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The Centre helps clothing wholesaler move towards goal of online showroom

Industry:Arts, Entertainment and Recreation
City:New York, New York
Amounts: various  Find what funding programs you qualify for

The business plan experience from the Centre prepares for financing success

After more than 15 years in the fashion industry in New York, Cynthia Barrett-Bismuth has gained a broad understanding of what makes it tick, and what opportunities lie there. Now, using the power of the internet, she's applying her experience to a new concept in fashion marketing. With the help of the business plan experience from the Centre for Business Plan Development, her online showroom is seeking additional financing.

Concept of showroom stays the same over the years

For all its reputation as wild and artistic and on-edge, the fashion industry is somewhat hidebound – in many cases tied to traditional models and following traditional practices. For instance, the concept of the showroom hasn't changed much in past decades – a manufacturer or a designer (or a group of designers) establish a physical space to showcase new designs to fashion buyers for retail stores and chains. "I've opened a few showrooms, and worked for a couple of showrooms, but then I decided that I know enough clients out there, I can do my own showroom," says Barrett-Bismuth. "But I didn't really want to do just a regular showroom. I wanted to something that's innovative and new and fresh and going forward."

The idea for an online showroom arises

She began discussing the idea with Joseph DeAcetis, a friend who's a well-known fashion creative director for major publications (Playboy, POV, Esquire, People, Vogue Homme), and they decided to create an online showroom. "There's not too many at the luxury level," says Barrett-Bismuth. "And a lot of retailers don't really have time to go to all these different showrooms. So we can want to make it easier for them. When you think that everybody spends most of their time on the computer, whether they’re writing orders or answering emails, why not use it that way?"

Giving a chance to up-and-coming designers

The online showroom would allow Cynkeda to function more as an agency, representing designers in the virtual showroom, and earning a percentage of sales to retailers. And Barrett-Bismuth wants to place an emphasis on up-and-coming designers. "And I would really like to eventually broaden out to minority-based lines – open it up to the designer who wouldn't have that venue open to them unless they were connected," she says. "For instance, if a designer's going to FIT or LIM – the Fashion Institute of Technology or LIM College – and they're really talented and they want to start off their collection, but might not get picked because they're not the flavor of the month, we would take them on and actually pay them a retainer and try to get their line off the ground."

Consultants help with the business plan for online showroom

While her concept would eliminate the cost of a physical showroom, it was still an ambitious plan, and she felt she couldn't simply run it out of her home office in Cliffside Park, New Jersey. And developing the site would require technological expertise, which doesn't come cheap. A business plan would provide both a solid direction for her efforts and a tool to generate grants or more conventional financing. She found working with the Centre for Business Plan Development an extremely valuable experience. "It definitely helped me to focus," she says. "My focus was very general, and the business plan actually broke down all those general subtitles and put them in focus."

Get thinking support

Barrett-Bismuth has advice for start-up entrepreneurs. "Get a lot of support. Not just financial support, but actual thinking support. I've been thinking about this venture for a long time, and I think if you have an idea about starting your own business, you're already educating yourself as you're moving along. Every little thing that you do is a journey down that road. Now I'm at a point where I know exactly what I want Cynkeda to be. You have to have patience", she laughs. “And exercise. Join the gym."

Imagine how a professionally prepared business plan could help grow your business. For a free consultation, call 1-855-892-2506.

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