Episode 28: The Case for starting your label with one product
Sustainable, supply chain, Collection, designing, sourcing
Welcome to the Fashion Unearthed podcast. If you need help navigating the fashion industry sustainably, you have come to the right place. I'm your host Belinda Humphrey and my hope is to simplify the fashion industry so that businesses can make the best decisions for people, planet and product.
Hello, and welcome to episode 28 of the Fashion Unearthed Podcast. Today, I want to talk about a topic that aligns a bit more with my values of challenging the status quo. But before I get into that, I want to mention I send out my monthly newsletter and if you're into inspiring articles and developments within the fashion and sustainability space, you can sign up to that at belindahumphrey.com.
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So today's topic, I want to talk about starting your brand with one product. Being in the industry for so long I feel like my brain has been trained to work in capsules and outfits. So even I fell into the pressure a little bit to create or launch with a small collection with my label. But I also had the experience to know how to do that and keep my workload manageable.
So today was based off of a conversation I had in a coaching session actually where the person wanted to launch with a full collection and my question back to this person was who said you have to launch with a 10, 15, 20 piece collection? I wanted to offer up the suggestion to start with one product or category. Now I know what it's like to be full of ideas that you want to realise. But there are some benefits to starting small and plenty of brands have started with just one item and expanded from there. Whether it's a homewares brand, starting with one bathmat design, a women's wear labels starting with one silk shirt, or a swimwear brand with just one swimsuit style. They all started small. And here are three reasons why this could be an option for you too.
Number one, consider your time. Despite it looking easy from the outside product development is a long process and full of problem solving. Especially if you haven't had experience in this area. Factories often specialise in one product or fabric type. So if you're starting off with an outfitted collection, and just one item each of tops, blouses tees, denim, knitwear, maybe a sweat, that's already six different factories you might be dealing with, and six different critical paths you'll be trying to manage, along with the questions that pop up along the way.
Number two, consider your finances. The financial outlay for a six piece range, even if you do low units will be substantial. Your risk of losing money and wasting resources is high, especially if you don't have an audience ready and waiting for you to launch your product.
And number three, consider your impact. As previously mentioned, each factory has a specialty. And if you really want to be across your supply chain and understand the impact, you're going to want to map your supply chain as you go for each supplier. This involves a lot of research and asking questions, because as you know, there might be 4 tiers to the supply chain, but there are lots of different processes and people involved all the steps. Trying to map this for six factories at once will be difficult. The textile manufacturing process is complex before it even gets to manufacturing your garment. So it will give you more confidence to really map and get to know one supplier before expanding further. And if you need a framework for that there's a little freebie on the website called Map Your supply Chain, just head to belindahumphrey.com. and it'll be in the shop section.
Now just finally, because you're launching with one product doesn't mean you can't do a couple of colours in the style, or even get creative with creating one style that gets garment dyed or printed in different colours. But the point I'm trying to make is just because everyone launches with a collection doesn't mean you have to as well. Just because launching with a collection is common doesn't mean that will give you a positive outcome.
So that's it for today little shorty episode. Again, if you're not already on my email list and interested in sustainability, and new developments within fashion, you can head to the website belindahumphrey.com and sign up there. And if you're listening on the go, you can find all the links and show notes on the website in the podcast section. Thanks so much for listening. See you next time.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort is made to ensure that information is accurate at the time of recording, much like the fashion industry itself, this information may change.