Every story has a beginning. Fashion for Profit is no different but with a history to share. Fashion for Profit was first conceived for the many talented students that I have had the pleasure of teaching who wanted to achieve their dreams of one day owning their own company and producing a successful line of clothing. The apparent lack of business information for start-up apparel manufacturers motivated me to provide this critical education and business training. I developed a class for the continuing education department at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. This hands-on, how to class, provided the one-on-one which assisted entrepreneurs develop a small, workable clothing line and get the business training needed to become successful in a business well known for its failures.

The classes were filled and proved to me there was a need for such courses. Some participants had the design talent and training but no business skills; others had business skills, but no idea where to begin when planning a line of clothing. It was stimulating to assist these talented individuals achieve their dreams by providing a solid business base and expertise on the various aspects of owning a small apparel company.

The fundamental material for “Fashion for Profit” has evolved over the many years that I have been involved with the fashion industry, both in the U.S. and in Europe, where I received my degree and began my design and teaching career. My experience as a teacher, consultant, and twice owning and operating my own business, has provided me with much information and experience.

“Fashion for Profit” has been developed to cover all the important aspects of going into business: licenses, business plans, bookkeeping, financing, costing, fabrication, contracting and the everyday logistics of running a new and growing apparel manufacturing company, plus the marketing (including E-commerce) and sales.  There is so much information out there about the fashion industry, but “Fashion for Profit” is the most professional source that professionals endorse, and which has proven to fill an educational, sourcing and general information gap. This website provides the critical help to a start-up and fast growing apparel manufacturer, as well as the resource information needed.

In the day-to-day operations of running any business, there are always forms necessary: from licenses, specification sheets, pattern cards, purchase order forms, shipping forms, etc. All these various forms can be downloaded from the web site (www.FashionforProfit.com) or you can use the blanks provided with the purchase of this book. In order to customize these forms, manufacturers can add their own business details on the top, then they will be ready for immediate use. This will save immeasurable time and energy in finding these “must have” forms and other important contracts needed when starting an apparel business.

The information that we provide has been put together with the help and advice of many experts, much reading, and my own expertise and experiences. To give this exciting new site more validity we have industry professionals in their own field of expertise to contribute. This gives the Fashion For Profit Team a solid basis of “real” material and expertise. However, I would still recommend that a start-up company find the best proven (check them first) experts available in their own area, who will help steer and guide them through the rough waters of this industry, which are not easy sailing but never boring. Our website also has a list of industry resources, which can assist entrepreneurs with more detailed information.

In 1999 “Fashion for Profit” led me to a new venture The Fashion Business Incorporated, a 501(c3) educational nonprofit, which I previously named the Fashion Business Incubator (FBI) (LA). It was already apparent to me while teaching, that the link most needed by emerging design-driven manufacturers was business education, finding options and training, or fashion economics, plus networking opportunities, promotion and resources.

The Fashion Business Inc. has had an amazing 20-year journey, which due to the political environment we decided to close in August 2017 and open as a “For Profit” entity. I am proud and humbled by the support and friendships that have grown from my vision! Many supporters have helped to turn a great idea into a wonderful resource for growing apparel manufacturers within the LA area.

Since I founded the FBI’s, some the FBI members have grown and become successful designer/ manufacturers. Others have chosen to remain on a more secure level and keep their sales small and manageable. Unfortunately, others have fallen by the wayside or chosen to go in other directions. But whichever type or size of business, what we built has and does benefit the industry and the community as a whole.

I am convinced and committed to what we have developed here in the US. I am excited and convinced that the US industry will continue to grow on a Global platform. I believe we have a collective responsibility to create the infrastructure, community, educational resources, and the opportunities that will enable the next generation of new entrepreneurs to spring up and blossom wherever they happen to be on this planet.

  Frances Harder

Copyright © 2017, Fashion for Profit.

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