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Starting up a Sportswear brand - 5 simple mistakes to avoid.

We get enquiries every day from entrepreneurs who want to start-up a sportswear brand and have already started the process. Below are some of the most common mistakes made by start-ups that cost money and time. If you are looking to launch your own sportswear brand, we suggest you read the following.


1. Brand Name.

Most entrepreneurs think of a niche or gap in the market or have thought of a solution. They then need to work out how to get the product to market and realise that they will need to create a brand around the product, so consumers feel confident the product is designed, engineered and produced to perform and is of the expected quality. Some entrepreneurs find us after they have already launched and find they have issues with the production and then realise the brand name they have chosen is also an issue.

To safeguard your brand, you need to trademark and register your brand. Trade marking in key territories gives you the authority to take legal action against anyone who tried to copy your brand. Without a trademark you have very little protection or recourse.

It is therefore important that you choose a brand name that relates to your brand and product, but is also not already used, especially within apparel. It’s not sufficient to google the word and see if anyone has the domain or social platforms, you should also check the trademark and see which other businesses may be using a similar name.

It is imperative this is addressed first as the last thing you want to do is have the redesign brandings and trims because you find you can’t use the name and even worse is to launch you brand, get some traction and then receive a legal notification that you are infringing on another brands name or logo.

The process to trademark a logo usually takes minimum of 3 months but can take over 12 months in certain territories.


2. USP.

Having a USP is key to making a difference. Copying established brands isn’t going to work. Ask yourself, why will people buy my product over established brands. If you can’t answer this then go back to the drawing board.

We get lots of enquiries from people that want to be the next Nike but want to undercut them as they think Nike is expensive, but also improve quality and performance. How is this possible?


3. QUANTITY.

Lots of entrepreneurs want to launch their sportswear brand based on their budget or limiting their risk. We fully understand this and support lots of our start-ups with solutions to overcome these issues, however trying to launch a brand with a requirement to only product 50 pieces just isn’t going to work.

Chances are you want to use a factory that specialises in performance sportswear and has a great reputation. Ideally you would like them to be producing with established brands within the sector you want to launch in. These factories are almost impossible to find via search engines as many of them don’t need to advertise. They already have a great database of customers that place orders every season and they are not desperate for new business, especially working with start-ups who want to produce tiny volumes.

We work with many of these top tier factories and place many of our start-ups production with them as we have a reputation of working with brands that have potential. We also place many brands at a time with them so overall our business is important to them.


4. ALIBABA

There are several websites that allow you to search for factories that produce products like the ones you want to launch. Many of these factories promote the fact that they make for some of the big established brands and show photos of the styles they claim to have made. If you find a factory like this, you are probably jumping up and down with excitement and patting yourself on the back as you have found your nearest competitors’ factory. We suggest you put the kettle on ask yourself the following-:

1. Do you think a big established brand would allow a factory to advertise they make products for them?

2. Do you think a factory that produces for top end brands and wants to maintain their custom would advertise to the world they can produce similar or identical products to one of their biggest customers?

3. If they are making for established brands that place large orders, why would they accept your small order of say 100pcs? Would they risk losing a big client for an order of 100pcs?

The more you use these sites the more factories you will find that all seem to produce the same products for the same brands and offer the same tiny volumes. If you decide to use these factories, then we wish you good luck and note that we pick up clients that unfortunately have gone this route and ended up with product that isn’t fit for purpose and they cannot sell.


5. DESIGN AND TECH PACK

Quite often we get approached by entrepreneurs who have already created designs and tech packs using other consultants or freelancers. We always need to check these over to make sure they are actually fit for purpose and the factory can use them.

Quite often these are not workable, and we need to address some of the issues to create something the factory can use or address the design so that the product the brand requires will actually perform.

We always recommend you source a designer that can manage the whole process from design right through to finished products. They will need to have a reliable source for all of the fabrics, components and production that are all capable of producing to the tech pack created by the designer. Chances are that if a designer doesn’t have these sources and therefore cannot manage the production, the design will need correcting as they won’t understand what machinery, skill base and costs are associated with the design they are creating. You wouldn’t ask an architect to design you a house if they didn’t know how much it’s going to cost or who or how it’s going to be built.


Above are 5 of the most common mistakes we encounter from start-up brands. If you would like to avoid the above or just have a chat about your project and get our opinion on the best way to approach it, then please get in touch.