Starting your own clothing line can be one of the most rewarding experiences an artisan and creator can pursue. Supporting the businesses of small, niche fashion designers is also tremendously rewarding for consumers because we are all becoming increasingly disillusioned by the soul-sucking emptiness of supporting mass-produced, sweatshop labor-based old economic models for outfitting ourselves. For the sake of us all, and a more heart-centered economy, start your own clothing line! Here are some tips to help you stand out above the rest:
1. Put the story and the passion behind your work out there for all to see and hear:
Increasingly, consumers want more than to be blindly led by the first shiny thing that meets their eyes. They want to feel the connection, intention, commitment and integrity that goes into each and every piece that they choose for themselves. They want to know that their dollar is going somewhere conscious, eco-friendly, and sustainable. They want to feel that they can simultaneously support someone’s passion while expressing themselves and feeling beautiful at the same time in a win-win situation. So, you can shout this message from the roof-tops and in personally written mission statements. Have a video interview of yourself talking about it online for your customers to see you face to face. This leads to our next point:
2. Publicity is key:
Get yourself an amazing website. There are a lot of easy website builders out there. Take pride in your logo and brand and all you represent through your art. Get an Etsy website and have your presence on as many social media platforms as possible. You may even want to work out some exchanges for free items with people who can take on the bulk of marketing and promotion for you if that’s not really where you want to be spending your time. Building a business does start with finding people you can trust to help you out and be a part of your foundation.
3. Take abundant and copious photos of your pieces from every angle imaginable:
Shopping online is a real pain in the butt when the photos don’t depict your pieces from every possible angle to include details about the texture of the fabric and other key features like zippers and hemlines. Showcase the quality of your craftsmanship by photographing the insides where the seams are. Pay attention to lighting and creating an environmental ambiance that parallels the style of your clothing line. Do something extra for the fashion industry and include beautiful, poised models of all shapes and sizes showcasing how a particular article of clothing falls on different bodies.
4. Be clear about the target audience your brand and clothing line serve:
Identify who your main customer base is in terms of age, location, preferences, etc. Be very clear on sizing. Go out of your way to create a detailed, precise, above-and-beyond-standard sizing chart with details and personalized recommendations. There are so many people out there that are hesitant to purchase tops online because their breast size makes tops hard to fit. Go into detail about that. Consider marketing specifically to a group that struggles for recognition by the regular fashion industry. (Plus-sized, big and tall, and large-chested folks come to mind.)
5. Figure out the best way to ship quickly and efficiently to as large of a customer base as possible.
Educate yourself on international shipping and shipping outside of the continental United States. Develop a relationship with a nearby post office like the Albert Thomas post office or any local shipping company. Come up with shipping discounts offer coupon codes for free shipping on special occasions.
6. Show up at festivals with your own booth to cultivate in-person relationships with your client base.
There’s nothing more satisfying than buying straight from the artist at a festival where you’re able to try on and feel the tactile sensations of each garment.
We hope that your realization of this dream is everything you imagined! Happy sewing.