What You Need To Know To Launch A Retail Brand In 2019
So you spent the last year or five contemplating something crazy, inching toward new horizons, feeling out what the future held, talking yourself in and out of your plans a hundred times, and now - bam. It’s 2019 and you’re ready to launch a retail brand. Or are you? There’s no better time to hit the ground running and develop a brand you love, but make sure to do your homework first. Here are three key pieces of advice our team and our agency partner Oh Hello has about launching a successful brand in 2019.
1. A mistake too many entrepreneurs often make is choosing the wrong manufacturing partner to develop their product, because they don’t take the time to do the research up front about who they should work with. It’s crazy important to understand what the relationship with your manufacturer should look like. Unfortunately, we do see clients who come to us with a half-finished sample from somewhere else and tell us the last factory they worked with never completed the job. Before picking a manufacturing partner, ask for references, successful projects they’ve completed and ask what the turnaround times are. Do they have account managers dedicated to your project? What does the overall development process look like? Your manufacturer should be able to explain what you can expect when you work with them and have good intel on who else you may need to get the job done (i.e. a fabric or label supplier).
2. While you’re developing your product, you should also be considering how you’re going to show it off online with photography. As digitally native brands sprout up, it’s essential that each distinguish themselves from the rest of the crowd. Using professional photography is a smart way to set your brand OFF. Nowadays, you’re competing against the big box retailers AND small specialized brands who tell a great story with their photography. You should be accounting for professional photography costs and/or model costs in your overall budget for your retail brand. A professional photographer can not only help you navigate the model agency world and negotiate based on your project, but they can also help you understand how to use material and stay within trademark regulations and laws.
3. While you might think today’s buyers are purchasing based on features, the stats tell a different story: the product has to be amazing to bring in repeat purchases, but what typically draws customers in is the brand. A story can change the minds of the masses, entice customers and ensure they feel represented by the company making it. The way you craft this story is by building a brand and that takes honing. You need to be doing market research on your target customer, identifying your primary and secondary audience and zeroing in on an identity and a personality of your brand. Working with an agency partner or a freelancer who can help you craft a brand and make sense of your own ideas can make a huge difference in how successful you are with a launch. Just simply setting up a Shopify site with the product on it may get you business from family and friends, but it won’t carry you to your sale goals in 2019. You have to build a brand that gets strangers to buy.
You may be thinking, “wow this sounds like a lot of work,” and the truth is, yes it is. Building a successful brand isn’t easy and it takes pre-planning, thoughtful strategy and the right team by your side. At Lefty, we have experience helping brands every day and we pull on the experience of our trusted partners, like our brand development agency Oh Hello. If you’d like to talk with us about what you can do to build your brand in 2019, we’re offering free 30-minute consultations with Lefty Production Co. and Oh Hello throughout the month of January and February. You can book the free consultation with either Lefty or Oh Hello. We’re here to help, let’s build your brand together.