In The Apparel Entrepreneurship Podcast, Ana and Klas Kristiansson - apparel industry experts, authors, and speakers will discuss hands-on tactics touching all areas involved in running and growing a meaningful, successful apparel brand. Learn practical strategies about sustainability, design, product, marketing, sales, community, e-commerce, and entrepreneurship. You’ll also hear inspiring interviews with industry experts and entrepreneurs about their tips and journeys in this fast-paced industry. A must-listen for everybody that is running an apparel brand or is working with apparel.
In this episode, we will cover four topics. These four topics have been requested by our community, and they are all very relevant today. The four topics we talk about today are:
How to find your brand aesthetic.
How to be authentic with your message.
The difference in going to college and online education.
How to handle complaints
In this episode, we talk about your physical and mental foundation. You've heard us talk about your brand's foundation and that it needs to be solid for your brand to succeed. Well, it's the same thing with you. You need to have a solid foundation to function and have an optimized output in terms of what you deliver in your business and life.
Your business is dependant on YOU, your team is dependant on you. You are the brand and it's insurance to success. If you have a team, I'm sure your brand could be OK without you for a while but not if you are a solopreneur. If you don't function properly, if you are not performing at your best, your brand will be hurting and even go bust.
You have a mission with your brand right? Without you functioning properly, without you having full-on energy every day to do this, your brand will not be able to help all those people that you say you will with your mission. You have a bigger purpose here than just to do your job with your brand. Your bigger purpose is to serve your customers.
But it doesn't matter how great your mission is and how big your goals are. If you don't have the foundation set up, if you don't have your everyday life structured in a way that it maximizes your potential, then you will not get that far on reaching your goals for your business.
Many of you sabotage your businesses without knowing it. You do it by not preparing your life and setting yourself up for success. If you are tired, if you are constantly stressed, if you feel a bit overwhelmed, if you're not sleeping well, if you feel you don't have control of your life or business, heck you might even be depressed, then your life foundation is not solid.
In this episode we are going to get down to the five points on how to set your own foundation, so you can optimize the input you have in your business and life.
The five points are:
Having an idea for an apparel brand is easy. Making that into a reality takes knowledge and effort, and taking it to new heights into a successful blooming apparel business, well that’s an entirely different story.
What is certain though is that you will not be able to get there alone.
You might be the CEO or founder of your apparel business, and I’m sure you do a lot of things in your business already. Then you know how hard it is to do everything by yourself. We know you are doing the best you can with what you have. But again, what got you here wont get you there. To your bigger goal.
We know that it’s great to know how everything in your business works, but your expertise is only enough to a certain point. To move forward you either need to educate yourself on certain topics or bring in more people, that are experts in a specific field.
We have seen how hard some CEOs work and sometimes to the point of where they end up hating their business. They have worked so hard for so many years, that they are burned out, not making any money, they don’t have a life and they are just plain miserable. You don’t want to be in their shoes. When you let your business consume you , you eventually also let down your customers. it means you will not be able to be there for them, you will not be able to provide them with your products and service them in the way you have promised.
So in this episode we are going to talk about the roles you need to fill in your business. We are going to make it clear what positions you can have and where you can bring in experts so they can deliver high value and help you take your business and brand to the next level.
Show notes @ apparelentrepreneurship.com
In this episode we talk about online marketing, collaborations, and attracting customers. What’s most important for us and you is that you make progress in your business. We don’t just want you to listen and get inspired, well that’s fine too sometimes and its great to get you pumped up and motivated, but if you don’t implement what you hear and take action on it to make serious progress, then you will stay in the same place with your business or as an entrepreneur, and you’ll not evolve or grow.
You guys know that we are all about tactics and tangible advice so today, we are going to let you listen in on what our coaching sessions sound like. We want you to hear what it means to be coached by us.
Today's episode is an on-air coaching call with Karen Escobedo, the founder of the adorable and ethically made kidswear brand Raina La Rue, from the US.
We cover three main topics, and those topics are decided by Karen.
How to increase website traffic
Trunk Shows, fairs and pop ups
Best content for my customers
It is here that she needs help the most so we do a deep dive in every topic.
Find the show notes at apparelentrepreneurship.com
In this episode, we are addressing how to work with patterns and communicating with manufacturers overseas. Is it possible to make the patterns and samples locally and then send them overseas for pattern grading and production?
A few years ago, we started and ran a kids clothing brand. In this episode, we talk about how you start a children's clothing brand, and what's different from creating a brand for grown-ups.
What do you do when you are running a brand and making very little profits? In this episode, we talk about different ways to address a brand that is struggling to make a profit.
We also talk about how to find showroom representatives and agents for your brand.
The episode is packed with useful information, and we also have time to address how to find sizing information for different markets.
Find the show notes at apparelentrepreneurship.com
How do you get back after a setback in business or a failed business?
Presumably, this is your dream, this is your passion, but stuff happens and your business failed, how do you bring it back to life, back on track and turn it around into a profitable brand.
Actually, this is an episode for all brands and apparel entrepreneurs, cause you know what, even if you are a super successful entrepreneur right now, you never know what might happen in the future. it’s always better to be aware that things can happen and how to tackle them then to go bananas if things happen and go into panic mode.
There are no businesses that have had an entirely smooth path to success. There are no businesses that have had zero bumps in the road. This is what running a business is - tackling whatever problems that occur, in the best possible way and trying to minimize the impact.
Business happens, life happens and some brands miss the mark by little while some miss the mark entirely. So what do you do when you are emotionally, mentally, physically and or financially “defeated”? How can you make a solid plan to bounce back successfully?
In this episode, we will get, as usual, very tactical. So, listen in, bring out pen and paper, close the doors, keep the kids happy and quiet somewhere, make sure the dog doesn’t need to go out for a walk, that you have everything you need…water etc…
Find the show notes at apparelentrepreneurship.com/podcast
In this episode, we talk about entrepreneurship and your apparel brand’s foundation.
10 years ago we started our first apparel brand. Even though we had experience from working in the apparel industry, it was a challenge getting a good grip of starting up a business. Just the administration around registering the business, arranging bank account, creating a business plan, making a budget, and getting the finances in order were all new tasks to us.
Then the big question: how do we do this?
We had to find factories and suppliers that suited our needs.
How should we go about this?
How much can the garments cost to produce?
How do we work with minimum quantities?
How can we make sure our finances will cover the launch?
How can we protect our designs and feel safe when communicating with other parties?
To answer these questions we have written the book:
Apparel Entrepreneurship - How To Start & Run A Successful Apparel Brand
It is an indispensable manual, an inspirational and educational book that will guide you in the achievement of starting and running a successful apparel brand. This book provides you with hands-on tools, business education, and actionable steps to achieve it. In this episode, we read two sections from the first chapter about entrepreneurship.
Show notes at apparelentrepreneurship.com
In this episode, we talk about How To Find Your Niche In The Market Place. This is an extremely important topic and one that is vital if you are just starting out. If you are an existing brand, you might want to tap into new markets, expand your collection and product segments and these strategies that we will be covering today will help you go into new territories successfully.
In this episode, we are going to address an issue many startups and existing brands face. We work with many brands worldwide through the Apparel Entrepreneurship Member Zoneand our one-on-one consulting. We help them identify the exact actions they need to take to move forward and to grow their business. We help them take their brands to the next level of income, profits, and entrepreneurial lifestyle. To make sure we are a good match for each other, us and the customer, we have a relatively short consultation call, about 20-30 min where we ask them a bunch of questions related to their business to see how best w can support them. When we have our consultation calls with new brand owners we hear 2 things over and over again.
I have so many ideas, I want to launch with outerwear, and shirts and jeans, and socks and they keep going with more and more products on that list. Basically, they want to do it all, to start with a full-on 20 piece collection - BAM! The superconfident ambitious attitude!
I have no idea what products I want to make? What should I start with? I need to make this thing work from the start. And that’s the more subtle, cautious entrepreneur.
No matter if you are just launching or if your brand has been around for a while, you want to be known for something unique.
You want to be known for something specific, and something distinct, that isn’t already out there. As you know there are tons of existing brands and products. So how are you going to make sure you stand out, and that the customers will buy your products instead of going somewhere else? Today we are going to talk about how to find your unique, special place, that gap that only you can fill.
Find the show notes at apparelentrepreneurship.com
This podcast episode is about sourcing fabrics for your apparel brand as well as preparing you for visiting fashion trade shows. We know this topic is really interesting for many of you since there are loads of trade fairs going on now. This episode will prepare you as much as possible before visiting fairs so you can source amazing material and educate yourself more for future collection.
This episode is, among others, addressing these questions:
How do I work with minimum order quantities? There is a really great inside tip, midway into the podcast episode, of how you get around the supplier's MOQ.
How can you tell the difference between an average fabric and a higher quality fabric?
Are there other ways to source?
How do I find out about trade fairs and market places?
Read the show notes with links at apparelentrepreneurship.com
In this episode, we are again answering some questions that you guys have sent us. We are addressing questions regarding the packaging of your garments, crowdfunding, Portuguese manufacturers, building your team, and if it’s alway necessary to address a need when designing your collection. So a nice spread of topics today that are all very relevant for many of you.
If you have questions you want us to answer in upcoming episodes, just click the link below and send them to us at apparelentrepreneurship.com.
In this episode of the Apparel Entrepreneurship podcast, we are taking you to the beginning. Way before you start or have started your brand. We are walking you through 23 questions that you should or need to ask yourself before starting an apparel brand. We would also say that this episode is not only for the ones that are thinking of starting but haven’t yet. The questions we cover could be game-changing and extremely important to think about and to answer for oneself even though you have launched or are several years into your business. Life and business go through circles, and you might be at a point in time when you need to recalibrate or rethink the way you do business. Or if you even want to continue. Maybe you have gotten completely fed up with running a brand, and you are just exhausted, and this is not for you anymore. Finally, you just need to make a decision, and this episode might be the life changer. It might be this episode that gets you to realize that this is what you really want and that you do have an amazing idea that the world needs. Maybe this episode gives you the boost you needed to actually get that extra help so you can focus on your mastery and delegate what you are not good at. After listening you might rethink and continue because this is what you are meant to be doing!
Running your own apparel brand isn’t a 9-to-5 job. It’s not the hours you spend in the office or studio that matter—what matters is what you produce. You’re your own boss and you need to make it all happen. You’ll live and breathe your brand, working 24/7. It’ll require you to put in the work and follow through on your dream. And this is what running a business means.
You will be your own boss—no one will be there to make sure you put in the work and stick to your deadlines. You will need to have the drive, ambition and grit to work through the ups and the downs, and do the things that give you progress, no matter how small, every single day. And we are here to support you, to give you the strategies and the tools, help you with the planning and teach you the skills so you can focus on the implementation. We are here to make sure you increase your chances of getting it right from the beginning, so you don’t have to waste your time and money.
Your job is to focus on your dream, your vision and mission of the brand, work smart and hard, and don’t let anyone or anything get in your way.
Find the show notes at apparelentrepreneurship.com
In this episode we are answering some questions that the Apparel Entrepreneurship community has sent us. The questions you have sent in and that we are answering are fantastic, and they are very relevant to many of you. We are talking about finding and contacting retailers, working as a design consultant and working with a design consultant. We are also talking about how to choose the right material, getting the right fit and size, finding sustainable materials and how to determine your product strategies. There are a lot of goodies in today’s episode.
We would like to do this type of Q and A versions more often so we can address all your concerns or small hurdles in upcoming episodes. Use the link at apparelentrepreneurship.com to send us your questions.
Today we are talking about how to pitch and sell your apparel brand. This episode is packed with tangible, actionable steps on how to successfully pitch and sell your apparel line. We are talking about how to prepare and perform your sales meeting. A sales meeting or a sales pitch to buyers is almost the same thing. You or your company present your collection to the buyers, for them to place orders for the coming season. It’s the traditional way of doing business and for some a powerful way of doing business. It’s the same mentality when you present to potential buyers or when you present to your sales representatives, distributors, or agents. You provide them with tools which are the knowledge and information about your new collection, so they can sell it either to shop buyers f they are distributors or agents or if you pitch directly to shop buyers and they in their turn sell to your end consumer.
When it comes to selling, it’s as much about the product as it is about the story. The entire point of a pitch or presentation is for a sales team to equip them with as much information as possible, so they can in their turn go and pitch to buyers. They need to have unique stories and products that buyers can’t get anywhere else. And when you pitch the buyers directly the point with your pitch is to have them realize that your brand is extremely unique and your products are the best in the market and that by choosing to sell your products they can get a more significant business. It’s that simple!
In this 8th episode of the Apparel Entrepreneurship Podcast, we are talking about lessons learned from the time we ran our own apparel brand Sinaia.
During the Sinaia years, we learned a lot. In this episode, we want to share the 5 most important business lessons from running our brand so you can get some takeaways and hopefully implement them in your brand and business.
As we have mentioned before, there is no one recipe for success that works for all brands and business owners. There are common nominators for what you can do to increase your chances and we spoke about those in our earlier episode, and you can also learn a LOT from other entrepreneurs and their journeys. Take what you think will work for your business model, test it out, if it works - great, if not - iterate and continue. As long as you do SOMETHING that moves the needle everyday, that’s what counts. Eventually you will have a big compound effect on all your daily, small and big actions.
How to create raving fan customers. We are talking about what it means to have a cult following instead of regular customers and we are giving you some actionable tips on what you can do as a brand, to gain a cult following.
You guys know, we all have our favorite brands that we buy from over and over again. We tell our friends and families about them, their products, we follow them on social and engage with the content they put out, we are up to date with what they are doing and we feel like we are part of their community.
That type of brand for us is called a cult brand and we are it’s raving fans, or its cult following.
In this episode, we are talking about what it means to be a cult brand and what cult brands do to have raving fans. Hopefully this helps you understand what you can do for your brand and business to attract loyal customers and to grow your community year after year.
What is a raving fan or a cult follower?
Well, the dictionary defines a cult as being, ‘a person or thing that is popular or fashionable among a particular group or section of society’. Of course, we are not talking about a cult in religious terms here.
So basically a cult follower or a raving fan is a loyal, regular customer that has found his/her tribe and just feels some sort of belonging.
It is a person that is so totally in love with a brand, what it stands for, and it’s products. This person knows everything about the brand, follows everything the brand puts out and has the same values as the brand. And as soon as he or she gets a chance, they talk about the brand to everybody, in detail, and with extreme passion.
You can find the show notes at apparelentrepreneurship.com
The complete Guide To Starting A Successful Clothing Brand.
Are you thinking about starting your own brand?
Are you already running an apparel brand, but want to revisit the steps involved?
Are you already running a business in a different field, and want to expand into clothing?
After this podcast episode, you will know exactly what it takes to launch and all the steps required to get going.
The clothing industry is a 3 trillion dollars industry, and over one trillion garments are sold worldwide every year. It is a huge market and a huge opportunity and it is understandable why so many entrepreneurs want to tap into this industry and why companies want to expand into apparel. All brands want to increase their profit. But the competition is fierce. There are hundreds of thousands of brands out there, so you want to do it right, you want to stand out and offer something unique in order to get noticed.
So if you want to learn how to start a clothing brand, then this podcast episode is for you. We’ll go over all the steps involved in starting and running a clothing brand and in what order you need to do everything. You will have a complete understanding of what it takes and what you need to do.
These are the topics we are covering in this episode:
How to get started
Understanding your market
Make a plan for how to achieve success
Financing your clothing business
Setting up your dream team
Defining your clothing collection
Finding fabrics & manufacturers
How will you price your garments?
Creating garment patterns and prototypesPlan the bulk production
Ship your garments
Make sure your clothing brand stands out in the crowd
The customer is the hero
We are talking about selling online and how to optimize your online store. Many of the brands we are working with, and that are launching now, are pure D2C brands. Most other brands, that traditionally have sold wholesale, are also opening up their own web shops.
We all know that selling online is becoming increasingly popular. An estimated 1.8 billion users made an online purchase in 2018. Data shows that worldwide e-commerce sales will reach $4.5 trillion in 2021. Most brands have their own online store today, complementing their brick-and-mortar stores. The traditional way to sell clothes is to work with retailers, distributors or agents. Retailers have their specific location and established customer base, and they sell the products for you as well as handle returns. But they also take a big slice of the pie, usually around half of the product price. Therefor selling online becomes a very interesting option for clothing brands.
But it is not just the margin that becomes interesting. Selling online has several advantages:
Customers can shop 24/7, when and from wherever they want. When you live a bit outside the big cities, like we do, it’s great to be able to make purchases online. You can save so much time. There’s no need to go to a physical store.
Today, all the stats show that more and more purchases are made from mobile devices.
Customers can read up about the brand concept and the clothes by themselves and make up their own mind. They are not only receiving information from a biased sales person. Customers can also check reviews and comments.
As a brand you can interact more easily with your customers without an intermediary between you. You can have online support and chat with the online customers directly. If you are selling wholesale you have to gather feedback in some other way. So selling online makes it easier for you to have the finger on the pulse.
You can increase your margins or make higher-quality garments for a lower end-customer price. You don’t have to pay the retailers a large piece of the pie. You can market-test products more efficiently, thus optimizing your collection.
So when you have your online shop up and running, what can you do to improve it and to get more sales?
After being in the e-commerce business for a decade, we will in this episode share steps to action that you can to do dramatically increase your chances of securing returning, happy, buying customers.
Sustainability in the apparel industry.
This topic is something that is more relevant than ever. A clear majority of all the brands we work with has this a top priority. Also, there is no other topic that we talk about, that stir up as many conversations, opinions, and emotions as this one. So we are very much looking forward to your comments about this episode. No matter what your take on sustainability is, we think it is important that this topic gets discussed. You can discuss it here in the Apparel Entrepreneurship Friendsfacebook group.
Sustainability is a huge subject and you can look at it from many angels. Being a sustainable apparel brand means having as little impact on the planet as possible. It takes care of the people involved in and around the business and has a sound and profitable business setup.
So what is a sustainable brand, what does it actually mean. There are so many definitions for this out there: for example, environmentally friendly, eco-friendly, ethically made, responsibly made, consciously made, but what does it actually mean?
A sustainable brand means that the generations to come need a healthy planet to live on. It means that the customer buying your products is safe, never harmed by your products due to dangerous chemicals. It means that employees manufacturing your products, work in a safe environment and are paid fair wages. It also means that other living animals are not harmed to provide you with a piece of clothing. It also includes having a profitable business plan.
In this episode we talk about how the apparel industry is impacting the environment, we talk about greenwashing, and how you can approach sustainability in your clothing brand.
How you can succeed with your clothing brand, by avoiding a range of common mistakes.
Since the start of Apparel Entrepreneurship, we have worked with hundreds of clients around the world through our monthly membership program and through one-on-one coaching and helped them run and scale their clothing brands. All entrepreneurs want successful, profitable businesses, and everyone faces their own challenges to get there. Encountering problems and making mistakes is part of running an apparel business. It’s how you can anticipate those problems and what you eventually do about them that matters.
Are there any mistakes that are more common than others?
What can you do to avoid them?
Are there any lessons learned from the mistakes made?
For everyone who is about to, or already run a clothing brand, we have made it a bit easier for you. We have examined the most common mistakes brands make when they are in the startup phase when launching and through their following collections and seasons.
So we talk about what you can do to avoid them if you want your brand to make progress and scale.
How to grow your apparel brand.
Small brands, medium-sized brands, and big brands all have one thing in common: they want to grow. We have worked with hundreds of brands, and so far we haven’t found any that doesn’t want to grow. When running an apparel brand it is a good idea to constantly look for opportunities for improvement. A tip is to at least, after every accomplished season to look in the rear mirror and reflect. What went well, what went south, and where are there possibilities? This helps a lot with the planning for the next year. So we talk about how to grow your brand, looking at it from three angles; first Entrepreneurship, then Collection & Products, and finally Marketing & Sales.
We present ourselves, so you can better understand where we are coming from and why we are so passionate about clothing brands. We also talk about reasons and motivation of being an entrepreneur, plus tips on how to manage a busy schedule.
This is episode gives you the background to why we have started Apparel Entrepreneurship (apparelentreneurship.com).