In 7 simple steps, here is how you build a foundation to creating your own brand and everything I learn’t starting one.
1st. Name. Simply find a name for your brand, my biggest tip is to give your brand a unique name, not something of mainstream sound, and make it relatable. After being a small brand for 2 and a half years, often I’ve seen brands come and go, and a common theme behind these brands will be the name. My brand is called Helos as Telos is greek means an ultimate aim or purpose, and the H comes from my name, Harrison. Something completely unique but a meaning true to my brand, as my Ultimate aim with this brand is to have a brand people can identify to, especially those from my hometown. As I look around at the biggest lifestyle brands around Sydney, the names are unique and completely true to there clothing and message, Geedup and YKTR are both great examples of how there name completely represents there message and goals.
2nd. Research and Design. One of my biggest initial mistakes was my lack of research and design thought. If you’re looking to start a brand spend your weekend’s where your target market would ideally be located e.g If targeting teenagers, head to shopping centres to see what type of shirts and colours are popular. It is essential you understand what taste your audience has in fashion. Research current trends through the Goliaths of fashion such as ASOS and The Iconic. Whilst doing this make sure you’re scanning social media to see what resonates with consumers in terms of design and colour scheme. Also research all costs affiliated eg Website costs, initial stock and samples and marketing costs just to name a few which I’ll expand on in part 4.
The second part of this is to know how the design aspect works, and self teach yourself the design basics via websites such as Canva, or source a designer. More then likely in this modern day you should be able to find a graphic designer or student within 2 degrees of separation from yourself. Remember to incorporate and distinguish your brand within your clothing, based on sales I can see this resonates well with my customer base at least. Design is a funny topic but feel free to design as much as possible and get external opinions whenever available. Criticism is worth a lot more then compliments.
3rd. Samples and Sourcing. Samples can be a funny topic for some people in the industry as they can be a huge hit or miss. Samples are a huge cost but if you are certain on the print size and graphic, your bulk order can be significantly reduced as they do not need a different set up.
It is also definitely a huge advantage to gain a good healthy relationship with your screen printers / stitching personal if that’s what you run with. There’s many formats to go through with how you structure a brand but good suppliers will buy the shirts / apparel themselves and then do the stitching and or printing and include all costs.
Getting samples you must be clear with what you want. If your working with screen printers, the exact size of the graphic is essential and must have all vector files ready for the printers so the process is efficient as possible. Be clear in what you want at all times, be as coherent as possible and be as helpful as possible to create a healthy relationship and ensure you find the best suppliers possible.
4th. Business details. As mentioned in part 2, a small yet critical part of starting a business is the details and finances included. My biggest suggestion is to get an ABN as soon as possible, the cost for securing a business name are next to nothing. After this, have a look at your costs such as samples and bulk order which are obvious but also critically analyse how much running an online store will cost ( highly suggest Shopify ) & also delivery cost. Small things such as a notebook are always essential as an idea may need to be put down to paper at any moment, and any arians or customer issues that need to be solved in quick time can be solved. Customers love the small things from personal experience, I deliver to any customers within my area by hand and some have really gone to appreciate that effort.
5th. Get your mates and family around it. It is essential to get your mates around the brand that you’re curating and make them feel a part of what you’re creating. I am lucky enough to have some of my best friends as my right hand men. I have a main photographer, multiple models and inventory help all through my mates. Starting a brand it is critical you have some sort of organic growth, you need people to hear about it from word of mouth or have seen it through people sharing your content. Creating social media ads is great to introduce but starting off you want to have more of an organic approach as I have seen in some of the big brands in Sydney, all of which essentially grew through word of mouth due to great product and services. Getting your mates and family around it creates an organic audience, and allows you to build from there. However its always great to have those closest to you involved as they are your biggest fans but also your biggest critics and are normally always open to give constructive criticism. Hahahahaha
6th. Marketing and Content creation. The marketing step is pretty essential and should be researched with the experts compared to myself. However Content creation is something I was able to nail when starting my brand. I, with my mates was able to capture the apparel in the true iconic back grounds of the Blue Mountains (my main market) and was able to create videos that resonated with the people interested in the brand. I also, from my first instagram post didn’t release my store for 2 months so I had time on my side to think out what I wanted to create and post. However one thing I didn’t do which should be done is document the experience. I’m currently writing this as my first proper blog post after 2 and a half years as a small brand. If you look at some of the biggest brand creators in the world, for example GaryVee he will always state to document the experience and journey for hindsight and for analysis. Be thoughtful in your marketing and content creation with your twist of creativity, however research the experts to gain better understanding of this side of the business.
7th. Release. Please, please and please do not rush releasing your initial drop. It is essential it is not rushed and is carefully planned and thought out. At the age of 16 I was able to release this and created a decent organic audience which allowed for a great start. Too often I see new brands rushing to release there product and the higher you climb quickly the harder you’ll fall. Take your time and ensure your store is what you wanted it to be. Also ensure you have everything in order, and are prepared to meet the sales amount. There are a lot of little things that need to prepared before releasing, so take your time as It’s for the better. Do not rush and plan carefully.
Thank you for reading my first blog post! I’m no expert in any of these and am speaking off purely experience, to gain further insight I suggest consuming a lot of GaryVee or even closer to home, Isaac John’s content to start, from there you will find more experts and knowledge.