Let’s face it, creating an indie brand is fairly easy nowadays. Anyone can either whip up a graphic on some kind of drawing software or even buy a design off an illustrator and get it printed on a tee. You’re not exactly reinventing the wheel as this market is crowded with people wanting to be the ‘next big thing’ and doing the exact same thing you’re doing. To try and have some success in this difficult business you have to stand out and be original. Here are some of the tips we have picked up from our experiences while running our brand- Milk UK. We shouldn’t really be writing this article about ‘how to run your clothing line’ as we’ve only been in the business about a year or so and have no authority to tell you what to do, but we have learnt a lot in the time the brand has been active. We love talking about branding so we hope even 1% of what we have written inspires you to tweak your brand in some way.
Sat down? Comfy? Right let’s begin.
Gap in the market
Doing something that someone else is incapable of doing is you finding a ‘gap in the market’ but what can this something be? Well this can come down to many different points and can be shown in many ways.
Your brand name and logo
One of your starting points when creating a brand. Your brand name is how you present yourself to your customers so it has to captivate your audience, this is the same for your logo. When searching for a name for our brand we came across a lot of brands using descriptive nouns as names, whether it was ‘Beat the rest clothing’, ‘Original clothing’, ‘Unique to you apparel’ (by the way these are names that have just made up now, sorry if it’s your brand name!) This in affect may seem like you’re doing something different, but it’s become such a habit for start-ups to do this that it has become very neutral and vanilla. This is the same with names which are personal to you, the owner, in some way. This may seem great at the start but you’re not going to be your only customer so unless you know everyone in the whole world, there is going to be a large percentage that won’t get the connection.
Think long and hard about your finished brand name as your brand is going to be stuck with it throughout its lifetime, treat it as if you are naming your child. Pick something which is unusual and stops people in their tracks and makes them investigate your brand further, remember not everything has to have the word ‘clothing’ at the end to show people you sell clothing. If you get your name right then people will be able to see you sell clothing due to them questioning your name choice and clicking on your store link!
When it comes to your logo choice we found it helps to create something which isn’t too obvious but still has a connection to your brand identity and name. Pick something which is appealing to the eye yet simple and can be remembered easily.
Anyone can place clothing in a grey mailer bag and ship it off. Showing that you have gone the extra mile and had your packaging customised in some way can really be the biting point of a sale and also create a talking point. We’re not saying you blow your whole budget on some custom manufactured packaging and leave no money left for your garments, but having something as simple as a screen printed box or a mail bag can really set you apart. If you’re really pushed for cash then add a custom sticker to your packaging, basically anything is better than the standard off the shelf mail bag.
Name a colour scheme for your clothing brand….Black and White….did we just read your mind? Well we’re no Professor X but we only said black and white because everybody does it! Why? because it’s universal and safe. Try and pick colours which stand out and you will hopefully stand out.
Let us paint you a picture. There is a crowd of people wanting your attention and they are all wearing the same thing but one of them has blue hair. I bet when you get home from being mobbed, you aren’t going to remember most of the people in that crowd, but you are going to remember that person with blue hair more. Why? because there was something about that person that was different, therefore they stuck in your mind.
The service you’re providing
What is different to the service you are providing your customers? You can stand out in a simple way by providing excellent customer service but you can go beyond this and increase you ability to stand out more. Doing some research on your competition and see what is missing from their service. Some of the companies out there just take an order, package your product and send it off without any personal involvement with their customers. Remember your customers are spending money for your stuff so make the service worth the money they have spent on it. Is there a way you could provide your customers with something which will make them gossip about your brand?
Unique selling point
Just doing one or a combination of these sections can hopefully make your brand stand out throughout the sea of other indie brands out there. Having a good USP should be the core of your business model and create a structure to build your brand. A brand is not just about creating something cool looking and putting it on a piece of clothing, it’s about doing those extra things which help set you apart from your competition.