I’m giving away some tips, based on my own experiences creating a clothing brand.
I’ve been in this industry for close to a decade, and more recently started a Christian T-Shirt clothing brand of my own called Many Crowns. While I’m no Nike, I’ve learnt some things along the way.
To prepare for this article, I went searching for the best Christian clothing brands, reviewing over 50 brands in total. This journey taught me many lessons about my own brand and things to watch out for in general.
You may not even be a brand owner. Maybe you’re thinking about starting a clothing brand or perhaps you just interested in business. Either way, this will be a helpful article to use yourself or pass on to someone you know in the industry.
But that’s enough talking let’s get to the tips already!
1. Tell us who you are, like really!
Where are you based? Am I dealing with someone from China? One thing is for sure people like to see people. If someone is checking out your website, they want to know who made it, and what do you stand for.
It’s important to have a great ‘About Us’ page because people go digging around when they want to know “who made this stuff?”
Things to include:
- A nice picture of you or your team
- A short bio
- Why you made your brand
- Any social media links
Give enough information for people to get a feel for who you are, and why you’re doing what you’re doing.
2. Don’t Claim you are the number 1 Christian Clothing Brand!
This one should be self-explanatory. But so many people do it, that I’m forced to explain.
When it comes to business, let others sing your praises. Don’t be tempted to do it to yourself, it’s not a good look (and really, all praises go to God but that’s another article). Besides, when was the last time you believed anyone who claimed they were the best at something? You normally expect proof.
“But my brand is really good!” you protest. That’s the problem, YOU think it’s good but what are other people saying? This is actually a biblical principle; let other people blow your trumpet, it will be far more effective (Prov 27:2)
How You do this? It’s simple. Pick out a few customers (which shouldn’t be so hard because you’re so great) and ask them to write a review about their experience with your brand.
Post these reviews on your homepage and a few places around your site. (check out our homepage for example)
3. Think About your Customer service!!!!!
Don’t forget customer service. Get it right and you’ll have customers coming back to you again and again. Get it wrong and it can be hard to shake off the image.
Let’s pretend your website is a house, and your homepage is where people first enter the hallway. You offer your guests things to make them feel at home (your products). You treat them as one of the family. And when all is said and done, you send them off with a smile. They are happy, and they are looking forward to visiting again.
Now imagine you visit a different house. You are looking for something to make your day. But you are not feeling welcome. No one knows your name. They take whatever you have for themselves and they send you off without a goodbye. Before the door slams shut, you see them speaking to the next number on their list.
Well, that’s poor customer service. It’s a big deal.
So what kind of things will ensure you have at least some reasonable customer service?
Include an FAQ section! Frequently asked questions are short, sweet and super helpful. It’s a good place to start. Contact your customers and ask them if they had any questions – and they will definitely have a few.
Write down questions and answers and put them on your site. Here are some basic questions you should deal with:
- Shipping times
- Shipping costs
- Opening hours
- Getting in Contact
4. Chat widget
A chat widget is a great way to speak with your customers. Chat widgets normally work with a mobile app, which sends you notifications when a message is submitted on your website. If you’re used to using applications like WhatsApp, then it’s pretty similar and easy to adjust to. You can set up a team, to answer any messages when you’re unavailable. Nothing builds trust like speaking to a real person directly. I recommend tidio. They’re pretty good and work quite well on the Many Crowns website.
5. Contact Us!
We recommend you have a page that lets your guests contact you directly. The least you should have is a working email address. And if you have a phone number even better. Or investigate live chat.
6. Pricing: Don’t sell yourself too short
This is a mind game.
The key messages here are simple. Make sure you can run the business at a profit (if not you won’t be able to grow). Don’t sell yourself short. People pay for what they value. If you price your products very low how can you expect other people to value them?
Have you ever seen what looks like a great product at a very low price? What about if the product is not on sale? In most cases, you may question the quality of the product.
Here’s something else to think about. There is no point in charging a random high price for a product. That’s just greedy. Instead, when you are pricing your products, make sure you are keeping in mind the cost to run your business. Which includes paying yourself, so you can put food on the table. This can be a sobering exercise, so prepare yourself but be honest. There’s no point running from the truth.
Do the math. Work out those numbers. When you realise the number you need to charge in order to keep the business running and keep the lights on, you have your price. I’ve dumbed that down a bit to make my point. Some will charge for the value of the brands and may also charge based on the number of expected units sold.
When you are first starting out this can be difficult to work out because you will not know how many products you will sell a month. My advice is to run a test using some sample numbers based on the number of visitors you think you can get to your website. Just remember not everyone that comes to your website will buy. Be honest about that number as well. I can say a lot more on this topic, but I have another article about price (coming soon!).
7. Be clear about what you are
Are you a Brand? – See the brand checklist Are you a shop? Be clear about that.
It was Paul that said “I became all things to all men”. Please don’t apply this advice to your business. You need to be clear; who are you? Here’s a major question: Are you a brand?
“Of course I’m a brand!” you protest again. But how do you know? Do you have a clear message? Do you have a consistent colour scheme? Do you have a logo (and motif if desired)? Do you have a brand story? Do you have a purpose? A “why you do what you do”? If you answered no to any of the questions take some time to think about them and produce some solid answers.
There’s actually more to being a brand. If you really want a nail it, I highly recommend the following resource from the Futur. They take you from knowing nothing to rebranding.
One final point… don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself. Sometimes you’ll have to look in the mirror and make some adjustments, that’s ok, just do it for the right reasons.
Oh! And don’t pretend to be a brand when you’re really a shop – be authentic.
Bonus: Don’t be Lukewarm
In short, Don’t confuse people.
- Make it clear what you are about and do so consistently,
- If you are explicitly Christian say so,
- If you are not, don’t hint at it. Christians and non-Christians will smell this non-committal a mile away and it will be taken for the lukewarmness that it is.
Be sure of who you are and be consistent. That means people should be seeing the same message every time. If you are all about the cross, be all about the cross, in your social media posts, in your emails, in your videos, everywhere!
If you are a Christian brand don’t be shy, just say so. And if you’re not, make no apologies. If you sit in the middle, this is lukewarm and does not go down well.
There so much more I’d like to share on this topic. If there’s enough demand, I’ll happily put together a webinar with Q&A where you can ask me questions.
Do you have any tips to share? Have you made any mistakes you don’t want others to repeat?
We’d love to see what you have to say in the comments below. Speak soon!