What is a brand story and do I need to create one for the fashion label I’m designing? What goes into one? Is my mission statement enough of a foundation for my clothing company?
A lot of new fashion designers find themselves asking these questions when starting out to build their apparel brand. Here’s our take on the subject: a mission statement is important to have. It lets your audience know what your mission and goals are. However, it does not tell your audience why they should buy your brand instead of buying from someone else. It does not tell your audience why you are unique. That’s the job of your brand story. This story gives customers a glimpse into who you are as a fashion designer and what makes the products you create and sell unlike any other.
Why Having a Story for Your Clothing Brand Matters
Think about some of the products that you buy. Why do you buy them? If you are shopping for dish soap for example, you might choose Dawn. Why? Because you know that this brand helps save animals from oil pollution, and that reflects a value that you have as a consumer. Whether it is a product or service that you now love, there are some products that you are loyal to because of the brand’s story. Research has shown that when customers are loyal to brands, they are 60% more likely to recommend that brand to family and friends and nearly 40% more are likely to pay more for the product.
The Dos and Don’ts of Creating Your Fashion Brand Story
So, how do you create an amazing brand story? Let’s start with a list of some don’ts:
- Do not lie.
Painting your brand in a different light then it is could ruin your business later once the truth comes out.
- Don’t make your story a list of facts and dates.
It is great that you have facts about your business, maybe even some testimonials, but their place is not in your brand story. Your story shouldn’t read like a Wikipedia entry; it should read like an enticing and relatable narrative.
- Don’t brag.
It’s wonderful that you are proud of your work, but don’t be obnoxious. People don’t like a know-it-all.
- Don’t shade/name call.
You can draw general comparisons between your story and other common market narratives to differentiate your business, but don’t start drama by calling out competitors by name.
Now that we know what not to do, here are a list of things to do:
- Tell a story.
Effective brand storytelling, does exactly what it sounds like. It tells a story. Use pathos when writing your story to connect with your audience emotionally.
- Be authentic.
Don’t try to portray yourself differently than you are. Be you. Customers want to know the person behind the apparel designs.
- What’s your journey?
Share your experience. How did you get to be where you are?
- Share your passion. What makes you excited about the products you’ve designed for your label? Your passion will excite your buyers and catch on fast.
New Fashion Designers Who Are Doing Brand Stories Right
Your brand story can evolve with your apparel brand as you grow it, but a good tip for building your story’s foundation correctly is to start with your values. For example, Tach Clothing values the local craftsmanship of their designers' home country and timelessness in clothing. From these values, they developed the following brand story:
Image taken from the Tach Clothing website.
Tach clothing is both simple and complex, with a strong timeless appeal. They take inspiration from the delicacy of vintage clothing and look to make it fresh again. Every piece is carefully thought and locally made in Uruguay, in a fair trade environment.
Henning, on the other hand, values size inclusivity in luxury. This is how their brand story reflects that:
Image taken from the Henning website.
At Henning we believe that luxury shouldn’t stop at a size 12. And since plus-size women are still widely excluded from that realm, our founder, former fashion editor Lauren Chan, is taking matters into her own hands. Here, we’re building a collection of ethical luxury plus-size staples—like tailored blazers and classic coats—and we’re not making any compromises on quality, craftsmanship, or design.
These two examples give you an idea of how a good brand story can read and look. Now that you know the importance of having a brand story, and some tips and tricks on how to write one, you can now go and write your very own. If you have any more tips for writing a brand story, leave them in the comments below!