Have you ever thought about creating your own business or brand?
We are in the middle of creating a new line at work and one of my interns commented that she couldn’t believe that we just had an hour long meeting about a box….this was months into our process of developing the box, just one of many meetings. It got me thinking about how much really goes into creating a brand identity.
Our new brand journey began a little less than a year ago when we had the idea to move forward with this new shoe line. We went about the process a little more backwards than one normally would, because we wanted to create a lifestyle, then the product to fit.
At our big shoe show in Las Vegas, we walked the isles and isles of endless amounts of shoes and then walked Magic, where the apparel companies show. We noticed that there was a huge void in this particular category of shoes, where the fashion had progressed, but the footwear hadn’t. This began our concept.
We wanted a cool, hip, fashionable men’s line. The men’s footwear business is boring. Unless you buy sneakers every single brand looks almost exactly the same. If men wanted fashion shoes, they were wearing Nike and Reebok etc. not grown up men’s wear. We wanted to build a line where a grown man could easily express his style but be able to go from work to play in the same pair of shoes.
When we got back to St. Louis, we had a meeting to talk about what our plan was. We decided on a name and a color scheme. Do you know how much work it takes to get 10 people with completely different opinions and ages and style to get on the same page?! Over a period of 6 months we saw new logo designs and color combos come in and out of our door.
The next step was the box. Another 3 months of deliberation about color, thickness, box shape, design etc were mulled over. At the same time we tried to identify our target consumer. How old is he, what does he wear, where does he work, who does he hang out with, is he white, black, gay, asian… there are so many potential people who could wear this brand, and we have to hit all of them, or we will lose them forever.
Then we had to create the product. How different can we be, but still be able to sell to the mass market? What styles are men willing to buy? Men buy shoes differently than women, how can we create a fashion that will last for a long period of time?
From here we have to decide how to roll our our launch. Are we buying product up front or taking orders before the buy? How are we going to reach new customers? What is our tradeshow booth going to look like? What should store displays look like? How do we design our product going forward so that it stays new and interesting to our target market?
A brand launch is one thing, but keeping true to your brand mission and target market is a life long endeavor and is much more work than you could imagine, and we are getting ready to take our first big step into the real retail world.
Have you ever thought about creating your own brand? What was your experience like?