Grappling with the Challenges of Start-Up in the Designer Fashion Industry in a Small Economy: How Social Capital Articulates with Strategies in Practice
Creating Entrepreneurial Space: Talking Through Multi-Voices, Reflections on Emerging Debates
ISBN: 978-1-78756-372-8, eISBN: 978-1-78756-371-1
Publication date: 10 December 2018
Creative industries, such as the designer fashion industry (DFI), are among the toughest in which to establish sustainable business ventures. While studies have examined how networks and social capital contribute to independent DFI start-ups and why such businesses fail, these studies have been largely restricted to well-established entrepreneurial spaces like London, which differ in structure and size compared to emerging DFI entrepreneurial spaces in small economies like New Zealand. This chapter addresses this gap in the creative enterprise literature by presenting findings from an examination of 12 New Zealand fashion designers’ accounts of their responses to start-up challenges. The analysis, which paid particular attention to the relationship between social capital and reported strategic practice, revealed that the designers’ challenge profiles and strategic responses were linked to very ‘biographical’ personal networks and their personal enterprise orientations. While those designers with well-established networks started the most resilient businesses, the analysis revealed that even these designers were not necessarily particularly strategic when tapping into the social capital embedded in their networks. Overall, the findings provide further confirmation of the importance of social capital and network management during start-up. Most significantly, they demonstrate why designers need to be forward looking and employ a strategic approach to developing and accessing social capital and when making business decisions. Those who did so were more likely to have viable ventures than those who accessed social capital in order to react to unanticipated challenges.
Mills, C.E. (2018), "Grappling with the Challenges of Start-Up in the Designer Fashion Industry in a Small Economy: How Social Capital Articulates with Strategies in Practice", Higgins, D., Jones, P. and McGowan, P. (Ed.) Creating Entrepreneurial Space: Talking Through Multi-Voices, Reflections on Emerging Debates (Contemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship Research, Vol. 9A), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 129-155. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2040-72462018000009A008
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