5 Step T-Shirt Brand Building FrameworkJun 07, 2022
If I was going to start a new t-shirt brand today, I would start with this 5-step brand building framework to strengthen my brand.
If you're starting a t-shirt brand then you need these:
#1 - YOUR MISSION
What does your t-shirt brand do and why?
This should really outline what you offer to customers (i.e. products that tell a story, products that make them laugh, etc), the core values that you want customers to associate with your company (i.e. great customer service, high quality, ethical practices, etc), and your company's purpose (i.e. the reasoning behind your core values).
An example of a good mission statement is Nike's: "Our mission is what drives us to do everything possible to expand human potential. We do that by creating groundbreaking sport innovations, by making our products more sustainably, by building a creative and diverse global team and by making a positive impact in communities where we live and work."
#2 - YOUR NICHE
Who is your t-shirt brand doing it for? Or who is your customer?
The niche is your audience. For example, are you making shirts for Women in Tech in their 20s that love Golf or maybe Vegan Men in their 40s that love Yoga. You can be as specific as you'd like. The best niches have huge revenue potential and low to no competition.
I strongly recommend niching down. It's said that the riches are in the niches and I totally agree with that. It's also said that if you serve everyone you serve no one, which I also agree with.
Avoid making a general t-shirt brand where everyone is your customer.
#3 - YOUR EGDE
What makes your t-shirt brand unique or better than competitors? This is also known as your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
For example, are your products higher quality? are your products better priced? are your products eco-friendly? do you have more selection?
Find or create reasons why someone should buy from you over your competitors.
#4 - YOUR STORY
Why does your t-shirt brand do what it does? How did it all start?
Stories are very powerful and can be a huge differentiator for a t-shirt brand if done right. Every great brand story generally has the following: characters, context, dilemma, and resolution. The Pura Vida bracelets story is a perfect example of this. In short, two college students went to Costa Rica (characters, context), met two homeless men struggling to survive as artists (dilemma), bought a bunch of bracelets from those artisans to sell back home, sold them all quickly, and then started a bracelet brand that sources from and supports local artisans in Costa Rica and other countries (resolution).
If you don't have a story yet then make it happen!
#5 - YOUR AESTHETIC
How is your t-shirt brand seen by other people?
This includes everything from your brand colors to your brand font, to the content you post, to the filters or presets that you use for your images...the list goes on.
A good example of this is Psycho Bunny, with consistent use of fonts Suisse Intl Medium and Lyon Display as well as of their signature black, white and pink brand color combination. You'll also notice that the images all consistently fall on a neutral gray background with models having somewhat subdued expressions (i.e. to keep the focus on the design).
Despite being number five on the list this is actually pretty important because your aesthetic will be used across everything consumer facing, website, social media, ads, product inserts, packaging, etc. You want to keep your look consistent across all mediums to start building brand recognition.
If you're starting a t-shirt brand get these 5 key components sorted NOW: your Mission, your Niche, your Edge, your Story, and your Aesthetic. If you have these figured out then you are well on your way to really cement and accelerate your brand.
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