How to Build Your Fashion Brand on a Budget

fashion branding

The importance of branding should never be underestimated.  This may seem like an obvious statement but unfortunately it tends to be one of the most overlooked aspects of starting a business with independent designers.

I’m not sure why this is exactly, perhaps because high cost is often associated with branding and so designers tend to ignore it.  The thing is, that’s the worst possible thing you can do.

Your brand is communicated in everything you do, regardless of whether you realize it or not.

I especially love this quote from a former VP at Amex…

Branding is not a discretionary act. You cannot decide what is in your brand, everything is in your brand.

So, with that in mind, let’s review some of of the areas that encompass your brand and tips for branding on a budget.

What Does Branding Include

Basically, anything that is communicated to the public will represent your brand.

To start, your brand’s purpose, mission, and story are absolutely crucial to your brand identity.  Spend time on these, don’t rush them.

In addition to your story, all of your digital properties go into your brand identity like your logo, website, blog, social media platforms, language, voice, tone, photography, email signature, the way you answer the phone.

It’s also communicated through physical properties like business cards, post cards, hang tags, labels.

And then there’s alignment properties like retail placement and event participation which have a huge impact on brand identity and consumer perception.

Also, always remember that as the face of your business, your personal brand is directly related to your company’s brand.  So make sure it’s in line.

Tips for Branding on a Budget

Social Media: great to convey your brand’s voice and tone, likes and dislikes.  We know you’ve heard it a million times, but social media really is the best way to add personality to your brand.

Integrated marketing: combine what you’re doing online with some efforts offline. Maybe host a trunk show, a networking event, or a meetup. Create something that is fun and conveys your brand’s personality like a book chat or a DIY get together.

Stay in touch: rather than emailing and tweeting all the time, change it up a bit and communicate the old fashioned way. A hand written thank you note or invitation or a phone call can have a big impact on how someone views your brand.

Share your knowledge: create a blog that shares helpful tips and ideas for your readers/customers. Convey that your brand doesn’t only care about making sales. Is your brand voice a little sarcastic?  What about sharing funny antic-dotes or jokes…

Go with video: Consider sharing your brand story via video rather than text.  Video is so effective in conveying your brand’s personality and mission.

How are you creating and improving the way you communicate your fashion brand?

Nicole Giordano

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online resource and community supporting for independent designers around the world with building their businesses. A deep love for the craft of fashion paired with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION, where she helps independent designers and makers screw the traditional fashion business rules, create their own paths, and build businesses they truly love. More than anything else, she’s in the business of encouragement and works every day to remind makers and designers that they have something special to offer the world and that they can, in fact, do this thing!

  1. Macmillan Ebonumah

    Thanks Nicole ‘ this was quite insightful’ am going into my own clothing line’ but the major problem I face right. Ow is i still can’t find a company that can give me a good monogrammed label that can look really original and make a statement… I don’t want to sell my clothes without a signature. Thanks’ would also like to email u for more information that I may need as I progress. Thanks 

  2. Morgan

    I love your article! I agree with the girl above about the quote! I love it, and am inspiring to be a fashion designer when I go to college. 🙂 I love this website and will read everything on it! 🙂 You guys rock! 🙂

  3. sam

    Good to read about specially, quoted line “Branding is not a discretionary act. You cannot decide what is in your brand, everything is in your brand.”

    Best Regards,

  4. Ceri

    Love all of these ideas and I think video is such a great way of telling a brand story or getting a message across.

  5. Najla Burt

    Great article. I’m currently working in developing my logo and brand story so that I can communicate to my target audience. I’m working on my first collection set to launch Fall 2014. I value every piece of advice on this site!

  6. Kimmie

    Such a great post! I’ve done a little creative consulting work and ij always tell people about the importance of branding, and making sure your voice matches across all channels. Rushing to put your product out without initially developing an identity will hurt you in the long run!

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