First Steps Into Launching Your Brand

So you have an idea for a collection and want to turn your idea into products that people want to buy however you are probably asking yourself where should I start?

The first step is to have a timetable so you know the critical points in the process and be aware of what should be done at specific stages. The table below is an example showing all the critical points from the beginning to the end and serves as a reference for a lifestyle brand development and delivery schedule sourcing from Far East.

Start early! The fabric, tech pack, and proto samples comment are most important things during the development stage!  If these are late this will put yourself and your vendor under immense pressure to deliver the collection you envision to be on time and accurate! It’s worth noting that if you are doing an activewear brand then your protos commenting period and fabric sourcing time will be much longer because you want to test out your idea on the ski slope or in a gym. The testing as well as washing test are very important especially for the activewear brands because you are selling function! Starting out early also gives you the luxury to do one more round of prototyping if it's needed before going into selling samples because their maybe major changes on the style.

Once you have got your selling samples then is time to go show your collection to your customers! In the table inserted into this article you can see it that the editor has put down one and half months for selling, which is sufficient if you are showing in two or three shows like Jacket Required or CIFF and wholesaling in a few countries in Europe.  Is not easy to hunt down all the buyers especially the big ones but one thing that you have to remember is that a deadline is a deadline, giving buyers deadlines for closing your orders will not only nudge them in making decisions but also ensure you are not behind in giving the final orders to your suppliers in getting ready for the production.

You want to give your suppliers the selling samples comments before sending the final orders. By doing this early, you give your suppliers a fair amount of time to follow the comments on the selling samples and make the pre-production or size set samples accordingly. This also give you enough time to approve the pre-production or size sets samples before the production starts, so suppliers can start cutting the fabrics as soon as all the bulk fabrics are confirmed.

The production lead time is the time between you placed the order and the time the goods ship out. In the table I have put down from March 10th to July 5th, about 115 days which is more than enough time. The length of the lead time depends on the type of fabric you are using as some fabrics have longer lead time than others. So you want to know the production lead time for both fabrics and cut-and-sewn in order for all your styles during the development stage so that you won't have surprises later! Remember to include buffers here because suppliers can have delays.

You need to know the transportation time for your production because in many cases you are not just sourcing from the UK. Transportation time especially if you are sourcing from Turkey or the Far East cause is going to be by truck, air, or vessel. So this can take any where from 5 days to 35 days depends on where and the ship mode. Also remember to add dates for custom clearance, handling and shipping to your customers warehouse when arriving to U.K. which can 5 to 14 days depends on the time of the year.

Now is time to set a timetable to turn your dream and passion into action!

  • Buffer: buffer is the extra dates you put down in case of unexpected delays)
  • Tech pack: Tech pack is the setup or style card, style sheet, different company call it different things
  • Proto Samples? Proto sample is the prototype, the first sample based on the design and usually in the correct fabric you want
  • CIFF: CIFF is Copenhagen International Fashion Fair, biggest fashion fair in Scandinavia

Written by Vincent Djen