In this article, Fashion Brand Consultant Elizabeth Stiles shares her top eight tips on developing a commercial product range.
In previous articles, I have discussed starting a successful fashion business and shared some key tips to aid you in your start-up journey. Once the business concept has been carefully crafted and established, it’s inevitable that you will be faced with the task of building a commercial product range.
With a daunting amount of aspects to consider, it becomes far easier to work through once broken down into manageable categories, which is what I am here to do for you.
Anyone affiliated with the fashion world knows the sheer pace by which trends come and go. Whilst some businesses may seize the opportunity to use trends to their advantage, feeding into the industry where seasons obsess over certain trends, other fashion businesses choose to hold on tight to the unique selling points of their business and therefore distance their niche products from popular trends. Regardless of whether you closely follow trends or rally against them, consistency is key.
In order to assure that your product range reaches its optimum potential, it is essential that you pay extremely close attention to past facts and figures.
With close analysis of previous data, you can easily assess the best and worst selling items and transfer this information across to your future planning. In doing so, you’re sure to keep the most popular items in your product range and remove the lesser performers.
Looking at your competition should always be an encouraging rather than discouraging task. It’s the perfect way to establish your niche in comparison to your competitors. Whilst it may be easy to focus on individual garments, it’s far more beneficial to take a step back and assess the bigger picture. Think animal print rather than snakeskin square-toe boots, or utility rather than khaki boiler suit. Bigger messages such as these make it far simpler to draw comparisons between your product range and the competition, and in turn secure your niche.
When it comes to pricing, it doesn’t matter whether you position yourself as high-end or high street, as long as the prices make sense. Naturally, there must be a clear proposition of value, which will be subsequently reflected in the price. The attention with pricing is in the details – charging more for an embroidered tee over a printed tee, and charging less for a plain dress over an embellished dress. Quality, accessibility and ethics of material are also crucial aspects to consider when it comes to allocating price points, as these add value to the item.
Shopping habits are primarily characterised by a buy now, wear now approach. Planning ahead is therefore essential to assure that your product will launch at the intended time, maximising sales in the process with each product falling at the targeted time.
Knowing your customer is a fundamental part of shaping your product range, as you must always have your target audience in mind throughout every decision. The customer is the gateway to sales so pay close attention to what they want to see in your products. Similarly, the customer is solely responsible for moulding each piece of data that will guide your future decisions.
Unless you’re one of the lucky ones, financial planning and budgets will eternally loom over your head. As long as you plan ahead, money need not hinder your success. Break down what your budget allows for when it comes to each category, such as stock. Once you have a figure in mind, break that down further and assess quantities, followed by the prices for each item, making sure you stay within your budget’s allowance.
Offering items in a variety of colourways speaks volumes about how strongly you believe in the shape and silhouette. Not only does it widen your product range, but it can also come in handy in the factory. The pressures of adhering to factory’s minimum order quantities can soon be solved by ordering a set number of one item, split straight down the middle into half of each colourway. Personal problems solved, and more choice for the customer. Win, win!
I hope this article has shared some useful ideas when it comes to building a commercial product range so that you can avoid all pitfalls and boast the most thriving range of product!
If you want to discuss anything further, do not hesitate to contact me directly on any of my social media channels or website, found below.
Elizabeth is a fashion brand consultant. It’s safe to say she knows the buying and supply process inside out; she now wants to share everything with you so that you’re set to create new collections or develop your product range armed with the knowledge to succeed.
Elizabeth works with covetable clothing brand owners, taking designs effortlessly from paper to production & guiding you step-by-step so that you can turn your creative clothing ideas into reality.