So you want to be a “true” fashion designer? You want your fashion line to retail in stores like Duro Olowu, MOMO, Jewel by Lisa or Tiffany Amber Nigeria. How do you do it? How do you get your line from initial concept to delivery? The process of getting your initial line from concept to delivery is known as the Product Development Process. It involves so many layers and players and we will go through these in more detail in future articles. For now, let’s start with understanding what the fashion product development process is all about and identify some of the players involved.
Product Development, according to BusinessDictionary.com is the “creation of products with new or different characteristics that offer new or additional benefits to the customer. It may involve modification of an existing product or its presentation, or formulation of an entirely new product that satisfies a newly defined customer want or market niche.”
This definition works but we’ve still got to break it down in a way that you really get. When we talk product development of a fashion line, for our purposes, we mean:
- The initial idea. For example, you would like to develop a line of tees called Lagos Big Girls Tees by Amina.
- Screening the Idea. After you come up with your Lagos Big Girls Tees by Amina idea you will want to screen i.e. see if the idea will work. Ask your friends, family, neighbors and research and gather information on your idea. Where is your target market based? How will you reach your target market? Will you make a profit? How pragmatic and easy is it for you to manufacture this line of tees in Lagos? Abuja? Calabar? Kaduna? Who are your competitors? How much will your tees retail for?
- Create your prototype and TEST it. After the above screening, its time to test your idea. Make some sample tees. Determine how you want your Lagos Big Girls Tees by Amina text inscribed on your tees? Do you want art work on it? Is your target market on the same page with you? How much will it cost to produce it? Make some Lagos Big Girls Tees by Aminasample tees, wear them and see what kinds of responses you get. Give some of your tees to your targeted audience and see if they like wearing it.
- Supply Chain Logistics is important. If you want your tees to be sold at every market in Nigeria or local boutiques, you still have to figure out how you get those tees to your customers so they can purchase it. This process is called Supply Chain Logistics. Once you determine and work out an agreement to retail your tees to boutique owners or retail stores where your customers might go, you will need to determine how to get your tees to your customers.
- To handle these supplychain logistics you will need to hire a company that can handle delivery of your tees on time to the place where your customers will buy your tees. This company will handle transportation, inventory, warehousing, packaging and other things involved in the logistics phase.
- Now the product is ready to go to market. Marketing and PR comes to play, distribution and other strategies you implement to allow you keep up with demand and supply of your products to your target audience.
For the above basic product development process many key players will be involved in helping make your dream come true. They include manufacturers, apparel producers, apparel jobbers and contractors. We will address these players in future articles.
~Article by Uduak Oduok
Founded in 2007, Ladybrille® Magazine is a California based pioneer digital publication demystifying the image of Africans in the west through contemporary African fashion and celebrating the brilliant woman in business and leadership, with an emphasis on the African woman in the diaspora. Our coverage includes stories on capital, access to markets, expertise, hiring and retention, sales, marketing, and promotions.