Ten of thousands of designers have launched their own fashion brand since the world began reopening. Launching an independent clothing, footwear, or accessories brand requires a lot of creative and logistics work and management. If you’re not organized about how you spend your time and energy, you may find yourself giving up on your dream before you start it. Here, I am going to share 8 tips with you, to help you get started as an emerging designer. These include tools that encourage organization, tips on how to be distinctive, and pointers on self reflection to put you at an advantage.
1. Do Your Research
Since you’ve landed on this blog post, I know you’re taking steps in the right direction. Part of starting a fashion line is knowing what is happening in the fashion industry. It’s also knowing how to start your line in a professional manner vs. randomly selling clothing online without a solid sourcing and growth plan in place. Knowing what you are going into will allow you to plan accordingly, so here’s some topics you should be knowledgeable about:
Who your ideal customer is and what products they’re interested in
What products are typically the top performers to appear first in a Google search
What a business plan is and how to create one for your fashion-line
Where and how you plan to market yourself online
How to create valuable content that will drive consumers to your website
How to build the story behind your brand and add value to the market
2. Stand Out in a Crowd
While there are tons of different fashion brands, it’s very possible to make yours stand out amongst others:
Research your competitors so you can see what is and isn't working for them.
Stay consistent with your branding and colors to cultivate an aesthetic that will stick out in a line-up.
Build authentic relationships with your customers and provide outstanding customer service.
3. Find Inspiration – It’s Everywhere
As an aspiring artist, I used to struggle and sometimes still struggle to find inspiration. Here are three different sources that I and you can use to draw out creativity:
Nature – The colors you see and sounds you hear can inspire beautiful color palettes or a creative spin to a collection. Designer Valentina Voight used Greece as an inspiration for her “Made in Heaven” collection.
Relationships – Whether you are having good or bad relationships, this can be a rich source of inspiration. For example, even anger can be expressed through ripped and distressed clothing or the color red.
TV Shows and Movies – They film in different areas of the world, each with their own sense of style that serves as fresh inspiration to designers looking outside of their own day-to-day interactions.
Track Your Funds
It can be easy to get excited about starting your own fashion line and start purchasing things needed and wanted for the brand. However, make sure you track all the materials you gather for your line. You can use Google Spreadsheets to keep a log or an online source such as QuickBooks. The last thing you want is more money going into the brand, then coming out of it as profit.
5. Create a Calendar
There is so much to do when starting your own fashion brand. Keeping track of what you need to do along with when you need to do it will put you at an advantage. You can also keep track of when you have meetings with business partners or deadlines with a manufacturing company.
Create a timeline for yourself. This can be a very loose timeline being that it’s the first time you start a brand and you will likely work with other businesses. Decide when you need to purchase materials for your fashion products, when you want to have your first sample done, when you want to start marketing, what season you want to launch in, amongst other goals you have for yourself. Using a calendar will keep your priorities organized and save you time and stress in the long run.
6. Use Social Media to Your Advantage -- Play the Part
Did you know that you can use social media as a marketing and customer research tool? You can interact here with your potential customers by taking polls such as which color sweatshirt they would rather see. You’ll also be able to see which designs or products receive more engagement than others. This will help you to decide which designs you should choose to professionally produce.
Curate a feed that will draw customers in, and get them to interact with you.
7. Making Mistakes is Okay -- Learn From Them
Jumping head first into anything can be scary or overwhelming, but how will you know you're good at it if you don't even try? You’re bound to make mistakes at some point of the process. The important part is to learn from them as a designer, grow, and move forward. You must know the lows, in order to appreciate the highs.
8. Have Fun During the Process
Starting your own fashion line is an incredible feat and something to be proud of. While it involves a lot of tedious tasks, don’t stress yourself out. Designing and launching a brand should be fun and exciting. Be your biggest fan and all of your hard work will pay off soon!