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Starting a new clothing brand blog

Discussion in 'Start-ups & Business Advice' started by paulbrown, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. paulbrown

    paulbrown

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    Jul 8, 2010
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    Hi all I have heard many people talking about starting their own clothing brand so I thought I would start a blog to let you know how I get on.

    I had been wanting to start my own clothing brand for a few years, since working for the shoe company Oliver Sweeney.

    I started just over a year ago selling clothes bought from various sources online and selling on ebay and have managed to go from starting with 2k in my pocket to turning over a decent amount of money in just over a year and expanding month on month. For the first 4 months I sold the clothes part time but it has since become my full time job.

    Selling on ebay has been a good experience and has given me a good idea on style and finishes of clothing which sell best - which I believe has helped me to come up with my initial range for my own brand.
    I was very fortunate that I knew a lady from my days working at Oliver Sweeney who has helped me on a self employed basis with finding a good supplier, graphic designer, photographer, web designer etc...
    My starting point was to have an idea of the type of items I wanted to produce - which is heritage menswear i decided on a core range of timeless pieces for spring summer 2013, Chinos, oxford shirt, polo, vneck sweater, hoodie, Tshirt, swimming shorts.
    I then decided on a name after much deliberation and had an idea for a logo which was developed by the graphic designer to a point where I am very happy with it.
    From there a supplier was found who produces for some medium sized well known UK brands from China - using a fairtrade factory to a very high quality finish.
    To me the quality of the goods is of the upmost importance with me wanting to price my items similarly to Jack Wills / Lyle and Scott.
    The items were developed along side a designer who helped me to develop the items till I was happy.
    I am now at the stage where I am waiting for the first samples from the factory, and have just started the process to patent the logo and the name. Once the patent has been done I will post some pictures of the logo and the name up on the blog for your comments.
    This is a very exciting time waiting to see the first samples of the garments, once they have been seen I will be working along side the designer and an adviser to finalise the designs with finishing detailing to make the garments stand out from the crowd.

    Next steps are to finalise the designs, complete the labels and swing tags.
    Get the final designs and use a model and photographer to bring a professional look to the items.
    Build a advertising website, and later a online shop.
    Produce a look book to assist me in selling the clothes to retail outlets.
    Place order with factory and send goods out to retail outlets.

    All this while running my ebay business to fund the project.

    I will try and blog each week or when ever there is something interesting to report hopefully some of you on the forum will be interested enough to follow my progress. I will also ask questions when I get to certain stages as this is my first time at this and is all a learning curve to me.

    Thanks for reading

    Paul
    aprilflower, Bracher, lbdblvd and 3 others like this.
  2. Dave Casuals

    Dave Casuals

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    What are the MOQ's you've been offered from the supplier for production of garments? I don't see any mention of marketing...Your in one of the hardest and most competitive industries going and spending thousands isn't out of the ordinary if trying to get your name out there. Many new start up brands begin with only a single or couple of lines rather than jump in head first covering every area of the clothing market! You make it sound quite easy getting into the retail outlets because you have a brand and wide range of garments, but this is anything but true and won't happen without marketing and big sales volumes...How do you intend to realistically apprach the bigger retailers?

    Do you mean trademark rather than patent...you don't get a patent for a brand name.
  3. paulbrown

    paulbrown

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    Hi Dave, thanks for your reply - MOQs are 500 per line - up to 5 colour ways per line, so 100 per colour. As I have gone for a core range they can be sold over a few seasons while bringing in seasonal lines each season from AW13 onwards.
    I have a marketing company lined up with an initial budget of £4k to promote the first season - I know this is a VERY LOW budget but is all I will be able to afford for now... unless I secure backing from an investor.
    I have obviously thought of worst case scenarios, but due to getting a good cost price even if it all goes wrong I should be able to get at least cost price for the garments. I would have then only lost out on the initial set up costs of about £15-20K, which I consider to be a small amount of money to try and realise a dream.
    To sell to the stores I have a few options, I am creating a professional look book which I am going to send out to all the target stores followed up by phone calls. I will then try and sell payment on receipt of goods, but if that doesnt work then I would be willing to offer sale or return to some key stores.
    I also have contacts from my Oliver Sweeney days who may help out and friends of friends in the industry in charge of department stores etc.
    I still expect it to be very difficult, I will also have a stock for the website and sell at different events. In a few seasons if its going well look to open a stand alone store.
    I certainly am not looking through rose tinted glasses, but think I am approaching everything in the right manner to give myself half a chance. I will post some pictures soon so you can get a better idea of the brand once trademarks are completed.

    And yes sorry meant to write trademark not patent.

    Any other comments are welcome, and thanks Dave for your comments its good to hear to make sure I havent missed anything from my plan, and any ideas or contacts are very welcome.

    Thanks for reading
    Paul
    shineapparelcn and Bizi like this.
  4. paulbrown

    paulbrown

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    Update, trademarks have now been done...
    I have uploaded some pictures of the labels, and the swing tag. They are going to be in the style of a stamped logo on a beige card style finish.
    Would be great to get some feedback on what you guys/girls think of it...
    Hope you like it.

    Thanks
    Paul

    Attached Files:

    Tony de likes this.
  5. AntiHeroUK

    AntiHeroUK

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    Dec 8, 2011
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    Hi Paul, I must admit this is a very interesting project you are embarking on, and undertaking something like this on your own without any major backing is a big gamble, but definitely worthwhile if you can make a success of it.

    A few questions if you don't mind.

    1) What age range is the clothing line aimed at?
    2) Do you plan to keep it UK exclusive or open it up worldwide asap?
    3) What range of clothing will you be launching first?

    I really admire what you are doing, and at least you have experience and contacts in the industry which will clearly stand you in good stead for the future.

    Although I like the logo that has been designed, have you had any feedback on the actual logo itself in relation to the clothing it will feature on? Have you thought about whether you will have the logo embroidered on the clothing, logo and text, text only, or logo on a small outer label.

    The swing tag is very nice. Less is more and I think you've captured that very well.

    Overall it looks like you and your team have done a fantastic job, and if you can push this all the way I can see it becoming a fantastic brand with the right marketing. Keep up the good work Paul, I'll be keeping a close eye on your progress as and when you update us!

    Who knows you might have your own store up and running sooner than you think :)
    Bracher, Import Expert and paulbrown like this.
  6. Dave Casuals

    Dave Casuals

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    If I'm totally honest I'm not keen on the dog silhouette but at the same time it does represent vintage which your aiming for. To me however, it also represents a different generation but would associate it more with an older customer base, and something you might find in a Tweed Jacket but not on the front breast or in neck of an oxford shirt that a 20-30 something would purchase... I do think in this industry, motifs/labels etc mean everything but also can alienate a customer base, so as the poster above said, it really depends which type of market your aiming for. I'm a lover of vintage clothing but only 32 years young, and the label doesn't do it for me...Purely for the fact your just starting out and don't have a history so based on the fact that this was on a rail next to other brands I'd bypass this purely based on the look of the design...it gives me no reason to associate myself with the brand...this is only constructive critism Paul :) I don't know how your printing onto the labels, but I do like the slight grunge feel in the overall print of the label...not sure if screen printed or similar, but it has affected the actual dog silhouette, as it doesn't look clear and just has an outline of an animal...if I hadn't seen the original mock up PDF file, I wouldn't know what animal this was...

    Secondly, I associate heritage as being when a brand brings out a vintage collection of their history whether it be clothing they originally had during a certain era, or a look associated with their brand during that era...I think you are really going to struggle as a new brand trying to re-create a heritage feel, when your brand didn't have a heritage/past during that period.


    Goood luck with it all, and hope it works out.
    paulbrown likes this.
  7. paulbrown

    paulbrown

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    Hi,

    Thanks for the above comments, and big apologises for not replying sooner.
    I have been extremely busy, with the new brand and my other business with a holiday for a couple of weeks in Goa inbetween.

    I have spent a long time thinking about the target audience and the market im aiming for, and it is changing slightly, the target audience is more towards fashion concious professionals ages 20-35.

    Since my last blog a few things have been going on, I have put together a business plan with cashflow forecasts and profit and loss projections.
    The majority of the initial range is still being produced in China, but I am producing the Vneck Merino wool jumper in the UK along with merino wool scarfs, gloves, padded jacket, tweed blazer all being made in England.
    I have final samples coming in next week, so once I have them in I will post pictures up for you to look at and comment on...
    I plan to have the photoshoot at the end of next month - so the website will be started in about 2 weeks time.
    I have a holding page up at the moment www.anthonyandbrown.co.uk - this is not final yet the pictures are being professionally produced and a sign up for newsletter will be added also.
    I plan to bring the stock in in November launching the website then too, and delivering the wholesale orders in Nov. I am looking to sell into 2 locations in London and have a wholesale manager lined up to sell to targeted stores.
    I am looking to open a flagship store in Totnes, Devon - a popular hippy town which is a shopping destination for locals and holiday makers. This store I plan to open in Feb 2013.

    Any comments welcome as always, apologises once more for the long duration in between posts my next post will be a lot sooner.

    Paul
  8. How_much?

    How_much?

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    really admire this well done and all the best
  9. paulbrown

    paulbrown

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    Thanks very much fingers crossed it all goes smoothly, thanks for reading the blog.
  10. paulbrown

    paulbrown

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    Just a quick update...
    Since I last wrote I have been working hard making money from my ebay business to save money for the new brand.
    In between I had a meeting with my product developer, sourcing manager and sales man - we all went through the samples.
    The samples I was so happy with the quality, the finish is exceptional and the fit was also excellent. Have a few more small tweaks to some of the pieces but generally they were pretty close to how I wanted.
    This is great news as I was a bit worried about how they would come out.
    I am looking forward to having the final samples now ready for the photo shoot which is going to happen the beginning of May. In the meantime I am getting the clothes pictured professionally so I can show them to help me get a good salesman onboard to sell the product for SS13.
    Here is a picture of the hoodie excuse the bad picture I will post a decent one up later - gives you an idea of what its about though.

    Any comments welcome as always - please let me know what you think.

    Thanks
    Paul IMG-20120401-01070.jpg
  11. How_much?

    How_much?

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    like the colour, are you doing the any grey as I have a few rl ones looking forward to helping out with a little order ;)
  12. paulbrown

    paulbrown

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    Thanks for your interest, im doing it in this colour and in dark grey.
    Stock is coming in Beginning of November so theres a little wait but it will be worth it. :)

    Thanks
    Paul
  13. MSFB

    MSFB

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    Do you think being quintessentially british but being made in china will be a problem?

    I quite like the logo and text, the dog is bold but good i think.

    re: the hoody. it does just look a bit like a hoody with a dog on the front.. can you add a little design element somewhere ala burberry... a little bit of colour somewhere on the cuff or something. that could be cool.

    anyway good luck. where are you hoping to have these stocked?
  14. ResellerLad

    ResellerLad

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    I wish you all the best with this. It's a huge project but should you get it right it could be great!
    Cody likes this.
  15. paulbrown

    paulbrown

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    Hi,

    Thanks for your comments.

    Do you think being quintessentially british but being made in china will be a problem? - No I dont think it will be a problem, I am having several items in the range made in England, Tweed Jacket, Merino Wool Jumper and padded coat in the first season. Look at Jack Wills for example they produce nearly everything in China, on the front page of their website and in the label they have 'Traditional Goods Maker, Collaborating with the best of British Craftsmen' and 'Fabulously British'. At least im sourcing where possible from England - some items just arent produced to a decent standard in England at the moment so you have to source outside.

    I am tweaking the hoodie slightly for the saleman samples - im having the ends of the pull stings in brown leather.
    Im hoping to have these stocked in some cities not sure on exact stores yet - still need to put together a plan of who I want the sales Rep to approach.
    I am going to be opening my own store in Totnes, Devon in March and will be avaliable through the website from November 2012 www.anthonyandbrown.co.uk
  16. dsben

    dsben

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    Congrats on what you have achieved so far - looking really good.

    Any reason for delaying the website launch? I would have thought it would make sense to run it side by side with the shop opening
  17. ResellerLad

    ResellerLad

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    i'm sure november comes before march? :D
  18. paulbrown

    paulbrown

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    Hi,

    Just to clarify, I am getting the stock in November 2012, so launching the website once I have the stock in. I am launching the shop in March 2013 - 4 months after the web launch.
    I wanted to launch the website and get the stock in in November to get some sales from the Christmas period.
    I am delaying the shop launch as I cant get the lease for the store to January then it gives me plenty of time to refurb the shop by aiming to lunch in March.
  19. MSFB

    MSFB

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    well the brand is good i think (my amateur opinion) and you sound like you have a good plan. keep us updated
    paulbrown likes this.
  20. paulbrown

    paulbrown

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    Hi All,

    I am putting a crest on the rugby shirt please let me know which one you like best?

    Thanks
    Paul

    Attached Files:

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