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What To Expect When You Aren't Expecting... When Building A Brand.
So, you have the next big brand ready to launch! Here's an insider look to the early stages. We all see signs of little hope in the beginning of business. I got into this to keep the creative ideas flowing. I didn't start this to get rich. I was hoping that I could dish some art through clothing to a few people that the brand may appeal to. You are truly a starving artist in the beginning. Almost every brand fails early in the game, because they don't see just how hard it is to make a brand "walk" Here's what to expect at least from my experience with building RR.
- You will get a few orders at the start but they will fade quick once all of your close friends and family have shown support. You have to work hard, really hard and don't depend on "Your circle" to be the ones who hold it up. You have to get out there and get into an uncomfortable position with it.
- The most common phrase that you will hear is, "I'll order it Friday" Don't let that get your hopes up. It's normal when Friday comes around and that person doesn't come through. Don't chase them. Let your brand move organically. I've heard the phrase "I'll get it Friday" probably 500+ times without people actually returning, and that's okay. Life happens, people have other priorities. Don't let that bother you.
- I honestly started Rookie Rise as a hobby to be voice for those who want to go after their true wants in life. But I quickly learned that you spend more than you make in the beginning. (Website fees, ink, screens, tools, overhead, mailing supplies, subscriptions for business productivity tools etc.)
- It's hard to get information about the fashion industry from people that are succeeding in it. I have learned that the ones that you do help, they are just as important as the big dogs in the fashion industry. If you do help out the underdog, you will open yourself up to building a larger network of friends and business acquaintances. Most brands fail but if the smaller brands that you help out grow and do succeed, great! Now you have friends that are making it! Don't you want your circle to be filled with motivated and successful people?
- At ground zero, finding help is nearly impossible. Your vision isn't taken seriously. Most of us aren't given golden platters to start, so paying people from the start may be challenge. Remember, all of those people buying on friday, many don't come through! Expect to work alone. It'll build your skills allowing you to learn to manage everything about running your brand.
- Expect to get very little sleep if you want to see your brand grow. It sucks but you'll need to buy toothpicks to keep your eyes pried open for a while, as you work through the nightA good set of headphones will help you out as well.
- Retail stores will not look your way. You will need to show that you're established. It sucks, but it's just a hard truth that you'll need to accept. Can you blame though? They are approached daily by new brands. "We're the next big brand, we know that 'Jimmy's Turkey Stew Apparel Co.' Will be a hit in your store(s)! I'll root for you all day, but the odds are slimmer than a fleas eye lash, that stores take you in right away.
- Don't let the "No's" bring you down. You will get a lot of them! Welcome to being the new kid on the block! Keep getting up and swinging. You'll start to make progress, the Yes's will come! I promise you!
- I never asked for a sale that wasn't already brought up to me first, not to individuals at least. Retailers on the other hand, get in there and yell it out. Forcing something onto someone is just bad customer service. There, I said it.
- If you want to get into a get rich quick business, this is not the one. Matter of fact, I don't think they exist, do they? Get into this only if you do truly enjoy design, innovation and people. No matter how much you make, if the work sucks, money isn't the cure. I'll be cliche and confirm that you do need to do what you love, if you want your brand to last and succeed.
- When you get momentum you can take tooth picks off of your shopping list. That doesn't mean stop, that just means by that time your system is probably a well oiled machine. You'll still have a lot of levers to pull and cranks to turn, but enjoy that sleep, finally!
- Lastly. Your customers don't truly know how much they mean to you for showing support to your brand and what you stand for. Your customers and followers are truly your foundation. Stay humble and just work hard. It'll all come back around as long as you don't toss in the towel. Stay in the game, the stands only have you wishing you never quit.