Business Idea of the Week: Artificial Luxury Fashion Labels
I’ll not be able to get a lot of real work done this week because my computer is broken so I’ll just write about a couple of ideas that have been in my head for a while.
In Germany, we have a luxury bag manufacturer called George, Gina & Lucy. The company has built an elite image that implies decades of experience and a bag costs about 100$. What few people know, though, is that none of the people involved in founding that company were called George, Gina or Lucy. Instead, the company was founded in 2004 by a couple of MBA students. (also note how the company has no Wikipedia page. Coincidence? I think not.)
I am proposing to take this to a new level by producing a couple of “artificial” brands under one central management.
Design of the Brands
When building the brands I consider the following (in no particular order) to be useful and important:
- Each brand has to specialize on one type of product.
- The brand name must imply a rich heritage and sound vaguely like the name of a famous designer.
- The real designers are talented students.
- The website must not have an online shop! (seriously, how many luxury labels do you know that name prices on the site?)
- The website must have a “store locator”
- Initially the pieces are manufactured manually and sold for ridiculous prices on eBay.
- Market entry is best achieved in cooperation with local boutiques.
- Capital must be invested in advertising in high class fashion magazines
I believe the key to the success is having a small management team and otherwise little or no staff. The following tasks can and must be outsourced to professional services providers:
- Human Resources
- Back office/Secretary
- Media Design
What remains are the following mission-critical tasks:
- Development of the Individual Brands according to the above guidelines
The biggest challenge is growth. As soon as manufacturing a limited number of items for eBay and local boutiques doesn’t suffice anymore, it needs to be outsourced, too. For that, a suitable manufacturing country and a reliable partner in that country has to be found.
Some other more tangible challenges include assembling the management team, finding a great advertising agency and obviously hiring talented and new designers.
In conclusion I think that a project like this is definitely doable and highly promising. In fact, I have been on the verge of creating that exact venture last year but then got distracted by things that appeal to me more. (after all, this project is heavy on the management side and has little or no engineering appeal)
Business Idea of the Week Disclaimer: I just write these ideas down because it’s good training, I like them, don’t want to forget them and will most likely never have the time to actually implement them. If you know of a similar venture or are interested in the idea, I’d love to hear about that!