. Instead of 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?” This is important if you have any type of hobby. 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 a 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.

Going From Hobbyist to Pro Can Be a Major Challenge.

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. Going pro in fashion is really starting to understand your market segmentation, paying more attention to your consumers, and paying less attention to what your own personal taste and preferences are. That’s more of the mentality of the fashion hobbyist: What are your personal tastes and preferences? What do you feel like making? However, once you create a business geared towards selling to a consumer, you might find that the products 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 you have in mind that you really want to be working with. 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?”

Start small. You can still do the same handmade process, the same kind of maker feeling of doing things 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 a viable business. It’s so exciting to be able to have raw skill and talent and be able to turn that into its own profitable business. That’s something that not a lot of business owners have. Some business owners are strong on business, but need help with the creative side. As someone who is a creative who knows how to make things and who loves that process, you have a potential gold mine on your hands if you’re willing to add the parameters and get a little bit of strategic advice on how to scale and grow your budding idea.

Get more on this topic with our blog post on the top 10 reasons why you should not be starting a fashion business. Also be sure to 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 business entrepreneur.

Visit ScalingRetail.com to see all of the amazing services we provide for businesses that are starting up or scaling up, and those enterprise companies in the field. When you’re ready to take on professional consulting and execution support, shoot us an email at hello@scalingretail.com.

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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