A freelance fashion designer is only as good as the design brief they are given, so here are some things you need to consider in order to create your perfect design brief:
1. Define your ideal customer
You need to know everything about your customers before you start designing your first collection. What’s their socio-economic status? Age? Income bracket? What music were they into when they were younger? What’s their aspirational identity? Who do they look up to? What brands do they like? Who is their favourite Kardashian? The more you know about your customer, the easier it’s going to be for your designer to understand your customers’ needs and aspirations, and the better your collection will turn out to be as a result.
It’s tempting to go after a large segment of the fashion market, but it’s rarely the right strategy. Niche-down as much as you can. Seth Godin, one of my favourite thought leaders and the author of Purple Cow and Permission Marketing, talks about the benefits of creating your own ‘tribe” of super-loyal customers. Kevin Kelly puts forward a similar idea in his viral essay “1000 true fans”. Twenty first century consumers don’t care about trends, they care about constructing their own identity through fashion. Help them do that if you want them to enlist in your “tribe’.
If your’e struggling with this, ask your designer for help, but don’t start designing your first collection until you have a well-defined customer persona.
2. Define your expectations
Clear communication is key, so please define your expectations clearly. For instance, they need to know the number of designs you’re looking for, for example 4 skirts, 2 tops, 2 trousers, 7 dresses etc. It is also important to include your preferred way of communicating, pay rate and deadlines, as well as penalties for late project submission.
Most professional freelance designers have a well-defined client on-boarding process, and know what questions to ask you. If your designer isn’t showing any initiative in getting to know you, your brand and/or your customer persona, consider hiring someone else.
3. Define your brand aesthetic
You need to be very specific about your brand aesthetic, so please show your designer any moodboards, magazine cutouts and other research. You freelance designer should be able to help you define your brand aesthetic, but it’s a good idea to give them as many details as possible, otherwise you may end up with an amazing aesthetic that’s very different from what you had in mind.
4. Define your business strategy
If you want your brand to be successful, you need a clear strategy. You need to know how you expect customers to find your products online or offline, and you need to make sure that your pricing strategy is on point. You should gather as much information as possible about wholesale and retail prices so that you can comfortably determine the right prices. Failing to have a viable business strategy is likely to discourage top-notch fashion designers from working with you in the first place, because nobody wants to work on a project that’s doomed to fail. Fashion business consultants can help you define your business strategy. A good business strategy consultant is likely to help you avoid rookie mistakes and save you a lot of money in the process. Some fashion designers can help you with that too.