So, you want to launch a fashion brand. With the power of digital marketing and eCommerce, creating your own clothing line has never been easier. But what about building a successful brand? Our friends at Nineteenth Amendment have put together a guide on the 4 steps you need to know to launch a successful clothing line.
Starting a brand is easy. Launching a great brand that is successful is the hard part! In the past, starting a clothing line and a fashion brand was reserved for those with access to a lot of startup capital in order to invest in inventory and distribution of the product. With the rise of digital marketing and e-commerce, the barriers to starting a clothing line have decreased. This is great for you - but this also means that many fashion entrepreneurs embark on the brand-building journey only to stop dead in their tracks. Launching a fashion brand is NOT an easy task, and you have to be in it for the long haul. If you’re up to the challenge, the 4 steps below will help you with how to start a clothing line with confidence.
Step one: The Product
Starting a clothing line can be expensive, so it’s important to know your options before you get started. A big part of your fashion brand depends on the kind of fashion products you launch. You have a few options for finding products to launch, like branded merchandise (think printed T-Shirts), dropshipping other companies’ designs, or working with custom clothing manufacturers. But how to choose? There are pros and cons to all of these options, but the key to any great brand is to start with an authentic story. So, think about how the product you are selling relates to YOU!
Step two: Build your Brand
Now that you know what you are selling, it’s time to build your brand! For clothing brands to succeed in today’s market you need an aesthetic, a unique voice, and a strong pitch to your customers. Start with your brand positioning statement as a way to identify your niche. Because you are starting a clothing brand from scratch, it should be two things: EASY and MEMORABLE - i.e. compelling enough that people will remember it, but also simple enough that you (and they) can easily recite from memory.
Got your brand positioning figured out? Here is your ‘brand basics’ checklist to make sure you are ready for step three:
Name- We suggest something other than your real name because if you get big enough, sometimes you can lose it(!) But ultimately, it’s up to you!
Logo- One you can live with for now is fine. This can always be updated and trademarked later.
Domain- Try to get one that corresponds as closely with your name as possible - this will really pay off later!
Social Handles- Try to keep your handles as consistent as possible across channels - this will help you to build brand recognition amongst your followers.
Customer Profile(s)- Take the time to audit past customers and create a profile. Who is your core customer? What are their likes/dislikes? What does their clothing need to accomplish? This makes sure that your brand stays on track.
Inspiration Board- Gather what you have done previously and inspiration of where you’d like to go. Try and name the key features that unite your aspirational brand image.
Step three: Get your house in order to start selling
Now we’re on to the more tedious stuff concerning how to start a clothing line. You started to build out the business necessities in step two, when you identified and secured your clothing brand’s domain and social handles. Now it’s time to make it official! You need to register your business and set up the basics like a business bank account. This is particularly important as you build out your eCommerce site.
There are a lot of great options today to easily open a beautiful digital storefront for your clothing line: Shopify, Webflow, Squarespace, Wordpress, Weebly, Wix, Facebook, and Instagram + Venmo, just to name a few. Many of these tools require a monthly subscription fee, but help make the business realities of a fashion brand a bit easier (like applying tax rates for eCommerce or managing shipping).
Step Four: Get stakeholders involved
Now you are prepped with your story, brand positioning, and the clothing line you are going to sell. Next, you should identify niche press, organizations, and people to partner with for your launch. Let’s say you are creating a clothing line using all organic cotton because you grew up on a cotton farm. The next step might be to get in touch with a cotton industry organization, and have them share the news of your launch. You could contact every cotton farm you can find, and get them to help share your story. There are also a lot of non-fashion organizations that love a fashion-as-entertainment angle to share on outlets or news channels, so make it work for you!
Step Always: Test, test, test!
This step can and should be inserted at every step in the process. It’s crucial that you constantly test your brand, products, marketing, and strategies with your audience. This will help you to identify quickly what is working and what is not, and de-risk your brand launch before it happens.
Step Five: Go forth and launch!
This is a great step-by-step guide how to start a clothing line but you want to make sure first and foremost that you are ready. Launching a fashion brand is NOT an easy task, and you have to be in it for the long haul - there are very few overnight success stories!
If you want a deeper dive into building a brand, check you can out our free Brand Building course today!