THE BEGINNERS STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO PLANNING AND LAUNCHING YOUR OWN CLOTHING BRAND
The thought of launching a clothing brand can be a daunting one. Finding the right niche, the right product to fill that niche and then planning how you will successfully reach that niche can all be very confusing. But, it will make sense, if you take small steps to greatness!
Here, in simple terms are the main steps to setting up and launching your own clothing brand - each one needs to be researched and executed in more detail, but this covers the basic principles. For a more in depth look at launching a new brand, see our more detailed posts.
DECIDE ON YOUR TARGET NICHE
Focusing on a specific group of people will make your product much easier to market and will position you where you can achieve long term consumer loyalty and an avid following.
Niche brands are significantly more successful than those who try to cater to a wide audience, so finding a niche that you can exploit is crucial.
Research is critical here along with innovative ideas and brainstorming. Decide on your product, your target customer and the platforms you will use to sell.
MAKE A PLAN
You will need to write a detailed business plan that maps out your competition, your product development timeline and your marketing strategy.
You will have to set yourself a strict start-up budget, and within your plan, identify all the costs you will incur setting up your business.
Think equipment, outsourcing design, materials, website, sampling, travel and all the costs associated with running a brand.
All these business costs are variable and will become clearer as you work through your business plan.
DECIDE ON YOUR SALES CHANNEL
How do you want to sell your product? Do you want to sell via a dedicated brand website? Or open an Etsy store? Or perhaps you would like to wholesale to boutiques?
You will need to research the best way to reach your customers and how you are going to make it happen.
If you are planning on setting up an e-commerce store, think about how you will fulfil orders and track inventory.
CREATE YOUR DESIGNS
The creative part of the business process is in finalising the actual product designs. If you are lacking in fashion industry knowledge and expertise, you can hire the services of a professional designer to undertake this part for you.
Work closely with your chosen designer and give guidance and direction on the products you want and keep in mind the needs and wants of your target customer. What are the key features or details that will appeal to them and keep them coming back for more?
Your designer will prepare detailed documents called technical packages, which can then be sent to your manufacturer to create samples or prototypes from.
CREATE YOUR DESIGNS
Every great brand has a story and you will need to create a back story that resonates with your customer and tells an authentic tale. Highlight your strengths as part of the story and inject those into your brand.
Logo development, brand colour palettes and packaging elements all contribute to a strong brand message. Try to put your own spin on your brand story and share an aspect of your life that will inspire and attract loyal followers.
MANUFACTURE AND TEST YOUR PRODUCTS
Talk to several manufacturers about getting your samples made. Each will have different capabilities and prices and here you can negotiate costs that fit into your budget.
Before you take your product to market, ensure you have tested it for washability, longevity and colour fastness. If you are establishing a childrens' wear brand, you will need to research the health and safety guidelines before you start selling to make sure you meet them. Fit your prototypes on real people and amend any obvious proportion issues before proceeding to production.
TAKE IT TO MARKET
By now you have identified a niche, created a plan, enlisted the help of a designer and produced your first prototypes and are now into the production phase. Go back and double check your price positioning, marketing strategies and how you will manage customer service.
Launch your product on your chosen platform and remember, Rome wasn't built in a day... it takes time to get established. But persistence and hard work do pay off.
To discover our fashion design services go to: fashion