Building a Sport Fashion Brand: 7 Step Guide

Are you looking into starting your own sport fashion brand? Do you have some great new design ideas or an innovative new apparel concept? The time could be now for you to form that brand you’ve always dreamed of. But where do you start? How do you go about making it all happen?

If you want to set up your own activewear brand, then this article is for you. We’ll give you an overview of the steps involved in starting your own business, and what you have to consider when going through the process of creating your own sport fashion revolution!

Step 1 – Identify Your Niche

To create a successful and profitable business, you must first identify where you see yourself fitting into the sportswear marketplace. To do that, firstly conduct some market research; talk to people who you envision to be ideal customers for your hypothetical products. See what their goals, needs, problems and challenges are, especially when it comes to competitor products and businesses. Then set about trying to create a business that solves those problems and satisfies those needs. 

Here are some of the key things you can do to identify needs or problems in specific niches:

  • Have one-on-one conversations or mind-mapping sessions with your target market. Make sure to find or create a framework for asking questions that helps you uncover goals, challenges and pain points.
  • Surf forums. Search Quora, or find forums related to your niche, then take a look at the discussions that are taking place. What questions are people asking? What problems do they have?
  • Keyword Research. Explore different keyword terms on Google Trends and Google Ads’ keyword planner. This can help you uncover opportunities related to pain points in the sportswear sector.

By doing this, you’re developing a business proposition that has a unique selling point – a purpose and mission that no other sportswear company can match or has thought of yet. That gives you a niche in the marketplace to exploit and hopefully gain customers from.

If you can make that niche something you are passionate about in sport fashion and want to provide a solution for – even better. Business isn’t easy, and at some point it’ll test you. If you’re working in an area that you don’t care about, your odds of falling at the first few hurdles will greatly increase – especially as a first-time business owner.

Step 2 – Create Your Business Plan

Having a business plan is essential if you want to bring other people on board into your business, e.g. investors or partners. But primarily, the business plan is there for you to follow. It forces you to ask yourself the tough questions and look at your business venture from different angles during the startup process.

It’s important to consider that the business plan is a living document that will change and evolve over time. Usually things don’t go exactly according to the initial picture in your head once you get into the nuts and bolts of business.

Writing a business plan may seem like a laborious task, but it doesn’t have to be. By this point, you’ll know your sports business – you’ll be the expert on it. For that reason alone, writing a business plan and then capitalising on your plan for growth won’t be nearly as challenging as you think.

With your plan, set out the following:

  • Executive Summary. Introduce your sport fashion business. Talk about what you’re planning to achieve and how you plan to do it.  Cover the key highlights of your business, but keep it short and sweet.
  • Company Overview. Give an overview of your company, your team and why they are the best fit for their roles and responsibilities. 
  • Funding Required. If you’re writing a business plan to get a bank loan or because you’re applying for investment funding, you must include the details of what you need to get off the ground.
  • Milestones and Objectives. State your objectives for the business and explain the milestones to achieve to get there.
  • Market Research and Analysis. If you’re going to do a market analysis, start with some research. First, identify your market segments and determine how big each segment is, then show the potential of each segment for revenue and profit.
  • Implementation. Show how you’re going to implement your plan. Create a timeline and responsibilities for your team, along with KPI’s and accountabilities.
  • The Future. Discuss your plans for the future – what comes after you’ve accomplished your objectives? Talk about how you plan to capitalise on your success.

Step 3 – Work on Your Branding and Message

You need to put a lot of time and thought into your brand identity. There are many brands out there in the sport fashion world so you need to make yours stand out from the crowd. Create brand awareness and loyalty that connects your customers to your label. It’s important that your brand ties together with your actual products to create consistency of message through your business to your merchandise.

There are four things you should ask yourself when defining a brand purpose:

  • Why do you exist?
  • What differentiates you?
  • What problem do you solve?
  • Why should people care?

You’ll use the answers to these questions to develop the foundation of your branding, through a tagline, slogans, voice, messaging, stories, visuals and more.

Step 4 – Product Development

It’s incredibly important, once you’ve determined the direction of travel for your sport fashion business to turn your focus to the product. This is the tangible thing that your company will be built around – so it’s critical that you spend time ideating, testing and streamlining your range.

Firstly, take the market research you did earlier in the process and start to develop several quick and inexpensive prototype garments based on data and observations taken from your ideal customers. What do they want to see? What problems have they got that nobody else has solved?

Next, test those prototypes on those ideal customers and gauge feedback. You should keep track of how many customers like the products, but also take note of people who don’t like them. Ask them why and what could be done to improve them in their eyes. The objective of this step is to learn and collect data that can help you to evaluate and improve your products later in the process.

Lastly, finalise your first product range and determine a system to scale manufacturing so that you can produce them at varying quantities in the future depending on demand. This will help you to work out material choices and configure supply chains.

Step 5 – Get Your Equipment

Once you’ve created a scalable manufacturing system, it’s time to purchase equipment. This is a key part of the startup process as you don’t want to buy too much or too little. Establish a good foundation on which to build upon by purchasing industrial embroidery machines that future proof the manufacturing arm of your business – so that when you gain traction and start to grow, there’s much less risk involved when increasing capacity. 

Depending on the scale of your investment, it may be worth working with an external consultant who can ensure you make the most of your purchase by helping you assess your business’ needs.

Initially, you’ll be looking at important factors, such as employee usage and current resources. The most common practice is to do a cost-benefit analysis, which helps you justify your purchase and determine the pros and cons.

The main driver of productivity growth in fashion manufacturing is the ability to predict and prevent downtime, and to optimise equipment effectiveness and maintenance. This requires equipment that is digitally run and easily monitored – so starting the equipment sourcing process by modernising is the best decision in the long-run.

Step 6 – Assemble Your Team

For many sport fashion business owners, the main goal when it comes to recruiting is simple: find enough people capable of filling the gaps in the rota as quickly as possible, then get back to work.

While this makes absolute sense on paper – after all, the more time you spend recruiting, the less you spend generating leads and converting them into customers – this approach can create all kinds of headaches for your business further down the line.

So, like you did before, focus on needs and problems. What are the minimum skills your business needs to function? What problems do staff need to solve? What can we afford to spend on overheads? All crucial questions to answer before even writing a job description. 

Make sure that you know what you want. Maybe consider having an ideal candidate in mind for each role, as this will give you a starting point.

This could save you a lot of time and money that you can’t afford to lose otherwise. You might also have the additional benefit of previously knowing the candidate. Either way, make sure to set professional standards and boundaries for your business and enforce them from the very start.

Step 7 – Marketing

Marketing is crucial to every business, and it has the power to literally make or break a company. For new startup businesses, it can sometimes be difficult to know where to start when it comes to marketing, and where to direct your efforts for the best return.

Obviously, the first objective for any startup is to create brand awareness. Because you’re new to the market, customers don’t know you or have any trust in your brand. As you’ve already created a fantastic brand (if you’ve followed our guide so far) then all you have to do is set a budget for activity like a website design, paid ads and content marketing.

It goes without saying that every sport fashion brand requires a modern, interactive website for the face of the business. Again, it’s important to start strong in order to scale, so don’t skimp on quality here. 

Content marketing can be low cost, time and resource efficient, and can have an immeasurable impact on your customer loyalty, your brand image, and the reach of your business’s presence overall. Be sure to create content for your site; for example a blog, and participate on social platforms to really amplify your start up business.

Choose the Right Equipment For Your Sport Fashion Brand

As we’ve mentioned, choosing the right equipment for your sport fashion brand is key. Otherwise, you’re going to fail to meet the needs of your customers. As a result of that, it means that you’re likely to lose custom and they’ll likely head elsewhere to avoid your long order wait times. So, choosing equipment that can cope is vital.

Industrial embroidery machines are crucial to the success of sport fashion brands. But you must choose the right one. luckily for you, we’ve created a free guide that explains everything you need to know about making the right decision. Grab your copy today and make the first step towards nailing your equipment inventory – and your wider business operations too!

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