Not too long ago, we wrote about the benefits of having a mentor as you work to start and grow your fashion business. Mentors are so important because they offer you an objective third party opinion along each step of the way.
A mentor has nothing personally invested in you or your business but instead has plenty of experience in a certain industry that they are willing to share with you. With that said, you don’t have to stop with having just one mentor in one industry. Think about your needs as a new business and where you could really use some grounding and guidance.
4 Kinds of Mentors for Fashion Designers
Retail and Sales
Having a mentor who understands both traditional and digital retails and sales can be very beneficial. He or she can help you to understand how these two industries work, the mind sets of those involved, and the processes that should be followed. Considering that without sales, you have no business, this is a pretty important industry to learn more about.
As creative people, it can sometimes be difficult to focus on the business development side of things. Time spent sketching, sewing, draping, styling, is where your real interest lies. Unfortunately, ignoring business development will get you no where very quickly.
Way more than 50% of your time as a fashion entrepreneur should be spent on biz dev in order to build a business that is sustainable, growing, and constantly evolving. Having someone to bounce ideas off of, give you advice, and offer guidance in this area is extremely beneficial.
Though fashion was one of the last industries to embrace digital technology, once it did, it took off at the speed of light. No two industries move and change more quickly than fashion and technology. As a designer, you may not be up on all the latest advances in technology. Unfortunately, it’s something that every business owner, fashion or not, should spend time doing.
Technology has the ability to help your business advance and grow, not to mention keep it relevant and interesting to your customers. Through a techie mentor, you are able to better understand the importance of technology in today’s world and can have someone to bounce ideas off of as you implement it into your business.
In the Industry
The the first three types of mentors listed above don’t necessarily need to be in the fashion industry. Actually, it could be preferable that they’re not because it gives the potential of having a completely different perspective than your own, it offers the opportunity to learn about what works in another industry and apply it to fashion.
With that said, having someone in the fashion industry as a mentor can be really helpful. He or she can provide insight into where the industry has been and where it’s going. They have a network of professionals that are also in the industry who they could possibly call on and they can offer advice about an industry that can at times be so closed off and difficult to understand.