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New businesses are usually founded to address supply and demand, or to respond to a gap in the market, and the latter certainly applies to Fashion Equipped. The Melbourne-based fashion consultancy agency was launched by Elizabeth Formosa in 2012 and has since guided hundreds of start-ups through the intricate process of establishing a fashion brand.

Elizabeth’s own industry experience in fashion buying, retail, marketing, sourcing and wholesale, is a list too long to detail and she’s completed too many courses to mention, but her passion is the kind that cannot be taught, and her relationship with fashion is a natural one.

“From the age of 15, I worked in fashion retail in Melbourne, where I grew up. I loved interacting with customers and was fascinated by their different buying habits. I still am! Gaining insight into what was important to my customers in terms of style, quality, fit and price was a real learning curve. From an early age, I was not just interested in the clothes, but the entire process – from the concept of a product, to its delivery and the art of attracting a customer to select something and buy it.”

Fast forward, and the “ah-ha” moment that led to the launch of Fashion Equipped came to Elizabeth during her time at The Melbourne School of Fashion. Initially invited in as a guest lecturer, Elizabeth was swiftly offered a role teaching the business side of brand building within the Fashion Design degree. When it came to planning the curriculum content, her diverse career and wealth of experience spelt out the solution to a problem many students and start-ups face: navigating the business side of fashion.

“I was in a position where I was being asked to reflect back on all of my industry experience and package that up into an academic format that would be palatable for creatives to embrace. No easy task! As professionals, we don’t often take the time to value the knowledge that we should pass on to others. The icing on the cake was that I had so many students asking me who they could reach out to when they graduated to launch their label. There were many business consultants out there, but not any that I could find specialising in fashion. I saw a big gap in the market and I just knew I had to launch a business supporting the fashion industry.”

Fashion Equipped is now Melbourne’s top fashion consultancy agency, working with emerging and established brands to offer business consultation, planning, branding, product development, sourcing, sales, marketing and financial analysis. When it comes to fashion and creativity, the same business template does not fit every brand, and working with this fact in mind, is what sets Elizabeth apart in the industry.

“We provide our clients with industry specific advice and feedback throughout the entire consultation process, and equip them with an all-important action plan, allowing them to take their businesses to the next level. Our commitment is to support, advise, guide and ensure our clients are not alone in what can be an extremely overwhelming but incredibly rewarding journey. I know how hard it is to start, run and grow a business from my own experience, and I know how many times I just wanted to give up. The pressure, the crazy hours – and at times the tears – can all be overwhelming, but my passion is to support and empower my clients and give them the benefit of our long-term industry experience to improve their outcome. It’s incredibly satisfying to watch our clients gain confidence, experience and make their dreams a reality!”

Advice is always easier to stomach when coming from someone who has experienced the same hardships firsthand, and Elizabeth’s own business ups and downs attribute to the real-life and practical guidance she offers. Five years on from launching, and an average week for Elizabeth is still no walk in the park, and her schedule can include anything from client mentoring sessions, consultations, answering phone calls and emails, liaising with the team, preparing mentoring programs, studio visits, photo shoots, and industry events. If her involvement in her own business is anything to go by, there are no threads left untied at Fashion Equipped, and that is surely a pattern for success.

Moving into 2017 with a new digital programme on offer and the most comprehensive business offering for fashion start-ups and emerging designers yet, Elizabeth is confident that the service, support and connections Fashion Equipped provides will continue to have a positive impact on the Australian fashion industry.

“I am so excited about the future of the Australian fashion industry and the opportunity we have to witness the new and talented fashion creatives. We are privileged to be part of such a dynamic, exciting and ever-evolving industry.”

If you’re searching for the right business support or want to take your fashion business to the next level, head to fashionequipped.com.au for further details.

The Fashion Advocate x

The Fashion Advocate Australian fashion blogger Australian fashion, beauty, lifestyle, Fashion Equipped

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