The apparel market is a cut-throat industry, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it. Largely due to e-commerce, the men’s and women’s apparel industries are steadily growing with projected sales of $86 billion by 2018.
So how do you get a piece of the pie?
Research, research, research
The most common problem any business encounters is not researching enough. The failure to research leads to a poor strategy and poor brand. The apparel market is a fast-changing industry, and competition requires that you stay on top of the latest trends and be ready to meet the needs of your target audience.
What needs do you see that aren’t being met by other apparel brands? What are your competitors doing that’s working? Not working? What’s hot in the industry? E-commerce or brick and mortar?
The list goes on…The more research you do, the better you’ll be equipped to understand your place in the market.
A clothing brand is an extension of who you are and what you believe in.
Take the time to understand your target audience. Be your target audience.
The apparel market is full of different categories and interests, from high fashion to casual outdoor wear. Find your niche in the market and stick to it.
You must also give your audience something more than just clothing.
The Why and How
Long gone are the days consumers bought clothing without meaning.
Because clothing is an extension of who you are, consumers are looking for a meaning. They want substance. Take the time to create a mission: what do you stand for? It’s not just why your clothes are better, it’s why do you exist.
You’ve figured out why, now it’s time to ask how? Clearly state to your consumer what actions you will take to uphold your why and support your stance. This could be anything from contributing to charity and being involved in a cause, to using certain fabrics, or anything else that supports your mission and values.
Once you have your why and how, you can move on to making your products. Without asking yourself why and how, you would be left with an empty brand–making it harder for the consumer to connect with.
This process also makes it easier for you to market your products, whether through social media or word of mouth. A clear understanding of your brand is crucial.
Not that you can’t ask the what first and then create a product, but it will be a harder road to take to successfully brand your clothing line.
Here’s an example close to the Michigan Creative team:
The Why: Wants to support the Michigan and US economy and see it flourish. Freshwater exists for people who love the outdoors, camping, and sightseeing without the serious edge of other brands.
The How: Researched to ensure that all shirts were made in the U.S. and printed in Lansing, MI.
The What: In return, Freshwater created a soft and comfortable product that supports the US and Michigan economy, with a tagline “Don’t Be Salty” which produces a fun tone and capitalizes on the Great Lakes (and other freshwater in-land lakes).