Competition - How Do You Hang With Them?

 If you’re wondering how to start a clothing brand, you’re in the right place. In this article, we explore what startup brands need to know to survive in this hyper-competitive fashion landscape.

There is always someone else who is trying to do something similar to you. As a brand that’s starting out, it is crucial that you clearly define what’s your brand story and philosophy are and how it translates into your product. You also need to be very clear about whom you are selling to and how you should market and sell to them. These will help you to position your brand uniquely in the market.


Know Your Market

Who are your products made for? How old are they? What is their lifestyle? How will it make a difference to them? You need to do thorough market research to find out the best way to sell to them and how to sell differently from competing brands.

After you’ve identified the above, study how your competitors are doing it. Look at their price points, mission statements, social media profiles, offline and digital marketing methods, retail and online shopping experiences and then figure out how your brand can do it different. 


Identify Your Brand

What is the story behind your brand? Are there any values that your brand strongly upholds? What is your brand’s USP? A brand story that resonates well with the market can leave a lasting impression and set you apart from your competitors.

It is also very useful to have logos and/or a brand signature (colours, graphics, taglines etc.) for people to use as visual identifiers for your brand. This makes it easier for them to associate your brand with something different from what your competitors are offering. 


Smart Marketing

Marketing is one of the most powerful tools a business can have. A big gun built from a multitude of parts – social media, online (website, video content, blogs etc.) and offline (retail store, advertising, trade shows etc.) efforts make up one of the more crucial weapons to success. This is where you can get creative and really distinguish your brand from competitors.

If you’ve got a product that’s alike to other brands, there is a ceiling to how much you can try to distinguish the DNA of your product from theirs. However, the perimeters of marketing a product are long and wide. For instance, Brand A and Brand B can sell basketball sneakers, but Brand A markets their product using celebrity endorsements, and Brand B markets theirs by doing exclusive pop-up shops with streetball players and street artists. They will both attract very different people.

Be smart about it – tailor your marketing efforts to the needs, interests and lifestyles of your customers (going back to the first point of ‘Knowing Your Market’). This will open up the opportunity for you to relay a different message to your market and stand out from your competitors. Marketing makes one of the biggest impressions of your brand on your market, so you should definitely spend time to invest in the right strategies.


The Ideal Customer Experience

Ultimately, your brand hinges on the experience you offer your customers. You’ll need to set this up well ahead of the launch of your clothing brand. This means figuring out the entire infrastructure – shipping, support, quality control, service, merchandise and store display, promotions and customer benefits and even down to product packaging.

Remember to align the customer experience to the nature of your shop too – are you a brick-and-mortar or an e-commerce store? This is important. Your competitors might lack in certain aspects here, and if you can identify what those things are, it can give you a real edge over them.

Creating a ideal brand experience is a multi-sensory approach where you can capitalise on how to delight the 5 basic human senses of touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste of your customer. Once you have mastered this, you are set up to create a unique experience that will be hard to replicate. 

Figuring out how to start a clothing brand on your own can be difficult, but with the right tools, you can make informed decisions, which is a great way forward. Competition is tough, but if you have it, it only means that the market exists for your product, you just have to know how to engage them effectively. In our next article, we talk about marketing and how to sell clothing.

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