Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting A Clothing Brand
I’ve been going on about 2.5 years running Opinion and there's a ton of things that I have learned, and I know there’s even more to come. I am by no means a veteran at this, but I have learned some things that I know for a fact would’ve been nice knowing right when I started. So if you or someone you know is looking to start a brand, take a read and I hope this helps.
It’s Important To Meet People
You can have the best quality, best website, and best social media, but I strongly believe that you need to get yourself out there and actually meet people in the clothing industry face to face. You will always meet someone who knows someone who knows someone. I can pinpoint certain sales I made because of someone I met, I have had collabs come to life because of the people I have met. Social media is a strong presence, but I think there is so much power in the person to person connection you make that isn't through a phone.
Stick To Your Gut
It’s hypocritical, but I’ve let people sway me to not do something for a design or change the colors of a piece because of their opinion. If you have a brand, and you want to drop something, DO IT. Yes, you need to keep your customers in mind, but you also need to put out products that you believe in and genuinely like. I’m working on finding that middle ground of my personal style interests and my customers, but you need to remember, no brand has made it by being regular. Be unique in your own way and run with it.
For the longest time, I wasn’t understanding my margins, and it was hurting me. Once again there is a middle ground of what you think you should charge, and what your customers are willing to pay, but I do wish I would’ve understood how high quality our products are and been confident in that. I also wasn’t taking into consideration the amount of money I was spending on my samples and adding that into the end cost for each piece. Sounds like very obvious mistakes but they are mistakes I definitely made and want to point out to anyone entering this type of industry.
It Really Is A Marathon
Sorry to say but if you’re in it to make a quick buck, you’re in it for the wrong reason. I knew when I started it was going to be a long term decision, but I just want to make the point that it’ not just a saying, it really is going to test your patience and your ability to see the bigger picture rather than thinking your brand will become Supreme, or Bape, or Nike just overnight.
It’s An Up and Down Industry
One day you will have ten sales, and one week you won’t get any. Sure some brands see sales every single day, and that’s how I thought it would be, but in my situation, it isn’t like that. Back to the marathon point, I know in my head and heart that someday every day I will have sales, but it will take time to get there. Roll with the punches, don’t get too upset when you have a dry spell of sales and don’t get too excited when you have a ton. Learn to stay level headed and continue to push forward through success or failure.