What To Do Before You Launch Your Business

with our industry experts

What do you actually need to do before you launch your business? You just need to design the product, take some photos, and put it in a shop, right? Unfortunately you would be wrong if you think that. There are a few more necessities to running a fashion business than simply designing nice ethical and sustainable products. In this Masterclass, we bring you a comprehensive rundown of everything you need to know and do pre-launch. Even if you have already launched, this is a wonderful refresher, especially if you are planning on scaling or are in the process of making business or product changes.

So, what will we cover? It is a massively meaty subject, and not one that can be taken lightly. We have started you off with a handy checklist. Firstly, take half an hour to sit down with this checklist and reflect on what you have done, and what you need to do. This will help direct you to the next appropriate Lesson, for instance Your USP and Business Model, or if you have that down already, progress to Addressing Your Competitors. Use the Checklist as you progress through the Masterclass to encourage you to implement what we're saying you need to do. Each Lesson covers a distinct topic, and could be followed in any way you like, however we have designed the order to give you a feeling of flow and onwards trajectory.

The Lessons take on the form of compilations so that you get the most balanced perspective, and are guided by The Sustainable Fashion Collective team of experts, and industry professionals who are authorities on the subjects we cover.

In this Masterclass you will determine:


  • Liz Earle & Her Secrets to Global Success and Wellbeing

    with Liz Earle
    Summary

    Liz Earle is an entrepreneur of multiple successful brands in the beauty, fashion and wellness industries, the bestselling author of over 35 books, presenter on ITV (a British TV channel), founder and ambassador for multiple charities and campaigns including The Soil Association, founder of the guild of health writers and the Food Labelling Agenda, a farmer and a mum of five!

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  • What To Do Before You Launch Your Fashion Business [Checklist]

    with The SFC Team
    Summary

    This is a downloadable checklist to help you discover what to do before you launch your fashion business.

    Starting a business is hard, especially if you are launching into something with little or no experience in one area, and the key to keeping any business on track, really, is organisation. One element of this organisation is, for instance, having a calendar to tell you when your taxes are due, or date of trade shows you will be attending, or maybe a weekly planner to note individual tasks and upcoming meetings - these to-do lists are your glaring accountability.

    This is where a handy checklist of things to do before you launch comes in. There are so many aspects that it can be difficult to keep track, and when specific timelines are required, you have got to pull in those organisational and time management skills. Because it's on you to be productive, we are instead focussing on what resources you require to get going. You may have already completed one element, yet entirely forgotten something else, and often you may be reliant on others for their services - this is again where organisation and time management plays into how successful you will be when launch day arrives.

    So, head below to download the checklist. Pin this up somewhere noticeable to remind you, and get excited rather than overwhelmed by these tasks.

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  • Your USP and Business Model

    with The SFC Team
    Summary

    This is part one of What To Do Before You Launch Your Business: Your USP and Business Model. We are uncovering the Foundations Of A Healthy Business, but before you are ready to grow and thrive, you need to launch successfully!

    Your unique selling point or selling proposition is what makes your business different from your competition. So it is integral to get this right from the very beginning, often before you even have a final product or service designed. In this Lesson we will help you discover what your USP is, and how to create one. This launches into how to identify your customer and understand how they buy, because though you may have a great USP, who's going to know if you're in the wrong place? We then dive in to the different types of sustainable business models to guide you in acknowledging where your brand motivation lies, and what your product or service will provide.

    As always, we are joined by industry professionals for expert input and guidance, including fashion consultant Vicki Wallis, Mirela de Lacerda, Sue Barrett, Paris Hodson (STALF), Christine Knott, Saumen Kar, Sam Mabley (Found Hea), Deborah Lynch-Shyllon, Julie Bérubé (Field Of Ponies), Nataliya Makulova, Wendy Batten, Dr. Francesco Mazzarella and Birdsong.

    Firstly, watch the introduction video from Charlie Bradley Ross, where she explains the importance of your USP and selecting a sustainable business model that works for you. Then head into each segment below. Have your What To Do Before You Launch Your Business Checklist handy to make notes and check off what elements of your business you have already completed.

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  • Addressing Your Competitors

    with The SFC Team
    Summary

    This is part two of What To Do Before You Launch Your Business: Addressing Your Competitors. We are uncovering the Foundations Of A Healthy Business, but before you are ready to grow and thrive, you need to launch successfully!

    Easily overlooked, competitive analysis is one of the most critical steps of your business. The main reasons to understand your competitors are to determine their strengths and weaknesses, and find opportunities that you can capitalise on, and ultimately ensure you are not offering the same thing as someone else so you can stand out from the crowd. But how do you even find out who your competitors are? In this Lesson, we provide you with a helpful Competitor Analysis so that you can get into the motions of addressing who your competitors are, followed on with guidance on conducting good market and customer research.

    As always, we are joined by industry professionals for expert input and guidance, including Vicki Wallis and Malin Ekengren.

    Firstly, watch the introduction video from Charlie Bradley Ross, where she explains the importance of addressing your competitors. Then head into each segment below. Have your What To Do Before You Launch Your Business Checklist handy to make notes and check off what elements of your business you have already completed.

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  • Writing Your Business Plan and Fundraising

    with The SFC Team
    Summary

    This is part three of What To Do Before You Launch Your Business: Writing Your Business Plan and Fundraising. We are uncovering the Foundations Of A Healthy Business, but before you are ready to grow and thrive, you need to launch successfully!

    All businesses should have a business plan. It is used to secure investment, and often convinces customers, suppliers and potential employees to support you. As an entrepreneur, it is also useful to help stay on track of your objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts. So in this Lesson, we guide you through the necessary steps to writing your own business plan: what you need to include, what it should look like, and what parts you maybe would not have thought were relevant - like your strengths and weaknesses.

    A business plan isn't all about financial metrics, but they do help when it comes to fundraising, and this is something most businesses will look to at some point. So in this Lesson we also guide you through fundraising options, including crowdfunding and angel investment. Even if you don't think you need it now, becoming savvy to all of this business speak is beneficial to keeping your confidence up, and you never know who you'll meet or inspire.

    As always, we are joined by industry professionals for expert input and guidance, including Indre Butkevicute, Nick Howe, Raimonda Jankunaite, Jeroen van der Heide and Elizabeth Pirrie.

    Firstly, watch the introduction video from Charlie Bradley Ross, where she explains why a business plan is important, and why fundraising is integral to launching a sustainable business. Then head into each segment below. Have your What To Do Before You Launch Your Business Checklist handy to make notes and check off what elements of your business you have already completed.

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  • Branding Your Business: Purpose and Storytelling

    with The SFC Team
    Summary

    This is part four of What To Do Before You Launch Your Business: Branding Your Business: Purpose and Storytelling. We are uncovering the Foundations Of A Healthy Business, but before you are ready to grow and thrive, you need to launch successfully!

    We hear time and again from established fashion brands that it was their purpose that drove them through difficult periods. Either they were struggling with sourcing, had issues in production, weren't seeing the sales they wanted, or simply didn't have the funds or time to focus on their endeavour. However, they saw a need for their product or service, and with a defined brand purpose they were able to hold on to their objective. In this Lesson we address what a "brand purpose" is, how to identify yours, and then how to tell this story to your customers and others across your production and retail teams. We also guide you in what you can do to stand out, especially in a crowded market or when "sustainability" is a buzzword.

    As always, we are joined by industry professionals for expert input and guidance, including Andrew Holder Ross, Sabine Harnau, Simona Campli, Jennifer Hakim and Indie Foolheea.

    Firstly, watch the introduction video from Charlie Bradley Ross, where she explains the importance of branding for the longevity and trust-building of your sustainable business. Then head into each segment below. Have your What To Do Before You Launch Your Business Checklist handy to make notes and check off what elements of your business you have already completed.

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  • Getting Ahead With Legal Requirements and Due Diligence

    with The SFC Team
    Summary

    This is part five of What To Do Before You Launch Your Business: Getting Ahead With Legal Requirements and Due Diligence. We are uncovering the Foundations Of A Healthy Business, but before you are ready to grow and thrive, you need to launch successfully!

    The legalities of running a business are overwhelming, there's no denying it. And often, as business owners, you simply do not have the experience or background to know what you need to have implemented before you launch a business. It's definitely daunting, but we are here to guide you through the considerations you need to make before you launch and throughout the growth of your business. We cover everything from Intellectual Property and counterfeiting, to modern slavery and equal employment opportunities, due diligence in materials testing, requirements for shipping, developing contracts for your workforce and supply chain, and certifications you may want to take forward in your business. It is a massive topic, however, just take it step by step.

    As always, we are joined by industry professionals for expert input and guidance, including lawyer David Fyfield, Oritain fibre-tracing company, Collect ID, Martha Silcott (Fab Little Bag), Victoria Jenkins, Young Women's Trust and TSG Consulting.

    Firstly, watch the introduction video from Charlie Bradley Ross, where she explains the absolute importance of knowing your legal requirements and how to implement due diligence across your sourcing, production, retail and HR teams. Then head into each segment below. Have your What To Do Before You Launch Your Business Checklist handy to make notes and check off what elements of your business you have already completed.

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  • Pricing Your Products To Sell

    with The SFC Team
    Summary

    This is part seven of What To Do Before You Launch Your Business: Pricing Your Products To Sell. We are uncovering the Foundations Of A Healthy Business, but before you are ready to grow and thrive, you need to launch successfully!

    Pricing your product or service does not need to be difficult or scary. In this Lesson we guide you through terminology that could be new to you if this is your first venture, such as 'margin' and 'landed cost', and how to get started on figuring out a price for your product. We guide you through pricing structures dependent on where and how you want to sell (which you should have discovered in the previous Lesson on Creating Your Sales and Marketing Strategies), and the tech tools available that will support your accountancy and reporting. As always, we are joined by industry professionals for expert input and guidance, including Thierry Bayle and Maria Pesin.

    Firstly, watch the introduction video from Charlie Bradley Ross, where she explains the importance of establishing your value - and therefore your pricing strategy - in order to sell your products or service. Then head into each segment below. Have your What To Do Before You Launch Your Business Checklist handy to make notes and check off what elements of your business you have already completed.

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  • Creating Your Sales and Marketing Strategies

    with The SFC Team
    Summary

    This is part six of What To Do Before You Launch Your Business: Creating Your Sales and Marketing Strategies. We are uncovering the Foundations Of A Healthy Business, but before you are ready to grow and thrive, you need to launch successfully!

    Another whopping and potentially daunting subject to cover, especially if the thought of sales or marketing fills you with dread - ultimately it is talking about yourself and your business, but in order to be successful and grow your idea into a sustainable profitable venture, you need to sell! In this Lesson we uncover what a sales and marketing strategy is, and what you need in order develop one. We then guide you through the key elements of selling, from choosing where you should sell, to how you should sell, and all of the inbetween topics that will make the decision-making less frightening, such as creating a pre-order sales model, to opening your own shop, to using social platforms to sell.

    As always, we are joined by industry professionals for expert input and guidance, including Connie di Gennaro, Sabine Harnau, Caroline Henne, Jonathan Chippindale, Zak Avery and Davina Ebikeme.

    Firstly, watch the introduction video from Charlie Bradley Ross, where she explains the importance of developing a sales and marketing strategy that works for you. Then head into each segment below. Have your What To Do Before You Launch Your Business Checklist handy to make notes and check off what elements of your business you have already completed.

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  • Planning Ahead To Keep Your Creative Business On Track

    with The SFC Team
    Summary

    This is part seven of What To Do Before You Launch Your Business: Planning Ahead To Keep Your Creative Business On Track. We are uncovering the Foundations Of A Healthy Business, but before you are ready to grow and thrive, you need to launch successfully!

    Once you have launched, you will really need to keep on track of your operations, your sales and your team. No matter whether you want to stay as you are, or grow and scale, you need to think smartly about your business, especially to be efficient with your resources and cash flow. In this Lesson we provide you with insight into various methods of maximising productivity, tech tools and automations to support and streamline your operations, and approaches to business wellbeing that should not be overlooked.

    As always, we are joined by industry professionals for expert input and guidance, including systems strategist Kat Soper, fashion tech consultant Nataliya Makulova, and time management coach Clare Evans.

    Firstly, watch the introduction video from Charlie Bradley Ross, where she explains just why planning ahead is integral to managing both yourself and your business. Then head into each segment below. Have your What To Do Before You Launch Your Business Checklist handy to make notes and check off what elements of your business you have already completed.

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Interviews


Follow on Masterclasses:

How To Make Your Fashion Business More Sustainable

How To Source Ethical Fabrics

The Design Process: From Design To Product


Additional Reading