We work with dozens of startup sportswear brands at any one time and most of these clients have never ran a business or launched a brand before, but what they all have is a great idea or found a niche in the activewear market for a new product or brand offering.
We work closely with our startup clients, guiding them through the critical tasks required to launch their business and brand successfully.
Below are our top 5 key points you need to complete before you can launch your startup activewear brand.
1. BUSINESS PLAN
We suggest you create a detailed business plan, even if you don’t need outside investment. By completing this plan, it cements your concept and acts as a checkpoint against some of the key aspects to running a business.
This business plan should include a detailed cashflow for the next 2 years minimum, identify your brands USP, understanding of the target market, target customer and brand placement within this market.
Having a clear idea of the market size and therefore your sales potential is also important so you know how realistic it is to hit the turnover you project in the cashflow.
We also suggest you include some brand goals and where you see the brand going over the next 5 years and then to read the plan every 6 months or so to make sure the brand journey is still following the original plan.
2. DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT & PRODUCTION
Building performance sportswear is a similar process to building your own bespoke house. You wouldn’t attempt to draw your new house on a scrap of paper and then try to find a builder and ask him to build it.
Instead, you would enlist a qualified architect that could design your house to your requirements while taking into consideration building regulations, cost and who and how this would be built. The same approach should be taken when you create your sportswear brand as its paramount you deliver the very best kit you can, otherwise your brand could never gain any traction.
We always recommend you find a sportswear designer that can see the whole process through, from concept, design, costing, sourcing, sampling and production.
Try to avoid using a designer that just offers design and tech packs, otherwise you will end up with just a pretty picture. When you engage your designer, they should have a clear understanding of costs and which factory will be producing the goods. If they don’t know who is going to produce it and the associated costs, how can they design the product, not knowing what capabilities the factory has and costs associated with these.
We pick up lots of clients that have already enlisted the assistance of freelance sportswear designers and found that the designs and tech packs need so much adjustment to fit the original brand brief, that its often easier and more cost effective to start again.
Every week we receive CAD’s and Tech Packs from clients that want to work with us that have the same missing data, critical to communicate with the factory on how to make their product. Typical data that is missing -:
· No graded size chart
· No stitch detail
· Trims missing
· No specified fabrics, components or trims
· No BOM
· No 1:1 scale diagrams of trims with key measurements
That’s a bit like going to a builder with a sketch of a house, with no measurements, no detailed drawings of how to construct it and from what materials.
Once you have ordered your bulk production, you will need to get the word out there so that you start to obtain orders.
Having a clear strategy is paramount so that you focus your budget on advertising to your core target demographic.
Identified in the business plan, you will already understand who your target consumer is and which channels of communication they are open to seeing and interacting with adverts. This is where you should focus your ad spend and its important you optimise your advertising so you can make sure you don’t just burn cash with Google and Facebook with adverts that don’t resonate with your consumer.
4. TOUCH POINTS
Think about every touch point your consumer sees or hears. This includes product, website, social media, influencers, ambassadors, customer services, packaging, advertising and even the guy that delivers the products.
These all need to be on point as they all represent your brand. For instance, if you want to launch a luxury range of high performance activewear, then think about using a courier company like DPD, UPS or DHL. Try to stay away from the cheaper or slower courier services as the way the delivery experience represents your brand.
Again, make a list of all of these touch points and then make a plan to guarantee that they all represent your brand values.
The last point is something that is often not considered but we think imperative.
Advertising and finding new customers is expensive and affects margin. The more you can sell to an existing customer, the more margin you make from each sale as you haven’t needed to advertise for each repeat order they make.
Keeping customers is called “brand loyalty” and this is gained by over delivering.
They found your brand and bought into your story, product, values and ethics and ordered their first product. If this journey was as stress free and professional as possible and the goods arrive with all the touch points really considered, then you have delivered what they expect.
If, however you elevate this experience, then you “over deliver” and they fall in love with your brand. When they fall in love, they come back for more and tell their friends and family, which is free advertising.
How you over deliver is up to you, but we always start with the product. This is why they ordered from you in the first place, so making sure the product is better than the competition is a good place to start.
At Blue Associates Sportswear, we help guide our start up clients through the whole process of launching a brand and we always suggest they use our StartUp Pack that provides a guide to all of the critical tasks you need to complete before you launch your business.