Being entrepreneurial is incredibly 'in' at the moment, and clothing brands are springing up everywhere. The growth of social media, and Instagram in particular has made it much easier to market a brand and grow a customer base. This article will explain the first part of how to start a clothing brand.
I started Ascendancy Apparel approx. 18 months ago, I had very minimal business knowledge and next to no knowledge of the clothing world. I've learnt so much since launching and I'd like to share some of that information in this post. Starting a clothing brand is a relatively straightforward process but the amount of work needed to make the brand successful is huge. I started this as a solo venture and worked upwards of 100 hundreds hours a week, every week for the first few months. As a result my first piece of advice would be to find a partner or get a small team together - if you can find reliable, equally driven people to share the load it will be of great benefit in the long term.
Secondly, there are a couple of important points to keep in mind when starting the process. It's essential to make your brand unique and to build value for the customer - your brand needs to stand for something and provide potential customers with more than just items of clothing. Your brand may stand for an ideal or represent a unique community. Following the steps below will enable you to get started with your brand, I'll be writing about more technical aspects of the process in the coming weeks - sourcing products, building a website etc. as well as actually taking your brand onto the market for the first time - the really exciting part!
In this post I'll cover the fun part before launch, the creation.
1. Generate Ideas | Starting Your Own Clothing Brand
Perhaps create a mood board or at least brainstorm - think of the things you're passionate about and make a note of them. To make this work you're going to have to really love what you do and what your brand stands for. I love Ascendancy Apparel, I love the outdoors, I love the outdoor community and I love adventure. I'm so proud to have a brand that stands for all of the above and this is what enables me to keep putting in the hours - something that's essential to both get things going and keeping things going. I can't stress enough how much you're going to have to work - so you need to love what you'll be doing.
Write yourself a clear mission statement and define what you're all about.
2. Do Your Research | How to Start a Clothing Line
Once you have a few ideas start searching the internet for companies who are already providing something similar. If you're extremely lucky you won't find anything but the chances are there will be someone already aiming at your potential market with a similar product to the one you plan to sell. Don't be deterred though - find out how established they are and what countries/areas they predominantly serve. Find out if they stand for anything specific, and find out what their USP's are - do they give a percentage of profits to a cause or use ethically sourced materials etc. Even if there others operating in your niche there will still be something you can do to make yourself unique. And always remember you don't necessarily need to be first to do something, as long as you're the best at what you do.
3. Create a Name/Logo/Colour Scheme | Naming Your Clothing Line
You're going to need to make your brand stand out, if people like your logo and colour scheme they may buy your brand regardless of the concept behind it. If they like the concept but not the look they'll almost certainly decide not to purchase - so your visual branding is incredibly important!
Your logo needs to represent everything you stand for but also be visually appealing - for Ascendancy Apparel I settled on two mountains. It's a very simple logo but it screams adventure, outdoors and wilderness whilst remaining minimalistic and stylish.
As for your name, it needs to be both catchy and unique. Once you have a name in mind the first thing you need to do is see if it's already taken - other companies may have a similar name, and this is OK, but you'll need to make sure you can get a domain that encompasses your name. Search Godaddy to see what domains have already been taken.
4. Be Consistent | Start Up Clothing Brands
Absolutely everything you produce; your website, promo material etc. has to be consistent in design. People should be able to instantly recognise your brand through consistent use of it's colour scheme and logo. You should also be consistent with when and how often you produce content, and/or post on social media. There will be times when you need to announce something special or create a one-off post, but your customer base should be able to depend on you providing regular, quality content. See my Instagram post for more details on this topic.
5. Get Going! | Starting a Clothing Business
There ain't nothing to it but to do it! Your brand won't grow or even exist until you get started, and if you wait until your ready you'll die long before you ever start. If you're unsure of something, Google it. There's an incredible wealth of information out there. If someone has done something then they or someone else will have probably written about it too. Google will quickly become your problem solving best friend. In the coming weeks I'll be writing more posts around clothing brand start-ups and business in general so check back to catch those or follow me on Instagram/sign up below for updates.