Are You a Fashion Entrepreneur? Don’t Put Your-self in a Box!
Ostervalder`s Business Model Canvas (BMC)is widely used in all kind of entrepreneurial hubs, events, organizations and business school. Many of influential entrepreneurs says that it is a better way to think about your startup before you start wasting your time on writing a business plan. I surely agree. It helps young entrepreneurs think about their business idea and organize their limitless thoughts.
I am working as business consultant (visiting scholar) for WVU LaunchLab which is a startup incubator helping West Virginia University students with their business ideas and making them ready for investments and final launch. All students are required to use business model canvas while crafting their ideas. It is surely a great help. But for some businesses BMC is not as useful.
I am working with student of fashion design wanting to start her own fashion e-shop. She is creating original knitting accessories. While writing down all the assumptions about value proposition, customers, customer relations etc. we are realizing that going to her potential customers and asking about their clothing preferences is discouraging and blurring her brand identity. She cannot serve everyone. She cannot build a brand based on existing market. She creates a new market. Her creativity and vision is what makes her product valuable for a niche market. She is not making these clothes based on what customers want or wish. She is going to design original and unique fashion and make people want to wear her products.
In fashion industry it is crucial to stay your self and do not get influenced by the market. Fashion designers creates the market. Their talent, sense for art and their personality gives them the niche and differentiate them from other fashion designers.
To wrap it up, Business model canvas is a great tool and it can be helpful for many startups but sometimes you need to stay outside the boxes, look back and see what your value really is? In this case it is the designer it self.
However using other BMC boxes such as channels, revenue streams or assets gives her more thoughts of how to develop the actual processes and activities. It is also necessary to know where and how her initial target customers shop. But this can be easily figured out without putting her self into a boxes.
If you are a fashion or lifestyle entrepreneur do not be in a box!