Building and marketing a clothing line these days is easier than ever with easy access to manufacturers from all over the world, private label options, and cheap marketing methods. But that also means the market is more saturated than ever, and for every clothing startup that succeeds, thousands fail. That’s just the reality of the business. However, in many cases, clothing startups with great concepts and products fail because they committed some crucial mistakes that could have easily been avoided. Let’s take a look at some common mistakes clothing startups make and how to avoid them.
Trying to Start Too Big
One of the most common mistakes is trying to start too big and having too wide a selection when getting started. Buying tons of inventory is also a bad idea.
You should only start with a handful of items, or with one signature product. A lot of clothing companies started that way and made it big. Now successful Johnny Cupcakes started by selling t-shirts with their logo on it. Jac Vanek is another example. She started by selling simple bracelets at music festivals and now owns a multi-million-dollar label. Starting small will allow you to limit your overhead and initial investment while building brand awareness.
Ignoring the Small Details
When starting, it’s important to have a solid marketing strategy and great designers, manufacturers, and distribution channels. But it’s also easy to overlook the simple things, like label design and manufacturing, for instance.
These are the kind of things you cannot ignore when you start building a brand. You want to design a label that represents you and that will leave a lasting impression. People often don’t realize how important the role labels play in a purchasing decision, but it could actually make or break a purchase. If they like your product and your label looks cheap or poorly written, it will reflect on your brand as a whole.
You not only want to work with a label designer that will be able to help you with your design and help you bring your ideas to life but you also need someone who can deliver consistent results and on time. That’s why you have to do your due diligence and work with manufacturers with a solid reputation in your business.
This label manufacturer, for instance, has worked as nominated label supplier for major brands like Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. That’s the type of manufacturer you should be looking for if you want to make a mark with your brand. Don’t make the mistake of cutting corners in this area – invest in quality labels for your brand if you want to give off the right impression.
Not Having the Resources
Another thing you’ll have to consider is resources. If you don’t have the resources to fulfill major orders from an important retailer, this could reflect badly on your business and you could potentially miss major opportunities. You have to make sure that you have the proper financial backing, either through a line of credit or a partner, so you can cover for any emergency. This also stresses the importance of starting small and limiting your overhead before you think of expansion.
Bad Promotion and Marketing
Yes, it’s true that social media is a cheap and simple way to market your brand these days. But it’s also very hard to stand out because of the thousands and thousands of other people marketing there. That’s why you need to use more than social media marketing and use all the options available to you. At first, you should calculate your projected revenue and spend at least 10% to 20% of it on marketing. You can then drop down to about 5% once you start getting recognition.
However, make sure that you use this money wisely and don’t assume that you need to spend tons of money on a fashion show. These can be very expensive and won’t give you much of a return on your investment. A much better idea would be to attend trade shows or have a launch party. These will give you both visibility and the chance to close some sales as well.
Not Building Good Relationships with Vendors/Stores
You’ll have to work with a lot of people when starting a clothing label and your relationships with them could play a huge role in how successful you’re going to be. You will be dealing with buyers, factories, and other businesses, all with their own agendas and timetables. So you have to make sure that you keep things cordial with them, but make sure that your objectives are met too.
If you want to sell your products to stores, you should make sure that you contact their buyer and schedule an appointment first. There’s nothing retailers hate more than walk-ins. You should also consider which stores you want to sell through at first. A bad retailer could potentially screw you over. This is why you should also have a lawyer draft proper contracts, so you’ll have legal recourse if anything happens.
One of the most important things when you’re getting started is setting and keeping a budget. You should also avoid spending money on unnecessary things. Start learning about taxes, and how you can get deductions on things like office supplies, your company vehicle, or gas, for instance.
One of the major mistakes people make when getting started is spending thousands on a fancy website. Creating a website nowadays is extremely easy and cheap, even for someone with limited computer knowledge. Start small with a DIY website using one of the many drag and drop builders out there and wait until you have the money to have a professional site made.
Starting a clothing line might seem simple, but starting a successful one is a whole other ballgame. Make sure that you come prepared and have a solid plan before you even get started. And make sure that you have the proper people surrounding you that will have the skills and expertise to make sure your brand becomes a success.
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