A lot of underground apparel comes and goes quicker than a part-time job paycheck. Then you have a few brands who you can tell are truly study and developing a business based around eCommerce. One of our favorite brands to work with, and that our CEO is also an ambassador for is No Rivals. They have, in a very short time, made themselves not only a reputable clothing line, but have added layer after layer to their growing collections and services. VILLACULT is another fast rising brand. With a few small launches to get them going in 2019, they saw almost every tee they put out... sell out. Recently launched clothing line, which is owned by our CEO, MEDITATED MERCH is now a quick rising name in the underground. Other names that should be mentioned are DXXDRICH Apparel, WeTheIndigo, Ensomber, F$B, and we are sure there are many many more. All of these brands have something in common. Knowledge and a passion for the field.
Yes, it is very easy to start a quote unquote clothing line. Simply google a few things type in some prices and throw a png at a product. Now you technically own a clothing line. However, are you truly doing what it takes to get your merchandise the attention it needs. Dealing with service fees, printers, embroidery fees, digitization fees, and many more hidden charges usually cause for underground apparel brands to be highly priced. To be fair, thats the only way to truly get a profit. Most begin to look for their own equipment or outlets instead of using what is essentially eCommerce to make their product for eCommerce purposes. Then once you can begin to have a conversion rate, it is time to take that up. Below we are going to give you three tips for starting a clothing line that will last longer than a month. As we have seen, the clothing business isn't really about if the product is good because in most cases it is. Its about is it being truly seen and interacted with.
TIP 1 - PHLANX
It is a product that comes with a monthly fee. Phlanx.com is an asset every creative or service provider should be using. They offer a free one month free trial, and capitalizing on that alone is worth it. It comes with engagement rate calculators for all social media platforms, which can help you know how to increase your traffic, and what your audience is already interacting with. There are many other features rolled into one site, but we will leave the rest up to you.
TIP 2 - HOSTING
There are many hosting sites for clothing brands. Big Cartel, ETSY, and Shopify are just a few. While we recommend you do your homework first, all three can do the job that is needed. However, if we were to suggest one it would be Shopify. It is one the more expensive monthly charge spectrum, but it comes with multiple apps and integrations that help you be successful. This is especially true when utilizing tools like PHLANX. Big Cartel is a nice easy to use host site, and all three should integrate with your printer just fine. Remember, the goal is to one day cut out the printer and run everything internally. If you have dealt with Printful, you know exactly what we mean. Once you start a clothing brand of your own, you no longer wonder why an item has a shipping cost of nine dollars. The most important factor of hosting is the domain though. Whether you are using Shopify, Big Cartel, or you are going to be slowly shifting from one to the other, make sure to register your domain. A dot com is one of the most fundamental pieces of any business. Face value alone, and many studies, show that people are much more likely to interact and purchase from a dot com over a big cartel . xyz . yeah you get it. Domains are a once a year fee that is not very much. We would like to say approximately $15. Invest at least that much into your apparel journey.
TIP 3 - INFLUENCERS
It takes money to make money. In fact, it often takes a loss to make money. ROI is a big thing in the clothing industry. If you are wondering what an influencer is, it is anyone or anything that can help drive traffic to your content and help give it a reputable name. There are countless YouTube tutorials on how to find influencers, and no method is proven to work best. PHLANX also ties back into this tip. Our one tip is to remember when trying to reach out to bigger names on Instagram or Twitter, never ask them to model the freebies. Studies have shown people are more likely (especially celebrities) to show off freebies given to them by a brand or person who treats them like what they are.... another human being. Remember to approach influencers with a casual, no strings attached manner. In the end you do take some losses, but one big name saying they rock with your apparel is all it takes for an eighty dollar loss to turn into an ROI of eight hundred.
We hope these small tips help you. Of course, we didnt give you the full scoop. We support art, but its your job to go and create it. Remember, there is no right and wrong in the fashion industry. However, there is a map of what direction you should at least be traveling towards.
Below are some of our favorite underground brands and hyperlinks to their sites. Please take a look at their products and shop if you feel like you want. All the brands have been tested and the material is quality as well as the product and company themselves.