Fashion brands are often started by talented designers having a dream to start their own label, but not necessarily a clear understanding of where their brand will fit within their specific market segment.
There’s such a diversity of products available and potential routes to market, it’s essential for anyone starting out to become an expert in their particular area of the business
Research is key!
You should find out
• The size of market segment you want to operate in, current trends and whether it’s an expanding sector
• Who your potential customers are, and their buying and lifestyle habits
• If planning to sell wholesale, which potential stockists are likely to carry your brand. Build a picture of which brands/products they currently buy from and the depth of stock they carry
•The right price points for your product(s) – this need to be at a comparable level to your competitors. Unless you are a well-known luxury brand, there is a ceiling to what customers will pay.
•Who your competitors are. It’s valuable to learn from what they are doing, right or wrong. Look at their marketing/PR strategy, their branding and packaging and what Point of Sale (POS) materials they supply.
A successful competitor indicates there is a potential market for your product too!
In order to find out all this information you need to learn to be a detective! Luckily there are many places to search both online and on foot, such as :
• Print and online press
• Relevant fashion blogs
• Trade magazines
• Trade exhibitions
• Retail shops
• Ecommerce sites
• Online market databases – the Business and IP Centre at the British Library gives you free access to some of the best ones.
• Focus groups
It’s good to spend time on this research at the beginning of your business journey before your launch, and update as the business grows, as will help you develop your business model and the Unique Selling Point (USP) of your own label. Once you’re a trading you’ll find it much harder to devote the time needed.
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By Alison Lewy