Starting a fashion brand is a lot of work. Whether you are starting from home, with no money, or in grand style, the amount of work that goes into it is tremendous. As a fashion entrepreneur thinking of starting a fashion brand in 2021, things can get even more interesting.
Last week, we reviewed a video by Ada-Uju on what to do when you are frustrated with sewing and want to quit. This week, we reviewed a video by Bibi Adebiyi on 10 things to do if you’re starting a fashion brand in 2021. In it, she explains 10 things fashion designers can do when starting a fashion brand in 2021 with its peculiarities.
This video aims to help fashion entrepreneurs that are looking to start their brand in 2021 but are not sure how to go about it. It
This video review covers;
- useful points fashion entrepreneurs can learn from,
- important points missed out,
- the relevance of the information provided to fashion entrepreneurs.
10 Things To Do When Starting A Fashion Brand in 2021
Starting a fashion brand in 2021 is not too late. Even though the market seems saturated, it is not so especially if you are bringing something fresh to the table. In starting a fashion brand in this years 2021,
1. Focus on a Category
Firstly, you need to understand that there are different categories in fashion. There is streetwear, formal wear, evening wear, daywear, maternity wear, and so on. Each category deserves its own attention and marketing plan. If you’re not focusing on a particular category this year, you won’t go far with your fashion brand.
Another thing is that you want to be known for something. You want to be top-of-mind for anyone that is thinking of say modest wear, workwear, occasion wear or whatever your category is. If you are doing too many categories, you are spreading yourself thin.
To discover your category, you want to experiment. You might want to do a test run and see what area people respond to for you. You should focus on that category. This, however, does not mean you should focus on it alone for life, you can expand into other areas later on.
2. Build a Brand Around That Category
Building a brand is very important. Branding is what people think about you when they see your name. Does your logo evoke an emotion? When you call 10 people to talk about your brand, is there cohesion in what they say?
Each category comes with its branding, positioning, and communication. Workwear can be related to power, ambition, work, and, eveningwear to glamour, class, and so on.
Building your brand according to your category helps you streamline your marketing plan, target audience and so on. Branding is very important for you as a new brand because you need to stand out amongst other brands.
3. Create Many Samples, Launch Fewer Styles, and Create More Units Per Style
First off, you need to create as many samples as possible because your next viral product lies in the very many samples. Another reason you need to sample a lot more than you are releasing is that you need to choose the very best as opposed to launching everything that you sample.
You need to look through everything and pick your top 5. There’s a lot of value in sampling a lot. If you sample 25 styles, launch 5 because of your cost and it’s easier to market fewer styles than it is to market many. Too many new brands make the mistake of launching too many styles at once.
For example, when you are doing a photoshoot, you are paying per look when negotiating with your model, makeup artist, and so on. The more styles you have, the more pictures you will need and the more money you will spend. So, you need to be focused on fewer styles as more units per style.
4. Know Your Numbers
You have to know your numbers if you must start a fashion brand in 2021. In running a business, numbers are your best friends. You need to be meticulous and know what is coming in and what is going out. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
Create a spreadsheet, and, in one column, write expense, in the next, write income, and so on. Know your cost structure, revenue channels, and all other money aspects of your business. You must know your numbers because they will make or break your business.
Before getting an accountant or anyone else involved in your business, know your numbers. Make sure that you record everything that comes in and goes out of your business. Just know the basics.
5. Store Your Documents/Data on the Cloud
The cloud is one of the best things that has happened in the past decade. The accessibility and being able to log on from anywhere in the world is beautiful. If you have your information only stored on the hard drive of your laptop, you will lose it all if that laptop crashes.
You need to train yourself first and then your team to put everything online. If you don’t have the discipline to train yourself, it will be hard to train another person to do so. Your business information is so important and it needs to be online, not in notebooks or a laptop.
You can use Google docs, sheets, Dropbox and so on to store your information on the cloud.
6. Have an Efficient Product Development System
This means that you should have a very good production facility, whether you are outsourcing or producing in-house. You need to make sure your production space is top-notch.
In deciding whether to produce in-house or outsource, there are many factors you need to consider. You have to factor in the amount of time you can give, available resources, and so on. Outsourcing might be the best when you are not sure of how things will go and how long-term you will be in the business. Both come with their pros and cons.
There are many things to put in place when you outsource production. You need to make sure they understand your designs so you must have a specification sheet that details everything that goes into a garment. It has to be very meticulous.
If you are producing in-house, you still should have a specification sheet but you can get away with not having one. Having a very efficient production system requires a specification sheet.
Asides from a specification sheet, you need to consider the production flow, the machines you need to buy and the facilities you require. If you must produce quality garments, you have to work with, or own, a very good factory.
You also need a very good pattern drafter. This is something you should not skimp on. You should either be a very good pattern drafter or hire one because every good garment starts with a very good pattern. A pattern can make or break a garment because it is the foundation.
7. Have a Website
Some people just feel like websites are a lot of work but that is very short-term thinking. You cannot just be I your house and expects orders to come in. Even though Instagram helps a lot, you need to have a website when focusing on building a brand.
It might seem like Instagram helps with your customer service but customer service is not just processing orders. It is more about the customer experience, being intuitive and making sure that customers are satisfied. If all you’re doing in the department is just processing orders, that is not customer service.
A website automatic the process of fulfilling orders. If you make the website user-friendly, are constantly taking surveys and educating your customers about your website, you’ll see that more people will use it. Having a website positions you as a brand that knows what they’re doing.
8. Learn Digital Marketing Skills or Hire a Digital Marketer
If you are going to be an online business, a major part of it is digital marketing. Digital marketing is so key to building your fashion brand. Instagram is very useful for fashion entrepreneurs because no other site amplifies fashion like it does.
As a new brand, you need to get your visual out, amplify what you’re doing and get new customers for your brand. That is digital marketing. If you don’t have the skills, hire someone that does.
Digital marketing is not just ads, it is search engine optimisation, lowering your customer acquisition costs, and a whole lot more. If you’re doing it yourself, make sure to take courses and classes to better your skills.
9. Identifying and Building Relationships with Influencers
You need to identify influencers that fit your product category and reach out to them. It is not very advisable to start with paying influencers. You can instead build a relationship with influencers, but be ready to hear ‘no’ or not get a response at all.
You, however, need to reach out to them as the brand owner and try to build a relationship with them. Put your products in very beautiful and unique packaging when sending it out to them to increase the likelihood of them putting it on their stories.
10. Explore Collaborations
Every fashion brand, not just new brands, must explore collaborations. Collaboration helps you explore your different audiences especially when you are collaborating with peers.
You can not reach out to someone that is established and ask for a collaboration. A collaboration has to morally beneficial to both parties, so, collaborate with peers. As a fashion brand, look out for upcoming photographers, makeup artists and the likes.
If you cannot figure out the value your collaboration will bring to the other brand then it is not worth reaching out. Let them see what they will gain from collaborating with you.
Other Points Missed Out
11. Hire the Right Hands
As a new fashion brand, the staff to give to work for you are very important. They are key to the growth of your fashion brand and can either make or break it. From your interview process to your first hire, you have to make sure that you are doing the right things.
In 2021, and as a new fashion entrepreneur, you must hire only the essential staff that will move your fashion brand forward.
The Usefulness of the Information to Fashion Entrepreneurs
This video is an important one for fashion entrepreneurs that are thinking of starting a fashion brand in 2021. It explores the important aspects that are needed for hiking a successful fashion brand gives easy steps to follow.