First Steps to Building a Successful Clothing Brand
Starting a clothing brand is easy. You create a simple design, find someone to print a small batch of shirts, create a social media page, and you’re in business. At Your Shirts Ink, we consistently have new customers who do this. And all of them are confident that they will be back to order a lot more shirts after they sell the first batch. We want to be honest with you. The majority of these customers never return for that second large order. The majority of clothing lines or clothing brands never become successful. Most of them inevitably lose money.
Creating a successful clothing line that resonates with a loyal customer base is much more challenging than simply starting a clothing line. We, at Your Shirts Ink, want you to have the best chance of being successful. In this blog, we will cover all the best practices to follow when starting a clothing line or brand, and how to grow once you get your footing.
Placing Your First Order
In most cases a first order for a clothing brand is small, just to see samples, and to establish a relationship with the print shop you’ll be working with. Every shop’s minimums are different. And every shop’s customer service is different. The minimums we have at Your Shirts Ink is twelve items for screenprinting, ten items for dye sublimation, and six items for embroidery. We often, as many shops do, get requests for just one sample item. Unfortunately because of all the set up that goes into each order, we need to have minimums above one item. This can still work in your advantage for acquiring samples.
While you need to have the same design for these minimum orders, the blank apparel the design is printed on can be several different products/colors as long as the design is the same. This will allow you to have an array of samples for you and your team or close group of friends/family to look at and provide feedback for. You can also take a variety of pictures using this method, and then start a pre order so you can cover your product costs with little risk.
We also recommend you create a design that looks good as a single color and multiple colors. This is because the price for an order is largely based on the amount of colors in the design.
Trusting Your Print Shop
We mentioned that placing your first order will be the first step to establishing trust with your print shop. We believe this is the most vital step to creating a successful and long lasting clothing brand. Most people when starting out will be most interested in finding the cheapest print shop. In theory this will ultimately lead to the most profit. In the long term this typically ends up being false.
When you use the cheapest shop, you are getting the worst of everything besides price. The delivery times aren’t guaranteed, the customer service is poor or non existent, and if there are errors in the product there will be little to nothing done to remedy the situation. One faulty order with a print shop who refuses to refund and you’ve already lost money and are back to square one finding a new print shop to work with. They could also make a good product, but its done one or two days past their promised delivery date. If you have a trade show lined up, or customers waiting on back orders, this can kill a customer base and lose money you’d make selling at events.
At Your Shirts Ink, we often aren’t the cheapest price you’ll find. We charge what we believe is necessary to create an experience that builds trust and provides an impeccable product. We will respond to any questions quickly throughout the order process. We will guarantee our delivery dates. And we will guarantee our products will look like the mockups and everything we’ve gone over with you, our customer. For a clothing line or brand with longevity in mind, these are essential factors.
First Steps to Sell
The first steps of building a clothing brand are easy in comparison to making actual sales. You already believe in your brand, but now you have to get others to. This means your story and mission are just as critical to success as the quality of what you are selling. There needs to be a connection between you, your brand, and your client base. So whether you have a brand focused on fashion, giving back, or making a statement, be sure that your mission is moving and consistent across all platforms from social media to printed materials to your brand representatives.
When starting out there usually isn’t much money for advertising. That is why social media is key in today’s day and age. You can create a following for free by inviting friends and family to like your page. You can grow on that following by creating engaging content showing your products, people wearing them, and restating your overall mission or message. And if you do have a little extra cash for advertising, there’s never been a more effective platform than Instagram or Facebook to make a sale.
Remember that keeping a client is on average five times cheaper than acquiring a new client. This means creating loyalty programs, making new designs for your loyal base to buy, and answering all questions on social media is vital to making a connection between a customer base and your brand.
Why we want to partner with you
At Your Shirts Ink, building a strong and lasting relationship with our clients is our biggest focus. We make quality products and educate our clients on every aspect of the process so they can become the experts. With both of these factors being huge for us at Your Shirts Ink, working with new and upcoming clothing brands is a dream come true for us. We will hold your hand, making the production side of your brand the simplest aspect. While we create your products you can focus on design, branding, sales, and all other aspects. It’s not easy, but with the right foundation, it can become a reality!