Starting a Streetwear Brand – Dream it, Design it, Build it
What does it take to start a streetwear brand successfully? Try thinking of those brands that have been around for several years, those brands that are already established and those brands that people recognize and respect no matter where they are. These brands have something in common and these common things they share are the secrets to their success.
The streetwear market is a crowded place, with various brands coming out every day. Every schmoe thinks they’ve got what it takes to be successful in underground fashion, but don’t allow the overloaded market to discourage you from wanting to produce something new. Always remember that for every 100 brands that come out, 4 percent are completely unique and 95 percent of them lack innovation. The last 1 percent stands for the brand that can do what only a few have done before and make the impossible possible – creating something that’s both original and familiar. People want what they already know and that’s a sad fact. Providing them with what they are already familiar with and adding some unique elements will help you stand out.
Take your time. The competition today is so strong that setting up several social media pages with a new brand coming soon isn’t going to work. Have you ever got keyed up about a Facebook page with “a fresh streetwear brand coming soon” stated in the About Me section and 12 likes? Guess not. Don’t let the lack start up sales momentum discourage you. This slow start is what stops most start ups with weak vision dead in their tracks. Don’t do what they do. Be proactive and plan your strategy. Monument limited started as a clothing brand. One of the main missteps was failing plan with end goals in mind. We spent money trying to produce shirts at home instead of focusing on design and marketing. Over time we became kick ass printers. It made no sense to continue the brand. We transitioned from a clothing brand to a print shop, planed our marketing and business strategy and watched the business take off. In other words write a game plan and put it into action.
Don’t copy others.
While every brand wishes to be as successful as Diamond, The Hundreds and Obey, deliberately copying their style, ideas and designs won’t do you any good. Actually, it’s much more likely to have a bad effect as these brands are popular, respected and their fans will know that your designs are not original.
Let someone do it for you if you can’t design.
Many streetwear start-ups launch their clothing line with only their name in script lettering screen printed on black t-shirts. In starting a streetwear brand, you have to at least put some creativity and thought into your clothes or else, people will see that you’re just like the other clothing brands that have started and failed. If you cannot design or draw, let someone do it for you design prices can vary from $5 an hour if you out source to India all the way up to $100 per hour. If you have a designer friend now is the time to get them involved, tell them you will handle the business side, and they will handle the graphic side. You can spend your time making connections, building a network, and sourcing printers. look for someone that offers reliable custom t-shirt printing services. This way, you can focus on other important things that need your attention.
Research your merchandise.
Now that you have several ideas and designs that you’d love to see printed on shirts, it’s time to look for a company that offers blank clothing ready for printing. As there are many companies that offer such items, knowing your target market and determining your budget will help you narrow down your choices.
Thinking outside the box is always a good thing.
You’ve probably heard this saying a million times and though it’s easier said than done, a good way to start out is to do some research to make your own ideas. Ask yourself what your favorite brands are, what you enjoy in life and what kind of clothing you want to make. Once you know the answers, you can start to conduct some research about various brands, write down ideas, take photos and sketch to create a picture of the type of streetwear clothes you want your brand to produce. This brain storming should be conducted with all people involved. If this business is going to work you all need to be open and honest about your vision your abilities and your end goal.
Do not cut corners.
In starting a streetwear brand, production is the area you don’t want to cut corners or rush. Why? If you really want people to take you seriously as a brand, then you have to make sure that you offer quality production. Choose a good custom t-shirt printing company. It’s going to cost you more effort, time and money in the long run if you choose to work with someone who prints your designs badly and gets your shirts stained while he’s printing on them.
You also need to think about the image you want your brand to portray. Do you want to be regarded as a professional streetwear brand? If you do, you’re going to want neat packaging, custom swing tags and neck labels. This doesn’t need to be costly, but a few touches like that can have a long-lasting impression on customers.
Also, don’t print a lot. When you first release a certain design, you will have no idea how it will actually sell, so it’s best to order a smaller number at first 24-36 of each design is a great starting point. Don’t worry if you sell out quickly as it will make the brand look trendy and you can always re-order more.
Website and photographs
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make an attractive and functional website. There are many e-commerce platforms today that provide beautiful sites for an affordable monthly cost. Once you’ve chosen a platform, purchase a domain. Domains are very affordable nowadays that clothing brands have no reason not to purchase one. It also makes you look more professional when you launch your brand.
It’s also important to make sure you get professional looking photos of your products. These photos are the only means your clients can interact with your merchandise over the web. If the photos are blurry, don’t show enough of the product’s detail or very small, you’re likely not to get sales.
When you first launch your brand, the excitement may be a bit too much and you might be expecting great things in a short period of time. Keep in mind that good things take time, so don’t get discouraged if you have not sold out in the first month. Just keep going. It is also a good idea to get some feedback from family and friends to see if your products are really as good as you believe they are.
Starting a streetwear brand is not that easy. As mentioned, it takes a lot of time, effort and hard work before you see the fruits of your effort. Keep plugging away, don’t give up, and remember its not about the money, its about the game.