No doubt any professional screen print, embroidery, or other apparel decorating company in the US has it’s fair share of customers looking to start their own brand. While there is no exact recipe for success, we’ve compiled a list of characteristics that are common amongst successful brand startups. Of course there’s gonna be those few people that say they have none of these and are still successful, however, those are the exceptions.
List A (The Criticals)
These are the essentials for brand startups. You don’t have to have all of them, really just having one locked down really well might be enough to get you started, but definitely the more the merrier.
- Budget – Having capital set aside to grow you brand is essential. Everyone has to start somewhere. Like the old saying goes…”it takes money to make money”. There are lots of ways to start with a smaller budget and build up from there.
- Clout – Social Media Following – Already having an audience helps A LOT when you announce your brand and start launching products. The more loyal and stronger following the better.
- Graphic Design Abilities – Graphic design plays a huge part in branding. You’ll need logos created and print ready artwork created for each of your products. In some cases, this might involve having multiple logos created for one item. If you don’t have the ability to create your own designs, expect to spend some money on graphic design services as good quality artwork can sometimes run hundreds of dollars. Websites like Fiverr.com are great places to find freelance designers and artist who can be commissioned for these types of projects.
- Artistic Ability – Different than graphic design abilities in that maybe you have the ability to draw out a design, but lack the skill to get it into a digital format. A graphic designer or digitizer can help in these cases.
- Ability To Print For Your Own Brand – It’s not for everyone, however, if you have the ability or are willing to learn, printing for your own brand cuts back a lot of cost and allows you more creative control over your finished products.
List B (The “Doesn’t Hurt To Haves”)
As random as these are (and in no particular order), they are qualities that are worth a mention. Anyone can easily argue that some of these are more vital than List A.
- Motivation & Determination – These are what drive you and will help you push through obstacles along the way.
- Knowledge Of The Apparel Decorating Industry – It definitely doesn’t hurt to know a thing or two about the many methods of apparel manufacturing & decoration. There is a wealth of knowledge on Youtube, just try not to get caught up on opinions.
- Planning – A calendar & a good head on your shoulders can go a long way. Getting your first logo doesn’t mean it’s time to go out and drop this thing. What happens if you sell out or blow up? What next? Do you have artwork to back it up with a follow up design? What happens if your campaign isn’t a success? Do you have a plan B? Planning is huge to the overall success of a brand.
- Fulfillment – Have you got a process for fulfilling orders? Have you thought through what happens when a customer places an order?
- Experience – This could be general entrepreneurial experience or actual experience in starting up a brand. There is no knowledge that is learned that is greater than experience itself.
We hope this helps a bit, and hopefully doesn’t deter anyone from launching their dream brand startup. This is only for information purposes to better equip you and prepare you for a successful brand launch. If you read through this and don’t feel like you’re ready, don’t be bummed. Almost everything on these lists can be learned. Social media & bank accounts can both be built up while you’re preparing to start up your brand. Take your time and plan things out. Lastly, you’re not alone in this. Most areas have a print shop within a few miles, stop by your local print shop and just ask some questions. You’re likely to find some friendly folks who are happy to help and share some knowledge. At Cedar City House Of Print, we’re always here to help if you need us!