Saturday, May 9, 2009

Giving Birth to a Brand

Like many first-time parents, my husband and I had no idea what we were signing up for, when we decided to create our own children's clothing label. He had grown an online watch business, from startup to profitability, in less than a year. "Piece of cake," we thought.

But building a new brand from scratch is a whole different ballgame. Like giving birth to a child, it is a long process, during which there are times when it seems nothing is happening and nothing ever will!

There are the months of waiting for the first production run to be finished. The months of waiting for a website to appear on google. And the long, slow process of building a customer base.

When a child is born, we celebrate a job well done! But of course the job is really barely started. The child is utterly dependent, taking constant care and devoted attention, and, at first, unable to give back even a smile.

When a new brand is finally launched, the situation is similar. The clothes came out well -- good! Showrooms and retailers are signing on -- great! But profitability is still a long way off.

Production quantities need to be gradually increased, until a sell-able wholesale price is actually twice the production price. And this has to be done without spending so much on advertising that the business' debt swallows up its future!

We have hopes that one day our brand will grow to maturity. Maybe (like a good child) it will even take care of us in our retirement! But for now, we have only the satisfaction of doing our best day after day, waiting, and hoping.

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