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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Boutique Basics: Branding Your Business

One of the most important things a start-up boutique needs to figure out is how to brand yourself. Branding is the most important process that takes place when establishing your business and we will be walking you through the entire process in today's Boutique Basics blog.


Branding Your Business
"Branding" covers a broad numbers of things, more than you probably realize, but since our customers are mainly boutiques, we are only going to cover the basics for a boutique business to get up and running. This will include coming up with a business name and logo, and figuring out how to incorporate these throughout your entire business for a consistent look and feel.

Name That Business
You have been debating on starting a boutique so you can make some extra fabric money--let's be honest, that's why you're really doing it. Now you need a killer name. This step is not to be taken lightly because this is the most important step in the entire branding process. The name of your business establishes how you will be viewed and is enhanced with the rest of the branding process. Here are some things to consider when choosing a name:
  • Everyone wants to be unique, but avoid unusual spellings. If you tell someone your business name and they go home to "Google" it and can't find you because you decided to spell your business, "Kreate Kids Kouture" rather then "Create Kids Couture" you will lose out on business. End of story.
  • K.I.S.S. Meaning, in our case, Keep It Simple and Short. You want something that is easy to pronounce and remember.  Don't use acronyms because they mean nothing to people. Try to keep it limited to two, maximum three words because the longer it is, the harder it is to remember. 
  • Clue them in. It's always great when your business name can clue people into what your business does. On the other hand, don't box yourself in so it's harder to add products to your business later. For example, when we started Create Kids Couture, we thought we had the perfect name because it clued people in to what we created. We didn't even consider that someday we could be doing anything other then children's patterns. Here we are today with dolls, tweens, women's, women's plus, and home goods. Now, our name only clues you into a small portion of what we do. 
  • Make sure the name is available. This seems obvious, but it's not. Once you have a name, do the research to make sure no one else has the name. You don't want to send your business to someone else or, worse, get sued by someone who has trademarked that name already. Be sure to check with your state and with the US Patent Office once you find a great name.
  • Make sure the ".com" and social media handles are available. Most people will assume that your business name is a ".com" like "CreateKidsCouture.com" so save yourself a headache and make sure it's available. When it comes to twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, you will also want that name to be available. Try typing out each social media site with a "/(insert company name)" so you can be sure the pages and names are available. Social media handles are a great reason to keep your name short as we discussed earlier because some of these sites only allow names that are X letters long. On twitter, we had to change our handle to "Cre8kidscouture" because our full name was too long. That makes it much harder for people to find us!
These aren't steadfast rules, but they are great to keep in mind as you search for your perfect business name. Make sure, whatever you choose, it's something that you are happy with and feels right. You will see this name written everywhere so only use something you absolutely love. 

Design a Logo
Now that you have the best name, you need to find the best logo for your company! There is so much information out there on designing logos, but I found this quick and informative video that I suggest you watch. It's a little cheesy, but there's some good information in it. 


Some other things to consider when getting a logo created:
  • Keep it simple. Anything too distracting and people may overlook your business name or just be generally turned off. 
  • Don't use a font that is hard to read. If they can't read it, they can't find you to buy from. 
  • Limit the colors to three. It may be beautiful with all the colors but the printing cost won't be. 
  • Look at it multiple ways to make sure it works. This logo could be put on something as big as a store window to something as little as pictures for watermarking (and everything in between). Logos are hard to change so take the time to make sure you picked a good one because as you grow, you never know what your logo may end up on. 

Incorporating It All Into Your Business
You may think that the hardest part is over, but the fun is just beginning! Now that you have established a name and logo you have to determine the identity that you want your brand to be and make it work across this board. This means that everything you do from the voice of your social media posts to what you wear at your art fair booths need to encompass your brand identity. It can seem very overwhelming if you try to think of it all at once but if you start establishing them one at a time it can be done easily. We're going to go over a few basics for boutiques that include business cards, clothing labels, and care and size labels.

Business Cards

Business cards are hands down one of the most important branding tools to have. In this increasingly digital era they have stood the test of time and remain a valuable resource. While you want your business card to reflect your logo and the brand you are trying to build, there are some Do's and Don't's that need to be followed for a successful business card.
  • Don't be generic. You want your business card to stand out from the crowd, but it should look consistent with your other printed materials. 
  • Shape matters. While it may be fun and memorable to have a cute, die-cut design, they are harder for people to carry and store. Standard business card size is 3.5 inches by 2 inches.
  • Keep fonts simple. Anything too whimsical, fancy, or small and people have a hard time reading it. Keep the font legible and in either black, navy, or dark gray. Save your creativity for the design.  
  • Include some, but not all information. You should include at the very least your name, business name, phone number and/or email, and website. It's okay to add a social media site if you are active on it, but don't add all of your social media sites. Be informative, but don't clutter the card.
  • Double check for errors. Errors, especially simple ones can tarnish your reputation. Potential customers will judge you based on your business card. Never handwrite new information on the business card; it should always be up-to-date and professional.
On a side note, check out our free tutorial on how to make yourself a cute business card holder so you can always have your business cards on you!

Clothing Labels
An essential part of designing clothes is being able to brand your clothes. They need to have a label with your business name on it, a care label, and a size label that all get sewn into your product. There are a couple ways you can go for your main label with your business on it. Some people like to sew it on the outside of the outfit and some like to sew it on the inside of the outfit. What you choose to do is completely up to you, but a label is essential. In this day in age everyone shops online, especially if you are buying boutique clothes. If you ship a customer a dress with no label on it and someone asks where they got it, what are the chances they will remember? Also, how will your customer know where to buy more from if they lose your business card and you don't have a label on your clothes? No labels equal potential lost sales. 

Most labels are simply the store's logo. Here is CKC's below. 

With my old boutique, I wanted to be more informative and chose to have two different labels made, one for the inside of my outfits (top) and one for the outside of my outfits (bottom). It also saved me money because I didn't have to buy care labels.

The standard clothing label is right around 1inch by 2 inches, but you can choose to make it whatever size you like. Below we have some suggestions for clothing labels that have great reviews on Etsy.
  • WorldWideLabel We have personally used this shop for all of the above labels. They take a few weeks to get them since they are oversees, but they are woven and high quality. 
  • JennifersJewels We have no experience with her but many of our customers love her products. 
Care and Size Labels
These are of the utmost importance for boutique owners because boutique clothes aren't cared for in the same way store bought clothes are. If you don't have care labels, your customers won't care for their clothing properly and may assume that boutique clothing doesn't hold up well. Additionally, including special care instructions anywhere other than on the clothing means that it could possibly be lost, missed, or forgotten. Your customers won't be repeat customers if their clothes don't last.

At the end of the day, all professionally made clothes include size and care labels. The people that make your special garments don't assume or expect you to know how to care for them--even if you do. If you want to appear to be a professional business making professional clothes these items are required. 

Below is who we suggest for care and size labels. 
  • ShuShuStyle We have used this shop many times and she is very professional. She ships super fast and has a large product line to choose from. 
Product Packaging
This is another way you can really wow your customers with branding and make each customer feel special. Continue to THIS link for a great follow-up Boutique Basics blog post previously written on this topic so you can learn how to make each package a memorable experience for your customers. 


If you made it this far into the blog, we have a special treat for you! Our friend Chloe over at Chloe Woodhouse:Web &Print Design is offering our fans 10% off of orders for all their branding needs!!! Just tell her that CKC sent you when you order. Easy-peasy!


Happy Branding!
Shannon

2 comments:

  1. One of the things a company needs for their business is branding.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Applying for a trademark is not painful. It is quite easy if you know the correct steps. Trademark search is the first step for trademark registration. It is very important for save your time and money. After completed your search you can file your trademark application.

    ReplyDelete