If you’re like the 95% of the population you have probably had a bright business idea one time or another. Out of all of the ideas one of the most common ideas is creating a clothing brand. Maybe you saw a simple design you liked at Forever 21 or Nike and thought to yourself, “I could have made that!” Here are 5 steps to create your own clothing brand with no prior design experience:
1. Decide your target market/niche.
Having laser focus on a specific market or niche is crucial in a crowded digital world. We are constantly being hit with ads, in fact the average person sees over 5,000 ads per day! The most successful brands are the ones that know their audience on a personal level. This means that every ad or message they put out relates directly with their customers. Basically, make sure you are not annoying the people that are seeing your content by showing them irrelevant stuff. Be sure to invest into things like marketing and branding even though you don’t see an instant ROI (Return on Investment).
2. Put a budget into place.
“Only morons start a business on a loan.” – Mark Cuban. This is especially crucial with a start up or first endeavor. The cool thing now a days is raising capital before turning a profit. If you have the skills to do that, by all means go ahead, but for majority of new entrepreneurs this is not an option. Make sure before going into business you have a strategic plan in place for your expenses. This means having a financial plan in place based off of worst case scenarios. “What can go wrong will go wrong.” – Murphy’s Law.
3. Outsource what you’re not good at.
Time and time again I see the mistake of new entrepreneurs spending time on things they are not good at. Of course in the beginning of anything we do we were never good, but there are certain responsibilities that can bring you closer to profit faster. Sites like 99designs, DesignCrowd, UpWork, and Fiverr are great places to outsource design work. Other things like customer service and tedious tasks can also be outsourced through these websites. A book we’d recommend to learn about automating things and outsourcing is The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss.
Outsourcing printing is another crucial responsibility to outsource if you are not an expert. Sites like Customink, Teespring, Viralstyle, and Vistaprint are great places to start for outsourced printing. Working with local manufacturers and printers is recommended however as a lot of these bigger websites actually outsource to local printers. This is why it is not always consistent quality because they are using a network of manufacturers and printers. Another benefit of staying local is the quality control and relationship you build with the company. This is something that an automated ordering platform can never replace.
4. Choose the right materials.
Another great thing about working with a local company is the recommendations they can make. Instead of calling a customer service line overseas, you are speaking to people who work in the actual printing shop on a daily basis. They touch, see, and feel the quality of this apparel on the daily basis. You can also typically stop by for samples to see for yourself! Brands like Next Level and Bella Canvas are great cost effective options to launch your clothing brand. Screen Printing shops with experience launching clothing brands time and time again. Check out https://printsrus.com/. Make sure you’re familiar with the different types of production such as heat transfer, vinyl, screen printing, direct to garment, and dye sublimation.
5. Decide where you’re going to focus on selling.
There are various ways to sell your brand. Instagram, Shopify, WordPress sites, Drop Shipping, and Wholesaling are different strategies and platforms you can use. Remember, outsource what you are not great at. If making a website would take you 40 hours to create, vs. outsourcing it to an expert in that area for $400, OUTSOURCE it! Check out the sites mentioned in section 3 to see if there are any designers you would like to work with. Majority of these artists post their past client work on their profile.
Decide if you want to go direct to consumer online or try a more grassroots approach. Whatever you decide to do with your brand make sure you choose 1 or 2 go-to-market strategies. Schedule a 1-on-1 consultation with Prints R Us to help game plan your clothing brand launch.