Cool Souls is a womenswear brand founded in 2019 by Nikoleta Dzharova who will share with you her personal experience as well as the essential steps in building your brand.
Creating your own fashion brand sounds quite glamorous and attractive, especially for a teenager who is crazy about fashion. In fact, creating a potential fashion business requires a lot of perseverance, diligence, entrepreneurship, energy, talent, and, of course, ... finances. For those who think they have these qualities, and who have the desire to create something of their own, I will give some advice from personal experience with my fashion brand cool souls. In 2018, the idea of cool souls was born, and the brand was officially introduced in September 2019. It took me about 9 months to officially launch. The term of preparation depends on the scale of your fashion business and what kind it will be. The speed with which you present your brand also depends on how fast you and your team or work partners.
I started all by myself, but from the very beginning I was lucky to meet people ready to help me in various fields in which I have no experience. This is one of the important tips: take advantage of your contacts and find suitable people to help you in areas where you are not a specialist. For example, I do not consider myself to be highly competent on the subject of business creation. The business part isn't really my strong point, but definitely creating cool souls has built up some sense of how to run a brand. If you have this entrepreneurial feeling at first, this is a huge plus. If not, expand your network of acquaintances and think about who can help you in your project.
Step 1 Define the business model for your fashion brand.
In my case, I started my fashion line from scratch, everything is produced in a studio in small quantities or when ordering, depending on the product. There are countless options for business models.
Some of them are:
- You produce everything yourself and sell in your online or physical store.
- You create the collections at a manufacturer and sell both in your own store and through other retailers to whom you wholesale your line or work on consignment. The decision depends on what resources you have at the beginning and how brave you are. My advice is to set aside time for a business plan that includes answers to many questions. Some creative person like me will call this the "boring part". I admit, it was the same for me at first, but many questions disappear or at least become clear. You need to study in detail the market in which you will offer your fashion line, how big it is, whether there are niches in it and how you can fill them. Is there anything you don't offer? Who is your competitor? What is your target group? What is the price range for your type of fashion brand?What are the advantages and disadvantages of your brand idea? Where can you meet obstacles, but also where are the good opportunities? Think realistically and be honest with yourself! I personally made an estimate of my expenses and income for the next year and set clear deadlines for the implementation of each part of the plan.
Step 2 Create the story behind your brand!
The brand is not just a logo and beautiful products. You also need to create a story behind it. It could be personal or related to the society in which we live, it could be a statement or a question to future fans. The message of cool souls clothes is that it is cool to reveal your soul and thinking: It’s cool to show some soul. The collections I create make sense through my prints. One sweatshirt asked, "Are we creating or destroying?" The wearer of this garment expresses some opinion or in this case doubt and thus reveals his soul. The message of the brand is important because with it your audience will remember you.
Step 3 The first collection is important.
It's time to start the creative part - creating the concept for the first collection, sketching, collecting inspirations, fabrics, colors. Get rid of the limits in your head as much as possible. Build the different parts of your collection on paper and at the same time start researching production, unless you are going to sew your own line. In my opinion, in our time it is extremely important to think in the direction of sustainability and environmentally friendly . Look for materials that do not harm nature so much, study various traders and manufacturers and their practices. New and new clothes are constantly being created. Find a way for your collection not to be another one.
Step 4 Production
The production of clothes or accessories can take place in a small studio, your personal studio with tailors hired by you, a large local workshop or a company abroad. Your choice depends on the minimum quantity you will produce. In Bulgaria, fortunately, there are good options for private studios that are ready to produce smaller quantities if you are not ready to start with 100-200 pieces of a model. For cool souls I found just such a studio after many months of searching for quality, speed, accuracy and good price. Take time for samples and samples at all potential manufacturers and see which of them communication is the easiest, optimal, pleasant.
Step 5 Build the space in which you will offer your creations.
Whether online or in physical space, creation will take time. There are many small obstacles you may encounter when building an online store. There are already many consumer protection laws that we need to keep in mind. I would spend at least 6 months setting up a basic online store.
Step 6 Create social channels and start marketing campaigns.
Instagram and others networks is the best method of presenting your brand for free. People love to see the process of creating a brand. Arouse their curiosity with a little behind the scenes footage. Advertising channels for a fashion brand are very important. The people who advertise it and the places where it is presented embody the values of the brand. In the beginning it will be good to try different channels. Cool souls has been advertised by great young influencers in recent years. But before that I tested other ways of advertising such as Facebook ads, media publications and more. Later you could look for pop-up events, bazaars, exhibitions in which to participate with your brand.
Step 7 The collection is ready, it's time for photos.
In my opinion, this is the favorite part of every designer - to see his collection ready and stylized. For businesses with only an online presence, photo shoots are key and should present the collection in the best light. They bring the mood of the collection. The style of the photographer must correspond to that of the brand in order to have harmony in the work. Find a team to create something memorable.
And so begins the story of your brand. Load up with patience and enthusiasm. Creating something from scratch is not easy, but it is very satisfying.