Hug Your Shoulders

Photo by Max Anderson

How you can get inside your clients’ homes forever

Hug your shoulders. Nod your head. Your upper body — what shows above the keyboard — is your prime real-estate to express your story from the screen. Anyone can have an apparel line through branded and promotional apparel with a little guidance. Your message must foster a community of unity and togetherness, especially on Zoom, when personal connection can be challenging.

What’s more fabulous is knowing that Zoom calls have the potential to be live on social media channels, like YouTube or Facebook, getting your message out to millions. Apparel has the potential to turn your raving fans into happy clientele. And when you communicate with them correctly, those fans also become akin to billboards, advertising and fielding questions on your behalf.

Sending mail is a great way to reach your community. Everyone loves to open packages. Add little sparkly, special packaging to inspire more love and joy. Encourage your fans to create unboxing videos on social media.

So how will you be in your client’s homes forever? Just think: all it takes is a wonderful T-shirt, hat or pair of socks toting your message to keep your clients loving you for life.

As business strategist Forbes Riley mentioned, everyone wants swag. And she knows what she is talking about; her radio show now broadcasts videos live on social media to a wide audience of more than one million.

Similarly, Eric Zuley, founder of EZWay TV Network, promotes a basic T-shirt apparel line on all his shows as a form of branding and extra revenue stream.

“It’s fun,” he said.

Ava Boudi, founder of busy-mom.com, also wants moms to know that they too can have a clothing collection with social media marketing and print-on-demand capabilities while also managing a full-family schedule.

Terance Coffee, professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, advised all aspiring designers to find the “inner you” and keep finding ways to create. Whatever your message is, you must create as you make your tribe happy.

Now that we understand why branded and promotional apparel is a powerful way to impact your tribe on a large scale, how can you make it happen? The business of apparel is enormous and often gritty, yet it’s this behind-the-scenes toughness that people love.

Where do you begin? Here are three ways anyone can have a collection in 90 days without worrying about size or fit.

1. Manufacturing

Are you aspiring to have a complete collection that’s truly your own? You can employ a full-service manufacturer to create samples with potential to run a full production. Our advice to those interested in creating their own fashion collection is to first create your samples. Companies such as Lefty, Teg and Creative Visual Concepts will walk you through the entire process. Do not produce your full collection — yet. 

Next, create a photoshoot of the samples and pre-sell online. Find your target market — the people you want to spend time with — and make sure they are in alignment with your brand. This gives you the time to sell or test in advance and know the precise amount to create.

2. Private Label

With private label, you have the opportunity to select pre-designed pieces as your backbone to assert your creativity. A great place to find private label offerings is at the Sourcing@Magic trade show in Vegas, which is expected to resume this August.

Galina Sobalev of the label Single Dresses in Los Angeles offers private label, with minimums of 20 pieces, allowing you to start small — a dream for all retailers and small business owners looking for novel ways to express their art. With 65 million people at home right now, you can create uniqueness with robes, pajamas, loungewear, or “Zoom tops.”

3. Basics

While a vaccine rolls out and hope for a normal life spreads, your clients are enjoying cozy, sophisticated comfort. So, put your message on it!

You can do it that with blanks. Blank apparel was traditionally understood as a T-shirt; today, it’s anything that can be decorated, such as tops, hats, pants, athleisure — even aprons and socks. Affordable, attainable and needing only a two- to three-week turn around, you can create a red-carpet look or a casual one.

In fact, why worry about something as important as fit when you want to focus on your art, creativity and building your brand awareness or your tribe? There is already a fit and style in every size with blanks.

Whether your purpose is to build a brand or to use apparel for promotional use, think of blank basics as an ingredient. Brands like Bella & Canvas, Next Level and AS Colour offer a variety of colors and fits, allowing you to be as creative as you like. Pick your blank, combine it with the other ingredients — such as your artwork, technical process and label — and create a finished product.

A screen printer like Deluxe Screen Printing in Los Angeles requires fewer than 30 pieces to get started. You can also use popular print-on-demand solutions, like Gooten and Printify, that make it easy for anyone to have a collection set within a few hours with nearly no overhead.

Don’t be afraid to test new things. Busy styles look cool with graphics. You’ll be amazed – just make sure your message, your art and your heart are above the keyboard to be seen!

As a creative brand strategist and apparel expert, Daniella Platt’s latest book, “Looking Good: Be A Sales Rockstar & Fashion Startup Playbook” and masterclass guide brands to take their art to the world. Her Jungle collection is available at jungleandcoffee.com. Connect with her at hello@lookinggoodyaya.com.