You are thinking of launching your own sports bag and accessories brand but not sure where to start. This blog highlights the seven key areas you will need to run through before you can launch successfully.
What’s your niche?
Coming up with another ME TOO bag brand or product just isn’t going to cut it. The brand you want to copy is already established and has some success otherwise you wouldn’t want to duplicate their products. The issue you will face is “why buy your bags or accessories instead of a well-known and established brand?”
If all you want to do is knock off another brand and don't have a unique business idea, then we suggest you try something else, unless you have a very clear positioning in terms of how you deliver the goods or service to your customers.
New brands need to understand what their niche is within their target market, so they have a clear story to tell with a precise difference or advantage over the competition. You need a reason to be. A “WHY”. This “WHY" should be obvious to the customer and therefore forms a major part of their desire to purchase your product. Without a clear “WHY”, you rely on customers buying your bags and accessories based on price alone, which is going to hurt your margin and therefore growth.
As part of defining your niche, you need to understand your target consumer, how large the potential market is, the key price point for the product and how you will communicate this to your customers. To understand all of these, you will need to do some initial market-research to ensure that you understand your consumer, target market and main competitor in detail.
Creating a detailed business plan is essential before you start the process of developing your brand. Even if you don’t require investment, by creating a business plan you have the ability to cement your thoughts and fully understand your brand objectives and opportunities.
This plan should provide you with a clear idea of the business, competitors, its trajectory, targets and core consumer. We recommend to all of our start-ups to create a detailed business plan and then review this every 6 - 12 months to make sure the business and brand is still on track.
Your business plan should cover the following as a minimum. You should look to add any additional information you think is important but make sure you don’t add for adding sake. This document doesn’t need to be 100 pages long and instead should focus on the key points listed below.
OBSTACLES TO MARKET
Check out our Start-Up pack that provides a guide to the above as well as an easy to complete spreadsheet Cashflow and COG’s.
3. Build your brand
If you haven’t already done so, you will need to trademark your brand name and logo.
You should perhaps search that no other brands use a similar name or logo by doing a free trademark and google search. Several websites offer this service for free and you should search under class 25 that looks after apparel and accessories.
Check out social platforms and see who is using a similar or identical business name and see if this could present an issue. Don’t get put off by a brand name if someone has used your brand name already on social media.
Some brands invest in a branding guide book right from the start of their business. A brand book is a reference point to check the values, tone, visuals, language and is there to share with anyone that helps develop the brand.
It is also a useful tool to check on a regular basis and make sure these rules and guidelines are followed across all aspects of the brand as it's very easy to steer off-brand when you start to recruit staff or additional help.
4. Design your bags and accessories
In the same way, an architect would design your new house and then project manage the build, you also need to do this with your bags and accessories.
Before you talk to any factory or supplier, you will need accurate CAD designs and a very detailed tech pack. This tech pack must include a BOM, size, trim, pantones, sourced fabrics, components and trims, stitch method and construction. Without this, most factories won’t want to work with you and ignore your emails until you eventually get bored chasing them and disappear.
5. Manufacture your bags and accessories
Once your designs are complete, you’ll need to find a suitable manufacturer – essentially, someone who will produce and ship your bags to you. To help, here’s four things we think you should consider when selecting a bag manufacturer:
Is there a minimum order quantity (MOQ)? Estimate the number of bags you’ll need for your initial order and seek a manufacturer that can produce that quantity.
What brands do they make for and get evidence this is true? There are a lot of factories out there that claim to make for leading brands and even have samples and photos, but these can be easily acquired or dragged off the internet.
What are my options for custom materials and design features? Ask if they can accommodate the material, shape and size of your bag, including special features like pockets, buckles, trims or zippers. If they can’t, then look for a new factory and revert to your USP.
Who will manage the process of the production? You will need to run though test samples, construction prototypes and sealing samples and it’s important you have someone with the knowledge to manage this process to make sure what you receive in bulk lives up to your expectations.
6. Take your bags and accessories to Market
How and where will you sell your bags and accessories? Most brands now sell direct and this has become the trend globally since the pandemic so we suggest you start with your own online presence.
Work out what your website needs. Start by creating a website structure to follow the customer's journey and this should determine how many pages the website will require. Our top tip is to work this out with post-it notes or scrap bits of paper that show the user journey, this way nothing is written down permanently so you can change and adapt it as new ideas come to the table.
Make sure you have great photos to showcase your products. If possible, shoot these in a studio to highlight the features but also shoot on location lifestyle shots to show how the products are used and how great they would look in a real-life setting.
Remember, you will need to have a marketing budget and focus this spend on where you think your customers are most likely to browse during their downtime. Ensure that you have a good marketing strategy and marketing plan to grow your online presence and potential customers through your online marketing tactics.
7. Grow your brand
LOVE. It’s that simple. You need to build the LOVE and the orders will follow. Sounds easy eh, and in principle it is, however you need to make sure the LOVE is there across every aspect of the brand otherwise customer can fall out of LOVE or find a new LOVE instantly.
To get a customer to fall in love with your brand, you need to do everything perfectly, from the product, website, advertising, tone, brand message, USP and service. Get this right and you have a customer for life.
Every brand, whether a start-up or well recognised brand, makes its mistakes so it is just as important, if not more important to recognise the mistakes that you have made during your online marketing to improve your future campaigns and continue to build your online market.
Once you have some traction and work out what is working and what isn’t, ditch what isn’t working or improve it until all you do is positive.
Hopefully, this post has inspired you to start your own bag and accessories brand. We’ve helped many start up brands launch their business and become successful and offer a Suite of services that every start-up will need, from branding, product design, sourcing, production, websites and marketing.
If you are interested in launching your own bag and accessories brand, please get in touch for your free, no-obligation quote.