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How to create your own clothing brand: First steps and tips of experienced

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Anyone who has opened a business knows how expensive it can be to get their idea out of their heads into reality. The beginning of the clothing line is no different and may even be a little more complicated.

Kristin Scheeler, creator and founder of Nibi MTK, has experience working with famous fashion labels such as Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie, which are currently developing independently. Kristin shared her experience with us and gave practical advice, hoping to inspire and educate others on how to open her own clothing line.

“Just like any business! You will have a to-do list with dozens of events that you will need to solve, ”says Scheler. “Prioritizing tasks will help get the business on the right track.”

Kristin offered the following basic tips for those who want to launch their own clothing brand:

1. Start with a fashion expertise.

This is important because you need to have knowledge in industry and business before developing a clothing line. The first priority should be the development of your concepts and ideas.

2. Think in advance about sales

Will you have e-commerce on your website, store or wholesale? Make sure you know your price structure.

“Solve all issues with manufacturers and this will help strengthen your overall pricing structure. Typically, your total price includes your sample price, design costs, wholesale cost, and other factors, ”Scheler says. “Take the time to decide what you will pay to the manufacturer for a particular product and evaluate the various costs in your price mix.”

3. Cost of starting a clothing line

Without business experience, the process of securing financing can be complicated. According to Christie, there are several ways to get funds to launch a clothing line, for example, take a loan if you have an established growth plan, storefronts, etc.

“Sometimes this can be a good solution for businesses that are seasonal and rely on their cash flow for a set period each year.”

4. Setting up a business plan

Each new business should have a business plan for attracting investors and financing. Although there are main sections of the business plan that are independent of the industry, there are elements of the fashion industry that can affect how the business plan is written.

“The difference in the business plan for the clothing line is that solid experience in the fashion industry is crucial,” says Christie. “Understanding the competition, the market, and how you will make money is crucial.”

5. Find a manufacturer

Manufacturing is a key part of your business. Work on this issue and determine where you want to make your goods.

“First, start exploring reputable productions,” explains Christie. “It is recommended that you work with a consultant who has connections in such places.”

Secondly, you need to decide whether you want to work domestically or internationally. And this will affect the choice of materials that you will use, and prices.

Hiring help

Hiring a small business for certain tasks can cost you a pretty penny. That's why Christie says that a business owner needs to know how to make an assessment, as well as being a technical designer.

“You decide whether to use an agent or directly contact the manufacturers or make private labeling with your clothing line,” says Christie.

Clothing brand owners should look for the following hiring roles:

Branding Generic branding is very important to ensure that your logo, website and marketing materials are consistent and embody the essence of your brand. Without marketing, your customers will not be able to find out about you. Everything should be united by strategic advertising, public relations, social networks, events, etc.

Accountant. Your business cannot live without a financial person. If you are really good at clothes and very creative, you are probably not very good at handling money.

Product manager. This person will help with production sheets, filing applications, purchase orders, delivery dates, and managing the overall flow of creating and distributing your clothing line.

“The design of the clothing line is extremely useful, especially when you see your designs for people walking down the street or ... on Instagram,” says Christie. “But remember that the beginning of your own clothing line is not just a dress, be prepared for scenarios, for example, production failures and delivery delays, especially if you are developing seasonal brands.”

Patterns and production

Home production - wallets, bracelets or covers for laptops - does not require any special professional knowledge, so you can implement such design ideas yourself. If you are going to produce something more complex (and not in single copies), then, starting from this stage, it is better to entrust the whole process to a professional - this is an ungrateful and difficult job that you most likely will not be able to perform.

The production process in a simplified form is usually constructed as follows: the clothes designer is the first to enter - who will translate your inspired sketches into working patterns. Already on them a trial model will be sewn in a single copy, and if its quality and cut suit you, you can start production of a full batch. This whole scheme is adjusted depending on the scale and the product that you plan to release. If these are butterflies and ties, a skilled seamstress will be enough for an established production, if this is a complete collection of clothes, the headquarters will be replenished with a designer, cutter and designer (they can be hired on the side).

The process of sewing a sample is long and difficult. It is important not to rush into the fitting, it’s better to alter it several more times than to get a model with jambs that will ruin it. You must understand that this is the last opportunity to change something. You have to find fault with any little things and get rid of any dubious decisions. Samples are best tried on several different people. After all, buyers are also all of different complexion and growth. Already at the first try-on you can understand whether the fabric intended for this model is suitable, and if everything is fine, then you can buy a batch.

Next - finishing patterns and their gradation in size. An attentive and accurate designer will surely leave a lot of comments on them so that another designer or production technologist can figure them out without problems. These are like comments in programming.

Instead of phrases like “well, guys, no one does the same”, a good constructor will think about how best to implement what you painted.

Finding a good designer is the most difficult stage. It’s hard to find sensible seamstresses, but an intelligent designer is even more difficult. Here you just need to search and try. Finding the right person, you will immediately feel. A good designer immediately understands what you want from him - the awkward moments when you try to explain something, but to him it seems nonsense, disappear. Instead of phrases like “well, guys, no one does the same”, a good designer will think about how best to do what you drew and how to work with it in the future in production.

Production needs to sort out everything that is in your city, country or abroad (depending on your capabilities), find out the conditions, communicate with management, a technologist. After the first conversation, much becomes clear at 80 percent. You need to show your samples to the technologist, he will immediately say whether they can give such a quality or not, whether they need it or better to refuse such orders. Much depends on the parties. If you can load production with a good amount of work, then the vast majority of Russian factories will want to work with you. You just have to find the right price-quality ratio.

A favorite complaint about the local industry of a beginner, and indeed of almost any successful and sold domestic designer, is its actual absence. And at this stage, if you, of course, are not going to make T-shirts with a batik pattern, you will have to face similar problems in person. The lack of high-quality fabrics, materials, accessories and their continuous search is your headache in the near future.

You can, of course, take a walk in local shops like “World of Textiles”, “Needle” and “Textile House”, but sooner or later you will have to turn to virtual search and get in touch with foreign suppliers. Here, firstly, it is more expensive, secondly, less choice, thirdly, the products are not so high-quality. Although, of course, there are exceptions.

Finding the right product is easy, especially since you can always ask to send you tissue samples. The only problem is the delivery time and obstinacy of the Russian customs. Therefore, for established deliveries and ordering materials, it is better to find an intermediary.

Important Nuances

Before engaging in the implementation of the project, a novice entrepreneur needs to draw up a business plan, which will describe all the nuances of the business and step-by-step instructions for its implementation.

The business plan of the project to create your own brand of clothing should include the following data:

  • The focus of the business is information on the thematic direction of the business (for example, a narrow focus - sewing T-shirts or a broader focus - making outerwear).
  • Determination of the target audience and ways to gain customer loyalty to the new brand.
  • Ways of investing - own capital of an entrepreneur or attracting other investors.
  • Initial expenses and monthly expenses.
  • Calculation of business profitability, payback periods and profitability percentage.
  • Learning how to further promote the brand.

Before plunging "into the pool", you need to conduct marketing research to study the target audience of a new brand of clothing.

Before starting mass production, it is important to analyze the possible markets for the product. This will help to avoid significant financial losses at the beginning of work.

Project concept

The implementation of any business begins with a choice of concept. It is necessary to choose a specific area of ​​activity:

  • Making everyday clothes (t-shirts, shorts, sweatshirts, pants, or one of the proposed options).
  • Sewing dresses (cocktail, casual, wedding).
  • Production of costumes (business, sports, pajama, everyday).
  • Sewing underwear.

It is better to focus on one type of clothing. Do not immediately make a lot of things, you can not guess.

To minimize the risk of failure, the entrepreneur should pay attention to the following aspects:

  • The quality of the clothes made (even seams, decent material, good fit).
  • Distinctive features (special fabrics, accessories, creative appearance).
  • The clothing line should evoke positive emotions (to help - advertising opportunities).
  • Targeting a specific audience.

Investment

There are two options for investing in business - personal funds of the entrepreneur or attracting investments from third parties. However, before turning to investors, it is worth deciding on the amount necessary for him to open a business. Of course, investors will want to have a percentage of the products sold, so the choice of investment option lies only with the project owner. A promising option is cooperation with a famous person (artist, musician, popular fashion blogger). Fame and the presence of an army of fans will surely draw attention to the brand.

If you decide to attract outsiders to the business, it is important to correctly present clothing samples so that the decision of investors is made in your favor.

Do not save on the first collection of the brand, you must demonstrate your strongest qualities.

check in

You can register a business for sewing and selling branded clothing as an IP or LLC. LLC will be relevant in the event that the company has several founders. In another case, it is better to choose the IP.

The most suitable taxation system for this type of business is the STS 15%.

Documents can be issued independently or through an agency.

Special permissions are not needed.

Position and interior

The best option would be to rent a room with an area of ​​60-80 square meters, which will fit both a sewing workshop and a show room for the presentation of new models. The room should be located in the city center, in a densely populated area. Particular attention should be paid to the location of competitors.

The interior and exterior of the premises must comply with the pricing policy of the clothes sold.

Equipment selection

To start the production of a clothing brand, the founder will need several sewing machines with the necessary spare parts, a huge number of accessories, mannequins and hangers for the presentation of the collection.

To calculate what equipment is needed and in what quantity, you need to know what material will be used when sewing clothes. For example, a sewing machine working with genuine leather will not be able to sew clothes from knitwear - it will tear it. Conversely, a machine designed for tissue does not take skin.

Staff recruitment

The staff in creating a new clothing line plays a key role, because the quality of a specialist’s work determines the profitability and success of the entire business.

The company's staff includes designers who design clothes on paper, and designers who embody painted projects in life.

Methods of marketing products

There are two ways to market products - wholesale and retail.

Wholesale of things in online stores or other intermediaries increases the chances of a big income.

Retailing is more risky because it requires additional costs for creating showrooms or stores under your own brand.

The most promising option for retailers may be a show room. It’s enough to allocate a room under it in the building of the production hall.

But for a business to be profitable, competent PR is needed:

  • Attracting a media personality to advertising branded clothing (celebrity photo shoot in the clothes of your brand or star recommendation on your own page on social networks).
  • The use of bright colors and catchy slogans in the manufacture of signs for the store with branded clothing.
  • Brand advertising in thematic magazines, newspapers.
  • Distribution of leaflets in crowded places of potential consumers.
  • Promotion of a brand with the help of communities on social networks (VKontakte and Instagram are promising in this area).
  • Promotion on forums and fashion blogs.
  • Launching a contextual advertising campaign.
  • Creation and promotion of the official website of the company.

Is the project profitable?

The profitability of the project will depend on many factors. These include:

  • Good quality products, which will always be at the peak of popularity.
  • Creativity approach.
  • Prevent idea theft.
  • Quality service and friendly service.
  • Qualified team of specialists.
  • Competent advertising.

Financial component

Average expenses for creating your own clothing brand:

  • Rental of premises - 400 thousand rubles.
  • Business registration - 60 thousand rubles.
  • Purchase of equipment - 300 thousand rubles.
  • The cost of materials for the manufacture of clothing is 500 thousand rubles.
  • Advertising costs - 150 thousand rubles.
  • Salary for employees and taxes - 250 thousand rubles.

Total cost: 1,660,000 thousand rubles.

Revenues depend on a successful advertising campaign, competition, professional qualities of specialists and much more.

The average payback period of a project is 2-3 years. Is it profitable? The profitability of such a business is quite high with the proper organization of activities. Our business plan will tell you more.

The business idea of ​​creating your own clothing brand is the birth of a new fashion trend, the beginning of the path to the regalia of one of the best fashion houses of its time. However, not everyone decides to try their luck and translate the idea into reality. After all, opening a brand costs a lot of money. And even money does not give any guarantees - more important is professionalism, a reliable team and the ability to optimize business processes. If you weigh all the pros and cons of the project, it can be argued that the new clothing line is a profitable business that has demand at all times. But whether it becomes profitable is up to you.

Investments

Participation in the contest SKB Kontur "I am a businessman - 2016" is our first attempt to attract investment in business development. An investor saw our video and offered financial assistance. At that time, we refused, because we were not satisfied with the conditions, and decided to develop on our own.

At the regional level, we participated in the federal program “You are an Entrepreneur”. We were also interested in our project, but we realized that it would be difficult to get financial support, since this program is more educational.

Now we have submitted an application for participation in the competition “Made in Chelyabinsk” and are waiting for its organizers to contact us.

Oleg AKBAROV

Вопрос с материалами и производством стоит остро только для тех, кто серьезно относится к продукту и хочет полностью погрузиться в процесс его разработки. I see no reason to indicate specific places where you should look for materials and accessories, since this will deprive such people of a fair share of romance and excitement of the process.

The easiest option is to purchase materials in the Russian Federation. You get low quality and average prices. Option number two - purchase materials online. A lot of flaws - there is no way to assess tactilely, in fact you are buying a pig in a poke. You can order samples, the so-called swatches, they will give an idea of ​​the material and color. It is convenient when it comes to well-known material, such as the Cordura 600D, although even in this case, options from different manufacturers with different properties are possible. Another minus of this kind of procurement is customs, it doesn’t give a damn that you are lifting Russian production from its knees. And the last option is large exhibitions, where it is possible to negotiate directly with the manufacturer or distributor and get preferential terms and an individual approach. I have not used this path, but it seems to me the easiest if you have a certain budget.

In order to start an entrepreneurial activity, it is necessary, first of all, to deal with legal issues and tax payments. This also requires money, and every year more. So in 2013, the amount of a fixed payment for an individual entrepreneur in social funds is a little more than 35 thousand rubles. For information: last year, this figure was half as much.

So, sales. Here you will find several ways to market your product, which you can and should combine - your own online store, offline stores, as well as fairs and flea markets.

The last two points - this is where small brands begin, the level of recognition of which does not allow them to be sold in large stores. In fact, this is quite a good way to sell it - at once, in one day you can sell a decent batch of your products. In addition, such events are an excellent opportunity for PR: you show your customers the goods in person, communicate with them and thus go out to the frequencies of word of mouth.

You can try to negotiate the sale of your items in stores. And here again there are two schemes - to give things for sale (for example, to online department stores like Depst or Sunday Up Market, which have spaces in large shopping centers), while the store receives a percentage of the amount from each sale. Either work for a ransom - it means that the store’s buyers buy a lot or collection from the manufacturer and then sell it at their price. Obviously, the second scheme of work involves a decent circulation and product quality and at least some level of brand recognition.

Finally, your own online store. This again requires money, and as long as you have small volumes, the return on it will be negligible, but if you want to turn into an empire sooner or later, you cannot do without it. The most important thing is that in parallel with the placement and attempts to sell their products, work on their PR and promotion.

Mikhail FROLOV

creator of the brand of accessories F22

An online store is the first stage, as rental costs, a huge audience and direct sales are not needed. You can do it yourself - there are many free engines. In general, the presence on the Internet is necessary for the development of the brand - a “live” page on Facebook with unique content, hashtags, high-quality images, Instagram - all this increase the interest and loyalty to the brand.

If you have an interesting product, the stores themselves will offer cooperation. The only thing you need to clearly understand who your customer is and be closer to him. Do not be afraid to offer cooperation to shops and brands that appeal to you. While your brand is small and you can control the response from customers, do not neglect this valuable information. Often, with a customer-oriented approach, many of your customers will definitely come back for a new purchase.

As for bureaucratic issues, with small volumes of sales, you can order an outsourced accountant. STS (simplified taxation system IP) is enough. But, of course, the 2013 changes in fixed payments to social funds in the amount of 35,700 rubles make me think a little.

It is very important to create your own online store and establish a payment system. For example, we have never been engaged in sales through social networks, as we have our own website with established processes.

You can use free engines or services, such as Bigcartel, but if you seriously engage in the brand, then this is not a good option. Creating an online store costs an average of a thousand dollars. The main thing is to correctly register the terms of reference and think over all the details. It is important that the site is user friendly and understandable. We have already refined our own several times, since initially we only made T-shirts and some technical aspects were not immediately taken into account.

We are forced to refuse some buyers, since we believe that in one city there should be no more than two offline stores that sell our things.

Regarding offline stores: a good way to chat with buyers and show off your stuff is to participate in a trade show. It was at the exhibitions that we met with our main buyers. Now various shops are writing to us, but we are forced to refuse some, since we believe that in one city there should be no more than two offline stores that sell our things. In Ukraine, the stores that represent us charge the same price as on our website; in other countries, stores charge a wrap, which usually includes delivery and customs clearance of goods. Everything is already individual here.

Our brand policy is such that we do not work with sales, and most major stores are not interested in working on such a system. Although, it seems to me, not all young brands will be able to immediately work with stores for redemption. Regarding pricing: we work according to a standard scheme, this is the price of fabrics, printing and production plus administrative costs.

PR and promotion

Nobody reads press releases, but you write them all the same (only so that there is no desire to close it after the first sentence) and send them to specialized publications. It is worth considering that much better than abstract phrases about the uniqueness of the brand, specific information and photographs work. Better yet, a beautifully crafted lookbook. Finally, the surest way is to write to us by mail and get into the New Brand section.

Of course, you definitely need to start and actively develop pages on Facebook, VKontakte and Instagram (Tumblr or a blog will not be superfluous either). For a small brand, social networks at the initial stage are the most effective tool for advertising and promotion. There you will upload photos of Kanye West in your hoodie, news, beautiful photos from the production, inspirational videos and everything else that can serve to increase interest. Here's someone to take an example: 30 brands of clothing on Instagram.

As for the promotion and PR of our brand, we do not have special people who would specifically deal with this. We have never invested in advertising. In our case, word of mouth worked, plus we probably caught the wave. We also constantly communicate with European colleagues, therefore, in principle, we have an idea how to advertise ourselves.

Nowadays, there are many different social networks and blogs with which you can promote your product without investing any money. But there is one very important condition - the content should be interesting and high-quality. This could be an interesting article, a product description, or just a cool photo. I can highlight several services that help to promote your things: Svpply, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest and its clones, and, of course, Facebook and VKontakte.

If everything is done qualitatively, many thematic blogs and magazines will themselves be interested in writing about your brand.

Many European and American brands have their own blogs and magazines, post photos of the production process, interesting descriptions of their products and simply lifestyle photos on social networks. Another important point is the approach to lookbooks and promotional materials. If everything is done qualitatively, then many thematic blogs and magazines will themselves be interested in writing about the brand.

Finally, collaborations with artists or other brands can serve as a great way to promote and advertise. Firstly, it turns out a new interesting product, and secondly - artists, designers and other brands share with you their own audience.

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