At ASV, we’re making it our mission to share as much information with our incredible ASV Collective as we possibly can. BUT we can’t do this alone, so we’ve roped in some amazing female entrepreneurs to help us out, offer advice, and provide some inspiration to all of us.
This week we have reached out to Jenny Holloway, founder of Fashion Enter and Fashion Capital.
A few months ago, we held our first ASV Collective panel talk, which focussed on funding and scaling a fashion business. One of our incredible guest speakers was Jenny Holloway, who offered some completely invaluable and inspiring advice for our group of female fashion founders.
But with such good advice on how to reach out to buyers, how to write funding proposals, and how to sustainably and ethically scale production, we didn’t think it was fair that other fashion founders missed out.
So we reached out to Jenny, who kindly agreed to summarise some of the points discussed at the event.
💥 Where did the idea behind Fashion Enter and Fashion Capital come from?
I had lost my brand after ten years hard work to an unscrupulous fashion person who I had foolishly trusted. I ended up losing everything – including the house that was tied into the business. I felt a complete fool! I vowed that I would help designers to not make the same silly mistakes that I had made and hence FEL was born in 2006. FashionCapital.co.uk was actually created in 2001 and was my first job after I had lost my brand. I was working for the Government and supported new designers by creating a site that would provide all information free of charge to help creatives.
💥 You’ve had over 25 years of experience in the fashion industry. How do you think the industry has evolved over that time?
These last two years have been a dramatic transformation towards digital technologies – everything is changing at pace, and it’s important to embrace the new ways, but remember that skills are still so important such as pattern cutting and stitching.
💥 And where do you think the fashion industry is heading?
Definitely, I’m seeing a major step away from mass consumerisation and far more concern regarding who made my clothes and if they were ethically made. Recycling and upcycling is now a major growing area, and seeing designs in 3D technologies before making final samples is increasing in popularity.
💥 With your experience in buying, what is the number one mistake designers make when approaching buyers for the first time?
Being unprepared to give “absolute” and “full” information. You need to go into that meeting to know what price you want to sell at and what price is your absolute minimum. Also, not being prepared to know the buyer and their full range of responsibilities.
💥 What advice would you give to designers who are reaching out to manufacturers?
Go and visit and feel the factory. Do you have a good buzz from it? Trust your instincts here.
💥 What are the main things to focus on when increasing production size?
Are you really going to sell each size and quantity? Reduce to a minimum, then fast repeats. Cash flow is King!
💥 How important do you think it is for designers to keep sustainability in mind when increasing production? And what would your advice be for this?
It’s totally imperative to know the ethos of your brand, and heritage, and this means ethics as well as sustainability. It’s absolutely fine to say the ranges are made from end-of-rolls or deadstock fabrics, but don’t be something you are not. Think about how the consumer perceives it, and watch your grammar!
💥 What would your advice be for fashion founders who are looking to secure funding to support their businesses?
Absolutely go for everything you can and go for the max. This is where you need to review your ten-point plan and have a variety of USPs to understand the business tools such as Boston Matrix and 7ps of marketing. Be on it. Live and breathe your brand.
💥 What would be your number one piece of advice to fashion brand founders?
You need to be the master of all trades not the jack of all trades, and be resilient. This is a tough journey ahead, but it can also be so rewarding. Believe!
A huge thank you to Jenny for taking the time to answer these questions so thoughtfully. We hope you found our interview as inspiring as we did!
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Your ASV family xx