TOP 3 MISTAKES FASHION COMPANIES MAKE WHEN STARTING THEIR BRAND

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Over the years I have worked with many start up apparel brands. As a sportswear fashion designer myself, it is my job to assist a client in the apparel design process. I absolutely love working with so many different people from all over the world, and in my time, I have experienced MANY different types of business owners. Some have been an absolute joy to work along side and guide through the process, and others….have not been so easy. This blog post is to highlight what I feel are the top three mistakes that most people make when going to a fashion designer and asking them to design their collection. This is all design based tips only which you may find them obvious but that is why I feel it is important to just really highlight them.  

Unique Selling Point. (USP) 

When a new client comes to us we always ask for the back ground story on their brand. What is their story and most importantly what is their UNIQUE selling point? I know, not every tom dick and harry brand need a unique selling point but actually in the sports fashion industry, you kinda do! Unless you have a famous face selling your brand or a shed tone of money. You need a USP. The amount of brands who come to us with a great name, a great logo and a great story but no unique selling point is unbelievable. If one more brand comes to me and asks to be ‘’just like Gymshark’’, I think I will eat a pair of their leggings.  Sometimes the client is so passionate about their own story and collection, which I have seen so many times, that it is impossible to tell them otherwise. You just have to let them go with the flow and hope for the best. But when you have a good client, who also wants to learn from the designer and listen to their opinions, then this is so valuable. We love giving advice, and we love helping the client to figure out a good extra whistle in their collection. So my tip here would be yes, be passionate about your vision of the brand, but also listen to your designer and work with them to figure out a great unique selling point. Or just come to us already with one!

Time 

This is probably quite an obvious thing to note but we do get a lot of clients who come to us with an unrealistic time frame. The time it takes to book in a design job does also depend on how commutative the client is. If they are speedy, we can usually book in a design job of 6-8 garments within two weeks. From this point, depending on whether we are creating research boards or not, the design stage will take around 2-4 weeks. Again this depends on how quickly the client gives feedback! Clients who give feedback efficiently are so much better as you are in the moment, and the designs are fresh in your mind. As soon as we send the work over, it is great to get feedback within the next couple of days. There is then some back and forth if you need updates or further design options. 

The design phase is relatively easy to plan for, just make sure you give yourself about 1-2 months to get the actual designs drawn up before you then go into the technical spec phase. This then will take another 2-4 weeks to get the specs done. 

When it comes to the development and production , you should allow 4-6 months to get the design and development stages completed. It does of course depend on how many garments you have as well as how much detail is involved. Some clients come to us and expect samples to be delivered within 2 months. As much as we try to speed this process up, there are always set backs and particular dates in the year you need to be aware of. We take pride in the fact that we really do give our clients as much advise and guidance in the development process of their collection as possible, so that from the beginning they are aware of everything they need to take on board before starting down that exciting path!

Budget 

Of course, this would be on the list! The budget does depend on how many fashion garments there will be in your collection, and it also depends on how much involvement you want your designer to have. I have created a list to make it simple for clients to understand what you need to budget for when starting a collection and working with a designer;

  • Research / mood boards

  • Designing the garments (creating the cads and colour ups) 

  • Graphics (Graphics are a separate job to the actual garment design of your styles)

  • Technical specs (measurement and detail sheets you give to the factory) 

Going forward , if you work with us in development and production, there will be further fees to plan for. Some of these include :

  • Researching and communicating with factories 

  • Sourcing fabrics 

  • Design communication with factories (Updates and design changes) This is ongoing through out the whole development process!

  • Fitting sample days.

  • Getting the samples and final full collection produced. (Our production team manage the factories and all communication here)