Building a brand right from scratch is not an easy task. When you start thinking about connecting the dots between what you’re selling and who you’re trying to reach, several questions may pop up in your mind. The truth is that any clothing brand can become successful if it is created by people who are passionate about clothing.
But every successful clothing brand needs much more than just an exquisite apparel design. It requires all the trappings of a successful business at the same time. That’s why if you are thinking of starting your own business in fashion, you need to master not just your designing skills, but also manufacturing, marketing, and retailing.
Fashion is amazing in the way it balances both art and commerce. However, one should not start a business in this field just because they love designing. Start a business in any field because you want to start a business.
Every iconic brand that you see around has a story. A clothing line that you see dominating today’s department store may have started as a small business just like yours.
While launching your clothing line and building it into a brand is a challenging task mainly because of today’s growing competition, technology has made everything easier. Thanks to e-commerce and online marketing due to which small businesses that once began in a small online store have now become beloved nationwide.
Here’s a useful guide to building your clothing brand
Before you get on to the practical stuff of starting your own business, preparing yourself mentally is very important. Be prepared for all the peaks and valleys as you embark on this new journey. Just keep in mind that starting your own business and staying competitive is not easy but it’s certainly not impossible. All of today’s iconic brands got their start from somewhere, no?
Identify the market need
Don’t start a business on your vanity. Be realistic about the field in which you want to build a business as it will affect your long-term plans. Take your time to think about a niche in the market that isn’t currently being fulfilled. Is it a skirt that can be worn in winter? Or t-shirts that can be worn on formal occasions? Or hoodies that can be worn by both men and women?
Figure out the one product that isn’t currently being offered by a major company, and for which there is significant demand. Once you can do that, you will pass the first stage!
Develop a business plan
Whether you want to start your business as a fashion designer, a business owner, or a clothing manufacturer, ask yourself: What is the ultimate goal of the products that you’re offering? Do I want to create a private label for other brands? Do I want to get into manufacturing fast-fashion clothing? Do I want to build a brand that sells exclusively in selected cities?
Remember that you need to develop a business plan while keeping all these points in mind. Whatever decision you make in the end must be shaped by crucial questions like these.
Identify your target audience
Merely identifying a clothing item for which there is a demand in the market is not enough, you also need to identify the target market for that product. Brilliant designs with little or no target audience lack the potential of staying competitive. Consider the upsides and downsides of targeting certain demographics.
For example, young people tend to be style-conscious but lack funds, while middle-aged customers can afford higher price points but are less concerned about style.
Make sure you craft something that you’d be happy to use as your calling card going forward. The first collection you release will say a lot about you as a designer, so this is your chance to shine! However, whatever you design must be produced cost-effectively, so think practically.
Remember that becoming a successful fashion designer is a blend between the ideal and the attainable.
Contact a manufacturer
The next step is finding a manufacturing partner. It could be a fabric supplier or a humming factory that can produce your boutique goods alongside mass items. Your search for a clothing manufacturer may lead you to countries like China, Bangladesh, or Vietnam.
But if you are low on budget, it is better to get the goods manufactured locally. You may also set up an exhibition at your next trade show. It will help you get an insight into how people are perceiving your designs and products.
Design your profile
When everything is finalized relating to the manufacturing of your goods, you should start planning your public profile. Setting up a public profile means picking a business name, a logo, and a slogan. You may design your website with an e-commerce platform like Etsy or Shopify.
At this stage, it is also important to decide on a price point that covers your production cost.
Begin the marketing process
As your new business needs awareness, it is important to begin its marketing as soon as the above steps are done. Nowadays, promoting through Instagram influencers has become a trend. Since these public figures have thousands and lakhs of followers, you could build your potential customer base by promoting through them.
You may also start local marketing of your brand by setting up trade show wall panels nearby. It would be helpful if you stay updated to the latest SEO news to market your content alongside.
Set realistic goals
Don’t shy away from tying up with business professionals when doing sales and distribution. Just because you know about fashion doesn’t mean you know about clothing distribution. It is better to leave some things in the hands of the professionals.
Find potential investors
Saving enough capital to sustain and grow the business is one of the biggest challenges faced by any startup. In an ideal world, we all could fund our businesses without any outside help but the truth is, we can’t do it alone.
So, before you start getting all serious about your business, start by giving the financial aspect some serious thought. Ask yourself questions like: What do I want to gain from this partnership? Will this relationship be long-term or short-term? How involved do you want to be in your businesses’ decision-making process?
When building your clothing brand, do not underestimate the importance of your brand identity. Remember that clothing is a very personal thing because it defines us as an individual. As a result, the brands that we choose and the clothes that we wear become an extension of who we are and how we see ourselves.