In this post we’ll go over what it takes to start your fashion brand using free or relatively inexpensive services available online. From finding the best online services to creative inspirations for your designs. We’ll dive into amazing ways for you to save the most money while starting your new fashion business. Think it can’t be done? Read on, you will be surprised at how, with just a few dollars, you can set up and begin operating a full-fledged fashion business. Let’s start at the top.
The very first step you need to take, regardless of what your end-goal will be, is planning. One of the best free services to help you plan your first steps towards building your fashion empire is LeanStack. As the name suggests, LeanStack helps you clearly define the problem you’re trying to solve, your solution, key metrics you, your unique value proposition, potential revenue streams and more. Cost: Free
I would also recommend signing up to Asana, which has become my favorite online tool to define and track important tasks.
You’re probably going to have a few names brewing up in the back of your mind. Want to know what the best way to filter down to the best name possible? Write them down. Write down every single brand name you’re thinking of using and search for them online. Don’t assume that simply because you’ve thought of a unique name, it isn’t already being used. In fact, chances are someone’s thought of something very similar before. So do your homework. Cost: Free
Found that perfect brand name and domain that’s still available? Kick it up a notch, dive into Fiverr and search for a creative designer that can set you up with a unique logo that matches the style you’re going for. You might have to talk to a few designers to get it right, but I think this is just a perfect starting point.
Since you’re serious about building your fashion empire, you’re going to want to get paid. Go over to PayPal and open up a free account. This one’s a no-brainer.
If you aren’t a designer and you don’t plan on heading to school to become one (who’s got time for that anyway?) use these as a resource. You’ll thank me later.
Jeremy Shuback’s Photoshop Crash Course Jeremy Shuback gives a 4 hour Photoshop presentation that will blow your socks off.
Tutvid Nathaniel does an incredible job in his tutorial videos.
- Constrvct: This online space is all about fashion for the digital age.
- Print All Over Me: A website that is obsessed with letting anyone share their epic creations with the world.
- Whooptee: Pick your shirt, upload your artwork and rely on Whooptee to work their magic!
- Booster: Raise Funds Increase fundraising across all your key donor segments and initiatives. There’s no limit to your potential!
- Jakprints: This Ohio-based company proves that Cleveland ROCKS!
- UberPrints: Use your imagination and make your ideas possible with the UberPrints online design studio.
- Spreadshirt: The customized hat, snapback or beanie is perhaps the world’s most universal accessory.
- AliveShoes: Create customized shoes, set up your storefront and start selling.
Shopify is perfect for beginners and experts. You don’t need to have any technical or design experience to easily create a beautiful online store with your branding. Choose from tons of well-designed e-commerce templates that look great on desktops, phones, and tablets. Easily customize, create pages, add products, and you’re pretty much ready to accept payments.
In the pre-digital age, brands were built with classic marketing strategies, using traditional media like print and TV to ‘push’ their latest campaigns at consumers. While these traditional tactics may never completely disappear, today’s Internet-era consumers have more power than ever before and interact with the brands they deem worthy of their time via a number of new channels. We’re now living in a very different time. You know where I discover some of the things I’m most excited about? You guessed it, social media. More specifically, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Facebook. The cost to increase your brand exposure on any of these platforms is close to zero. I say close to because your time is still very valuable and does have a monetary value. However putting that aside, if you’re not expanding your brand through any of the social platforms out there, you’re leaving money on the table.
No matter which social media platform you decide to use, choose carefully and make sure you have the resources to keep your accounts active and engage your followers. No one likes to see a social media profile that hasn’t been updated in months, or that’s unresponsive. Focus on achieving the maximum impact, even if that means maintaining only one social media account. Regular updates and posts on a brand’s social media account make the brand seem active, and help to keep the brand name on the social feeds of their followers.
As a side note: I have to give a quick mention on the impact of ‘Social Celebs’. There certainly isn’t a lack of social superstars who have a massive reach online and would appreciate some free fashion items in exchange for exposure on through their network, so make a list and start reaching out to them. Don’t aim for the top names right off the back, instead go for the middle ground, you will have a much easier time reaching them and negotiating a deal.
Leverage visual content – Photos of clothing tend to look best when the clothes are worn by models, even if it is you or a friend doing the modeling. If you sell accessories, check out the Etsy front page every day to see cool ways to get pictures that pop. Taking photos outdoor is an easy way to get decent lighting. Watch out for uneven shadows and don’t take outdoor pictures when the sun is at its highest in the sky. Look for cool locations with backdrops that enhance the picture.
Links -Connect every part of your web presence. Website to store to blog to Facebook. Get other websites to link to you. Link back to them. You’ll get better search engine results. Just don’t try to scam the system with links on useless websites. Search engine robots will find out and punish you by messing up your ranking for a while. Those algorithms don’t fuck around!
Tag it up – One of the most overlooked details in starting your own clothing line is the t-shirt tags. When I say tags, I am specifically talking about the tags hidden away on the inside of your shirt. The tag that never sees the light of day, and is usually an afterthought. Don’t overlook tags on your shirts, as they’re a greate way to add value and personality to a brand.
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