For those of us who dream big or think creatively, how often we have thought of designing our own apparel or about owning a clothes outlet! We have been inspired time and again when we see gorgeous models walking down the ramp in signature outfits. We have often thought of adding our own personal touch to everyday and occasional wears. Such dreams do come true!
You too can start a clothing line!
A clothing brand is a design, symbol, term, or name that identifies a clothes seller’s goods from those of other sellers. It reflects the market presence and visibility of a business. A clothing brand is similar to an umbrella that shelters different clothing lines. For example, Allen Solly, a renowned apparel brand, has clothing line comprising winter wear, summer wear etc. A brand represents the value or quality it stands for.
A clothing brand is like a parent label that may comprise one or more than one clothing line. For example, Gini & Jony, a leading kid clothing brand, has different clothing lines under it such as tees, party wear, jeans etc. A clothing brand is usually made by a famous maker or manufacturer. The success of a clothing brand is related to the emotions built around it.
A famous writer once said, “If wrappings of cloth can impart respectability, the most respectable persons are the Egyptian mummies, all wrapped in layers and layers of gauze.” This means that merely presenting an apparel collection is not sufficient. A lot of planning, effort, and genuine ideas go behind launching a clothing brand.
Indian personalities have always awed the world with their amazing fashion sense. Some of the renowned Indian celebrities have launched their own clothing brands. HRX by Hritik Roshan, Nush by Anushka Sharma, True Blue by Sachin Tendulkar, Being Human by Salman Khan, and All About You by Deepika Padukone are few of those brands.
How do I brand my clothing startup?
Once we are determined to brand our clothing line, it is time for us to plan step by step to get into action.
Besides one’s dedication and time, here are few quick steps:
1) Plan...plan...and plan!
Plan realistically. Find ways to attract investors, make a note of your business’s future objectives and its mission statements. Bianca Dabney, the founder of BIDA, a sustainable, minimalistic streetwear line, says that running a business is an ongoing evolution and one should adapt and be flexible.
Consider various costs and compare them with your actual fund. Set up your pricing strategy. Your apparel business should have price points for both wholesale and retail for it to prosper.
Don’t forget to consider your competitor’s pricing and that of your brand when creating your pricing strategy.
2) Understand the market
Identify the problems, requirements, and demands of your target audience. Get to know your would-be competitors. Talk to potential customers and store owners and share their experiences.
It is very important for you to know your legal obligations as well.
Get to know about your target customer’s spending habit, aesthetic preferences, and lifestyle. Your production budget and sourcing, designs, fabric choices, and retail outlet should align with your target customers’ needs and should appeal to them.
For example, Happy Socks, a producer of accessories, socks, and lingerie, expresses a cheerful attitude and happiness through its designs. Happy Socks creates an impression that it is a lifestyle through social media and through bold and vibrant photoshoots.
3) Get going and start building your brand
Assign a brand name to the nameless! There are different ways to name your brand. You can be creative and invent a new word or simply lend your own name to your brands like Giorgio Armani or Tommy Hilfiger have done. Feel free to borrow from a foreign language or a name that simply attracts you.
Develop your brand logo. People remember well what they see more than what they hear. Check for the logo’s availability and stick to it to develop a brand identity. Customers want brand experience and brand authenticity.
Try to find answers to questions such as what makes your clothes unique, what customers can get from your brand that they cannot find anywhere else, what you want your clothing brand to represent etc. With these questions answered, you can now focus on the other aspects of branding your clothing line.
Next develop an online store using many ecommerce platforms like WIX, WordPress or Shopify.
If you find difficulty in checking the authenticity, availability or development of a brand. Engage with a brand consultant.
When you are ready to create your own clothing brand, you may need to choose among different options such as print-on demand, private level clothing line, and custom cut and sew clothing line, based on cost, time input, and difficulty. You may hire a dedicated branding agency just like us to help you craft your brand from level zero.
4) Focus on the designing and production aspect of your clothing brand
After finalizing the type of clothing line or niche you wish to present, it’s time for you to design your clothes, find the appropriate fabrics, and let your clothes reflect your creative self. Remember to never compromise on quality and be passionate about your work. If you are a fashion designer develop and craft designs for your target market, select the best design and then get into production.
Your maiden collection should reflect the basic essence of your clothing brand.
Connect with manufacturers to produce your clothing. Consider factors like quality, the cost to start, minimum order quantity, and trust factor to manufacture your clothing designs line. Remember external appearances do matter and attractive packaging also draws target customers.
5) Market your clothing brand
Publicizing one’s collection, either physically or digitally, is as important as producing it. Selling online is not easy. Marketing over your sales channels and social media, for example, social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram reels is the trend now. Make sure that your brand’s goals align with your marketing strategy and business model with high quality products. This ensures that your customers develop brand loyalty.
Creating your own website also helps because customers can directly connect with you and make online purchases. You may write product-related blogs to enlighten your customers. Your website will act as your brand’s promoter and is important for your branding strategy. Display pictures of the apparel under your brand to attract potential customers and, also, to lend credibility to your business. Accept payments to multiple channels for user ease to purchase including credit cards.
The fonts, symbols, and colors used on your website, on tags, on your store create a huge impression.
Also, consider whether you want to sell your clothes online or in a brick and mortar shop.
6) Become aware of the technology needed to brand your clothing line
Being familiar with and making use of technology when branding your clothing line helps to run your business smoothly, securely, and profitably.
Make use of point-of-sales (POS) systems to speed up the transaction process and to manage inventory. Also, AI algorithms can be used to predict style trends and to provide innovative designing ideas.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) 3D designs platforms like CLO can be a newbie’s best friend when branding a clothing line. Allowing potential buyers to try your outfits virtually on your website can prove to be a boon.
For example, Goolge in partnership with German fashion platform Zalando has launched Project Muze. The Project uses algorithm that creates designs based on users’ style preferences.
An Amazon project makes use of images to learn about fashion trends and to create similar new images.
Tommy Hilfiger announced Project “Reimagine Retail” in 2018 to decipher real-time fashion industry trend.
Make use of advanced communication system to be in touch with your existing and potential customers, to manage your employees, and to keep an eye on your business as a whole.
E-commerce involves shipping products directly to customers. Open source e-commerce services like Magento, WooCommerce, Open Cart and the like can be used to establish one’s startup. Fashion e-commerce sites like Koovs, Myntra, Zivame, Olive Clothing, Tucker Blair etc. can help an amateur entrepreneur to grow.
Technology personalizes, speeds up, and automates every aspect of the clothing business.
Be ready for uncertainty. Businesses, in general, are at risk in uncertain times. Always be prepared for those times. Be technology ready. Collaborate with certain stakeholders during this time to help you sail through uncertain times. Get your logistics secured. Prepare a contingency plan, Plan how to reach to your regular customers during this time.
All said and done, a brand’s image greatly depends on keeping your social media, graphics, and ads consistent, on innovative packaging solutions, and on the tone of communication used with customers.
It should be remembered that owning your own clothing brand has both pros and cons. You have the liberty to run your small business as you like, showcase your talent, as well as enjoy your work. However, never ignore feedback and failures. After all, hard work always pays.
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