They say you can achieve anything you put your mind to, and we’re here to reiterate this idea and tell you that you really can! Everybody has to start from somewhere, including CEOs of the big fashion brands today and you can do it too. If you’d like to start your own clothing brand but have little to no experience, here’s 8 tips to help get you started.
Write down why you want to create this brand
If you don’t understand why you wanted to create this brand then your consumers won’t either. Is there a need for your products? Do your products solve a particular problem and is there anything else like it already out on the market? One of your business aims is to get customers to remember you and for potential customers to be seeking your products. Discover what your brand message is and how this can be resonated in a way that people will remember you.
Understand your target market
It can be a great idea to chat to your target market to find out their pain points, lifestyle and the type of clothing they already buy. Understanding your target market also makes advertising easier as you know exactly who to target and how. You can manage expectations a lot better in knowing what your customers want and how your products fit in with their lifestyle. Another tactic here is to think like your customer, what type of clothing would they wear and what sizes are they buying most? Where do their values lie in terms of sustainability? What will they be using the clothing for? This will then help you narrow down your ideas and which products to include in your first collection.
Research, research, research
Look at your competitors' clothing, what’s trending and create a moodboard for your design ideas. This not only helps you to gain a clearer idea of your own vision but also helps the fashion designer that you work with to create your tech packs. Sometimes it’s hard to explain your ideas via email, but images are a great visual aid to translate your ideas onto paper.
Buy some competitors clothing
This might sound strange but buying some of your competitor’s clothing can be a great idea to analyse the fabric, fit, design and construction which may help you with your own designs; pinpointing exactly what you want and don’t want. This also helps with sizing and measurements, as when creating tech packs for your designs the designer has a base product that you like the fit of to take the measurements from. Now you might be thinking, hang on, isn’t this copying? No this is not copying someone else’s ideas, it is simply to understand what is already out there on the market and use garments that already work purely as a template when it comes to fit and sizing. Sizing is crucial when making a clothing collection and there is no ‘generic size chart’ which fits all.
Plan your launch
It’s a good idea to have your launch planned and ready to go before receiving your bulk order. Don’t start anything until you have your samples made and you are certain these are the pieces you would like to go forward with. However, when you have solidified your collection putting a plan of action in place for launching the brand is crucial. Your plan of action should include:
Social media platforms - it is advisable to start building a social media presence as soon as possible, even before your bulk order is ready. You can post behind the scenes and sneak peek content to help generate buzz around your new brand
Photoshoot - usually the photoshoot is done before you receive the final bulk order, using the pre-production samples for the shoot day. For more information about planning a shoot read our ‘tips for planning a photoshoot’ blog here
Website - you want to make sure your website is all ready and set to be published ahead of time. Claim your domain names and hosting service (GoDaddy is a great choice), choose your website hosting platform (Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, Wordpress) and sort out the website content, including about us page, contact form, delivery and returns information etc
Start contacting bloggers and influencers - once you’ve got your social media accounts up and running and the photos from the photoshoot why not start contacting bloggers and influencers to get them onboard so that when you launch there is a lot of buzz generated around your brand
Try to plan a rough launch date and work your way backwards. If unexpected delays happen you can push the launch date but at least you would have started the process and can start building up your network and sharing your story.
Write a business plan
If you’re new to the business world this might sound a bit scary, but it doesn’t have to be too in-depth to start with, just use it as a tool to make the business clearer in your own mind. A business plan is a great way to map out your plans and goals for the brand; where would you like to see the brand in five years etc. There are a lot of business plan templates out there that will help you formulate the right questions and answers you should be thinking about. Gov.UK has some great information about how to write a business plan, why you need one and handy free templates. Click here to access them.
Decide where to sell your products
Of course you will be creating your own website to sell your products, but this shouldn’t be the only format of selling. Think about other platforms and ways you can get your products out to your consumers. There are a number of great online platforms that you can take advantage of, including Etsy, Amazon and other online retailers that align with your brand (ASOS, Wolf and Badger). You could also approach local shops selling a variety of items from local businesses. This would then broaden your selling techniques to a physical presence which can be as important as an online presence.
Seek legal advice for finances and registering your business
There’s no escaping the legal side of things and you must make sure your business is fully and correctly registered before launching with the appropriate insurances in place etc. When it comes to tax and finances there are some great online accounting softwares for small start-up businesses that can help you - Quickbooks, Crunch are just to name a few. To make sure you have set up everything correctly it is advisable to check out your country's government page that explains what you need to do to set up a business. Here is a link to the UK’s Gov.UK page that details how to set up a business. If this all sounds a bit daunting, don’t worry too much as you have 8 months after you’ve started trading to register your business. To start with, focus on really nailing your products and once your product is being manufactured, then it’s a good idea to organise all the legal side of things.
Ready to get going? If you’ve always dreamed of starting your own business we can help you from design right through to manufacturing. We’re there every step of the way. Book your free consultation today by clicking here.