Here are some tips to any person ready to or thinking about launching their own clothing line.
Tip # 1. Don’t Rush
What I mean by this is take your time when it comes to the launch of your line. There is so much competition out there these days, setting up some social media pages with a t-shirt coming soon is not going to cut it. Have you ever got excited about a Facebook page with 12 likes and “a fresh new clothing brand coming soon”in the about me section? Me neither.
Tip # 2. If you can’t design, then pay someone who can.
Too many street wear start-ups launch their brand with just their name in a script font, screen printed on a black t-shirt. Now I’m all for supporting a brand, but you need to at least put some thought and creativity into your clothes, otherwise people will see that you are just like the rest of the clothing brands who have started and failed. If you can’t draw or design, pay someone who can. You’re going to want solid designs if you want to stand out and it doesn’t have to be expensive. A great website for design work is called Designcrowd. This site allows you to post your design brief, set your budget, then wait for designers from all over the world to post their entry and you can choose the best one.
Tip # 3 Don’t rip-off others!
Every brand wants to be as successful as Obey, Stussy and HYPE, but blatantly copying their ideas, style and ripping off their designs is not going to get you there. In fact, It’s much more likely to have a bad effect because these brands are well known, respected and their thousands of fans will know that your clothing designs aren’t original.
Tip # 4 Think outside the box.
You have probably heard this saying before and although it is much easier said then done, a good way to start off is to do a fair bit of research to gather your own ideas. Ask yourself what kind of clothing do I want to make? What are my favourite brands? What do I enjoy in life? Once you know the answers to these questions then you can start to research brands, jot down ideas, take photographs and doodle to really build a picture of the kind of street wear items you want your brand to be producing. But please don’t ignore tip number three while doing your research!
Tip # 5 Research your product.
Now that you have a few designs or ideas that you would love to see printed on a t-shirt, it’s time to look into what company you will use to provide your blanks. There are many companies which make blank clothing ready for printing so this part can be a bit overwhelming, but deciding on your budget and who your target market is will really help to narrow down the choice.
Gildan and Fruit of the loom are at the cheapest end of the scale but they tend to have a boxier fit and you’re not likely to find many reputable clothing brands printing on them.
Tultex and Anvil print a good quality tee for a reasonable price if you want a high-quality feel but your budget won’t stretch to expensive blanks.
And at the higher end are American Apparel and Alternative Apparel. While these will be expensive, the quality is exceptional and they also carry a range of colours and products which will make your brand stand out from the rest.
Tip # 6 Don’t cut corners.
If you want to be taken seriously as a brand, production is the one place you do not want to rush or cut corners.
Firstly, choose a good printing company. It is going to cost you much more time, money and effort in the long run if you decide to print with a guy in his bedroom who prints your designs wonky and gets chocolate stains on your t-shirts while he is printing them.
You can find many reputable companies by typing in “Screen printers” in Google, and don’t forget to shop around. Octomuffin and Woven Inc are rated highly in the UK.
Secondly, think about your brand image. Do you want to be thought of as a professional brand? If you do, then your going to want custom neck labels, swing tags and some neat packaging. This doesn’t have to be expensive Streetwear clothing, but little touches like that can have a lasting impression on a customer.
Lastly, don’t print too many. When you first release a design, you’ll have no idea how it will sell, so it is best to order a smaller quantity at first to test the water. Don’t worry about selling out quickly, it will make your brand look popular if you do and you can always just re-order more.
Tip # 7 Website, and photos.
You don’t need a huge budget to make a good looking and functional website, there are so many e-commerce platforms available now which offer great looking websites for a low monthly price. Big cartel, store envy, volusion and shopify are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to these.
Once you have chosen your web platform, buy a domain. Domains are so cheap these days clothing brands have no excuse not to buy one, and it makes you look so much more professional when you come to launch.
Now you’re ready to upload your products and photos. It’s important to make sure you get some professional looking photos taken of your products and not ones which look like they have been taken on a 3 mega pixel phone camera. Your photos are the only way your customers can interact with your products over the web, if the photos are small, blurry or do not show enough of the products detail, you are likely to not get a sale.
Tip # 8 And now we wait.
When you first launch, the excitement might be a little too much and you’re likely to be expecting big things within in a short period of time. Try to stay grounded, things take time, a lot of time, so don’t get disheartened if you haven’t sold out in your first month and just keep going. It’s also a good idea to try and get feedback from friends and family to see if the products are actually as good as you think they are.
And that’s it, I really hope your found this article interesting and hopefully a little helpful, as I mentioned before I am not an expert in the street wear industry, but those are just some of the things I have learnt along the way.