Being someone who built and ran their own clothing brand, I know what it is like to want to maintain control of all elements and want to do it all myself.
Everything from coming up with concepts, to designing the range, finding printers, then finding manufacturers for cut and sew, sampling, marketing, social media planning and posting, plus the love-hate task of packing the orders and dealing with Australia Post.
I didn’t know this at the time but one of the biggest issues I felt during my time running District 5ive was that I didn’t have anyone to bounce ideas off who understood the industry enough to give me proper feedback.
I’m grateful that the people I showed my thoughts, were always super supportive but what I really needed was a mentor in the industry. Looking back, it would have been a game-changer for me.
As a sole trader, it’s so easy to compare yourself to others and what they are doing with their brand. The more you are looking on social media at your competitors or even aspirational brands, the more their work starts to influence yours. Remember to always revert back to your brand and what is best for it. A best seller for somebody else may not be a best seller for you.
This is something that I often talk about with clients when discussing their future releases, it’s part of my job to talk about this and flesh out these ideas and to make sure they really suit your brand. When it’s your brand, unfortunately, you are slightly blinded by your own thoughts and it’s easy to get swept away thinking about ‘how this is going to be the one’ that puts you on the map.
As somebody who’s been involved in the fashion industry for over 10 years, I can honestly say, I know the difference between trying to make a quick buck off a trend or creating products that fit into the brands DNA. The difference between the two can result in 1) having excess stock, which leads to discounting those products. Vs 2) your products selling out.
For example, I’ll never forget I produced some hoodies and some caps that had a grey base, with a black and white colour scheme, why did I do that? I was following a trend at the time. Yes, you need to be ‘on-trend’ to an extent, so you don’t miss out on potential sales but put your spin on this. Don’t get me wrong, I still love that product I produced and I get sent images of people still wearing them, and it makes me happy and proud every time but if I had my time again.. maybe it would have been a black base, with more of a pop colour that is more consistent through my brand… Grey and D5 should never, ever be together. I noticed a few brands doing something that I really liked and thought that doing something similar with my logo was enough. In the process, I betrayed my brand’s identity.
I was on-trend but not on brand.
Knowing the difference takes a specific thought process and only somebody who is truly invested in the brand + it’s future to help identify and this is something I take pride in helping my clients figure out.