Table of Contents
- Top Factors To Consider Before Starting a Fashion Brand
- How To Start a Fashion Brand: Crucial Steps to Success
- 1. Define Your Market Niche
- 2. Draw Up a Detailed Business Plan
- 3. Who Is Your Target Audience?
- 4. Begin Designing Your Collection
- 5. Source a Reliable Manufacturer
- 6. Prepare Your Public Profile
- 7. Price Your Garments Right
- 8. Put Real Effort Into Your Supply Chain
- 9. Soft Launch Into the Physical World
- 10. Consider Taking On a Business Partner
- Ramp up Your Entrepreneurial Knowledge With Us
Every major fashion brand that the world knows and loves had to start somewhere. Without an origin story, what would any type of brand be? Merely a dream that was never brought into reality.
In today’s era, launching a fashion brand is far more accessible and achievable than it was just 50 years ago. With the likes of e-commerce and online marketing, making a name for your brand is doable, albeit challenging.
If you’re wondering how to start a fashion brand from scratch, allow this blog to guide you in the right direction.
Top Factors To Consider Before Starting a Fashion Brand
Before you dive headfirst into launching a fashion brand, there are a few harsh realities you need to face first. First of all, it takes more than having the visual talent to launch a brand. You have to be a dedicated entrepreneur, ready to give it your all.
Some of the top designers in the fashion industry who have all launched successful brands will tell you the same three things:
- Launching a successful fashion brand takes blood, sweat, tears, and a good amount of equity
- You will face challenges, more than you think, especially if you’re a first-time entrepreneur
- Despite the challenges, you can still achieve your dream if you have the willpower to do so
One of the most important considerations of them all is whether you’re actually suited to being an entrepreneur. Do you have the guts? Are you prepared to put in long hours, work weekends, and late nights? Being an entrepreneur is far from a 9-5 job.
The only person responsible for the success of your fashion brand is you. All the responsibility falls on your shoulders to make it happen — not your fashion marketing agency, your suppliers, manufacturers, or customers. Yes, they do play key roles in bringing your dream to life. But ultimately, it all falls on you when things fail.
You’ll need to think about these things before you take the plunge.
How To Start a Fashion Brand: Crucial Steps to Success
When it comes to starting your own business, especially a fashion brand, much of it has to do with trial-and-error. This is one of the best ways to learn as an entrepreneur and refine your product or service.
However, this doesn’t mean that a solid business plan isn’t absolutely crucial to a successful business journey. Here are some of the most important steps you’ll need to take while building your brand:
1. Define Your Market Niche
Even if you’re a brilliant designer with plenty of fine talent, you can’t rely on this alone to make your fashion brand a success. A good way to get your foot in the door when it comes to the world of fashion is to identify a gap in the market and make that your niche.
If there is something that the fashion industry is currently missing, make it your mission to fill this gap. Do some research on a product/s that should exist in the world of fashion today and concentrate on providing a solution.
Of course, it’s important to put your own spin on things. You want to identify a market niche and make it your own.
2. Draw Up a Detailed Business Plan
Your business plan is, essentially, the guide you’ll refer to throughout your entire business journey. When you start to question your goals or the product you offer, you can refer back to your business plan for guidance.
When you draw up your plan, you want to ask yourself: what is my overarching goal for this brand? Your business plan should outline this goal in detail so that you can look back on it as a reference whenever you need it.
Business plans should include a plethora of important information, of course. But it’s most important for writing down that business goal and keeping it in your mind’s eye throughout your journey.
3. Who Is Your Target Audience?
This step is just as important as identifying your market niche. While doing so, you also want to think about the type of audience your brand caters to.
A clothing brand should not just exist to fill a gap in the market. It should also identify and relate to the type of consumers that need or want this product. No matter how brilliant your designs are, they mean nothing if you don’t have customers who can identify with them and buy them.
While identifying your target audience, look at the pros and cons of certain demographics, as well as their existing buying habits. For example, if you plan on targeting a younger generation, remember that they are style and trend-conscious, but don’t always have the funds to pay a premium for products.
Or, if you plan on targeting an older audience, they may have the funds to pay a little extra. But they might not be as daring in their style choices. They may also be loyal to other brands and need some persuading. So choose your audience and target market carefully.
4. Begin Designing Your Collection
This is a chance to let your true talent shine. As a fashion designer, your first collection that you release to the market could be make or break for your brand. It says a great deal about who you are as a designer and your aesthetic. In essence, your first collection becomes your calling card for your brand name in the future.
The design of your clothing will also become the core of your business. Let’s say you aren’t a trained fashion designer, but have a passion for design and want to create a brilliant collection.
If you don’t have the talent or skills, you’ll need to bring a designer(s) on board who can bring your dream to life. This professional should have an in-depth knowledge of design, construction of clothing, materials, and product development.
Sketching your designs should only begin once you have identified your niche market, target customers, and defined your collection. Always keep your inspiration, brand image, and your customer front of mind during your design process.
5. Source a Reliable Manufacturer
This is only a necessary step if you plan on outsourcing your manufacturing from the start. If you plan on sourcing materials, cutting, and sewing all of your garments you may need some in-house manpower for this.
But if not, a reliable manufacturing partner is integral to the success of your business. At first, maybe that just means hiring the help of colleagues to kick off your brand from a home studio. In fact, this is how most small brands make their start. It means low overheads, but long hours.
If you’re looking for something a little more established, you might want to consider a small factory that produces a limited supply of your garments, alongside mass-produced items for a bigger brand. In many cases, manufacturers like this are based outside the United States in countries such as Bangladesh, China, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka.
It’s a good idea to pack your bags and scout out these factories and the working conditions in person. However, if your budget doesn’t allow for this, you can conduct the vetting process via email, and video calls.
If you are determined to produce your garments within the United States, there are plenty of small, local manufactures who could be willing to take you on. But the same vetting process applies.
6. Prepare Your Public Profile
Believe it or not, the preparation of your brand name, logo, and overall branding only comes after you’ve sorted out all your business logistics. This is because you want to ensure that bringing your brand to life is actually feasible, first.
Your public profile should include your brand/business name, your logo, a business slogan, and the overall look and feel of your branding. This means you’ll need to design a highly functional website on an e-commerce platform. You want to opt for a reliable platform such as Shopify, Etsy, Squarespace, and the like.
Then, it’s important to establish your social media profiles on both Instagram and Facebook. Today, both of these platforms are brilliant for marketing up-and-coming brands thanks to integrated in-app purchasing systems.
You want to complete the setup of your public profile by the time your garment manufacturing is complete. This way, you can launch the two together.
7. Price Your Garments Right
Before you launch your public profile you want to carefully consider the price point of your garments. Again, this factor could be make or break for your brand. Priced too high, and you could miss the mark based on who your target audience is. Priced too low, and you could barely make a profit or break even.
But most importantly, you want to keep your target market in mind when it comes to pricing. Your price point should cover productions costs, but not alienate your customers because the cost is inaccessible.
8. Put Real Effort Into Your Supply Chain
The supply chain you establish for your fashion brand is everything. This includes all aspects, such as sourcing materials, the manufacturing process, managing orders, fulfilling, them, and more.
In a nutshell, the success of your brand hinges on your supply chain, so you need to plan things with meticulous detail. No matter how many hands come into contact with a single garment before it reaches your customer, it’s important to nurture all of those relationships along your supply chain.
When it’s time to source your suppliers, due diligence is crucial. Make sure to take samples and sketches of your garments with you. Talk about quantities, payment terms, and their process of working with brands. Take note of how much ”behind the scenes” information they’re willing to tell you.
You want to opt for an e-commerce platform that is well-organized. It’s also important to add your own personal touch to your shopping platform so that your customers feel cared for and supported. When it comes to order fulfillment, you need to physically pack the order yourself (at first) so that you know how the process works.
9. Soft Launch Into the Physical World
Before you launch your brand online, you could also consider launching it in a physical location, first. This is a great way to see how people respond to your garments and what’s popular, and what’s not.
With the option of flexible leasing, this makes retail spaces accessible for small brands just starting out. It’s also a good way to physically connect with your audience and translate your brand’s story in a meaningful way, within your community.
This way, you can also create some word-of-mouth about your brand, before you even launch into the online sphere. All-in-all, launching your brand in a physical space is one of the best ways to test out your local market.
10. Consider Taking On a Business Partner
When it’s time to launch your brand, you want to start off slow at first. You’ll need to have a solid proof of concept and clothing that you can sell in a limited quantity. You also want to think about enlisting the support of a business partner or even a co-investor.
Sure, the best-case scenario is that you own all of your future profits. But for new businesses that still need to scale up, taking on a business partner or investor can be a game-changer. They could offer access to working capital that you’d never have on your own for a cut of your proceeds.
Ramp up Your Entrepreneurial Knowledge With Us
Launching your own brand, no matter the industry, takes plenty of guts, time, energy, and dedication. The entrepreneurial world is not for everyone, but if you believe that you have what it takes, then the above-mentioned steps should you start off on the right track.
For more on how to start a fashion brand and other business know-how, this is the site for you. Explore at your leisure and expand your business acumen today!