Lately I've been getting a lot of messages & emails about how to start a clothing brand or what sites Are the best to sell on or what brand of shirt should I print on & etc. I'm going to answering common question & also give you guys some tips that I had been given when I started TLH Apparel & some other tips I have.
1 ) Figure out what the brand will be about.
Before you do anything you need to figure out what you want your brand to be about. Maybe it's sports, music or maybe it's just a fashion brand, either way though you need you make sure you know what it's about. Knowing what your brand is about will help you with everything else you do such as the name, logo, designs etc.
2 ) The name of your brand.
Now that you have figured out what your brand will be about you will need a name to go with it. Make sure the name has something to do with what your brand is about. For example I f your brand is about sports don't name it something about music. You want to make sure it's relevant to sports or whatever your brand will be about.
3 ) A good logo // designs.
When you start a brand or even any business you want to make sure you have a good logo & designs. People aren't going to take you serious if you have bad designs plus know one would want to even wear it. I like to look at it like I would be buying it. So if I get merch designed and I look at it and think I would never buy it I'm not going to print it. Remember your customers are how you will be making money and if they aren't buying because you have bad designs then you want be making any money and that's never good.
4 ) A Place to sell your merchandise.
There are many online store platforms that you can use to sell your merchandise for your brand. Just to name a few Storenvy, Bigcartel & Etsy. You also have sites like spreadshirt & Tee Spring that do all the work for you all you have to do is upload the design & keep up with a few other things. But sites like that also charge you a lot more so you end up making a lot less. I suggest finding a local print shop(or hitting us up) & start out with a few of each designs & ship them out yourself. But either way do your research & figure out witch one will work best for your needs & your budget. I print all my own stuff for TLH Apparel. I would love to print your stuff too! Just fill out my contact page.
5 ) Research shirts / materials.
Once you have found a print shop to go to get your designs printed on shirts you will want to find what brands you will want to print on. Keep in mind that if you use a high quality brand it will cost you a lot more but customers will like it more. I'd stay away from gildan unless it's the soft style. Gildan tends to shirt after being washed & black shirts normally will fade over time. I either use the soft style or I like the Fruit of the loom HD tees. They are both good on price & not bad quality so I can still price my shirt at a much less price than most places. My customers have all loved both styles. So before you start printing maybe order a few online & see what you like or see if you can go to a local print shop & see their different styles. It also doesn't hurt to look up reviews of the brands & styles online & see what other people around the world think.
6 ) Social media.
When you start a business but especially when you start a clothing brand you are going to want to have social media accounts. You don't need to be on every platform but its a good idea to be on at least 5. You don't have to post on all of them every day but you do need to find one that you can post on regularly. Facebook, Instagram & Twitter are probably the top 3 sites. Instagram is where 90% of my customers come from. The great thing about instagram is that there are more active accounts on there than any other platforms right now. Another great thing about it is you can use up to 30 hashtags on each post meaning a chance for more people viewing your brand. Most people under estimate a good social media presence. But guys come on, it's 2016 most everyone is online & we have access to us almost 24/7/365. If you want to stand out you will have to do more than other brands. Take sometime & figure out what you like best. I will probably end up writing a separate blog post just for social media & how it can benefit your business.
7 ) Have good customer service.
No one likes bad customer service. Having better customer service than your competitors can put you ahead. Always b friendly & always try to respond as quickly as possible. That doesn't mean that you have to be available 24/7/365 but if someone emails you don't take a month to write back. Always try to write back. Even if you are telling someone no. I eat emails all the time about sponsorships & I often times have to tell people no.
8 ) Know finances.
When you are starting out your money is going to be tight. Don't worry about spending a ton on stuff. Start out with what you can afford. Don't worry about loans because you will have to pay those back & with interest. If you have to just start out with one design & just do the a few of them. Once you sell those you can do more & do another design. Another thing about the finances is do not spend any money in the first month or so. Invest it all back into more products.
9 ) Don't quit just because you aren't seeing sales right away.
Patience is very important when starting any business. You probably wont be seeing many sales right away(unless you are already famous). When I first started I wasn't getting many sales. But I kept at it & over time I started getting more & more. Way too many people give up on things because they aren't seeing results fast enough. For any business you have to have patience or you are going to fail.
10 ) Have fun.
Always make sure you are having fun with what you are doing. If you aren't enjoying it you won't succeed very far. It's your brand so do what you enjoy with it. Make it about stuff you are passionate about & always get involved in the community that your brand is involved in. So if you have a brand about skateboarding sponsor some local skaters & go out & get some videos of them skating & having fun.
Hope this blog was helpful for all of you.