So you want to start a clothing brand...

So you want to start a clothing brand...

Please pardon the little smirk on my face.That is me just thinking about how many times someone – who has no clue about business 101 – has told me how they are going to dominate the apparel seen.It is remembering how many people sent me a 10 page NDA to “Protect the best art you have ever seen” and their unique perspective on how to roll out their social media dominance.

I have often fantasized about an “academic requirement” to enter the clothing industry. The thing to remember is it is an Industry not a hobby. Not only is it an industry, it is a cut-throat one. Am I trying to scare you off? No. I am simply keeping reality in the conversation. You need to ask yourself why you want to do this.What do you know about this business that is going to help you set yourself apart from the competition?

Those of us who make clothing for other people – tend to have a jaded perspective on “start up” brands.

A few years back our company had a booth at Sourcing@Magic where we attempted to work with “emerging” brands that needed our particular expertise. After investing in this show for several seasons we finally toss in the towel. Why? Because the majority of the people we spoke to did not have the funding or the vision or the skills to get their concept off the ground. We started going to other shows – where we found great brands that wanted to extend into clothing. People who had a loyal customer base and a brand that was well defined – but missing the apparel segment. That is when we started to grow faster and faster.

If you really want to build an apparel brand you need to keep a few things in mind:

  • Know “Why” you are starting the brand
  • Ask yourself “Why are people going to buy my brand of clothing?”
  • Identify all the duties required to launch the brand and who is going to do that work.
  • Build a “Deck” about the brand…which should include the following:
    • What does the brand represent?
    • What types of clothing are you going to start with?
    • Define your target customer with “Brand Personas”
    • Identify your supply chain and their requirements
    • An expense budget
    • A sales and revenue forecast

We will be adding to this blog on a weekly basis...we will be dissecting the bullet points above so we can give you a “deep dive” on the real world of startup apparel.