There are a lot of people out there who dream about starting their own clothing brand. You are probably even one of them. Which is awesome! But there is only one catch: how to make sure your clothing brand doesn't fail?
This is where a lot of the dreamers start doubting their ideas and dreams. As soon as they start looking at the reality of starting a clothing brand, they get cold feet and decide they should just keep dreaming about it.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s actually a good thing that not everybody starts their own clothing brand. The people that follow through on their idea are also the people that won’t back down when they have their first financial throwback. In this article we will discuss the people that ignore the risks and potential issues and how to flag those risks and issues.
So if you think about starting a clothing brand and if you recognize any of the risks below, get back to the drawing board and make sure you got all of them figured out before you actually dive into the wondrous world of fashion.
One of the biggest mistakes new clothing brands make is that they start without having a decent strategy for their brand. You need to have a specific goal in mind. Your strategy is what helps you work towards your goals and objectives.
Even if you fail, you will still be able to see where and why you failed. Your strategy will show you where you did not put enough effort and time into. But when you fail without a strategy, you won’t even know why you have failed. It could be because of your pricing, marketing image, etc. You’ll never know because you didn’t lay out a plan in your strategy.
This is true for big and small brands alike. Look at this real life example from H&M, the multi million dollar fashion company.
H&M recently organized a photoshoot which ended up being a marketing and financial disaster. They had a young African-American boy model a sweater that stated “coolest monkey in the jungle”. As you can imagine, they received massive blowback because of that one photo.
All because of not having a small but solid strategy for that one shoot.
People set unrealistic goals for their brand all the time. Which becomes a slippery slope real quick. The best advice we can give here is this. Don’t expect to earn every invested penny back right off the bat. This could take time.
The sooner you realize this the better. It might take you weeks, months or years to turn break-even. So don’t panic, keep working hard, follow your strategy and set achievable goals. The money will then follow automatically. Not setting realistic goals or not adjusting your strategy to achieve your goals could result into what happened with American Apparel. Remember them?
The original American Apparel filed for bankruptcy a second time last year. They have now been bought so the name and company have been saved. But the original founders and management were way too ambitious in terms of opening stores all around the world. They started opening so many stores that they created competition for each other. Which ultimately led to a lot of stores not being profitable anymore.
Two identical stores can only serve a limited amount of customers in the same geographical area. Even after filing for bankruptcy the first time, they still didn’t realize they needed to start closing stores, fast. So they didn’t have clear goals in mind, which led them straight to bankruptcy.
People are afraid to lose their face. It’s as simple as that. They expect their brand to be trending and popular as of launch day. These things obviously take some time.
Have faith in your brand and be the ambassador it needs. It’s better to try and fail than to never have tried. So don’t worry about the people that will mock you because you launched a clothing brand. We have been there too. They will be the first to come knocking at your door as soon as you are successful.
Real life example
A friend of mine started his own clothing brand but didn’t sell anything for five months after launch. When asked if he knew the reason, he said yes. He hadn’t told anyone, not even his friends or family that he launched a brand. Because he was afraid that they would laugh about him. But because he didn’t tell anyone, there was nobody out there that could promote his brand.
pro tip: Let your friends and family give their honest opinion on your brand. Your brand needs a critical look to succeed. And they will be the best and first brand ambassadors that you need to get your sales going.
Your customers will give you a lot of data. Things like which products they like the most, which pages on your website they like the most. Use all of that data to your advantage. Move products forward or change the flow of your pages. Make sure that the customer finds his products and that they don’t get frustrated.
Real life example
A man launched his own high-end clothing brand. He created a beautiful website but after some time, he noticed his items weren’t selling. After analyzing his data through google analytics he concluded that the vast majority of his visitors came from France. By adding the French language on his site, he started to sell and his brand became a success.
Many people quit on their dreams because they have no strategy, set unrealistic goals or are afraid to lose their face. All good things take time. So give your brand at least six to twelve months before you decide you are going to continue or quit. Give your brand the chance it deserves!