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Starting Your Own Label? Ask Yourself These Questions First!
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Starting Your Own Label? Ask Yourself These Questions First!

Starting Your Own Label

Creating your own label takes time, patience and hard work, amongst other factors. If you’re truly passionate about having your own business, this could be one of the biggest achievements in your life! There are a couple of details you must start working on so that you have complete clarity about your business plan.

1. What would you like to create?

Keep in mind a blueprint for the kind of label you’re creating. Is it apparel, accessories, footwear, maybe just bags, beauty/cosmetics, all organic only? Work out exactly what you would like to create and sell to your prospective customers. Jot down a list of all these items that you might want to include in your collection. A strong tip – your very first collection should have about 10-15 pieces.

For instance, if you want to start a men’s work-wear label your ideal first range would have 12 styles in 3 different colorways.

2. How would you price your products?

Do you have an idea of how you’d like to price your items? Work out the price point based on the status of your brand. Do you want it to be affordable, affordable luxury or all luxury? Take a look at how you can price your products with the steps mentioned below:

  • Add up the material cost, manufacture cost, and then add a profit margin – that would be your wholesale price. Multiply that by 2.2 or 2.3 and that would become your retail price at which you can sell your product to your end customer.
  • Try to work backward. Set a standard price based on the current market. Compare your prices with your competitors, for example, if they’re charging INR 2500 for a button-down shirt, match your product quality with theirs and then set your prices accordingly. The former step is a recommended method to cost out your items.

3. Who are your customers?

Categorize the kind of people who will buy your products. Create a target audience, determining their age, gender, lifestyle, location, hobbies, interests and possible occasions, where they could wear or use your products. Create a relationship with your customers and try to define that section so you are able to communicate with them in a way that’s relevant to them.

For instance, take a target market of men ranging from 20-45 years of age, professionally engaged in independent ventures or at high positions in an organization. They have a large amount of disposable income and travel regularly for work. They may also have their own apartments in the suburbs or the city, where they usually spend their non-working days, at utmost ease and living in luxury. Knowing the minute details of their lives will help you create a line for their specific needs, such as a versatile range of travel-friendly outfits.

4. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

What is the one skill, maybe a few skills that you’re excellent at? Do you have any design/illustration/styling/retail/sales/marketing/accounts/management experience? If you do, then that is strength right there! Do you have a partner that you trust, who can help you in managing the business? That counts as another strength!

It’s always better to have prior experience in the field you’ll be working in. If not, consider taking up a course (online or offline) that will help you in providing the required knowledge and skill set. You will need a pool of skills for your label, especially if you have a restricted budget. Otherwise, hefty start-up capital will enable you to pay industry experts to assist you.

5. What kind of opportunities and risks will you come across?

There are external factors that may either help or harm your start-up business. Opportunities include your budding relationships with manufacturers, retailers and loyal customers or finding a talented PR rep who loves your management skills or product range. If you’re a new and emerging brand it’s possible that certain bloggers would dig your aesthetic and vibe!

Your competitors might turn out to be your biggest threats – find out who they are, where their items are stocked, what they’re selling, who their customers are. Further, legislation such as an increase of tax, high import taxes, etc. and industry problems like lack of skilled labor can lead to your downfall.

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6. How much money do you plan to invest in your label initially?

What is your start-up capital? Do you have an investor? How would you be funding your label? It always costs a whole lot more than you imagine it to be in the beginning. Try to gather as much funding as you can at the start and budget your costs accordingly.

7. How do you plan to sell your products?

Sales! That’s one of the most important factors in an emerging venture. Do you plan on having a retail store, a studio, an online store or will you be selling your garments wholesale to stores? What are the portals or channels you will start with and what do you hope to add down the line?

Do you have a fair idea, of how long will it take before you break-even and your sales and investment are at par? How much do you need for your own salary and what is the kind of profit you’re expecting from each collection? 

8. Have you figured out a marketing strategy?

Plan out a marketing strategy or consult with someone to advise you. What kind of marketing avenues are you going to try? Consider taking up an online marketing course and learning marketing essentials that are required in the industry, as this is one of the most important steps in forming a label. Without an excellent marketing strategy, you won’t be able to sell your products to your target market.

These simple and clear steps should help you in creating the business model of your dreams! Note everything down and then work out a way to resolve any issues you could face before the formation of your start-up. Remember, passion is everything!

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