Starting A Fashion Business In College: Expectations vs. Reality

Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash

Starting a fashion business, and any business for that matter, is not easy in the slightest. You will be facing intense competition in an already saturated market, along with the stress of being a student entrepreneur.

While it is not entirely encouraging to instill negativity, ignoring the hard facts will not do you any good. Setting up a successful business can be more challenging than you might think. 

So, here let us take a look at some of the ways that your reality might contrast your expectations when starting a fashion business in college. 

Expectation 1: You Will Be Able to Handle Both Studies and Business Easily

When you first go ahead with your business idea, it might be tempting to think that it is going to be an easy journey. After all, if you can handle a hectic class schedule and a part-time job – how difficult is it going to be when you are your own boss? 

Reality: You Will Need Help 

Even if you are a born businessperson, juggling studies and work is never going to be easy. In fact, you might find that 24 hours a day is not enough, even when you compromise on food and sleep. In addition to worrying about your grades, you will also have to stress over managing your account, developing your business, and marketing. 

As a small business owner, you might not be able to afford a business team. But, instead, you can find expert help with academic work at a fraction of the cost. With a professional coursework writing service like EssayPro, you will be able to delegate your important essays and coursework to essay writers. This way, you do not have to worry about fast-approaching deadlines and rest assured knowing that you will not have to compromise on your education to get ahead with your business.

Expectation 2: Everything Will Fall Into Place Once I Start 

The toughest part is getting started. Once you have your core idea, you just need to do something about it or take the first step. You can deal with everything else later.

Reality: You Need a Business Plan

While Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ mantra might be helpful for many occasions, starting a fashion business might not be one of them. Yes, sometimes you need to take a leap of faith. But that alone is not going to suffice.

The right kind of business plan can make all the difference between success and failure. You will need to have a clear idea about what to do for every potential scenario. 

From creating design samples, finding materials, registering your business, to securing investors, and engaging your audience, you should always have a plan in mind. A strategy is an inevitable factor when it comes to developing your own business and paving its future. 

Moreover, almost every person you approach with your business idea will ask you what your business plan is. It can also be crucial in order to track your progress and keep yourself focused.

Expectation 3: You Can Be a One-Man Army

Being a solo entrepreneur means that you have to do everything by yourself without seeking any help. When you are launching only a small website from the comfort of your room, why do you even need to hire somebody else?

Reality: You Have Both Strengths and Weaknesses 

As a fashion designer or enthusiast, there are certainly going to be several aspects that you are interested in. You might thrive in these parts, and running your company might come naturally to you. However, you should also be ready to acknowledge your weak points. 

For instance, you might need some help with accounting or social media marketing. It is important that you figure out where you need help and, of course, get it. It will not be a bad idea to find other people who can support you in your journey. If you do not want partners, you could also consider working with freelancers who share the same ideas.

Photo by Hannah Morgan on Unsplash

Expectation 4: You Can Easily Sell Your Products

You have complete confidence in the purpose of your business, and you are 100% sure that as soon as you launch, people will want to buy your products. It is only a matter of time, and your target customers will come around. 

Reality: You Need to Cater to the Needs of Your Audience

In the current fashion landscape, it can be a true challenge to come up with a unique value proposition for your target customers. Even if you are innovative, convincing the audience to buy your product is not going to be an easy task.

Despite your best marketing efforts, it will still be hard to understand what might click with your audience. To succeed, you will first need to figure out the ‘pain point’ of your target customer and then figure out how to solve it.

And this will require you to do some serious research about what your customer wants, and consider their feedback. In fact, it is the easiest part of your business – to listen to what your customers have to say and deliver accordingly.

Expectation 5: My Investors Are Always My Friends

Your investors believe in your idea and trust you with their capital. After all, we hang out together all the time, and it is going to be an easy ride all the way.

Reality: Your Relationship With Your Investor Can Get Tricky 

Any relationship that involves money is inherently fragile. Even if it is your parents, relatives, or your friends who invested in your business, you will need to make sure that you are providing them with sufficient information. 

It is not enough that you provide an elevator pitch that will impress an investor, but you should also be clear about how you are going to deliver in the long run. Your relationship with them should be based on trust, and they should have confidence that you will be able to execute a business plan for the success of your business.

For a student, this can get even trickier when you have other things to manage. To begin with, you will need to educate yourself about business ownership and structure. You should also be able to know when to raise equity and debt.

In a few years, you might end up owning only a fraction of your company. This can potentially affect your control over the business as well. As such, it is crucial that you are fully aware of the risks and responsibilities when working with investors. 


As much as we would love to say that starting a fashion business is going to be everything you expected it to be, you might be better off knowing how harsh reality can be. It will help you prepare in advance, plan for contingencies, and help you grow as a person as well as an entrepreneur.

If you are already a student in the fashion industry, there is plenty to learn from the people and resources around you. Make sure that you take advantage of every networking opportunity and educate yourself about the business landscape so that you can face the real world with your head held high.

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