How to Launch your Own Bag Brand
Looking to break into the fashion industry? We wish you every success, but we also know from some of our own customers that it can be quite challenging to jump immediately into runway couture. A less daunting way to get started is with accessories, which can often be designed at a lower cost and in less time than other high-end clothing items.
Bags, in particular, are a great entry point to make a name for yourself, as well as a little extra income. While there’s still lots to think about when it comes to bag design, you can build a successful brand with a little time, effort and creativity. We’ve certainly helped others do the same. Here, we share our seven-step plan to launch your own bag brand.
How to Create your Own Bag Line
What’s your niche?
The first question to ask is what kind of bag do I want to design? This could be a specific type or style of bag, or it could focus around a theme such as bags for kids, seasonal designs or environmentally-friendly materials. For example, we recently wrote about a return of the classic “bum bag” and how designers are finding new ways to refresh the iconic bag through sleek, sophisticated and modern designs.
One way to find your focus is to design a bag for a particular activity, like a trolley bag for transport, a duffel bag for sports fans or a cool laptop bag for fashionable professionals. Whatever your focus, we recommend choosing something that interests you. Without focus, the design possibilities can be overwhelming. Offering too many options at the onset can dilute your brand and impact and will make marketing your bags that much harder!
Build your business plan.
OK, you’ve got your niche! Now it’s time to build your business plan. It might seem like a chore, but creating a business plan is a great exercise to articulate important aspects of your bag brand, such as the value you provide and your target audience. It’s also a good moment to analyse your market, research the competition and establish your financials.
Combined, your business plan will give you a path forward and help you stay within your budget. Depending on your resources, a business plan is also a critical tool should you need to seek investment for your brand.
Build a brand.
Next up is building a brand. If you’re new to the business, you’ll need to come up with a logo, brand promise and identity. This will help you differentiate yourself in the market and attract customers.
As you build your brand, keep your target customers in mind. What matters to them? Who are they? Are they most concerned about cost? Fashion? Practicality? All these decisions can help inform your brand, from the name of your business to your logo to how you market your products.
It might sound like a lot, but you can do most of this yourself! If you need help with some aspects of building a brand, you can seek help from a number of freelance designers and marketing professionals. Try exploring sites like Creative Market, Fiverr, Upwork or Behance to help build and showcase your new brand.
Create your designs.
Here comes the fun part! No matter your level of design experience, you can put together the perfect bag. If you’re an adept designer, use a program like Illustrator to map out your designs.
Another option for people less versed in design is to work with a manufacturer who can turn your sketches or ideas into a full design, including size, style, fabric, colour and special enhancements. This is just one of the many services we offer at Rocket Bags.
Manufacture your bag.
Once your design is complete, you’ll need to find a manufacturer – essentially, someone who will produce and ship your bags to you. To help, here’s four things we think you should consider when selecting a bag manufacturer:
- Is there a minimum order quantity? Estimate the number of bags you’ll need for your initial order and seek a manufacturer that can produce that quantity.
- Do you offer free design assistance? Surprisingly, this type of support isn’t always offered as standard.
- What are my options for custom materials and design features? Ask if they can accommodate the material, shape and size of your bag, including special features like pockets or zippers.
- What happens if I’m unhappy with the final product? Before you commit, check what policies are in place should there be an issue.
Take your bag to market.
How and where will you sell your bags? Think back to your niche. Who is your customer? A good baseline question is, where do they shop: online or in retail stores? Or both?
The UK has the third largest e-commerce market in the world. Online purchases of clothes and sporting goods is most popular among younger people, aged 16 to 24 years, and more than half of households in general have purchased these items. So, if you’re designing a trendy, of-the-moment bag (like a modern bum bag), selling it online is a smart move. Consider online marketplaces like Etsy, Not on the High Street, Amazon Handmade and Shopify. Be sure to also think about the nitty gritty of how your business would handle shipping and returns when researching the e-commerce market.
Or do your potential customers prefer retail shopping? Another strategy is to find stockists to help get your bags in stores. If you have the time and resources, consider a combined strategy that incorporates both online and in-person sales.
In addition to designing your bag, you’ll also want to think about how you package it. Branded swing tags are just one great way to provide additional information about your vision and your brand.
Continue to grow your brand.
You might find success with one bag, but how do you translate that to other designs? One idea is to create modified versions of your most popular products based on seasons and fashions trends. You can also make minimal modifications to elements like fabric and colour and add embellishments like patches. Create a version for kids, try his and hers styles or leverage pop-culture moments.
Hopefully this post has inspired you to get started on launching your very own bag brand. We’ve helped many customers successfully create their own bag brands, and we can help you do the same, too. Think about these seven steps and get in touch with us anytime for a free consultation on how you can launch your own bag brand today!