iFashion Member Blogs

The bloggers are members of the iFashion community who write about their views and experiences. The views and opinions expressed in this section are strictly those of the authors and do not reflect those of iFashion or their affiliates. Any blog posts that are slanderous, advertise a company/business or are unfitting for the blog format (e.g. they are questions that should be posted on the forum) will be deleted.
May 23

Food for thought

aishab Posted by: aishab | Comment (0)
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Food for thought !!!!I ama qualified designer for over a year now and  iam still looking for work in my field . i do no the idustry is cutt-throat but is it really so hard to get a job out there or is it just me? iv even considered  changing my major and maybe start something new study something different. Whats even more frustrating is that many possible job opportunities  require some form of experience which is even harder obtain as the industry dont really wanna take chances with newbies. anyways  i still havent given up completely im still applying and still looking for that opportunity even if its not my dream job yett but who knows maybe my luck will turn around sometime (soon). 



May 22

Business Plans (For Creatives)

AmandaLeighOC Posted by: AmandaLeighOC | Comment (5)
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Prompted by the feature Angie wrote Business Plan: your dream's best friend I thought I'd give you some of my perspectives on business plans. I have a background in banking and have worked extensively with companies' business plans and proposals, particularly in the last couple of years of my career. Granted, I worked mostly with big companies but the principles are definitely the same (and you may be interested to know that most of what crossed my desk was not mind-blowingly brilliant).

First, a different point of view

I write my ideas down in a ton of notebooks and pads stationed all over the place which I then transfer to the PC. It got me thinking that a business plan is like a portfolio of sketches or artwork - you might do individual pieces but then you put them together. As you do more work you'll replace pieces to show how you're skills have developed. Although the portfolio is made up of these individual pieces, it is one body of work - all pieces relating to one another to form an overall picture.

So think of you business plan as your portfolio - of your ideas about your business.

The Point of the Plan

If you've had a look at books and websites about writing business plans I'm sure you had a hard time choosing one. Most business plans are dull to write (and dull to read I might add). If you approach writing a business plan as an exercise in filling in blanks on a template, yours will be too. The goal here is not to check boxes, it is to write down your idea and how you intend to make your idea work - taking into consideration factors like the risks you'll face and the challenges you'll encounter.

The point of the plan then is to document your thinking. Good thoughts = good plan.  That's it.

Getting past the jargon

Every industry has jargon and terminology that only those in the industry will understand and business is no different. I actually think business plans are so hard to write because you first have to learn the lingo. If someone asked me to do a SWOT analysis or to discuss how I intend to position my product, I could write 5, 10, 50 pages without having to reference a textbook or website because I've spoken this language for more than 10 years. If you haven't got a background in business you can't just dive in, you have to go learn business - when you really just want to learn fashion.

However, just because you don't know what something is called, doesn't mean you don't know what it is. The words we use just represent thoughts and you can use your own 'non-business' language to talk about what you want to do. If you're starting out the point is to get your plan organised NOT to write it in a sophisticated manner which a business person is going to understand (unless of course you're going to a bank for money).

Using a Template

I advocate using a template as a starting point because there are some fundamentals that you HAVE to cover. Creative people think outside the box - that's what makes creativity so special - but unfortunately sometimes there is a good reason for following rules. Templates force you to think about import ant areas of the business you may miss and also help you understand formats of things like cash flows and budgets if you've not come across them before.**

Where do you start?

Every template covers the main areas of the:

   1. General Business
   2. Management
   3. Product and/or Service
   4. Market
   5. Marketing, and
   6. Finance. 

They may slice and dice them differently, but everything you do could be slotted into one of those sub-headings. Looking at it like that it doesn't seem so intimidating (I think).

A good plan takes time

Let me stress that you don't need to spit out a 100 page document before you're allowed to sell your first product but it would be a good idea to have a plan before you hire a CMT to make 100 products.

The Sanlam Cobalt booklet that is referenced in Business Plan: your dream's best friend may be 246 pages long but it is also one of the most user-friendly templates I've seen. Don't be intimidated by the length - you don't have to do the whole thing in one go. A business plan evolves over months, sometimes years - not in a weekend!

As your understanding of what is required for your business develops, so will you plan and you will need to tap into more sophisticated business lingo so other business people can understand you. You'll learn about all the technical jargon as you go along - or maybe you'll hire someone to do it for you.

 But to start, just have a plan and write it down.

** I have a couple of great resources  but they're printed as PDF files so I can't reference the source or link you to their URLs. If you'd like copies, pop me an email.

Links to Related Posts:


May 20

Burberry reports higher revenues despite profit decline

Sandiso Posted by: Sandiso | Comment (0)
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British luxury goods company Burberry reported a 12,5% dip in profit for the year to March '09, reports say. According to the Associated Press, however, revenue was up 21%.  "2008/09 was one of the most challenging years the luxury sector has ever faced, especially in the second half. Against this background, Burberry grew revenue to £1.2 billion. We also took rapid action to mitigate the impact of the economic slowdown. Entering the new year, we believe Burberry is best positioned to capitalise on opportunities which will deliver sustainable long-term growth." Burberry CEO Angela Arhendts reportedly said.
The early days of the global economic downturn, which is the biggest factor for losses in revenues for industries across the board, saw resilience for luxury brand companies but as the downturn progressed reports of its effects started trickling in.
Chanel had to cut 200 jobs due to the global recession and Louis Vuitton had to halt plans for a mega store in Tokyo. Richemont, owners of Cartier and Montblanc, watched their share price fall and sales decline as the downturn rendered luxury brands susceptible to the global doom and gloom.
Although Arhendts told reporters she was confident that Burberry is best positioned to emerge strong once the recession subsides the company had announced in January that around 540 jobs in Britain and Spain would be shed as part of its cost cutting program.

May 20

CLOTEX? You need to read this (as a start-up)!

AmandaLeighOC Posted by: AmandaLeighOC | Comment (3)
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If, like me, you are starting a business, I'm sure you will agree that nothing - NOTHING - comes easy. It is incredible how much effort is required to move forward just a little bit.

 I thought I'd blog about CLOTEX because of the really fantastic interaction I had with them a couple of days ago. I was looking for a CMT that, preferably, had some specialist knowledge with a particular fabric. I've floated onto their website a couple of times but didn't really click. Surprising because CLOTEX introduces itself as "a reputable representative organisation of the SMME sector of the South African clothing and textile industries."

 SMME? Wait a minute, that's me!  (SMME stands for Small, Medium, Micro Enterprises; if you're starting out or if sales are less than R150k you're classified as micro)

May 19

Who is your favourite artist / designer?

Lokolauren Posted by: Lokolauren | Comment (2)
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Hi everyone!

I have found my idol and I'm in love!
Have you ever gotten the fuzzy ‘love tingle' from merely setting your eyes on something beautiful?
This is the only time love at first sight has hit me and I need to share it with you!

I was searching Beautiful/Decay Magazine's online shop for original t-shirts. They started Artists Series Apparel so that they could do something more for some of the artists and designers they feature in the magazine. The most popular products on the site are the t-shirts (which are really cool designs), but they have an array of other apparel aswell. I loved this concept, so I had a look and came across this amazing design.

May 18

Style and Image LOVELETTER

TTMM Posted by: TTMM | Comment (0)
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Just over two weeks ago we saw the staging of the SAMA awards (South African Music Awards).  I have no doubt that this is one of the paramount events in our music industry.  I was somehow not impressed by some of the winners, I think other musicians deserved an award or two.  Another thing that was disappointing were some of the live performances except for the MC.  Anyway this is not the reason for my writing.

Having cited my disappointments above, the biggest one was the lack of fashion sense by some of the attendees.  I would love to see our musicians take their image and style very serious especially if they expect the public to buy their records.  For heaven sake that was not a Sunday afternoon braai.  Good image and fashion sense could sell you ten thousand cd's more.  It is worth keeping in mind that some women and perhaps even men buy cd's based on the artist's physical appeal.

May 18

Keep your eyes on the streets...

Sandiso Posted by: Sandiso | Comment (5)
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The advent of street style photography in the form of blogs like The Sartolialist and many others is not something that just conveniently happenned because photographers thought it was 'cool'. It is the influence that the streets are increasingly gaining in the fashion world.

When 'The Sartorialist' can claim to be one of TIME magazine's 100 most influential blogs in the design world, who are we to disagree?

The days when the runway was the sole indicator for trend direction are over. People are making their own decisions and starting their own trends. South Africa's very own Smarteez crew is proof of that. The little guy can no longer take instruction from the fashion industry elite. He's a rebel and he's increasingly getting attention.

May 18

How the world styles Africa

Angie Posted by: Angie | Comment (0)
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African textiles are hot right now - mixing fabrics and patterns is a another trend that is pushing the Africana thing forward. Here are some takes on how international stylists chose to capture the African looks.

May 18

Printed Matter: mixed media

Angie Posted by: Angie | Comment (0)
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Printed Matter is a project about craft within the context of graphic design. It brings together digital and hand made, aiming to challenge the idea what a printed page can be.


May 15

African Fashion's opportunity to shine

Sandiso Posted by: Sandiso | Comment (1)
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On the 12th of June, two days before the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup commences, the inaugural African Fashion Week will get underway. Showcasing designers from 14 African countries, AFW will be the first convergence of the continent's respective fashion industries.

As soccer superstar like David Beckham grace the country with their demigod presence so will the ‘footballers' wives' with their fabulosity. They might just want to witness what the African continent's fashion industry has to offer.

Will the likes of Victoria Beckham leave South Africa with a good impression, impressed by the Dark Continent's not-so-dark fashion industry or will they leave feeling like they sat through just ‘another' fashion week in their doubtlessly busy fashion schedule?


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