Many of the iconic clothing lines that you see on the market today sprang from humble beginnings. Whether it was a local market stall that they ran at the weekends or a small online store from their home computer, some of these fledgling designers have become recognizable names in their industry with the right marketing and business knowledge.
Everyone needs to start somewhere, and if you are thinking of launching your new apparel brand like 316Tees, you have never been in a better position to get your brand noticed thanks to modern innovations like digital marketing and social media.
In addition to having a creative vision for your clothing line, there are some other essential factors to consider in order to give your brand the greatest chance of hitting the stores in the future. As with any new business venture, the path ahead can feel overwhelming as well as exciting. To help guide you along the way this article has set out four steps to follow to ensure your success.
Create a Business Plan
A business plan can help you identify your goals and objectives for your business and to keep you on track with meeting them. For example, do you want to become a big-label brand that is sold in major department stores or would you like your label to be more private and exclusive, being sold only in select boutique stores? Whether you intend to be a sports clothing line or a childrenswear brand, make sure you define your niche from the beginning.
Your business plan should also include the core values for your business and any guiding principles that will influence the decisions you make. It can also serve as a valuable document for potential investors as well as suppliers and other parties you do business with, helping to convey your vision as well as your profitability.
Some other key elements of your business plan include a budget, competitive analysis, operation plan, and a sales and marketing strategy.
Unique Selling Point (USP)
Also known as a unique selling proposition, this is what helps your business stand out from the competition. This might be through meeting a need that other businesses are not meeting, or offering to solve a problem that has not yet been addressed. This important factor can make your business be known for its unique offering, helping to build your brand. Some useful questions to help you get clear on your USP include:
· Does your clothing look unique?
· Does it meet a particular gap in the market?
· Is the fabric you use unique in some way?
· Do you offer customized clothing?
· Is your clothing made in a specialized way?
With a USP behind you, you are more likely to get your clothing line noticed and seem better than its competition. Your USP can also help you to hone in on your target market.
One of the most important things to get clear on is your target audience. Before you launch your clothing line make sure you have carried out research on your potential customer base. Are you looking to be a premium or luxury brand that appeals to a wealthier and perhaps older demographic? Perhaps you want to appeal to a more eco-conscious audience that wants to buy sustainable clothing that is ethically made.
Having a clear vision for your clothing line can help you identify the next steps such as the types of suppliers to contact, sourcing of materials as well as your price point in the market. When you know who your potential customer is you can choose a price point that will cover your costs and also avoid the costly mistake of under or overselling your product.
Being clear on your target demographic will also give you clarity on the messaging for your clothing line increasing the likelihood of it being received by potential customers, thereby maximizing your marketing efforts. Without this understanding, you can end up wasting time and money on marketing campaigns that fall flat simply because they are not reaching the right audience. This information can also help you to grow your business as well as your customer base by knowing who to target for valuable feedback, the launch of new products as well as deals and promotions most relevant to them.
Find a Manufacturer
Unless you intend to stitch and source all of your materials yourself, this is the stage when you will need to partner with a manufacturer. This can be anyone from an assistant to help you in your living room to a textile company that supplies mass-produced materials for a number of businesses. Before contacting manufacturers, put together a ‘tech pack’ for them containing technical information such as your product specifications, materials, measurements, and artwork.
With the cost of labor being cheaper in countries such as India, Bangladesh, or China you may find it cost-effective to look to other parts of the world for a manufacturer, especially when you are starting out. This could involve you flying out to see how clothes are produced in their factory, however, this will largely depend on your budget.
Before you agree to work with a particular manufacturer ask yourself whether this aligns with your business vision and core values. For instance, a factory in Bangladesh may be able to produce your clothes at the lowest price, but this may conflict with your goal of being a company that makes its clothing fairly and ethically. In this case, you may find local suppliers who can meet your needs and those of your customer base.
If you are vetting more than one manufacturer, having a few batches to compare the quality and speed of production can help you to make your choice. Make sure you discuss matters such as maximum quantities they can supply, turn-around times and any adjustments needed. In addition, ask them about other brands they are working with. This could impact your own business if some of these names clash with your business’s core values.
With these four steps, you will be ready to take on the fashion world by storm.