I just wanted to start off with a quote from Vivienne Westwood who sadly passed away recently, and who I have had the pleasure of meeting - "Fashion is very important. It is life-enhancing and, like everything that gives pleasure, it is worth doing well." As much as I have an interest in fashion & the emergence of new clothing brands, I refrained from creating a blog post about this due to thinking fashion brands were quickly becoming an over saturated industry with new clothing lines popping up to take advantage of fast fashion. However due to the hype a lot of these brands have created by collaborating with larger fashion brands, impacting culture & music, the business of reselling clothes and the heights these fashion brands have achieved; I stand corrected and thought it would be best to explore this. There is art & skill when launching a clothing brand, it is not as simple as printing a logo on a jumper, creating a social media page (showing influencers wearing the brand) with some paid ads and hoping the magic happens. There is a method to success. Now if you have ever dreamed of creating your own successful clothing brand? It can be a rewarding and exciting journey but it does require a considerable amount of planning and hard work to make it a reality. This will include how to find the right niche, building a unique identity, create effective marketing strategies, and managing your financials. With the right knowledge and skills, you can create a clothing brand that stands out and is profitable.
The first step in creating a successful clothing brand is to define your niche. Your niche is the target demographic that you want your clothes to appeal to, as well as your specific design and style aesthetic. The first thing to consider when defining your niche is the industry you want to operate in. You’ll want to choose an industry that has a consistent demand and encourages continual growth. Additionally, you’ll want to determine which industry your brand best fits into. Once you’ve narrowed down your industry and identified the best niche to target, you should also consider the following three factors: The Needs of Your Audience - What are the problems that your audience is currently facing? What are their needs and what can your brand provide to solve these needs? The Strengths of Your Brand - What are your brand’s unique selling points? What makes it stand out from the competition? The Competitive Environment - What are the other brands in your industry doing? What are their strengths and weaknesses? These are the questions that fashion brands are asking themselves when going to the drawing board. If you click on the image below it will take you to an article by Magenest that breaks down the different clothing niches you can explore as well as the importance and disadvantages when sticking to a specific clothing niche. This might give you a few ideas to get started.
Your brand identity is the set of statements that define your brand. It helps your potential customers understand your overall image, who you are, and what you stand for. It also helps potential customers decide whether they like your product and want to buy it. There are a few elements that go into developing your brand identity. First, decide on the name of your brand. This name can be anything, but it should be something that your customers can easily remember and identify with your product. Next, you’ll need to create a visual brand identity. This includes your logo, colour scheme, and design aesthetic. Your logo should be easily identifiable and convey the message and purpose of your brand. Make sure to choose a logo that represents your brand in the best possible way. Your logo is a visual representation of your brand. It will be used on all of your marketing materials, as well as on your website and social media pages. It should be memorable, easy to recognise, and visually appealing. You’ll also need to create a written brand identity. This means creating a short one-sentence summary of who your brand is and what it stands for. Your written brand identity should be short, easy to understand, and convey the essence of your brand.
For example if we look at the brand Maniere De Voir which stands for "Way of seeing". This high street brand has gone from strength to strength - in the videos below ex-footballer & CEO of Maniere De Voir Reece Wabara talks about what his brand stands for, identifying his target market and customer retention. Maniere De Voir can be put in the same fashion category (high street fashion) with the likes of Zara or H & M but with their own unique designs. Reece acknowledges that seasons and trends change fairly quickly so it's important for his brand to adapt to the changing market and emerging competition.
Now that you’ve defined your brand, it’s time to develop a marketing plan. A marketing plan is a strategic outline that outlines how your brand will promote and sell its products. It includes the various marketing strategies that you’ll use to build brand awareness and drive sales. There are many marketing strategies that you can use to promote your brand, including social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, and more. Once you’ve created your marketing plan, you’ll need to implement it. You should review your marketing plan on a regular basis and make changes as necessary. You should also track the results of your marketing efforts to see which strategies are working best and which are not. This will help you optimize your marketing plan so that it is as effective as possible.
One brand in particular that comes to mind is CRTZRTW a streetwear brand who recently announced a collaboration with Nike. The CEO Clint has been labelled as a marketing genius due to the mass attention his brand has generated, from the frenzy created by selling 99p Cargo jeans and encouraging customers to exchange their coats for a CRTZRTW coat. You can get more of an insight into Clint's marketing on the videos below, its gained so much interest that it has attracted a collaboration with Nike who can clearly see the potential of such a partnership.
Once you’ve defined your niche and developed your brand identity, you can start designing your clothing line. The first step in designing your clothing line is to choose the type of clothing you want to design. You want to select a product that your brand is well-suited to produce. If you’re not sure what type of clothing you want to design, here are a few ideas to consider: - What is the purpose of the clothing? What will it be used for? - What is the target demographic of your brand? - What is the general style of your brand? Once you’ve selected the type of clothing you want to create, you can move on to selecting the specific designs. First, consider the various seasons and holidays that will be relevant to your target demographic. Then, outline the typical weather patterns in your target region. By choosing designs that are relevant to the seasons and weather patterns in your target region, you’ll increase your brand’s visibility. For example The North Face brand is typically aimed (but not limited to) at Winter wear and for those who enjoy skiing/snowboarding.
If you decide to manufacture your clothing line, you’ll need to find a reputable manufacturer. You can use a manufacturer finder or a sourcing agent to help you find reputable manufacturers. You should also conduct thorough research to make sure that the manufacturer is reputable and will create high-quality clothing. Once you’ve selected a manufacturer and created your designs, you’ll need to select a source for your fabrics. You should select fabrics that are high-quality and durable, but also easy to maintain. You should also make sure that your fabrics are affordable. If you plan on outsourcing your fabrics, you’ll also want to ensure that the supplier is reliable and trustworthy. Before finalising a supplier, you should conduct thorough research to make sure that they are reputable and trustworthy. I remember the founder of Benjart spoke about having more than one supplier as events such as the Pandemic had forced certain manufacturers to shut down operations, and the fact that solely relying on one supplier can affect your bargaining stance when negotiating prices.
Some early designs can be a bit more generic especially if you want some samples to work with in the beginning stages of launching your fashion brand. You can go on sites such as Ali Express and reach out to suppliers directly who can print a logo on the clothing item, as as your fashion line expands you can reach out to manufacturers who will perhaps require much larger orders tailored towards your specific designs.
Now that you’ve created your clothing designs and sourced high-quality fabrics, it’s time to get your store ready. You can create an online ecommerce store on websites such as Shopify or Amazon (You can create a digital catalogue on Shopify or upload your designs to Amazon). Alternatively you can use a marketplace such as Etsy and sell your products through their platform. Regardless of which platform you choose, you’ll need to create high-quality product images that accurately represent your designs (as per the below).
On the other hand you can go through the route of creating a direct website instead. You would need to take into account the domain name(s) that you will want to snap up to protect your brand, you can purchase these from sites such as WIX, Bluehost and GoDaddy. Once this has been sorted out you would need to consider the template for your website and what design best suits your brand as this would be relevant for your target audience: sustainable resources, ethical consideration, age, demographic etc. You must connect a payment processor to your store in order to make any money selling clothes online. Without one, you won’t be able to take card payments from your customers. Setting up a payment processor is simple, and the majority of online store builders will provide you with instructions before your site goes live. For example Shopify have integrated their payment processor with Stripe in comparison to Wix who have their own payment processor. If you click on the image below it will take you to an article by Linn works that breaks down the technical side of choosing the correct Payment Gateways for your site and provides a list of the most popular payment platforms. You want purchases for your customers to be seamless hence its importance to choose the right compatible payment methods.
The aim of your fashion brand is to provide a valuable service but I'm sure you would also want to make profit. Stay on top of your financials by creating a written budget and track your spending, you should also keep an eye on your cash flow. Make sure to save money for unexpected expenses and use your savings to help fund your business. It’s also important to set aside money for taxes. Taxes may seem tedious but they are an unavoidable part of running a business. In the videos above Reece Wabara of Maniere De Voir talks about how he reinvests his profit back into the company rather than simply providing himself with a luxury lifestyle, this allows him to expand and increase value for the customer. If you can increase value for the customers experience it will create customer loyalty, which will provide long term & sustainable profit.
Once you’ve created your store and started selling your products, you’ll need to optimise your online presence. The first step in optimising your online presence is to create high-quality content. You can use blog posts, images, videos, and more to engage with your customers and encourage them to buy your products. It’s also important to make sure that your website is optimised for search engines. You can optimise your website for search engines by creating a sitemap, including relevant keywords in your content, and implementing SEO best practices.
Another important aspect of operating a successful clothing brand is creating an effective customer service plan. An effective customer service plan enables you to provide high-quality customer service and satisfy your customers. You should create a customer service plan that outlines the steps you’ll take when dealing with customer issues or complaints. You should also outline the rules and guidelines that your customers can expect. Having an effective customer service plan will help you reduce return rates and improve your brand reputation.
Now that you’ve created your clothing brand, designed your clothing line, and started selling your products, it’s time to evaluate your progress. You can use a variety of tools and methods to track your progress and make necessary adjustments along the way. You can use tools such as Google Analytics to track your website traffic and see which keywords are driving the most traffic. You can also use social media analytics to track your engagement rates and see what hashtags or key words are driving potential customers to your page. Be on top of your page's stats as it can help direct your advertising. I have tried to sum up in a simple way to help get your clothing brand started but it's going to take dedication and hard work. There is a plethora of information online and literature as you can see below. Please show me your clothing/fashion brands I am interested in your unique designs and let me know if this blog post helped.