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Monday, 21 January 2013

Starting a UK Fashion Business

Unemployment has got a tight grip on much of society today however lots of people are shaking its vice by starting their own businesses and working for themselves. We’ve spoken with ASOS Marketplace who’ve seen a rise in the start-ups coming through their domain for designers, traders and consumers to sell new items and re-sell their vintage clothing online. ASOS have been kind enough to provide some tips on getting started in the UK fashion industry.

Branding
Branding is crucial to the success of your business. You should aim to make your brand name or logo relate to your designs in some way whilst keeping it simple and easy to pronounce. This will make your brand memorable. Coupled with amazing designs, quality branding can make your business a success. Of course you can also choose to go down the trader’s route if you have an eye for a deal and can find a margin by reselling.

Funding
To look for an investor you’ll need to show them that they can make money. So without an exceptional idea and a lot of luck you’ll probably find that you’re investing your own money. This can be daunting and so we stress the importance of keeping watch over your finances. Create a budget keep a file of your receipts. Make a spread sheet to track your cash flow, investments, debits and credits which you’ll need for your accounting.

Business Plan
Regardless of the type of business, you’ll need a plan in order to secure investment. Your plan should contain the following key areas as a minimum:
· The industry in which you will operate
· Your target market
· Direct competitors
· Mission statement
· A marketing plan that includes products, pricing, sales and distribution
· Financial plan
· An executive summary
Many organisations provide guidance on creating a business plan, including the Prince’s Trust.

Website
You should secure your domain before discussing your business to increase your chances of getting the name you desire. A domain can be bought and held for very little money so even if you don’t yet have the funds to build your website, buying the domain can still be useful to keep on hand whilst selling on another platform such as ASOS Marketplace.

Showcasing Your Creations
Experienced models don’t usually come cheap but if you’re savvy you could try putting an advert out at your nearest university or on StudentGems. Often students are keen to be involved projects that involve being made up and taking photos. You can also do the same to find a photographer however it’s probably best to hire some experience to make the most of your designs. Putting effort into how the product is showcased online will improve the feel of your brand; something that should translate to sales. Launching a pop-up boutique in the heart of a city is also a great way to arouse curiosity, make sales and increase brand awareness rapidly. There are agencies that assist with the management of pop-ups or you can contact an empty shop owner directly and discuss your needs.

This article was written by Akin Fagbohun who is a researcher and content writer on behalf of ASOS Marketplace.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Most Deserving Student

Last year, used car website Motors.co.uk launched their search for the UK’s Most Deserving Student, setting out to prove the stereotype wrong and find those students who are really going above and beyond – whether that’s by excelling at studies or sports, helping out with charities and the local community, or supporting friends and family. Over 200 nominations were received, with so many incredible stories being told. Stephen Jury, the Marketing Manager at Motors.co.uk said:

“We want to celebrate the achievements of young people across the UK and feel it’s time outstanding students were recognised for what makes them unique. Young people don’t always get the helping hand they deserve, especially when it comes to the motoring industry. So we thought a car and a donation would be a great reward to the student and their university.”

Motors.co.uk advertises hundreds of thousands of 2nd hand cars on their site, and selected a Renault Twingo, worth over £5,000, as the prize for this competition, because of its low running costs and suitability to the student lifestyle. They will also donate £1,000 to the student society or group of the winner’s choosing.

The initial nominations were eventually whittled down to a shortlist of just 10 exceptional students, which is where the fun really began. The competition was turned over to the public to vote for the student they thought deserved to drive off in that nippy Renault Twingo. It’ll have been a tough decision, as each student has a fantastic story and deserves the prize. There are lots of students who volunteer: Aimie who spends her time caring for terminally ill children at Acorn’s Children’s Hospice; Keldene who volunteers at residential youth camps for children with special needs; India who took a year out of her degree to do an International Health project in Malawi and Amanda who has just spent three weeks renovating a school in Ghana and will later be leading a charity climb to Mount Kilimanjaro.

Not forgetting those who have battled hardship to excel at their studies, like David who has overcome dyspraxia and dyslexia to achieve his PhD and Adam who has a severe congenital heart valve defect, but managed to achieve excellent GCSEs and A Level results despite undergoing open heart surgery during the exam period. There are also many of the shortlist with caring responsibilities, like Shanice who cares for her partner alongside studying to become a primary school teacher, and Nathan, who has been caring for his disabled mother since the age of 10. And then there are just those who go out of their way to help others around them, like Zoe who runs a support website for the wives and girlfriends of soldiers whilst her husband serves in Afghanistan and Renee who founded the eating disorder charity BEAT.

Voting closed on 4th January 2013 and the judges will select the winner out of the three students with the most votes. So head on over to read their stories and see who will pick up the keys to the Renault Twingo and be awarded the title of Motors.co.uk’ Motors’ Most Deserving.