How To Plan Your Timeline When Launching Your Fashion Brand

Hello fashion designers, 

if you plan to launch your fashion label in the near future, you’ve probably felt overwhelmed with all the tasks that need to be done. Or maybe you’ve already started but you are going back and forth, focusing on everything (…and nothing at the same time…let’s be honest….)

Yes! Creating a fashion brand covers so many disciplines at the same time, it’s really really difficult to know what to do – when. 

Whether you graduated from a fashion school or you’re a total newbie and took the leap of faith to launch your dream brand, things can feel a little tough, hectic and messy. Especially if you don’t know whcih direction you are going. 

That’s why I wrote this little reminder to guide you through your brand creation. Keep those in mind and take them as an indicator of the milestones you need to reach. 

1. What’s your concept?

This might sound like a huge surprise for you if you are new to this industry but you don’t start with a finished product that you proudly send for reproduction to a production facility. 

I’ve seen so many designers do things in that order…please don’t!

The number one thing you need to figure out is your concept. By that I mean finding the answer to the following questions:

When you answer those questions, dig deep into your passion. If you come up with very boring answers like “I was shopping at the mall and I found out there is nothing wearable for people my size”…I am begging you! STOP!

Go deeper. We want to know that this label is your reason to live and we want to know why. 

So for this first step, the best concepts come from people who connect their deepest desires to the style they are launching. 

Review your beliefs. Start with the things that motivate you and help you live and wake up in the morning. 

The best presentations I had started with people sharing their experience of the world “I believe in a world where….”. This enables to smartly evolve to your conclusion “This is why  I create the fashion label XYZ…”

This should ideally be done 6 to even 9 months in advance. 

Click the button hereafter to get the short guide with all the deadlines. 

2. Strategize

Strategizing is nothing more than making decisions about the direction you’re going to take for your fashion brand. 

7 to 8 months before starting the brand, you’ll need to decide how you are going to sell your products. At which price, on which location using what kind of communication to promote the collection. 

Use market researches smartly and back the information obtained with the customer you target.

I’d also like to add something about fashion shows: a fashion brand’s objective is not to do a fashion show. If it doesn’t bring you the kind of press your target customer is reading or orders from buyers or at least professional looking pictures, don’t do a fashion show. Go for a tasteful event instead that’s in line with your brand concept. 

Click the button hereafter to get the short guide with all the deadlines. 

3. Who do you target?

The ones who succeed in fashion have a very accurate idea of their potential customers. You need a targeted approach. 

Don’t try to sell to everybody. It’s the best way to end up selling to nobody. 

Know your customer. This is part of your strategizing session 7 to 8 months before the brand creation. You should be able to picture them mentally and know exactly what they look like, where they live and hang out, how they like to spend their day etc. 

Click the button hereafter to get the short guide with all the deadlines. 

4. Design and prototype

As you may have guessed, this is a tricky step. Start it early enough (6 to 9 months before brand launch) so that you get options. 

Unless you already work in that industry and know suppliers, you need to get in touch with them. You also need to gain their trust. 

What if you don’t? They will be reluctant to work with you. They will keep a high Minimum order quantity and will be less willing to budge. 

Don’t neglect the previous steps. You may be just starting but manufacturers also assess the solidity of your project according to your professionalism. A designer who is serious about his business has a clear vision of his concept. A designer who is serious about his business knows which customers he targets. A designer who is serious about his business knows how he is going to distribute his products. 

So work on the previous steps before sourcing your fabric supplier and manufacturers. 

Once you are ready, you can start looking for the right suppliers. Go to trade fairs. Check fashion councils in your region. Look on online networks such as Linkedin as well. 

Pick potential partners and have a prototype made to assess the quality of their work.

Click the button hereafter to get the short guide with all the deadlines. 

5. Start social media

2 to 3 months before D-day, start growing your audience social media. Not 3 weeks, 2 to 3 months. Yep, you’ll need every single day to grow your audience. 

So many of you out there think that social media is like a magic potion that you activate once your product is ready. If that’s what you think, it’s time you get the memo: fashion is an overcrowded industry and unless you’re Rihanna opening Fenty backed by a giant luxury group, people are not lining up in front of your store to get your pieces. 

Therefore you need to plan and grow your audience timely. 

And it doesn’t matter if you don’t have your products finalized yet. You can post inspirations and still get the attention of your target customers. 

Click the button hereafter to get the short guide with all the deadlines. 

6. Evaluate the costs

Once you’ve decided exactly which direction you are going to take by when, you can price your strategy and do the costing of each action plan you’ll undertake. 

Then you’ll have a fashion business plan you can work with to know if you end up profitable. 

Ideally a first version of your business plan should be available 2 to 3 months before launching. 

Click the button hereafter to get the short guide with all the deadlines. 


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