Why planning ahead is the backbone to your apparel.
We all know that planning ahead is crucial. Whether it is packing the right snacks for a road trip or forecasting your company’s revenue, all plans big and small make our lives easier in the long run. Developing a retail strategy for your branded apparel will be the backbone that ensures that you have on-season product when the season arrives. This can apply to specific examples such as holiday product lines and company gifting or broader, wider range releases such as seasonal launches.
There are a variety of factors to take into consideration when you’re creating your retail strategy. There aren’t a “top three best retail strategies”, and each program will be different based on a number of components. Here are some examples are:
You’re a mid-sized mountain bike manufacturer and you want to drop a line of custom hats and flannels for the fall and winter. You know when it’d be a bad time to start thinking about this? Fall. Realistically, you will want to start the process as early as late winter (six months out) sourcing hats and developing artwork. While it may feel weird to be shopping for beanies and flannels when the calendar is telling you spring is coming and winter is ending, this sort of planning will reduce significant headaches.
This is a huge part of the process that comes into play right at the beginning. Will your organization be providing artwork or will you be relying on outsourcing design? This can impact your production time. If you’re providing artwork, make sure that your files match all design requirements. If you’re outsourcing, make sure the creative team you’re working with understands your story, brand, and vision.
Range of products
You’re a festival that takes place in Las Vegas every summer with an expected attendance of 60,000 each day. You want a line of products across all genders that represent this year’s line-up in the tens of thousands of units. Working with a company that has the ability to execute on providing the range of products that you’re looking for on top of desired quantities, warehousing, and shipping are all critical to ensuring that the product is on-site for your merchandise manager on a specific date.
Type of products
Your non-profit organization recently partnered with a sizable donor who’s prepared to fund a full line of sustainable materials apparel–caps, beanies, tees, tanks, button-ups, etc. Sourcing these may seem like a headache until you partner with the right company who has access to such specific products.
Desired in-hands date
Realistically planning out an ideal in-hands date is critical. Be honest. If you’re generous at the beginning of the project with a timeline and don’t have a buffer to protect against shipping errors, staffing issues, and everyday life, you may miss critical selling windows.
At the end of the day, your company is looking for retail-quality branded apparel but developing those lines isn’t what your company does – you’re a brewery, a regional chain of cat cafes, a fly fishing brand, or a festival. You’re managing your company or marketing department, not researching tee shirt blanks or illustrating on-brand artwork. While dialing in the five tips above has the potential to get you a lot closer to having a retail strategy, every company and product release has unique needs, and working with a company that has teams dedicated to this will get you to where you want to be. Brist Mfg is a company highly skilled in product positioning, creative services, manufacturing, warehousing, and fulfillment. We take pride in helping our customers do what they do best by doing what we do best.
Give us a holler and let’s start working on a retail strategy that will guarantee a rad line of products that are right on schedule.