Startup Diaries: The Challenges of a Fashion Entrepreneur: Joint Ventures

Jedeco black and white jewelleryCoral Turner looks at the benefits of joint ventures and what to consider before joining forces with someone else.

Firstly, I would like to open this start-up diary conversation by saying a huge thank you to those of you who have read my previous articles and taken time out of your own busy schedules to give me the thumbs up on Facebook, send me personal emails, or share on Twitter. Anyone that says that women don’t support each other clearly has not met you kind ladies.

Which brings me to the topic of joint ventures; working with others within your industry and supporting and uplifting each other, resulting in double exposure and a win/win situation for all involved.

The fashion industry consists of many facets of business; hair, make-up, shoes, jewellery and handbags, to name but a few.  My recent venture was to join forces with a jewellery collective called Jedeco; an independent boutique comprising of 9 jewellers.  

One of the jewellers, my friend and fellow entrepreneur Catherine Marche, suggested that as Jedeco had just celebrated their first anniversary and London Fashion week was upon us, we should continue the celebrations by showcasing my one-of-a-kind couture dresses and tops at their premises in Oxo Tower Wharf. 

This would also give my invited audience the opportunity to have a tactile approach to my work; feeling the fabric, seeing the textures, examining the couture finish and detail that goes into producing these garments. 

In addition to this, Jedeco would have access to a new audience and potential customers. The beauty of the event was that it not just about Coral Turner Couture and Jedeco but also fellow entrepreneurial creatives'; all of whom were having their own conversations and thereby spreading the word about our work.

Added into this mix was hearty wholesome food prepared by Mary Jeremiah of ‘Proper Grub’ couple dwith James Brown in the background telling everyone to ‘get on up like a sex machine’. Heads were bopping and wine was flowing creating a real party atmosphere.  

Food prepared by Mary Jeremiah of ‘Proper Grub’

At the end of the evening apart from sheer exhaustion, I came away with the knowledge of what my next step in business needs to be.

That is Coral Turner Couture’s showroom premises of some kind aside from my home studio.

I also learned that my guests had not only made new friends, but also new business contacts which in turn helps them in the next stage of their businesses. As I have learnt, building a business takes time; years in fact, however it does not have to be in isolation as a sole trader.

We all benefit by sharing our knowledge and skills. The experiences of someone who has walked in those shoes before you can also save you financially; hindsight can be an expensive business lesson!!

The only thing to bear in mind is that you should choose your joint ventures wisely; the excitement and enthusiasm is great in the beginning but when it come down to the crunch will your co-partners deliver? Taking on board my dad’s advice when it comes to any form of partnership, ‘you want a helpmate not a dead weight’!

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and remember they are questions not an interrogation; the whole point of a joint venture is that it is a two way street for both of you. 

The ability to say ‘no’ is equally as important; if what is proposed is not for you then walk away.

I would say at this point, as with anything you do in life or business, going with your ‘gut instinct’ can be your greatest protector. You will know what feels right, and pay attention to the alarm bells if there are any.

A good joint venture should have a positive impact on your business even though there may be teething problems along the way. There may need to be some financial outlay; all this needs to be factored in and set against what you hope to achieve.

Either way, there are so many advantages to be gained by working with others from different businesses; as an entrepreneur you owe it to yourself and your business to investigate those avenues.

To your continuous success.....

Photography by www.minnarossi.com, Jedeco http://www.jedeco.co.uk/oxo-shop/  Catherine Marche http://shop.catherinemarche-designs.com/

Coral Turner is a fashion entrepreneur with an online boutique http://www.coralturner.co.uk.  In addition to her design work she also writes articles in relation to empowering self-image and confidence through the clothes that we wear.

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