July 29, 2021
By: Peter Gregory
After a tough year in 2020, luxury is back with a vengeance!
Recent data shows that the UK’s luxury fashion sector is on track to grow by a whopping 13% in 2021 alone (source: Statistica). It’s a lucrative market, but it can be hard to break in … especially if you’re a new clothing business.
Here at GB Labels, we’ve watched countless clothing businesses go from the kitchen table to the catwalk over the years. The clothing businesses that have gone on to conquer the luxury market all have a few things in common: a relentless commitment to quality, a canny approach to branding and distribution and a very determined attitude!
In this guide, we’ll show you how you can tweak your brand, business model and product line so that you can compete at the highest end of the fashion market.
The luxury goods sector is a very demanding marketplace. It might sound obvious, but to impress a luxury buyer, your clothes need to be truly exceptional.
You’re fighting for the attention of a very small number of very lucrative consumers. If the product you’re making isn’t something truly unique and luxurious, then you need to stop and reconsider what you’re doing. You can either go back to the drawing board and improve the product, or you can consider selling to other markets.
The core of a great luxury clothing product lies in its design. The feel, fit and function of the garment needs to be exceptional. You’re aiming for perfection, so redraft your design obsessively. Fuss over every aspect of the garment, from trim to textile choice. Test it out on real-life people wherever you get the opportunity (friends and family are a great test market!)
The concept of ‘luxury’ doesn’t stop at the garment itself — it’s also about what you can offer your buyers before and after they buy.
You can have the most luxurious products in the world, but if your brand doesn’t feel luxurious, then you’ll find it much harder to break into the industry.
Design is important. Remember that fashion buyers are going to look at your website and email signature long before they actually hold your product in their hands. Invest in your brand: everything about your business, from the font you use on your emails to the logo you put on your website, needs to give off a premium vibe.
Invest in your brand story, too. Why did you set up this company? What challenges did you face? Where do your materials come from and how do you make your product? Write it all down — it’s all a vital part of what makes a luxury brand. When a buyer holds your garment in their hands, they need to appreciate the materials, the craftsmanship and the unique origin story behind the product. It’s a vital part of the luxury sales pitch.
As soon as you have your brand story and design ‘locked down’ in your mind, it’s time to move on to your labelling strategy! A luxury label should be strong and distinctive. It should complement the central promise of your product, and act as a seal of approval on everything you sell. There’s a virtually limitless combination of textures, sheens, shapes and colours to choose from. That’s what we’re here to help with at GB Labels! Get a free pack of sample labels from our site, then give us a call when it arrives through the post. We’re very happy to share our experience.
If you want to create a sense of exclusivity around your brand, then you have to pick and choose your distribution network carefully. It feels wrong to say no to any shop that wants to sell your designs — especially at the start of your business journey — but it’s the price you pay for creating an exclusive product.
Just remember that luxury is a sliding scale. You get to decide just how exclusive and upmarket you go. Here are some of the ‘pools’ of luxury buyer that you can pitch to:
Be warned: the journey to the top of the luxury market is never a smooth one. You’re in a highly competitive industry, with fewer buyers to pitch to. The more selective you are about who you sell to, the harder you have to work for every sale.
If you have faith in the quality of your goods, and if you can get your product design, marketing and sales strategy right, then you can make a dent in the luxury industry. Good luck!
Thanks for reading!