How to start a fashion brand in 10 steps: Step-by Step Guide
The great brands in the clothing industry were not built from pieces. These brands were almost certain to have followed a business plan, even though there was some trial and error. They also continued to grow at a steady pace, despite the difficulties. This step-by-step guide will help you to structure your business model.
As you begin your journey in the clothing business world, be prepared for both highs and lows. It’s not easy to start a new business from scratch, but it is possible. All of the iconic brands today started somewhere.
- Identify the market need. The success of a clothing line is not dependent on its founder’s vanity. Consider a niche market that isn’t being filled. It could be a t-shirt that is suitable for formal occasions. Are there hoodies that flatter the curves of someone? Find out the product that should be available but isn’t being offered by major clothing companies.
- Create a business plan. This will help you throughout your journey as a fashion designer or clothing manufacturer. What is my ultimate goal with this product? Do I want to be a household name in Macy’s and Nordstrom? Is it possible to create a private brand for Target or H&M using my own branding? Do I want to build a premium brand that can be sold in boutiques on Melrose Avenue in LA, or SoHo in New York City. As you create your brand, identify your goals and remember them.
- Identify your target market. This step is nearly concurrent with number 1. It is important to not only identify the clothing item that should exist but also the target audience for that product. A product’s brilliant design will not be of much use if it doesn’t have potential customers. You should consider the pros and cons to targeting specific demographics. Young people are more fashion-conscious than older people and may be more open to online marketing and word-of-mouth, but they may also have limited resources. While middle-aged customers might be more able to afford a higher price, they may not be as concerned about style or be as loyal to a brand.
- Get started designing. This is likely your forte. So, this is your opportunity to shine creatively. Your first collection will speak volumes about your abilities as a designer. Make sure it’s something you love to show off. Think practically, however. You must ensure that your designs are cost-effective. A successful a fashion brand designer must be able to combine the ideal with the achievable.
- Locate a clothing manufacturer. If you don’t plan to source, cut and sew all of your materials yourself, you will need a partner manufacturing company. It could be anything. You might be looking for colleagues to help you make clothes in your home studio. You might be looking for a supplier of fabric. Maybe you are looking for a factory that can produce limited quantities of boutique goods as well as mass-produced products from an established brand. Clothing manufacturing has been done outside the United States for decades. It is possible to find a manufacturer in China, Vietnam, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh when you search for one. While you may be able to visit the factory in person, new designers with limited budgets will need to complete the vetting process via email and phone. You may be able manufacture your goods locally if your fashion goals are more modest, such as a new logo printed on top of existing streetwear or casual wear.
- Select a brand name and logo. Start planning your public profile. You will need a business name, logo and slogan. This includes designing a website using an ecommerce platform such as Shopify or Etsy. Customers love brands that tell a compelling story. This is why it’s important to incorporate your brand name, logo and website with this information. You should complete this work before the manufacturing process begins. You will be able to sell your goods immediately after they are manufactured.
- Decide on a price range for your products. This step is linked to identifying and understanding your target market. You should choose a price that covers your production costs but doesn’t exclude the customers that you need to launch your fashion company.
- Start the marketing process. This is where your brand needs to be known. This is why Instagram has become so popular. Many Instagram influencers are willing to promote new fashion brands in return for products.
- Establish realistic sales and distribution goals. Partner with a professional business person to take this step. You don’t need to know everything about clothing distribution just because you have a fashion vision. You can grow your business if you reach your sales goals.
- Launch a soft launch and then seek out more investments and partnerships. Now you’re ready to bring in potential business partners or co-investors. It would be great to own your business and retain all future profits. However, most business owners need capital to grow their businesses. This is best done by partnering with a business partner that can provide capital in return for a share of future profits.
Do you want to start your own brand?
It doesn’t matter if you are a new CEO or an experienced one, knowing the basics of people management, team building and workplace communication is key to a successful venture. Anna Wintour is the legendary editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine. Anna Wintour, Conde Nast’s current Artistic Director, shares her unique and valuable insight on everything from how to hire and manage a team to how best to serve the right audience.