How to launch a profitable fashion brand online with minimal investment.
If you have the right product and offer a service that meets market demands, it is possible to launch a fashion brand online with minimal investment. In this post, I will outline 5 constructive ways to launch your fashion brand online with a minimum outlay.
Your product will sell itself, if you follow the data and demand.
One of the most important lessons I wish to share with you is why it is imperative to do your research before finalising your product and offer.
Thorough research of the market will show if your product is unique. Above all, find your niche in the market place; the product no one else is selling.
Secondly, who is your consumer? You need to know exactly who your target audience is. As a result, every method you use to engage them must deliver a message that connects to their mindset.
Through conducting in-depth research and analysing data, you will confirm that there is a demand for your product. Most importantly, the next essential step is to act on that knowledge. You need to determine:
- How long will that trend last?
- Is the demand for your product now?
- Do you need to work to build your brand and start engaging your audience?
- Can you drum up pre-sale orders? (more on pre-order below)
Deciding on your product and service offer does not mean you stop analysing data and demand. Certainly never become complacent. If you want to run a profitable fashion brand, always ensure there is a demand for your product and continue to act quickly to deliver this to your target audience.
If you get this right from the start of launching your fashion brand online, consequently your product will sell itself. Therefore, you won’t have to invest a massive amount in marketing to sell through your inventory. Also, this should mean that you won’t have to mark your stock down by a large % at the end of the season. As a result, you will be running a lean, profitable fashion brand online.
Start making money before your fashion brand has launched online by listing items on your platform for pre-sale. This is a method used by many fashion brands and will help fund your factory orders and shipping costs.
For instance, creating a waiting list or posting an item for sale that is ‘out of stock’ with a ‘next dispatch date’ is a great sales method to help your brand’s cash flow and help your initial launch online onto your own DTC website.
This term is called demand and supply.
This method can be used on all of your DTC channels. For example on Instagram, you could build a strong campaign targeted at engaging active sneaker buyers that are interested in sustainability. As a result, if your campaign imagery and messaging relates to their interests, they will engage with your brand. Furthermore, once you have their attention, all you need to do is tell them that that product will launch soon, and secure their email for your database. As soon as the product is made notify them, take their payment and dispatch.
"Start making money before your product has launched by listing items on your platform for pre-sale. This is a method used by many brands and will help fund your factory orders and shipping costs."
As the brand owner, you are in control of building all of your DTC channels. Above all before launching your fashion brand online, the MVP would be your own transactional website and Instagram account.
A tried and tested way by many fashion brands has been to build their own website. I can highly recommend Squarespace or Shopify, as good fashion transactional host platforms. For instance, there are free guides or paid courses available to teach you how to launch a fashion brand online.
The cost difference is huge vs paying a digital agency to do it for you. The difference would be around $2.5K DIY compared to $8.5K through an agency.
Branded shoppable Instagram account.
It is a fact that YouTube, followed by Facebook are the most used social channels right now. However, I would argue that Instagram is the key channel used by fashion brands for the fashion enthusiast. Certainly, I would recommend all fashion brands, who are looking to launch a fashion brand online, to invest time establishing Instagram as your key social channel.
Instagram offers numerous methods for you to engage and transact with customers:
- Insta stories.
- Instagram live and IGTV.
- Instagram shop.
- Not forgetting your newsfeed.
Where to find cost effective support.
When starting out you may need help but the cost could prohibit employing a senior member of staff. Therefore I would encourage you to consider offering Internships to marketing or fashion students about to graduate. In return for their services, you are offering them first-hand experience in launching a fashion brand online, along with unlimited coffee! (unless you can pay them too!)
If you wish to be the creative force behind your fashion brand you may need to consider how you can be time efficient and delegate some of the administrative tasks. One option I have used at Carley Johnson Fashion Connections is hiring a Virtual Assistant (V.A.) and my experience would lead me to recommend utilising the workforce in the Philippines. For instance, their excellent communication skills and access to co-working spaces mean they can be a highly efficient and cost-effective asset to your brand. However, one potential drawback is that internet connections can be slow. In short, hiring a VA will free your time up to focus on all tasks you need to be focused on to launch as quickly as possible. The sooner you launch a fashion brand online the sooner you will gain your first $ of revenue.
Linkedin is an incredible platform for networking, raising your business profile and is a great place to find help and advice. Moreover, Linkedin is also used by many graduate and industry employees looking for their next move. Don’t hire a recruiter – use Linkedin. You can choose to use Linkedin for free or choose to invest in a premium account for a limited time. The cost is around $99 per/month.
Learn to manage your cash flow from day 1.
It is so important to maintain a P&L for your brand through which to regularly track your cash flow. Above all this allows you to not only view all costs going in, but more importantly, all costs going out.
In addition, I would encourage brands to work with a simple easy to read view, focusing on the changing cash balance of your brand.
An important lesson I can share with you is you must be ruthless and question every cost. Ask yourself:
- Will that cost add value to my brand?
- Did I push back on the first cost and try and improve it?
- Can I do it myself or ask one of my contacts for a favour?
“Financial success in the start comes down to understanding what is a required expense and what is a frivolous spend.”
Above all, you need to learn quickly that you are a start-up business that needs to succeed. You shouldn’t be focusing on being an amazingly polished brand on the outside; your focus should be on your core business. To sum up concentrate on what will make you a successful brand long-term – that is customer service and product.
My final piece of advice for those looking to launch a fashion brand online would be to reiterate the importance of investing in customer service and product. The rest you can learn to do yourself or utilise the network of people around you.
If you have read this blog post I assume you must be looking to launch a fashion brand online? As a result, I have some exciting news. In June we will be re-launching our hero course on How to Launch a Fashion Brand Online. Registration is currently open, submit your details here to receive early bird offers: REGISTER NOW!
I would really love to hear from you and together we can start working to launch your brand.