Ten Things to Know Before Starting a Fashion Brand by ARI JOGIEL
Building a fashion brand is anything but impossible. However, it isn't easy. From sourcing materials, doing research, hiring staff, making prototypes, going into cut and sew, and most importantly - marrying creativity with a business mode. etc. It is a time consuming endeavor, but a worthy one that with the right amount of time and patience can lead to a fun and challenging career.
1. Keep it simple.
As a brand-new fashion designer, it is usually common to have a lot of ideas and try to jump the gun by bringing all your ideas to life at once. Remember there is a time for everything and starting a brand takes time and effort. We recommend keeping it as simple as possible, choosing only one to two styles to focus on so you can make your products really stand out.
2. Identify your target audience.
It is natural to hope everyone will want to buy your product, but in all reality, that is incredibly difficult considering the variety of people on this earth. Since you can rarely create a product that truly appeals to everyone, it is best to understand who your target customers are. Make sure to study what your target audience likes, their location, their education and income levels, the music they listen to, who they look up to and knowing what their values are. By creating a pseudo customer to envision while creating your clothing, you will be able to hone on the details that will help your products stand out in a crowd.
3. Marry creativity with a business model.
Starting a brand costs money. It is important to understand how your money is being invested and to have a minimum and maximum idea of your budget going into the process. Costs include idea development, graphic design, pattern making, sample making, fabric costs, cutting and sewing the garments, design meetings and fittings to ensure progress is being made correctly, and more. The more money you are willing to put in, the more products and embellishments that you will get out. A great place to start is $10,000-$15,000 for one to two styles.
4. Create a memorable image.
First impressions are important. You need to make sure you are very clear on what you want your brand image is going to be. Choose something that will make your items stand out – you must drive both new and returning customers throughout the lifetime of your business. Remember that people are driven by their emotional reactions to things such as color, taglines, images, scents, etc. For example, ARI JOGIEL uses lightning blue and is represented by our lightning bolt logo to help differentiate ourselves from other streetwear lines. The lightning bolt represents hthe art of bringing concepts to life and instills the idea of distinctiveness in our customers minds. Pick something that will be meaningful to you, your brand, and your customers to really make a name for yourself.
5. Have a physical reference to your design.
It is much easier to re-create a physical product. Everyone has a different way of explaining what is inside their head, so having a physical sample of a product that is similar to what you want your product to look like will help cut design time and allow your design team to see your vision clearly. Having a tangible reference for the base product is easier to make adjustments to than it is to create a brand-new product from start to finish.
6. Find a clothing manufacturer.
A lot goes into manufacturing a clothing line. It is best to partner with a manufacturing company for help sourcing fabric, cutting and sewing your products, and getting them ready for distribution. Find a full package company like ARI JOGIEL will help your product creation run smoothly. ARI JOGIEL, a one-stop-shop, can help you take your ideas through the full creation, development, and manufacturing process.
7. Perfect your samples.
It is natural to get excited about new products and want to skip over sample iterations, this is what makes a champ product stand from the rest. It is very rare that a first sample run comes out perfect, so in order to come up with the product of your dreams, stay prepared to create a few variations before its just right. The more upfront work that can be done to avoid manufacturing mistakes, the better. This will save you time and money in the long run. Make sure you don't take shortcuts, do multiple fittings, and implement adjustments until you are positive you are ready to move onto production.
8. Become an expert at overcoming challenges.
If creating a fashion brand were a walk in the park, anyone would do it. Remember that executing your dreams and making them a reality is never as simple as it might seem. It is expected that challenges will arise, and the best thing you can do is remain adaptable and understanding of changing timelines and expectations. Partnering with a company who can walk you through the process will be key to mitigate these frustrations, but always remember not to give up and continue seeking help from experts, stay patient and know that the only way to improve is to make mistakes and learn from them.
9. Choose your price points.
Based on the identity you have drawn up for your target customer, come up with some price points that seem reasonable for them to put forth. It is ideal to aim for a profit margin in the 60% range and to account for potential returns, exchanged, and promotional discounts. Do research on your competition to see what customers are willing to pay for their clothing and remember that people will pay for items they love if they are able to see the value that owning this garment will provide them.
10. Be Patient.
Starting a fashion brand takes time and comes with a lot of challenges. Our experts at ARI JOGIEL are here to assist you through the process and make sure you are happy with your final product, but even then there are unforeseen circumstances that always have to be worked through. Leverage people with experience in the field, ask as many questions as you can, and stay positive – you will end up with the fashion brand of your dreams!
NOTE: Ari and his team are looking to hire for development, manufacturing and business development positions. Interested in joining their team? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Be sure to follow @arijogiel AND @lafashiondistrict for more tips and all things Fashion District.
This post was created in collaboration with ARI JOGIEL.