Introduction to operations with the fashion business designer canvas

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Corrado Manenti
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Introduction to the canvas operations of fashion designers with the new essentials in the 2021 update.


Hello and welcome to this fourth article of the Fashion Business Academy where I explain how the Canvas works, starting with the fourth and last quadrant, the one dedicated to the Operations.

In previous articles which you can read HERE we have seen the basic structure of our canvas how to create a collection, how to market it with marketing and distribution channels and so on!

In this article, we will delve into the last quadrant where we will make some considerations on the business model of our fashion brand!


  • If you haven't already done so, to better understand my approach, it is useful to print out the canvas! you can find all the resources in your private area in the Fashion Business Academy at your private area and access the free video course where you will also find all the downloadable materials]

  • The Canvas is designed to be accompanied by my manual: ?Do you want to be a designer too? at the end of each chapter you will find exercises to correctly fill in the canvas if you have NOT bought it yet, you can find it HERE

We have arrived at the third quadrant of our Fashion Business Canvas dedicated to two distinct but in this way connected areas, which are marketing and distribution.
We have arrived at the fourth and final quadrant of our canvas.

A diagram introducing the operations of a fashion company using the designer's canvas.

We have seen how important it is from un idea of brand which is then transformed into a collection and obviously you need to get to the marketing to distribution the creation of material to promote themselves both offline and online.

The fourth part is the let's say the most ?boring? but essential part because the path of creating a brand coincides with the self-entrepreneurial path that each of us has to take in order to get to be a creative person, from a person with a dream to a person with a dream that feeds you and gives you a business that can grow over time.

Let's see right away what the basis of Operations is, so all those things we have to do once from our marketing we have to manage sales and so on.


The first thing is to take orders! Depending on our business model, we will have very specific timeframes within which orders will arrive.

Normally in fashion we have two main types of business models:

  • that on the ready or I sell things in season for the season immediately afterwards

  • on the schedule that I then follow the canonical fashion timing.

This radically changes both our way of getting cash, obviously working on the schedule we are paid a percentage of the order.

On the ready actually selling a product on the market this is a completely different cash flow. This is especially important to see our planning of our finances.

We all start out regardless of budget with a start-up mentality from bootstrapping i.e. we have to pay back the costs otherwise we cannot move forward. So we will have to plan according to the orders of our business model how soon the money we have spent can be recouped.

Here we are at an important stage we are getting there now we should not have got there before it is production that can become a major cost item.

So we have to make sure that we only produce the amount of garments we need. If our sales model is online, we can either have the option of normal direct sales or create pre-sales and then only produce at a later date after we have received orders.

Another equally important thing is delivery. We would be crazy if we could sell products and then not be able to deliver them.

And so it is very important to have agreements with couriers to know the shipping costs because another thing that nobody says but feels we absolutely have to emphasise is the fact that delivery is a very important cost in our business model.

If we know exactly how much it costs us and when it costs us to get our products to the customer, whether it is a single product for a customer or let's say boxes of stuff for shops, we can understand our reordering policies and so on, which is the next quadrant.

Any kind of BTC customer whether a BTB customer a shop and so on must be cultivated over time.


A customer should be counted as a customer on the second purchase as the first purchase may not be enough to consider a person a customer!

We can invest in advertising to acquire customers but we have a duty to keep good customers and make sure that they can buy from us again and again over time by being loyal.

Once we have seen these aspects of our Operations we will be able to effectively manage our fashion house and our fashion business, and certainly with the help of an accountant we will be able to make strategic economic choices that can then lead us to the very last quadrant of our canvas, which is precisely the creation of a new collection. or a new season.

Having come this far, all we are really doing is going back to the phase above the Canvas which is COLLECTION DESIGN so it might not just be a whole new collection or a new release because maybe you have a business that goes on 'drops' so on multiple releases, on cruise collections so it won't follow a specific season.

Once you have brought home the orders you have made the products and delivered them you can start thinking ahead to the next steps because fashion is a recursive business so you already have to be one step ahead you can't get to the next collection too late, at some point you have to start already thinking about the next one but if you are OK with the OPERATIONS side of setting up a business structure it will be very difficult to think about a new collection because you will probably still have things to sort out.


With the OPERATIONS you conclude your canvas and with this you have the fundamental elements to have control over your canvas and the totality of tasks that make up a business in fashion!

The book will certainly explain in much more detail the individual steps, the individual things to keep track of in order to get a general overview.

Did you like this article? Leave me a comment below and share it on your social networks with everyone who might like it!

That's all from Corrado! Until the next article!

Corrado Manenti, the designer of designers, showcases his work in Elementor Single Article #3277.
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