1. Create your identity & choose a direction.
Although, having a name for your clothing line is vital, many people disregard the next most important thing which is positioning your brand in a certain market. You need to know who you are designing for and focus on one direction with specific goals in mind. If your clothing line is all dinosaurs, it wouldn’t make sense to have 10 t-rex shirts and then sell one shirt with a kitten on it.
From time to time, we see very consistent clothing lines have one or two off beat designs thrown in just because they happen to like a certain animal, bike, creature, etc. If you want people to become familiar with your brand, they need to recognize it. So, be consistent across the board, showcasing your talent tastefully, while remaining iconic to your chosen industry.
2. Know your audience.
“A target market is a group of customers that the business has decided to aim its marketing efforts and ultimately its merchandise towards. A well-defined target market is the first element to a marketing strategy”
So hands down, you need to know who your market is, their age range, male or female or both, what activities or hobbies they are into, what trends are they easily attracted too, how quickly do they adapt to new styles, are they willing to spend a lot or a little money, where do they currently shop, etc. These are all important questions to figure out while creating and growing your brand. Just because you start with one market in mind, doesn’t mean that’s what your clothing line will forever be chained too. This might change over time as your line develops and matures.
3. Research. Research, research & more research!
Don’t just sell your product; know your product. In order to know your product, you must first learn about your product. There are so many different options available on the printing side, you don’t want to short change yourself to one style because you didn’t take the time or effort to look into other creative options that yield different results. Take time to learn about the different screen sizes (standard, oversize, jumbo or all- over) available, how water based and discharge inks produce different results on different shirts, the different shirts available & the fabric composition of each and specialty services like custom screen-printed tags, tag removal or even poly-bagging. Everything from the design, to the print, to how it’s delivered is going to matter to your client. Be your brands biggest advocate by knowing what you are selling them. Just remember, they are going to be on Twitter, Facebook and walking around wearing it. The decisions you make will matter now and in the future.
4. Knowing your money.
The bottom line is, shirts can be expensive, but they can also be inexpensive. This all goes back to research. Find out which shirts are most cost effective based off the initial money you want to invest in your clothing line. If you are on a budget, you might not want to go with the most expensive shirt there is, but you could go with something very similar, have the tag removed and replace with your custom screen-printed tag and it still might be cheaper than if you went with the top t-shirt brand out there. You don’t have to start at the top. Work your way up! At the same time, you want to provide a quality product, so don’t just go with a heavy shirt, that isn’t soft, just because it’s cheaper. People won’t wear it, which means the buck stops there. If no one is wearing it, who will recognize it?
Decide how much you want to sell your shirts for. A few things to keep in mind: How much did you pay for each one? Will you make a profit or just break even? How will you order more shirts if you are breaking even or making less that what you charged for them? Again, know your audience, understand their budget, research what other similar clothing lines are selling their shirts for and make a decision.
5. Create Options.
A clothing line does not sell just one shirt. They sell multiple shirts, so create options for people and understand that not everyone will want to wear the same style, design, etc. This gives you an opportunity over time to see which shirts sell faster than others and which ones don’t sell at all. This really is to your benefit, so that you don’t waste any money ordering more, at the risk of not selling them. This gives you a chance to replace the design with something else! This doesn’t mean your line has failed or is doomed.
6. Choose Where To Sell.
There are plenty of ways to go about selling your shirts. We have clients that sell online, in stores or both. This really is the lines decision but again, remember your target market. The people shopping on Etsy might not be shopping on Big Cartel and vice versa. Wherever you decide to sell, make sure you can visually display your shirts. People are buying the designs, not the name of the designs, so make sure they are visible as well as the cost and sizes. Remember, you want the focus to be on your brand and shirts. A common, but simple saying to keep in mind: Less is more.