How to Start a Clothing Brand in 2021
Nothing has had a more significant impact on consumer behaviour than the 2020 quarantine. Now is the time more people are adopting an online-first mentality. The pandemic has created opportunities for entrepreneurs to create brands that are based on digital solutions for consumers.
One common question entrepreneurs ask us is "what kind of clothes should I make?". Although this is a complex question, you must answer these four questions when starting a clothing brand:
What is the problem you want to solve and why?
Every brand wants to provide good quality for the right price. But, solving a problem that contributes to a cause is what separates the good from the great. Consumers in 2021 don't care that you sell clothing, they want to know why you sell clothing. As the apparel industry becomes more competitive online, brands need to clearly articulate their reason for selling clothes.
What are your brand values?
When starting your online apparel brand, entrepreneurs have many options when it comes to where and how to manufacture your clothing. It is beneficial that the value you create for the consumer aligns with the values you hold.
In manufacturing, 3 main decisions will determine the experience for your consumer, profitability and growth of your potential brand: quality, price, and speed.
It is important to understand you can't attain all 3 key factors when starting. Hard decisions will have to be made in the start-up phase to obtain the desired results for your brand. Are you willing to pay top dollar for the best fabric? If so, then quality is your priority. Do you want to order 500 units and invest upfront in inventory or are you shy and want to order the minimum to get started? At Tagit Express, we recommended our clients think big, but start small. First, you should create a roadmap, invest more into the brand, then refine and order more units next time. Low prices don't benefit you when 70% of your stock hasn't sold yet.
Determine what decision you value and order inventory based on that.
Where to Manufacture?
Duties, tariffs, ethical manufacturing, air freight costs, price points, reliability and quality controls have all experienced uproars in the past few months. Lately, major print-on-demand companies for drop shippers have dropped the ball and are costing entrepreneurs their hard-earned profit. By answering the first 2 questions, you should better understand how to answer the following key questions.
1. Should I manufacture my clothes in Canada or overseas?
2. Do I have the expertise to oversee the production of the clothing to achieve the vision I have for my brand?
This is the point at which a local manufacturing partner can help you best. With the values you have established, our team can gladly assist you in the production of your clothing brand.
With experts specializing in fashion, we understand brands in the apparel industry must have a clearly defined why and values.
How will you offer exceptional customer service when in a start-up phase?
It is important to recognize what skills you have and consider the possibilities of hiring an expert. We always tell our clients that in business you will eventually have to let go of some tasks. This doesn't mean your effort towards the brand should change, however, that you are self-aware enough to know what your expertise is, as the founder, to add the most value.
In our experience, most start-ups underestimate their initial costs of operations and overestimate their ability to do it well. With the benefit of instant feedback and reviews, it is critical that you either hire a team or partner with a professional like us to help you get off the ground.
Our clients save in shipping costs and personal time by growing with experts. We also open up more opportunities for you that are complicated to do yourself.
Customer service is very crucial to the success of a brand. In e-commerce, things will get difficult. Packages get lost, customers order the wrong sizes, put in their old address, etc. Solving these issues promptly is key to keeping your operational costs low and your customers smiling.
Remember that creating a clothing brand is a marathon, not a race. Your brand will evolve and get better over time. Don't wait until your idea is perfect to start. Your consumers, experience and feedback will provide more value to you at this point to improve your brand in ways you would never consider.
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