Are you a young designer, wondering how to launch your brand online? Neti Jolly outlines steps to cultivate your own fashion brand online.
Are you a designer who wishes to make a mark in the field of fashion but cannot afford expensive runway shows, a lot of public relations efforts, rental for a store or a booth at trade fairs? The minimum investment in launching your line of apparel or accessories can go upto a few lakhs. With the Internet connecting us to the entire world, a lady sitting in Varanasi can sell her saree collection in Los Angeles. A textile retailer can have buyers in New York. And students can start their business while in college.
Online has become the new way to reach out and expand and retain your consumer base. Exporters with large infrastructure are capitalising on the e-commerce boom and have launched their own brands via marketplaces such as Myntra, Amazon and Flipkart. Established designers such as Masaba Gupta and Anita Dongre are unveiling their runway collections live on Instagram.
For young and emerging designers, the market is dripping with opportunity. There are agencies dedicated to formatting, photographing and making Excel sheets to place products on multiple marketplaces.
Here are ten steps to launch your brand online on a shoestring budget:
1. Create your own collection or alternatively, find a vendor anywhere in the world to make your designs or select from readymade collections. Need a little inspiration? Gary Vaynerchuck is a self-made internet celebrity who took his family's wine business from $3 million to $60 million and has now become a famous internet personality, author and entrepreneur with several businesses. Gym Shark is the million dollar online company which creates workout clothes.
If you are a reseller, most vendors provide a ready photoshoot of products. Launch the collection on your brand and personal Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Pinterest accounts, or organise your own shoots and promote via social media. Alibaba and Tradeindia are some of the online portals that help you connect with fashion vendors.
2. There are WhatsApp groups, Facebook groups, resellers and other social media tools, with the help of which you can inform prospective customers about your product. The comfort of being able to speak with someone in detail about the product helps in a high rate of conversion. If you have launched a plethora of designs, you can approach an agency, such as Amazon, Myntra or Flipkart, and ask it to get you on marketplaces depending on your product. For high-end designers, there is Pernia's pop-up shop and some other highly-curated online shopping portals, such as nattydot.in and nete.in. Marketplaces sell collections of designers from different countries and products are sold internationally with great ease and simplicity.
3. From Bollywood to Hollywood, celebrities have realised the value of having a huge following online on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. From Kylie Jenner to Bipasha Basu, a host of celebrities are capitalising on their personal brands built online. There has also been an advent of online celebrities and personalities who have become brands of their own. If not launching a line, they are promoting it. They are people like Gaurav Gera, Mallika Dua and Varun Thakur, who started their careers creating videos and pushing them on social media, but turned into celebrities. They are comedians and have managed to create a huge fan following with presence on Youtube channels and as brand ambassadors for various products. To promote your brand, you can share anecdotal stories on how it all started, walk people through the entire process of curation and tell your story through pictures, videos and voice clips.