Designers expend endless amounts of energy day in and day out to realize their dream, bringing their own line into the limelight to be worn by many. Unfortunately, this feat isn’t simple and requires hours of highly concentrated dedication. Many fall into a lull between initiation and success. That lull isn’t based on an absence of talent or drive, but often times an inability to receive funding. Gathering funds from parents, friends, and colleagues is enough to get started.
Heck, personally, you’ve even received minor market validation by having the ability to make profits from select samples. Still. To make it to the next level…because there are levels to this, you must attain funding. Fashion funding is underutilized but it doesn’t mean the resources aren’t out there.
How to receive a $50k check because you’ve even started
Banks oversee one of the largest organizations devoted to helping early stage businesses develop into the Apples of their industry. SBA aka Small Business Administration administers loans ranging from as low as $25k to as high as $350k. Whether you’re approved for the smallest amount or the largest, the SBA’s funds will leave you in much better shape than you were when you began. However, there’s a bit of a caveat. After all, you are dealing with banks. Typically, to be granted a loan you’re credit score has to meet or exceed 700. A criterion like this is expected but talented, ambitious designers with subpar credit scores don’t have to rely solely on banks. Alternative options exist to propel those dreams forward also.
I don’t want to be imprisoned by credit blemishes
Kudos. You’ve managed to begin a relatively successful campaign without being shackled by credit. It didn’t stop you before you started and it’s not your intention to let it start now. Luckily, other organizations agree and believe in you as much as you do. “Character Loans” have been created around this idea that credit or cash flow shouldn’t predetermine the future of your line. Community based Lenders which are non-profit, individually financed organizations, give out these donations consistently to sustain the vision of the designer. Of course, they don’t come without their expectations as well. It’s strongly recommended that prior to seeking “character loans” designers: construct a well-defined business plan, be based in the community of the organization that’s doing the lending, and receive counseling and a referral from SCORE.
Financial stuff just isn’t my thing
It doesn’t have to be. No one expects an unseasoned entrepreneur to have all the answers when it comes to managing their own finances. Companies and groups are specifically designed to guide beginners along the path of serial entrepreneurship.
SCORE has had the backs of many startups on the verge of crumbling. As a non-profit organization focused on small business, they’ve compiled a team of experienced mentors that routinely give advice online and in local chapters. Counseling isn’t just isolated to one particular type of finance either. Mentorship ranges from SBA loans, Character Loans, Angel Investment, and Crowdfunding.
Make more friends like the ones you have
These aren’t the friends you just grab coffee with or go to the movies with. These friends are the ones we talked about early on. The ones that loved your fashion design and loved it enough to support it with cash. Believe it or not there are more people out there very similar to your friends. The good thing is they may be willing to assist in cash flow also. These people can be found and tapped into thanks to one of the greatest economic revolutions to date, crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding is the act of multiple people making small contributions to fund a project. Many platforms are out there to help bring recognition to your brand. Kickstarter, Indiego-go and Gofundme are some of the top sites out there and they only charge a minor fee, an average of 5%, to use their platform. Considering the amount of traffic these sites attract and the significant funding projects have received, 5% is a small price to pay.
From Samples to Shelves
The possibilities of receiving funding aren’t endless, but they are abundant. Expansion and growth of your fashion company is attainable. Venture out and explore the various programs. At some point, for your line to optimize its potential, it’s essential to get financial assistance.