Launching my brand was not easy. Testimonials from meetings in the fashion and jewelry world really guided me in my choices and helped me a lot to develop the brand. It is my turn, looking back over the last two years, to bring you my advice and observations.
1.Have a creative approach, but not only that
2. Surround yourself with the best partners
Finding the manufacturer who will allow you to develop your project is not an easy task when you are starting out, when you are young (I was 24 at the time), with little experience and that the brand is under development. We have to reassure them, show them that we have ambition and do our homework beforehand to show them that we know what we are talking about so as not to be fooled.
Personally, I didn't find it right away. I came across a first manufacturer who did not respect the quality to which he had committed. After several customer returns and laboratory tests, I managed to prove to him that what he was selling me did not respect the “gold-plated” designation and therefore to be compensated and thus compensate my first customers.
I have had other similar experiences with manufacturers who sell very well and give you a good impression and once they give you back the poorly done job, discredit you by telling you that you only have two years of experience, that you therefore know nothing about it or that you are not Hermès and therefore do not have to demand such quality. Even though that’s what he was selling you beforehand: excellent know-how with the price that goes with it.
To avoid this type of experience, the best thing is to, from the start, trust your manufacturer and establish a contract with them.
3.Protect your creations
The idea is not necessarily to do it with the aim of attacking any brand launching similar creations, because honestly, when you are a young brand, you hardly have the budget to afford this kind of lawsuit.
I recommend it more because other brands can attack you. When you are a young brand, few competing brands know you and monitor your creations. It can therefore happen that on designs as minimalist as mine for example, certain brands have released similar designs just after or at the same time. Fortunately, a video posted on YouTube in 2018 one day allowed me to legitimize my creations with another creator. Filing models with the INPI is not always obligatory even if I recommend it. If you don't have the budget at the start, a solo online envelope for 15 euros on the INPI website or sharing content on social networks such as YouTube is also possible.
Feedback from other creators or actors in the environment you are entering is essential! There are so many choices to make when building your brand. And every decision you make will guide your development. It's hard to go back once you've started everything. I think about the materials used, the designs we want to develop first, the choice of suppliers, etc.
Don't hesitate to be curious, make your network work, contact other creators, speak with professionals.
If you are interested in what they do, they will always be happy to share their experiences.
I also think that you have to listen to the feedback you get and for that, you have to compare your creations to those close to you. Not necessarily to have an opinion on aesthetics, but especially in terms of comfort, size development or anything else.
5. Bebe present at trade shows
Even if it's a big budget when you start, trade shows are super important. This is what can really make the brand known. It was the Première Classe show that allowed me to have resellers all over France and to be resold to the Louis-Vuitton Foundation and Printemps Haussmann.
Because it is very hard at the beginning to set challenges for yourself and to be “your own boss”. This is why the integration of an incubator can give a rhythm at the beginning.
You will be confronted with several problems that you have never faced before. In these kinds of circumstances, your best friend will be Google or YouTube. I trained myself on a lot of subjects such as creating a website on WordPress. And all this, thanks to YouTube tutorials. It’s really life when you start out and you don’t have anyone above you to teach you their skills.
At the beginning, it is hard to hire. You therefore find yourself on all fronts: communication, marketing, product development, customer support, and of course the creation of new collections. You have to allocate your time well to prioritize what will really sell and develop your brand.
9.Know how to delegate
Even if it is hard to hire, there are certain things that we need to delegate to free up our time.It’s easy to find interns when you get started, to help us with the development of social networks or with marketing.
Unless you raise funds, they say that it generally takes 3 years before you can pay yourself, and if that doesn't happen, it's better to stop your activity.
The profits we produce are generally immediately reinvested in order to develop the brand and increase the capacity of the product stock. It is therefore very difficult to get paid at the beginning. It is therefore better to be patient and have other sources of income.
So, don’t wait any longer, get started, surround yourself and share your passion!