Everybody wants to have a business or a brand of their own, something that can say they built from the ground up. Since times are always changing the fashion that people tend to lean towards is following suit, which is why we see so many different streetwear brands on the market these days. In this article we’re going to cover what it takes to actually start your very own streetwear brand, and we’re also going to look into how to be successful while doing so. Getting into this industry is going to take a lot of effort, and that’s because you aren’t the only person attempting to make this happen. There’s hundreds (if not thousands) of aspiring designers out there right now, and every single one of them is dedicating their lives to making something of their brand. Details have the ability to make or break you in this setting, and if you aren’t trying to innovate than you simply aren’t trying hard enough.
Everybody thinks they’ve got the killer designs to set the world on fire, but not everybody is going to succeed (and definitely not right away). It’s a grind, and one that you need to learn to love at that. The industry is going to take you seriously if that’s how you want to be perceived, but there are multiple ways of going about it. The keys to success have to be:
- Branding – You have to know how to properly brand your company, it’s a must
- Advertising – Advertising is incredibly important as well, because you’ve got to build a buzz
- Marketing – Market so that your clothes will actually sell, instead of sitting around in online limbo
- Customer Service – Care for your customers, repeat buyers are what keep companies alive
- Quality – Don’t provide a low quality product. Just don’t do it!
If you can deliver all of these traits (and more) through your streetwear brand, then you should be relatively good to go when it comes to success. Everybody has to start somewhere, but when you’ve got tips like these to work with, it’s going to make things a little more simple. You can set your sights high and try to shoot even higher, almost anything is possible within the streetwear brand industry. Clothes and fashion will always be a cornerstone of our society, it allows us to express ourselves in ways that we wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
Regardless of what starting a streetwear brand means to you, you always have the ability to thrive in any setting. You just need the right information at your disposal, as well as the proper tools of the trade. Everybody can start their very own streetwear brand, but it’s becoming a successful one (as well as continuously growing) that’s the difficult part. You’ve got to be innovative, or else you’re just going to be like the majority of other streetwear brands: non-creative and non-successful.
Here are some things that you should be pondering to yourself before you get into the meat of this business, because it might not really be for you. The questions are:
- What is your mission in all of this?
- Why are you creating/promoting this brand?
- Why should anybody think about purchasing a product?
- What makes you so unique or different?
- Why did you start this brand, was is for revenue or was it a burning passion?
- Where do you see yourself (and the brand) in three years time?
Asking yourself these questions should give you a better feel as to why you’re doing all of this, and even how successful you think you’re going to be (in your own mind, of course). You have to have confidence, but you also need a work ethic that can’t be matched. Remember, this whole thing is on you. The brand is supposed to be a reflection of what you’re feeling, or even what you’re trying to get out to the public as a message.
Use this platform to improve upon yourself as a person, and make sure you’re never rushing your ideas. Rushing is s good way to end up in the poor house, because nobody becomes a sensation in the fashion world overnight. It would also lead to many, many mistakes; something that buyers don’t take lightly in the streetwear industry.
So what is branding exactly? Branding is essentially making it so that your company/streetwear line is well-known. So well-known, in fact, that people are aware of it as being a “brand”. You’re also going to need the right logo and even tag-line, because that’s usually what draws the first few buyers in (it’s either that, or an amazingly designed tee!). There are plenty of agencies around the globe that focus on the branding aspect of brand new companies, because not everybody is aware of what needs to be done. Your logo has to be sleek and actually apply to the name of your brand itself, because why wouldn’t you make it so? Having a logo that doesn’t go alongside with the whole vibe of the brand is never a good idea, and a tag-line that doesn’t apply to the brand/logo is completely pointless.
You’re selling clothes, so there’s no reason to make your tag-line: “We design clothes, but our coffee is amazing too!”. I actually thought of selling drip coffee at Filthy Dripped. The branding process is meant to draw customers in, and then keep those customers right where they are. You need to build a consumer base that’s consistent, and most people try to focus on the locals at first. If you can get your hometown to start wearing your brand, it’s only a matter of time before the “fever” reaches many other places on the planet. From here, you can start to create clothes that have your logo (and maybe even your tag-line) incorporated within them. You can’t just sell t-shirts without proper branding, it’s foolish!
You want to make sure people are aware of the brand they’re purchasing, and they need to be reminded of that every single time they put on the piece of clothing. Branding is absolutely crucial when it comes to marketing, which is something that we’re going to cover next.
Marketing is where the magic really happens, as it’s going to make or break your company (in a sense). If you go about marketing the wrong way then you might as well just start digging your own grave already, as nobody wants to be wearing a brand that made an offensive commercial (or something like that). You’ve got to be appealing, but you’ve got to watch your steps as well. Marketing is pretty much letting people know how valuable a product can be in their lives, it’s all built around trying to sell your product. When you market you need to be spotlighting the good traits of your company, and completely avoiding anything that could be considered “bad”. You really don’t want to put that term in your consumers head, and following market trends is always a good idea.
Find your target demographics, which is probably younger adults and teenagers (among other things, considering it’s a streetwear brand). Obviously anybody who wants to wear the brand has the ability to, but you want to keep your designs youthful and fresh if you want to succeed. In a nutshell, marketing is the reason why so many people go out and buy the brand new iPhone every single year. The features remain relatively the same, but year in and year out people continuously buy the product; all of that is due to marketing.
Consumers are always on the lookout for that next up and coming streetwear brand, because buying stuff is almost a necessity to them. People will purchase your products, you just have to make sure they’re properly designed and marketed. Sometimes there are even brand-partnerships for specific marketing campaigns, that way you can both share the demographics that you’ve been targeting for so long (it’s almost like sharing success, in a sense).
Need brand marketing consultation? Hire me! 🙂
As you can tell, you’re going to have to market a lot when it comes to being successful (especially as a streetwear brand). Of course the clothes themselves matter, but what’s the point if nobody actually gets to see/wear them? Advertisements are incredibly important, because that’s going to be the key reason as to why people will check out your brand. Advertisements could be small things like physical posters being handed out on school campus, or even an entire rotation of digital ads on a very popular website. You have to have an advertisement plan in place in order to actually get somewhere with your brand, how many times have you bought a piece of clothing from a brand you’ve never heard of? It usually comes in the form of a celebrity endorsement, or even just a recommendation from a fashion website. Sometimes, you might not even be aware to the fact that you’re actually looking at an advertisement.
Think of any musician in the world, odds are they’ve got some sort of sponsorship deal in place with a few clothing companies. These companies send out free clothing to the musician, and in return everybody (as in the public) gets to see them wearing your brand. They see it and want it themselves, therefore they take a look at the website (that you’ve hopefully put up) in order to purchase something. The more “outside of the box” you can think with advertising, the better. Well, in most cases; sometimes you want to be straight-forward and simple with the advertisements that you’re putting out there.
You’ll also want to make sure you’ve got access to a high quality camera, and even more preferable an entire photo-studio at your disposable (you can easily rent those out, though). Displaying your products through the use of models is a very common occurrence these days, in fact, it’s pretty much a must. When people can see the clothes you’re selling on an actual person, they’re more inclined to purchase it (so list all of your items alongside a professionally shot picture of the product!).
I’ll admit. My company’s customer service has a bad reputation, but we heard you and we fixed it. The customer is always right, that’s a motto that most successful business have had the privilege of living by. Customer service is very important, especially for a streetwear brand. Odds are you’re going to be doing a lot of the selling online, which means you’ll have to deal with customers through the internet. Shipping and handling is always going to be a hassle, and whenever orders get backlogged you’ll have to be the one whom deals with it. That’s why we say customer service is so important, because there’s an abundance of things that could go wrong with it. If you’re offering help by telephone, make sure you;re hiring competent operators. If your operators are rude to any potential customers, you’re going to lose sales (that’s just how it works!).
Running a streetwear brand is exactly like running any other business, you don’t have to be mean, but you need to rule with an iron fist. If you’re going to succeed, hire workers that will keep the customers best interests in mind, as opposed to people who don’t really want to be there in the first place. Make sure that you handle every single refund and “wrongly shipped” order, as those can really taint the reputation of your brand (if they’re handled incorrectly, of course). A customer doesn’t want to be left in the dust, you promised them a product and they feel as if it’s owed to them; essentially because it is.
Practice your customer service skills, because starting a streetwear brand is going to require an immense amount of them! You aren’t selling tee’s out of your garage anymore, not it’s a legitimate business that you’re running; or at least looking to run.
The most important aspect is quality, because who wants to buy from a brand that has low-quality clothes? You need to use materials that people can really “get down” with, and sometimes that means dishing out a little extra money for the manufacturing process. You need to properly invest into your brand, and doing so through the use of high-quality production practices is always a good idea (whoa, that sounds like a mouthful!). Needless to say, you absolutely have to be focusing on the quality of your craft. In the end it’s something that you should be passionate about, so quality should already be on your mind. If your clothes rips or “deteriorate” (as in the pressed image falls off or cracks away) after one wash, people won’t want to make another purchase. Like we said early on, you need to have repeat customers if you want to succeed. Repeat customers give you a lot of different benefits, including:
- The fact that they can tell their friends about your brand
- They’re essentially walking billboards when sporting your clothes
- They’re passionate about what you have to offer
- They’ll stick with you until you let them down (so don’t do it!)
When people look at you as a “high-quality” streetwear brand, you’ll not only be able to charge more money, but you’ll be much more reputable in the process. Reputation can take you a long way in the fashion industry, especially when it comes to something as urban as streetwear.
There you have, those are a few pretty in-depth tips on how you can go about starting your very own streetwear brand! Take this information and apply it however you please, if you do it the right way you’re almost guaranteed to make it. Stay humble, and more importantly, be true to yourself. There are too many brands out there that completely avoided what they set out to do in the first place.