If your reading this, chances are you have started your own clothing brand or at the very least thought about it. The truth is someone next to you has also thought about starting a clothing brand. The fashion industry is such an overly saturated market. Everybody has thought about the idea of flaunting their own brand and making some money along the way. Don’t fool yourself, starting an indie brand is anything but simple — even the successful brands have had their bumps and bruises along the way. Plain and simple, this business is cutthroat. It’s hard to stand out, and even harder to build a loyal audience large enough to support your business. I’m not trying to discourage anyone, but I’d like to let you know what you’re in for by covering what I believe are four of the biggest misconceptions individuals have in regards to starting a brand or basically any business.
Misconception 1: It’s easy.
Misconception 2: If you build it, they will come.
Truthfully this was one of my biggest misconceptions while starting my brand, Dopest. I had believed that as long as I have family and friends wearing my clothes how could I fail? Family and friends are the last ones to actually purchase your clothing. I blame a lot of this on my inexperience in the industry prior to my brands release. I didn’t do my homework and I didn’t realize how talented my competitors would be. Having something “great” isn’t enough to draw in crowds, you must have something original, you must present a total package, and you must learn to be patient. Just because you have some kick-ass designs doesn’t mean people are going to be crashing the Shopify, Big Cartel or Storenvy servers to buy them. Think about it, how many incredible shirts have you seen online and thought “damn, that’s sick,” but you never actually bought it? My guess would be dozens, I know I’ve done it, I do it all the time. Your designs may be awesome and unique, but building an audience will take time. Prepare yourself for that. In other words, don’t expect to throw your tees online and suddenly be making thousands.
Misconception 3: Word of mouth is all you need.
You are not the exception. At least that’s how you need to think. Everybody wants to believe their brand is special enough to spread like the 14th century plague, but you can’t bank on that. You need to actively promote, market, and sell your brand. Even Rob Dyrdek busted his ass to get his brand to where it is today. Granted, any truly unique brand will receive plenty of word-of-mouth referrals, but you can’t rely on that as your only strategy. You will get out of your brand what you put into it, so work it.
Misconception 4: You are going to make a ton of money.
Now this is your reality check. Very, VERY few clothing brand owners will ever be able to support themselves solely with their business. Just because you’ve heard stories of dudes raking in thousands a month selling tees does not mean you will too. In fact, I’d say 99% off all clothing brand owners work a full-time job in addition to running their business. Treat your clothing business like a business, but don’t be disappointed if it remains nothing more than a hobby. In conclusion just let me say, the industry is hard, but it can definitely be fun and rewarding. Don’t set your expectations too high, be realistic and enjoy the ride.
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