How to Start a Fashion Label Part 3: Distribution and Marketing

How to Start a Fashion Label Part 3: Distribution and Marketing - Style Nine to Five

So, you’ve planned your fashion label, got investors and workers, and created the collection. Now, all your clothing is sitting in storage – how do you get it in the hands of consumers?

That depends on how you want to distribute your clothing. Would you rather sell it in person, online only or both? No matter what you choose, a lot of advertising is going to go into it. Here’s the how-to on all of this.

1. Get Online

The Internet is the best and easiest way to get your label off the ground. For starters, by setting up an e-commerce site, you’ll be able to get your product to the biggest audience possible. This is another thing that you’ll need to factor costs into (maintaining the website, a web designer if needed, shipping costs, social media advertisements, etc.), but it’s important – the bigger an online presence you have, the more people will see your products, the more people will buy and invest. Huge fashion labels have taken off this way and wound up worn by celebrities and sold by bigger companies, like OMIGHTY which began by selling through Instagram.

A lot of up-and-coming designers and stylists will also get their start by putting their work on sites like Depop and Etsy. While it doesn’t look as official as having a website for your store, it’s a start. Plus, once that website is set up, these accounts will drive more traffic to it and potentially have you starting strong with an established following of happy customers. When you’re posting on here, keep SEO in mind, tag similar more established brands, and always attach the social media promoting your label as well, so that people can click through and follow for when you expand. You can even sell products via social media channels like Instagram direct messages.

2. Brick and Mortar

While the internet is the easiest way to go, many aspiring entrepreneurs have the goal of seeing their label have a section in a chain store, or to have a boutique that’s exclusively their designs. Even in early stages, this is achievable!

You need to make sure your brand is completely retail-ready – standout logo, unique image, distinct branding. You need to fill a niche that isn’t commonly already seen in shopping centers. Pricing is also extremely important – the retailers you reach out to are going to want to know they can profit from a partnership with you, so research may come back into the picture here when you figure out just how much each potential retailer may want from you. When you finally do reach out to retailers, you need to make sure you’re straightforward about all you want and that you have figured out ways to make this potential partnership beneficial for you both.

If you want a store all to yourself, you’ll have to start looking out spaces to rent locally to sell your clothes in. Factor in the location and how many people will be visiting that area on a daily basis and be able to find your store by simply walking by it. You also want to make sure it’s accessible so that people can come out of their way to see your store and still have an easy time doing it. This is quite costly because you’ll be paying monthly rent to keep your store up-and-running all while requiring extra costs you wouldn’t have online only – custom bags, window advertising, sales associates and managers. Unless you have a lot of money backing your project, this may be a few steps down the line – just do your research and make sure you’re ready for everything an in-person retailer will entail.

In the meantime, you can also get your brand out there in-person by selling at handmade markets and artisan craft shows. Look for some in your area, or travel if you need to – plenty of people travel just to seek out new, ground-up fashion labels, so this is a great time to get more consumers interested while experiencing what it’s like to sell in person.

3. Advertising it All

Regardless of how you choose to sell your products, social media is going to be your best friend. You need to get your brand up and running on every platform you can possibly think of, even hiring a social media expert if need be. Most importantly, utilize the most visual platforms: there should be Instagram posts where you show off your newest collections and TikToks where you style your clothes according to popular fashiontok trends. You can get creative with how you use other platforms to expand your reach, too – though Twitter is based on writing, it does have an extensive fashion community, and you can make a YouTube channel to show the behind-the-scenes of how you run your brand as an up-and-coming creator. Remember to interact with anyone who comments or tags your brand, or even better, posts pictures or videos of themselves wearing it.

Beyond this, buying advertisements on social media can offer a great boost to your company. As someone who has worked on social media marketing, advertising campaigns often require a lot of research and experimenting to see what works for your audience. This will take a chunk of your time and money, but as long as you have the money, it may be worth it when you’re getting started.

You can also reach out to press and influencers to get your company’s name out there. Contact smaller-scale influencers and ask if they’ll model and promote your clothing (if you don’t feel comfortable directly asking, it’s an option to ask to send them some stuff for free – if they like it, they may promote it on their own!) and speak to fashion journalists to bring more eyes to your company. Even local publications with arts and culture sections would probably love to publish a story about a new brand based in their area.

So, there you have it – you’ve made it from the idea stage to the distribution stage – next up, success! You can do it!

Need a professional’s opinion on your label decisions? Ask Style Nine to Five founder, Christie Lohr, One Career Question!

Emily Morrison is a media professional with passions for writing, film and popular culture.

Feature Image: Adobe Stock