STEP 1 - FIND YOUR BRAND NAME & DOMAIN
This is the fun part. Try to think long term, will the name you choose today hold up over the years. There are many roads you can take with branding. For example, you could choose to name your brand after yourself, this helps in creating a more personal relationship between you and the customer and establishes yourself as the face of the company. This works well for people who have already build some relationships and have a network of people that would start buying into the product after launching.
You could also find a name that has some relation to you with a fun backstory to tell your customers to help with memorability. Either way, whatever you pick, make sure that is it easy to remember and works with your brand’s direction.
Once you find it make sure there is an open domain for it as you will need to have your brand name trademarked and searchable on the web :)
STEP 2 - START DEVELOPING YOUR PRODUCT
Put together a capsule of items that you want to launch. Start big and edit down to the best of the best. Each piece should be special. This is a costly business you are in and you want to ensure that each style has been thought through. You really only need a few great pieces to be successful.
Be practical: Many designers don’t think about the production process while designing, small details can drive the cost up and aren’t necessarily essential. Think of everything before you proceed and understand what your budget per piece is based on the price point you are targeting.
Source your fabric: There are many fabric options out there so be sure to find the fabric that will be right for your styles, try to stick with one or two at first. minimums can be high and you want to recycle it's used as much as you can when starting off. Diversify with colors and prints and trims to give dimension to your line.
Start with patterns and samples: You will need to find a qualified partner to help you through this process. Look for someone that believes in your idea and understands your vision. Someone with experience in your niche. A first draft pattern and sample will be made based on your designs, be prepared for this to need tweaks, You will need to do a proper fitting. Ideally, you should fit the item on a few different body types as not everyone will have the same proportions, this also helps with getting different feedback. Tweak pattern and repeat until perfect.
Surround Yourself: This is crucial in the development stages, you want to show your samples to as many people as you can. Ask for their opinion, concerns or complaints as a designer you need to be open to constructive criticism to get better. Don’t let the feedback drive you away from your vision, Not everyone will get it but it’s important to consider advice. Use it but don’t lose it!
STEP 3: YOUR PHOTOSHOOT
Oh so fun… This is where your designs finally come to life but don’t lose focus images are the number one deciding factor for any purchase so you must be strategic. Whether you go for a lifestyle shoot or on-set product images they must convey your brand’s messaging. This typically relies on the choice of your model and styling of your product. Try to find a model that will speak best to your target.
You will need high-resolution pictures to show your product from different angles and ensure all details are well displayed.
If you decide to use lifestyle imagery don’t get lost in wide shots of pretty backgrounds, you will lose the focus which is the product. If on the other hand, you proceed with studio style imagery you will need to be creative in your angles, props and styling to make the images fun and engaging.
STEP 4: PRODUCTION
The time has come for you to get serious… Now that you have all your samples made and ready to go you will need to enter the production process!
Grading: Your pattern is production ready and needs to be graded in size based on your desired measurements.
Cut & Sew: If possible, I recommend sticking with the same manufacturer that made your samples simply because they’ve already have gained knowledge on your styles. This will ensure consistency in quality from sample to production.
T.O.P : (Top of Production) a qualified manufacturer will not run an entire production without first handing you a T.O.P this is a sample made from your production cut - Check it thoroughly before proceeding and make any last minute adjustment if necessary. Once approved the production can begin!
Finishing: Based on your needs you can request to have the items Checked for quality control, trimmed, pressed and packaged. This is typically the case for items that are cut from a dyed & finished material. In the event that you are cutting from PFD (prepared for dye) material, you may just want to receive the items as is and have your finishing done post-garment-dye.