So, you want to start a fashion brand. Go, you! But firstly, Congratulations on your decision to follow your passion!
Clothing Startup in 2021, it would be wise to keep it Ethical, sustainable fashion is a big step towards bettering the environment plus it’s a great way to put forward your unique ideas and turn them into a successful brand or company.
Keep in mind that you cannot build a fashion brand overnight and especially a sustainable one. So to make it a success, get prepared for an exciting journey of trials, errors, and lots of learning.
We have got you a step-by-step plan to help you define your place in the market and construct your business plan. These steps can be supplied to any clothing brand sustainable or regular. Don’t worry, we’ll cover all your concerns, and starting your own fashion brand won’t be much stressful.
1) UNDERSTAND THE NEED
By becoming a fashion brand you are creating an opportunity for people to dress according to their values. Try to find the loopholes in the pre-existing fashion brands. Brainstorm and understand the need of the customers, that will help you stand ahead of the crowd. What people are looking for? Is it simply outfits that value their money? Or are they looking for newer designs?
The day you figure out what “extra” or “new” you can provide to your customers, you may be ready with your unique idea. Take ample time or even involve experts before you come to a conclusion.
The material used in products speaks it all. Quality is better than quantity. Do as much research as you can and know what type of products you want to put out there into the fashion world. Make sure your products are a reflection of your brand’s mission statement that makes a consistent commitment to your customers.
2) COME UP WITH A SOLID DESIGN CONCEPT
Now we’re getting to the fun part.
When it comes to open a new brand, what are some phrases that come to mind?
How should your logo and tagline be? What will your products look like? How to convey the maxim of this brand to people? Who is your audience?
These are some major questions that you should be able to answer when you create your brand. Research your target market and the customers that you have in mind. In case it seems tough initially, try creating a mood board with ideas, words, color swatches, and sustainable materials that interest you.
It’s time to get creative!
What will make your brand stand out from all the flourished brands out there? Maybe using some amazing handwoven patterns that belong to the regional culture of India? Or maybe keep your line chic and use recycled materials? What didn’t seem appealing decades ago, might be in trend if carefully designed with a new twist? The possibilities are endless!
3) DEFINE YOUR TARGET MARKET
Know who is your customer. Define the demographics of your customers. Be sure to consider: What are their likes and dislikes? What’s the average amount they are likely to spend on clothes? What issues do they care most about?
For a more in-depth analysis, do market research by surveying people who fit your market. You can do this by conducting online surveys or simply by doing live interactions with people. Visit local stores to understand the taste of your target customers, even talk to them to get an insight about their apparel needs and desires.
Change the clothing stereotype! Fashion has evolved considerably over the past few years. Doing relevant research will offer you the opportunity to evaluate how those brands promote and sell sustainable products and ensure that they are proactively eliminating this prevalent stereotype.
In addition to the materials you use, there are some other aspects to think about when starting your fashion business. Have a look:
Pricing - Naturally, sustainable fabrics come costlier as the processes used to make this textile don't just churn out mass-produced clothing. Price is very important to your customer, but creating a brand that focuses on the benefits and positive impacts of your clothing will help to distinguish you in the market.
Define your ethics - Starting an eco-friendly fashion label should be assembled on authentic ethics and standards that resonate with your target audience. Just following the crowd is not a great tactic for new companies, as consumers are supposed to believe your reasons for producing ethical clothing. Gaining certification with trusted associations could have a powerful impact on your brand identity as you work to build a loyal customer base.
· Think outside the box - As said earlier, there can be stereotypes about the type of person who buys sustainable products in the name of fashion. Breaking down this stigma can be achieved by thinking outside of the typical scope. Encourage the usage of sustainable fabrics to your advantage and experiment with different styles & trends to embrace the beauty and raw nature of its composition.
4) START DESIGNING YOUR CLOTHES
Designing is one of the most exciting steps in starting your fashion business. Keep in mind that your unique collection will help you create your brand’s signature look and style. What makes your product stand out from the rest?
Remind yourself to keep material cost in mind as you sketch. This way you make sure your final product isn’t breaking your estimated costs. Focus on keeping the design cleverly crafted with simple construction with a touch of your eccentricity. This will surely benefit you in the long run.
5) FIND A MANUFACTURER
Now that you have a collection of ideal designs sketched and strategized, you will need someone to help you to produce them on a large scale. That’s the call for a manufacturer. Your manufacturer is the one who will provide quality samples, cut and sew services, knitting services, create fresh patterns, and in some cases, do design consulting.
You’ll just need to make sure that the manufacturing facility you are working with is up to safety code, using ethical manufacturing processes, and is paying their workers a fair wage.
6) SOURCE THE RAW MATERIALS
While searching for the right fabrics to create your ideal product, it’s really important to be choosy and meticulous. Look for certifications, authenticity, and quality – Is the material breathable? Is it comfortable on the skin? How will it drape?
If you are a beginner at product development, counter sourcing is the best way to ensure you get the exact materials you are looking for without having to get into all the technical detail.
Start by shopping from nearby favorite stores & find fabrics you like and would want to use for your own brand.
Hit the market and check out the competitors. Who is killing it in the market? Try to think of something more original. Suppose, if you want to start a sustainable clothing line try to avoid yoga and swim - the market is fully saturated, competition is very high, and your chances of succeeding are effectively low.
Test the fabrics out to be sure that you 100% like them before you proceed. Find solutions to make it better. This way your brand will have a higher chance of success.
Buy a few of the garments from your competitor’s brand and wear them yourself. Check the fabric – its elasticity, overall look, stitching & fit – Literally every possible detail.
The bottom line is, before you begin your work and cooperate with the fabric mill, make sure what you are trying to reach out to is a good quality fabric first!
Okay! So now that you have found your “perfect fabric”, now it's time to reach out to fabric mills.
7) BEGIN SAMPLE DEVELOPMENT
Development is the most important part of creating any clothing line. This is a base step to understand how the pattern is made, tweaked, and perfected. Samples are designed based on this pattern.
Samples are in general, proto-types of your apparel products. You require approximately three samples per style to help you sense if adjustments are needed before the clothing goes to production. If adjustments are needed the pattern is revised and the cycle repeated until you say aloud ”Yes! This is it”.
8) ESTABLISH THE PRICE OF YOUR COLLECTION
By now you know the costs of production and other overhead costs you are dealing with to run your company. So you are finally ready to establish the price for your collection. Will you be selling the product directly to consumers at a wholesale rate, or do you want to diversify and sell in mortar shops?
Say if you are planning to sell wholesale, you will need to double your cost of manufacturing and all goods included per unit. For example, if a dress costs INR 250 to produce (including fabric, labels, cut/sew & all other costs associated with that dress), your wholesale pricing would be INR 500. Now, double your wholesale price to establish your retail which, in this case, would be INR 1000.
If you plan to remove the middleman, which is probably the best idea for emerging brands we suggest, you will still make a solid 50% profit margin by selling direct-to-consumer at wholesale prices.
9) BUILD YOUR BRAND IDENTITY
Before you present your ethical fashion brand to the world, you need to have a name, a catchy tagline, and a logo. This is much needed to create brand guidelines to provide consistency throughout, and that will align with how your brand is represented on social platforms.
Packaging is something extremely important to consider when analyzing what type of aesthetic and feels are you going for. Make sure to find eco-friendly packaging that corresponds with your brand’s ethics. You can also find tons of options online.
10) CONDUCT AESTHETIC PHOTOSHOOTS
If you are in the fashion game, you have to capture great images of your products. Set aside a budget to pay a photographer, model, and a director. Make sure to schedule a photoshoot long before the launch of your collection so that you have product shots on the model, product flats (product images in the studio not on a model), and all those aesthetic images that showcase your clothing looking seamlessly great in real.
Increase your budget and hire a talented videographer, if you want to get a video teaser shot or snippets for your Social media like IG & Facebook.
11) PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE!
Ready to present your brand to the world?
Create social media pages for your brand and keep posting actively at least 2-5 times per day. Build rapport with potential customers and try engaging in conversations. Create a content calendar that includes all the trending topics and seasonal know-how. Refer to it to build your social media posts and newsletter topics.
If you want to give your content a “boost”, you can use social media marketing tools like BuzzSumo, Google Trends, Feedly to grasp a larger audience. Make sure you establish the demographics to be consistent with that of your target market. You can do a soft launch of your new collection in collaboration with a nearby boutique.
Always keep in mind that it’s never too early to start promoting.
You can create a website pretty easily using resources like Wix and start building up an email list early so that more people can possibly know when you’ve launched your brand. Keep important keywords in mind to draw traffic to your website. Words use you define your brand. Choose wisely!
TO WRAP THINGS UP
When it comes to creating your own ethical fashion brand, there are so many ways to get your brand noticed!
- Keep your brand sustainable from beginning till end.
- Understand what people are looking for.
- Develop an appreciable concept before you get started.
- Consider the materials being used.
- Find manufacturer and expert designers
- Produce sample outfits (at least 2-3 for every design)
- Get the final collection ready and tested.
- Packaging matters (again, it’s really important)
- When in doubt, reach out to the customer base. Ask questions. Do your research.
- HAVE FUN and play with your designs as much as you want! Make people want more out of your brand.
- Be your own salesperson and keep promoting.