You have to be at work at 9am. It takes you an hour to get there (door to door), and an hour for you to get ready. What time do you need to get up...? 7am.
This is how most of us plan our journeys, so why not translate this to our businesses?
Specifically for us at Creative Fashion Services focusing on the manufacturing side of the fashion industry, we believe that working backwards may help you to plan better.
Let us create a scenario:
You hope to sell garments that sit alongside brands like Ted Baker, Reiss, and Allsaints.
Your dresses are around £200 retail. You plan to sell through an online marketplace where they take 20% commission from each sale made.
£200 (dress retail cost) - 20% (commission from online marketplace) = £160
So now you know that you will have £160 left per dress that will pay towards the costs for the following:
Marketing & Pr - online, offline, social media and photography etc
Delivery costs (some things you order you may have to pay for.)
Brand labels, care labels (maybe swing tags)
Fabrics - main fabrics, lining, interfacing
Trims - fastenings and appliques etc
Rent for your office/place of work
Administration costs - stationary
Manufacturing costs - (how much each garment costs to make, (cut and sew only).)
Assuming you have calculated all of the costs except manufacturing how much do you have left?
We have copied the same list below (as above) with some costs associated, so that we can get a better idea of how much we will have for manufacturing, again per dress sold after commission (£160)
Marketing & Pr - online, offline, social media and photography etc £10
Packaging costs £1
Incoming Delivery costs (some things you order you may have to pay for.) £3
Brand labels, care labels (maybe swing tags) £3
Fabrics - main fabrics, lining, interfacing £40
Development costs £20 (pattern cutting, toiling and sampling based on selling 30 dresses, the more dresses you sell the more the development cost goes down)
Trims - fastenings and appliques etc £10
Rent for your office/place of work £3
Administration costs - stationary £1
operational costs £10
Manufacturing costs - (how much each garment costs to make?)
(We have left some things out like margin of sales in this example, this scenario is just an approximation and not based on costings.)
Adding all of those costs together = £131 leaving us with £29 for manufacturing.
How feasible is it?
We now need to see how feasible it is to get the dress made (cut & sewn) for £29. (We will assume that we are seeking a UK manufacturer in this example.)
We can now maybe contact manufacturers, ask them what their minimum order quantities (MOQs) are and then find out whether they can manufacture said dress for £29 per piece?
If you are unable to find a manufacturer that can work to your budget, then maybe you need to find a bigger manufacturing budget by shaving off some of your other costs?
Or maybe your retail price needs to be increased?
Or maybe the dress cannot be made as it is, or at all?
Some fashion brands do drop styles because of the cost to produce.
Your brand, like all brands do, has a market position, and if your dress becomes too expensive will your market pay for it?
We created this scenario, to illustrate that you can do a lot of work beforehand on your brand, before you approach a manufacturer.
You should know your market? How much your garments will cost? Where you intend to sell?
We have had many conversations with designers who say that once they find out how much the manufacturing is, then they will decide their retail price.
We say why not try Working Backwards.
Please do let us know your thoughts and experience.