Every element and tiny detail of your business adds up to create your brand identity. All of those aspects are powerful opportunities to develop a one-of-a-kind knitwear shop that stands out among the crowd.
It’s easy to overlook most of these branding possibilities because they aren’t talked about much in the maker world, and some of them are tricky concepts to grasp and put a finger on.
That’s why I’m kicking off my new weekly Twigs + Texture Livestream with a series on How to Brand Your Knitwear Shop. Each episode will be followed with a thorough post here on the TwigBerryStudio Blog a few days after the live video.
WHAT IS BRANDING + WHY IS IT CRITICAL?
Your business is your brand. Each aspect of your business mixes together and creates an overall brand experience and identity. It includes the physical, visual, and emotional elements of your knitwear biz.
When most makers think of branding, they picture the more obvious “important” elements that are often easier and more fun to design, such as products, logo, packaging, and overall style.
But every element of your business is a crucial avenue for branding possibilities.
This includes the less exciting components and details, like your word-choice, sentence structure, and the way you launch new products. And it includes the concepts that are more difficult to grasp, like the tone and mood your business conveys.
These facets aren’t the most creative or enjoyable elements of building a knitwear brand, so they’re usually ignored or go unnoticed. (Even though I’m kind of obsessed with them!)
Makers with smaller shops or who are just starting out often feel underqualified to have an epic and strategically designed brand. But that is sooo far from the truth. A quality brand is the number one way to set a business apart from the all others in its industry. And with an industry as over-saturated as knits and cozy things, branding should be at the top of every maker’s list for 2018 goals.
WHAT DOES A WELL-DESIGNED BRAND LOOK LIKE?
Quality branding is intentional, consistent, strategic, planned, and unified. It showcases the core of your business’s purpose and values in the best presentation possible.
BENEFITS OF BRANDING YOUR KNITWEAR SHOP
While branding can sometimes sound limiting to your creativity, it’s where all the magic happens for your business. Here are some of my favorite benefits:
1. Professional Appearance
Quality branding gives your knitwear company a professional and polished appearance. You’ll have less of a hobby status, and potential customers will take you more seriously and feel more comfortable making a purchase.
2. Skills + Experience
Even when you continue to explore new ideas, if your brand is established and if you stay true to it, you demonstrate your skills and show that you’re experienced at what you do. Customers are more likely to buy from a maker that looks like she knows what she’s doing. (Think: “master of one” vs. “jack-of-all-trades mentality.)
3. Audience Growth
When your shop is well-branded, you will no longer feel the need to try to appeal to everyone, so you can focus on appealing to your one target market. It allows you to get to know your audience sooo much better, and it will be a breeze to get their attention and interest.
4. Customer Satisfaction
When you know your customer spot-on, it’s easier to anticipate their questions and needs. You’ll be able to provide answers and options that make sense for your customers, so pleasing them will be easier. And then they’ll come back for more! (Which leads us to the next benefit.)
5. Repeat Customers
When you know your brand through-and-through, customers know what to expect. Next season, they’ll check back in to see what your newest products are. If your shop is always changing, it’ll be less likely to get repeat sales from last year’s ideal customer if what you’re selling no longer relates to them.
6. Better Products
A well-designed knitwear brand ensures that your products fit your brand and truly feel like they were designed with lots of intention, purpose, and care. You’ll get better and better with each item you make as you hone your skills, and your collections will be intentional and make sense together instead of being all over the place. Plus, branding makes it easier to create products that perfectly fit your ideal customer.
7. Strategic + Consistent Instagram Feed
Ever longed for a more consistent feed for your Instagram page? Branding is just what you need! Once you have a brand identity and strategy in place, you can plan your posts and curate consistent cozy! You can create a collection of branded stock photos. And you’ll know the best type of feed and photos for catching your target customers’ eyes to ensure that each Instagram post is working hard to attract the right followers and ultimately bring in more sales.
8. Captivating Photos
Figuring out your branding helps you create consistent photos that represent you business in the best possible light. A carefully selected style and color palette will create a streamlined look across your pics. You’ll also know what to feature in your product photos to captivate your customers so they click your item to view more.
9. Compelling Copy
Words are powerful. Branding empowers you to utilize the words you type, from Instagram captions to product descriptions. It guides you through developing a strong written voice so your business can sing a song that speaks directly to your target customer.
10. More Sales + Higher Conversion Rate
A well-designed brand powerfully appeals to your audience and converts those browsers into customers. With photos and copy designed specifically to attract the right shoppers, and products that are spot-on, your customers will be sure to love everything you create from the moment they see it and will be eager to buy. And once it arrives in their hands, they’ll fall even more deeply in love. (Packaging, anyone?)
11. One-of-a-Kind + Unique
Intentional branding helps you create a specialized business that isn’t a copy of another maker’s store. Following through the steps of designing a unique brand ensures you create a shop that doesn’t already exist, challenges you to be unique, and ultimately gives you a one-of-a-kind brand. And that is truly creative.
12. Focus + Productivity
An established brand makes it easier to stay true to your purpose. You won’t have to bounce around from one idea to the next by trying to keep up with everyone else. Use your new focus to increase productivity and to quit feeling like other makers are excelling with new ideas and leaving you in the dust. Because you’ll have a strategic plan with meaningful ideas that help your business grow.
13. Fosters Creative and Original Ideas
Branding means getting to know your business on a whole new level. When you explore your brand to this extent, you reach the deeper surfaces where the best ideas are. Instead of looking around for inspiration and ideas to copy, you begin to tap into the original and unique things you can bring to the maker world.
14. Room to Explore
Once you’ve established a complete brand for your business, you can explore and create countless amazing (and new) things that fit within your brand’s guidelines. This ensures you maintain a consistent identity, and it helps you stay true to the core of your brand.
15. Standing Out
Once you’ve established a one-of-a-kind brand with original ideas, people will begin to take note. Standing out is a natural extension of a brand developed from hard work, brainstorming, and from the heart. Even the smallest of shops is noteworthy and can make a lasting impression when it has something unique and fresh to offer.
HOW TO CREATE A QUALITY BRAND IDENTITY
Ultimate Branding Goal:
Create and commit to an overall style and voice that is unique, recognizable, and that you can call your own.
Know Your Ideal Customer:
Did you notice how most of the benefits revolve around an “ideal customer?”
That’s because customers are how a shop makes sales. Makes sense, right?
When you do the branding up front by choosing what you want to make, you can figure out how to attract customers who love to buy what you create. This is called marketing. (It’s a fun topic that we’ll talk about in an upcoming post in this series.)
- Niched. Discover and create your little corner of the maker world. Your niche should be a specific and focused sphere where your expertise and passion combine. Then, you’ll have the framework for developing your brand.
- Unique. Your brand should be unique and have some sort of USP (Unique Selling Point). Figure out what makes your business different from the other knitwear shops out there. This is where you get really creative and explore how you can stand out and develop a one-of-a-kind brand.
- Consistent. This is key for making your brand come to life. It’s where the design work comes in. Products, packaging, colors, style, photography, copy etc. all work together to create your unified brand.
- Committed. Once you have your brand identity solidified, stay true to it. It’s what keeps your brand alive and growing. It allows people to get to know your business and fall in love with your products, which helps them get excited for your next launch and new designs.
Your branding is the way your business feels, looks, and breaths. The thoughts and emotions around your business are part of its identity, too.
It’s your message response rate, your customer service, and the way you do (or don’t do) sales. It’s how often you post on Instagram. Think of any aspect you possibly can about your business; it’s brandable.
I hope you’re inspired to begin the journey of nurturing your knitwear brand. I’ll be right here along the way to answer any questions you might have.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Branding Series:
Join me on March 12th for Monday’s Twigs + Texture Livestream on Instagram. I’ll be sharing how to create your niche and specialize your shop. I hope to see you there for this 30 minute chat!