Tag Archive for: fashion brand

Podcast Round-Up

To celebrate the launch of our podcast, I’m starting a new monthly email series to round-up all of the episodes of the past month.

This will make it really easy for you to binge the episodes all at once (every episode is less than 20 minutes!)

So, without further ado, here’s what we released in January:

Ep. 01 How to Start a Sustainable Fashion Brand (9 minutes)

You want to start a sustainable fashion brand that’s ethically manufactured and eco-friendly, that’s why you’re here. The question is: Where do you start? What does it mean to be “sustainable” and what are some of the most important things you should keep in mind as you build your brand? That’s what I’m going to share with you in today’s episode.

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify


Ep. 02 This is a Required Trait of a Fashion Entrepreneur (4 minutes)

If you truly want to be an entrepreneur, then it virtually guarantees you will run into problems — in the beginning, it will probably be on a daily basis. But to reach any level of success, problems require problem solvers. There’s no way around it. In this episode, I’m talking about the main trait required of an entrepreneur.

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify


Ep. 03 Write a Business Plan for Your Fashion Brand in 5 Easy Steps (20 minutes)

Back in 2010, I was starting a fashion brand that was sustainably and ethically made in the USA but at the time, I didn’t have any experience in fashion or manufacturing. I was a journalism major in college, my then-cofounder was a business major so when we were first starting out we followed the traditional business advice… And in this episode, I want to make sure you don’t make the same mistake.

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify


Ep. 04 Coming Out as a Fashion Entrepreneur & How to Deal with Critics (8 minutes)

In last week’s episode, I talked about entrepreneurship, resilience and the importance of getting comfortable with failure. I argued that resilience is a skill that can be practiced. I also argued that, for most of us, it’s a necessary reprogramming if we learned to avoid failure growing up. And in today’s episode, I want to take this a step further…

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify


Ep. 05 How to Build a Following Before You Launch Your Fashion Brand (14 minutes)

Today we are talking about a topic that is near and dear to my heart — and it’s something that most new fashion founders generally avoid doing. In this episode, I’m sharing four ways to build an audience before you launch your fashion brand.

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify


Ep. 06 6 Eco-Friendly Fabrics for Your Sustainable Fashion Brand (6 minutes)

If you’re looking for eco-friendly fabrics for your sustainable fashion brand, then this is the episode for you. I’m going to share the pros and cons of six of my favorite eco-friendly fabrics.

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify


Remember, there are additional resources linked below every episode for you to get started and take action : )

“See” you on the Live Show next week!

 


business plan

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify


Back in 2010, I was starting a fashion brand that was sustainably and ethically made in the USA but at the time, I didn’t have any experience in fashion or manufacturing. I was a journalism major in college, my then-cofounder was a business major so when we were first starting out we followed the traditional business advice…. And in this episode, I want to make sure you don’t make the same mistake.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Free One Page Business Plan Template: Text  +1 (760) 274-8577 or access here.




TRANSCRIPT 

Back in 2010, I was starting a fashion brand that was sustainably and ethically made in the USA but at the time, I didn’t have any experience in fashion or manufacturing. I was a journalism major in college, my then-cofounder was a business major so when we were first starting out we followed the traditional business advice…. And in this episode, I want to make sure you don’t make the same mistake.

So when I was first starting out, the business advice we followed mainly came from my co-founder’s business degree and what our dads said we should do. The advice was that, before we did anything, we needed to write a business plan. I remember being in Nicaragua, visiting an organic cotton farm, before we even really had any sketches or designs on paper and sitting in the room of our hostel, opening a blank Word document and starting to write our business plan. I’m pretty sure we just followed a template or outline we found on Legal Zoom and then I remember going back to the United States a month later and still working on that same Word document.

By the time the business plan was done, it was 40 pages long and had taken us three months to write. And do you know what we did with it? We each sent copies of it to our parents. Not to investors or potential partners, not even to win a grant or get a business loan, the farthest that 40-page document ever got was to the email inboxes of our parents, — who maybe were proud of us but definitely did not read all 40 pages.

Here’s the truth that you probably won’t learn if you went to business school or took any traditional business courses, unless you’re pitching your brand to investors or applying for a bank loan, you 100% do not need a traditional long-form business plan.

We never used the business plan we wrote and instead, a few months later, we rewrote the original document into a simple one-page business plan that we could actually use. And that’s what I want to teach you in this episode. My goal is for you to have a one-page business plan for your fashion brand that you can continue to edit, tweak and adjust as you move forward and make progress. So for now, let’s start building the foundation.

If you have not already texted me to receive my free business plan template, then go ahead and do that now. Just text “business plan” to +1 (760) 274-8577 and we’ll get it sent over to you right now so you can follow along and fill it out on your own as I go. I really want you to go through this with me in real time, if you can, so that by the time this episode is over you will have the basics of your business plan written down in front of you. Think about how good that will feel, okay? So go ahead and click pause right now so you can wait for the template and then continue listening once you have it – it will only take a couple of minutes to send it over.

Alright, so the one-page business plan is broken up into 5 sections that are divided up in the template — it starts with “Your Vision,” then “Your Target Market,” then “Your Competitive Advantage,” then “Your Business Model” and finally “Your Financial Summary.” This gives us 5 easy steps to work from as we start to get your ideas on paper. And yes, the template is three pages but when you put all of your answers together it will condense down to one page.

Let’s start with your vision. And for the purposes of going through the template, I’m going to use an imaginary company as an example. So let’s say my business is a lifestyle brand that sells fanny packs for minimalist travelers. The first prompt under “Your Vision” is to describe the mission, ethics and values behind your company in one sentence. So here’s what I would write for my fanny pack brand:

Fabulous fanny packs is a lifestyle brand for minimalist travelers who want to lighten their luggage and lighten their environmental footprint by purchasing our sustainably and ethically made fanny packs from recycled materials.

So you’re essentially stating the immediate goal and mission of your brand. What are you creating for your customer right now? Click pause and write down your one sentence description of your own company’s mission, ethics and values. Remember, this does not need to be perfect, it does not need to be set in stone, it can even be written in paraphrases and then you can refine it later. The point here is to simply take action and get something down on paper in front of you.

The second prompt for Your Vision is more aspirational and focuses on what you want your brand to become. The prompt says “​​What do you see for the future of your company?” So I would type in here: 

Fabulous fanny packs aims to create products that are made from 100% recycled materials while offering a buy-back program to close the loop on our fanny packs’ end life.

So you can see from my example how the buy-back program may not be an immediate option because of logistics and the time it will take to set it up but it’s a visionary statement for where the brand aims to go. Maybe for you, it’s donating a portion of profits to a cause that matters to your customer, or creating your own factory that’s a cooperative so profits are shared among employees or maybe it’s partnering with one of the bigger fashion brands to make use of their textile waste. Whatever bigger ideas and vision you have for your brand — that’s what you want to put here, knowing that it all doesn’t have to happen from the beginning and the vision is always subject to change. Hit pause and write down your vision statement for the future.

Okay, so that’s step #1 – Your Vision. Step #2 of your one-page business plan is Your Target Market. And the first prompt is: Write a one-sentence description of your ideal target customer. You’ve probably already done this before if you’re not just starting out, but whereas most business coaches will prompt you to write out demographics like age, gender, location, marital status, etc. I’m much more interested in positioning this description based on what your ideal target customer cares about.

Yes, age, gender, location, etc. are important to get a baseline of your audience as a whole but I think it’s far more powerful to think of your customer in a deeper way — and not to get too hung up on these superficial demographics. People are complex, there’s a good chance your ideal target customer is complex and the way you describe your target audience should reflect that. So I really encourage you to dig deep on this — for Fabulous Fannypacks, here’s how I would describe my ideal customer: 

The Fabulous Fannypacks customer cares deeply about the world around them and makes choices based on the good of the collective — they are progressive, open-minded, nature-loving, aspiring minimalists who live in coastal cities and love to travel off the beaten path.

I had to add a dash in there to get to one sentence (which is totally fine) and you can even do two sentences — the goal with keeping this brief is just to make sure you’re getting to the point, cutting down on excess words and being succinct in your description. But hopefully, as you can see from my example, you have a very clear picture and idea in your head of who this person is. More than anything you want your one-sentence description to paint a picture of your quote-unquote person. Press pause so you can go ahead and write your own one-sentence description of your ideal target customer.

Okay, so the next question, to define your ideal customer even more, is: Where is this person hanging out online? 

Especially if you plan to sell direct to consumer or ecommerce, it’s so important to be able to connect and communicate with your target audience online. So for my customer, my list of platforms would be something like:

They scroll Instagram (but feel guilty about it), avoid Facebook, subscribe to travel blogs like Expert Vagabond, read other online blogs like Mr. Money Mustache, listen to NPR, subscribe to the New York Times daily briefing and listen to Podcasts like Reply All and 1619.

I made this example up in about 30 seconds, but for you, this part is super important and worth spending quite a bit of time diving into. So for now, just jot down a few of the outlets or platforms that immediately come to mind (for example, your target market is millennial moms and you know they’re definitely reading theSkimm every morning) but then come back to this to go deeper.

The next question under your Target Audience is: What is your customer’s main problem (that relates to your product)? When it comes to the fashion industry, every product, garment or accessory that you make needs to have a bigger problem at the root of it. And if you look hard enough, every product will have one. It can be as basic as, your clothing helps stay at home moms feel more beautiful when they get dressed in the morning. So, go ahead and state the problem that your customer has here. 

For the example of Fabulous Fannypacks, I’m going to write down that my customer’s problem is not having easy access to important travel documents, their phone and money when traveling. Click pause and write down the problem that your product or brand aims to solve.

This question about the problem that your customer has, then leads us into the next section, step #3 of your business plan, which is Your Competitive Advantage.

What is your solution to your customer’s problem? And this is the first question that asks for a two-sentence answer because it’s truly that important. Here’s my answer for the hypothetical Fabulous Fannypacks:

The problem that my product solves for my ideal customer is the ease of packing light. My customer can wear a backpack on their back and a fannypack on their front and be set for weeks of adventure never worrying about their passport being stolen out of their backpack zipper or the key to their hostel getting lost in the bottom of their backpack. 

Press pause now so you can write down your competitive advantage — what solution does your product or brand provide to the problem you wrote down above it?

Next you’ll name 3-5 brands that are trying to sell a similar problem. You could call these brands competitors but you could also call them collaborators, which is the mindset I prefer to take. But you’ll research these 3-5 brands to see what they’re doing in terms of branding, messaging, price point and product and then either a.) figure out how you can solve the problem in a better, more efficient or more profitable way or b.) figure out how to eventually cross promote each other and get in front of each other’s audiences in a collaborative way.

This is another area of your business plan that you’ll really want to take time with — especially if you know you’re entering a saturated market. But for now, jot down 3 brands that immediately come to mind as solving a similar problem as your brand or product.

The next prompt under your Competitive Advantage is: How are you different from similar products out there? (which also allows for two sentences.) So once you identify the 3-5 other brands on the market that are also trying to solve the problem you want to solve for your customer, you’ll want to identify how your product or brand is different. Here’s my example:

Fabulous Fannypacks is different from competitors in design as it offers hidden pouches, pockets and a unique design that isn’t seen in traditional fannypacks. It’s also made from 100% recycled materials which sets it apart for its ideal target customer who is looking to reduce their environmental footprint and make mindful purchases.

You know the drill by now, hit pause and write down how your product or brand is different from similar products on the market right now.

Step #4 of your business plan is Your Business Model which thankfully, is pretty straightforward for most brands (since I know the first three sections are a bit of doozy) but the first question is: Where do you sell your product? Don’t overthink this — it could be as simple of an answer as “your website” but it also dependent on the next question in this section which is: 

How do you sell your product? For most people, it will be either direct-to-consumer via ecommerce, wholesale to stores, online marketplaces or boutiques or a combination of both. There are also quite a wide array of wholesale options nowadays with so many variations of third-party sellers so you can explore taking an omni-channel approach but you’ll want to outline that plan for selling here.

So, for Fabulous Fannypacks, I’m going to say that we sell only direct to consumer via our Shopify site.

This section is also where you can expand upon your business model if you want to and talk more about your supply chain and manufacturing plan in terms of how you’re going to create your product.

And then the very last section of your one-page business plan is your Financial Summary. I’m not going to dive into this too much right now because it’s so dependent on whether you have your costs and total cost of goods sold sorted out yet. But as you get a better idea of materials costs, labor costs and packaging costs, you’ll want to update this section to have a better understanding of how much per unit it costs to produce your products and how much you need to sell to break even and then of course, make a profit.

Alright, so by the time you’re done filling out the template, you can pull all of your answers into one Google doc that will most likely be less than a page long. This is your one-page business plan. The key here is to make sure that it’s always accessible, editable and being updated as your vision, target market, competitive advantage, business model and financial projections change. But for now these are the things to guide each business decision you make moving forward.

I hope this was helpful — the section that most people struggle with is your competitive advantage. So if you start working on that and are feeling stumped or that your product doesn’t actually solve a problem, then make sure to subscribe to the podcast so you know when future episodes drop. I’m going to talk a lot more about how to identify your unique selling position which will be really helpful in fleshing out your business plan.  

Thank you so much for listening and don’t forget, there are two ways to get your free one-page business plan template — just text +1 (760) 274-8577 or you can go to the link in the description of this episode and download it to your computer.

Push Past Fear

To kick off the year, I’m dedicating this week’s Live Show to pushing past fear.

More specifically, how do you push past fear to launch your fashion brand this year?

Fear is an emotion that every. single. entrepreneur on the planet deals with. 

But when we’re first starting out, it’s so much more complicated because we feel like we haven’t proven anything yet.

We have to put ourselves out there, experience the vulnerability of being seen and then, essentially jump without a parachute.

And that is scary.

What you need to figure out, then, is how to push past that scary feeling and do it anyway.

And this is what we’ll be talking about tomorrow, Jan. 6th at 12:30pm ET / 9:30am PT during Factory45 LIVE, the Live Show for Fashion Entrepreneurs.

As always, there are two ways to watch:

  • Stream on YouTube here
  • Watch in our private Facebook group here.

If you’re looking for a boost of encouragement and some inspiration to take action on your business dreams this year, then make sure to join me. I promise to make it worth your time.

See you tomorrow!

 


questions answered

Happy December!

It’s the last month of 2021, so what does that mean for us? 

It’s time to start mapping out your business goals for 2022.

Is 2022 the year you will finally launch your fashion brand?

If that’s an emphatic “yes,” then I’m inviting you to ask me anything.

During tomorrow’s Live Show, let’s get your questions answered so that you can go into 2022 with a plan instead of uncertainty.

This is a free opportunity to ask me your lingering questions about how to get your fashion brand started, how to launch, how to scale or whatever else is on your mind.

There is so much about the fashion landscape, marketing methods and launch strategies that will change and continue to change next year.

How can you be prepared for what’s to come, so that you launch your brand successfully?

Let’s talk it out tomorrow, Dec. 2nd at noon ET during Factory45 Live. As always, there are two ways to tune in:

  1. Stream on YouTube here (ask your questions in the chat).
  2. Join me on Facebook here (ask your questions in the comments).

If you want to make sure your question gets answered (even if you can’t join live!) go ahead and reply to this email, ask your question and I’ll make sure to answer it tomorrow.

This is a free opportunity to get answers to some of your most pressing questions, so make sure to take advantage of it!

I’ll see you live tomorrow : )

 


Sustainable Fashion Brand

I have something a little different for you this week…

Over the past few months I’ve been doing more interviews on other people’s podcasts. 

Pro tip: this is a great way to spread the word about your own brand or business — podcasts are always looking for new entrepreneurs to feature.

So this week, I’m sharing three different episodes where I talk specifically about the steps to launching a sustainable and ethical fashion brand.

Each one is a little different, highlighting sustainability or crowdfunding or marketing, and I’ve included brief descriptions below to help you choose.

If you’re new to me and Factory45, then listening to one (or all three) of these interviews will help you get to know me a little better — as well as my philosophies and what I teach.


Sustainable Fashion Brand INTO THE WILD // How to Launch a Sustainable & Ethical Fashion Brand with Shannon Lohr (41 mins) 

Listen to this episode if you want to learn the #1 mistake new fashion brands make when launching, how to build an audience, the role Instagram plays for fashion brands and much more. >> CLICK PLAY <<

 


Sustainable Fashion Brand FASHIONPRENEUR TALK // How to Launch an Ethically Made Fashion Brand with Shannon Lohr (23 mins)

Listen to this episode if you want to learn the story about how I got started, the tactical and practical action steps to launching a brand, the common misconceptions about crowdfunding and more. >> CLICK PLAY <<

 


Sustainable Fashion Brand THE PRODUCT-PRENEUR PODCAST // Launching a Sustainable Fashion Brand – Shannon Lohr (37 mins)

Listen to this episode if you want to learn why sustainable fashion is important to consumers, the steps to growing a sustainable fashion brand, pre-selling to fund your launch and more. >> CLICK PLAY <<

 


Enjoy!

 

 

 


THIS WEEK ON THE CLEAN LIVING PODCAST

Listen on Apple Podcasts here | Listen on Spotify here

CANDLES It’s that time of the year when we’re getting all cozied up, maybe lighting the fireplace, pouring a cup of tea and lighting our favorite candle… the smell of petroleum sludge is just the perfect scent for the holidays. Wait what? Before you strike that match, listen to this episode.

LAUNDRY After visiting a friend and her newborn, I went down a rabbit hole of laundry detergent research — starting with a popular brand marketed for babies. In this episode, I’m recommending that you toss the Tide (and others) and switch to these clean detergents instead.

FOOD DYES There is a common ingredient in our food (often associated with sugar) that I think is worth tackling this holiday season — especially since it’s avoidable once you recognize it. So, in this episode we’re talking about food dyes.


clean living podcast

photo montage of factory45 alumni mentors

Every year that I launch Factory45, I spend a good portion of my energy thinking about this:

How can I make this year more impactful, more helpful, more supportive for the entrepreneurs that come through the program?

Because the truth is, if you’re not always striving to improve your business then you’ll start to lag behind.

So whether it’s filming new videos, updating the content, redesigning the Factory45 portal or providing more personal support, I’m constantly working throughout the year to make sure Factory45 maintains its uncompromising quality.

So, that begs the question,

What am I doing to enhance the Factory45 program this year?

…drumroll please… 

I’m so excited to announce that we’re adding:

Factory45 Alumni Mentors!

For the first time ever, every Factory45 entrepreneur will be matched up with a Factory45 graduate who is currently running her own sustainable fashion brand.

These nine hand-picked women will provide text messaging support, virtual coworking sessions and additional guidance for small groups of Factory45’ers who will work together throughout the program.

So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to the nine Alumni Mentors for the 2020 program! Click the play button below.

If you want to start creating your own sustainable fashion brand, and you’re looking for the behind-the-scenes guidance of someone actually doing it, then applications to Factory45 open in one week!

In the meantime, I’ll be on Instagram Live today at 1pm ET / 10am PT to share more details about the Alumni Mentorship program. 

Simply go to @factory45co today, anytime after 1pm ET / 10am PT, and you can watch me live (or watch a recording) to hear more about what’s in store for you and our Mentors.

I can’t wait for you to meet them!

 

 

 

P.S. Thank you to EditMate for putting together this fun video for us — I told the Mentors, I can’t stop smiling when I watch it : )


fabric sourcing