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The Fashion Business Manual: A Fashion/Marketing Student’s Honest Review

Working your way up the fashion industry as a designer can seem quite daunting, especially when there’s so much that needs to be done to create your dream brand. Without the added pressure of the competitive fashion scene, and all the classes you believe you must take in order to succeed, you have a lot on your plate as it is. Although I’m not saying that Business courses are inefficient or unnecessary (I’m a Marketing major myself!), and while college education is very valuable, it’s not always the one key factor that determines your success. 


In other words, there are tons of online and printed resources designed to aid you in your fashion label venture experience! My personal favorite is The Fashion Business Manual: An Illustrated Guide To Building A Fashion Brand, by Fashionary― an online store that sells a wide variety of products for amateur and experienced fashion designers alike, such as sketchbooks, informational books, and portfolios. The Fashion Business Manual (FBM) is an excellent resource for anybody who aspires to break into the fashion world as a designer/entrepreneur. Aside from that, what makes this little, gray, and hardbound book so special? Let’s take a look and see.




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Photo via @fashionary


First and foremost, The Fashion Business Manual explains the whole process behind the creation of a brand. This section of the book is particularly important because it sets the tone and foundation for the following parts. After all, without a defined concept of what you wish your brand to look like, it’s impossible to start a company. Among other things, this section explains the eight building blocks for creating your brand, how to properly analyze it, and how to organize focus groups to discuss important matters that concern the brand as a whole.


Up next, the FBM tells us all about product development. This element is important because successful fashion businesses rely on a good product development strategy. After reading this section, you’ll be able to understand a myriad of proactive measures to ensure a satisfying product development plan. Some of these include how to implement the SMART project brief (Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Relevant, and Timely briefs), the complete production process (from prepping tech packs to packing and shipping the garments), effective quality control, and product packaging. Additionally, it provides some very useful and detailed information on the different types of textiles used in the fashion industry, including statistics, pros and cons, and places of origin.


The third part of the FBM has a lot to do with wholesaling― a subject that prioritizes both the business and negotiation aspects of being a fashion designer. In this chapter, you can learn all about the dynamics of showrooms and traderooms, and how to determine price points and negotiate sales terms. 


There’s a few more hidden gems at the end of this section that explain different tips on how to get paid quicker, how to sell both big and small, and how to register and license your brand as a franchise.




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Photo via @fashionary


It’s now time to discuss my favorite part of the whole book: marketing! Besides being an essential component of any business strategy, marketing encourages the development of your creative skills― perhaps more so than any other entrepreneurial tool! After all, marketing is usually the department that handles market research, advertising, and how to best promote any given products or services. 


The possibilities are literally endless when it comes to developing a marketing strategy. As part of the whole array of advice the FBM offers, you can find more information, like how to work with models, PR agencies, and customers; as well as how to market to different generations, how to handle social media, and the basics of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). 


The following section of the FBM explains the most important aspects of retailing, aka how to sell apparel. Among other valuable lessons, this FBM chapter teaches us how to build a good online store, how to create attractive storefronts and displays, how to approach the different types of customers, and the foundations of the POS (Point of Purchase) system.


The final and one of the most exciting parts of the FBM is called “Starting Your Brand” and it includes the following items: how to name your business, set a budget, write a business plan, how to pitch to potential investors, measure sales performance, and how to create awareness of hidden costs. 




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Photo via @fashionary


As a Fashion and Marketing student, I can honestly say this book speaks volumes on how to properly start your business. In fact, during my reading of The Fashion Business Manual, I have come across countless lessons that I’ve never learned in my college-level business and marketing classes. 


It’s especially effective on how it provides illustrations and diagrams on almost every single page so as to better enlighten the reader. Also, the layout and color scheme of the content is very attractive and reader-friendly. The minimalist aspect of the book’s hardcover format gives the impression that the FBM is easy to understand. Finally, it’s important to highlight that the FBM has an incredible list of references at the end of the book, including a variety of fashion books and websites. Up to date, it is the best fashion business book I have ever come across. 


However, there are a couple points that, in my opinion, can improve in case the creators of the book are planning to release a future revised edition. My first critique is that the first and final sections of the FBM are very similar in the sense that both of them have a lot to do with starting your own brand, thereby working in tandem. Hypothetically speaking, It would be more effective if the sixth section was actually changed to the second section. Additionally, I would include some basic information on accounting, finances, and public relations― mainly for the sake of having some rudimentary knowledge on these subjects.


Putting these suggestions aside, I highly recommend you purchase this book if you are interested in creating your own fashion brand, or if you simply wish to work in the industry, but aren’t really sure what department you would like to work in. Remember, the fashion world is as immense in terms of job opportunities as it is diverse; therefore, I invite you to take a look at every profession this field offers. Who knows, maybe you are destined for the fashion industry after all!

Andrea Capllonch is a fourth-year Marketing Major who loves editing literary and journalistic content, studying emerging trends in fashion, books and music, playing the violin and discovering new bands and musical artists. She aspires to someday break into the literary world as an editor for a publishing house or an online publication (while freelance-writing). When she isn't busy editing or working at the local indie bookstore, you'll most likely find her cuddling her two cats, Bobby and Ziggy.
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