Survival of the fittest : The Internationalization of Fashion Start-ups
Abstract: Globalization is a development that allowed businesses to internationalize with ease. Startup hubs in Europe are growing and fashion is one of the most dynamic internationalizing industries. Combining the aspects of startups, fashion and internationalization led to the development of this research topic. The internationalization of fashion startups is known as a complex and difficult procedure. Nevertheless, a theory presenting factors that characterize the internationalization of fashion startups has yet to be developed. The purpose of this research study is to fill this gap. Furthermore, internationalization became a vital operation for startups in general to establish a growing business. Since the internationalization process can fail or be successful, this research investigates specific strategies fashion startups take to avoid any unexpected declining activity in foreign markets. As businesses exist in an environment, external factors will influence their processes. Additionally, businesses can take certain actions themselves and have the means to shape internationalization. Operating with a qualitative research design, eight fashion startups located in Europe were interviewed. Through semi-structured interviews, four internal and four external factors were found that characterize the process. Moreover, three actions were identified that fashion startups perform to ensure the survival of their internationalization process. Based on the analysis the internal factors: Knowledge, Resources, Entrepreneurial Orientation and E-Commerce were identified and elaborated on. On the other hand, the external factors: Networks, Supply Chain, Societal Goals, and Unexpected Events/ Crises characterize the internationalization. Risk management, resource evaluation, and flexibility will assure startups to strengthen their internationalization processes and contribute positively to the survival of the operation. Lastly, this research gives managerial, theoretical, and policy implications on what must be considered when internationalizing a fashion startup.
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