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How to Start a Clothing Line Series (6 of 6)

Branding Your Clothing & Packaging
Packaging is an extension of your brand. Use it as an opportunity to continuing telling your brand story. Basically, you want to make a good impression on your customer and inspire them to make another purchase from you in the future!

Branded Packaging Options
If you’re selling your brand directly to your customer on your own site, you have a golden opportunity to design their unboxing experience. This has been a huge social media trend for years—people sharing what it’s like to remove a new product from it’s packaging. They record their excitement and sing the praises of your brand, thereby helping to spread your message. What’s not to love about that. This type of behavior should definitely be encouraged, so make the experience lovely for them.

Think about what it will be like for them to open up your package, from start to finish, containing a piece (or more!) from your fashion collection. What would you want them to mention in the video? Will you have branded tissue paper and stickers securing it. What about any marketing materials, like a beautifully designed lookbook or postcard printed with your logo, tagline, and social media handles. A handwritten note from you, perhaps? This is a great chance for you to reinforce your brand’s missions and goals. Even if your customer is not making an unboxing video, this is a tactile experience for them so why not take advantage of the opportunity to make it a great one.

Also, consider ways in which you can stabilize your product as it goes through the shipping process. The box or mailer will likely be moved many times and go through some potentially rough handling that could compromise the final appearance of your garment. You want your product to arrive in the best condition possible. Would a piece of cardboard inserted into the folds of your button-up top help keep it neatly folded? What about something to hold up a puffed sleeve or keep a collar in place. Pins and clips could come in handy for this.

When filling orders placed by boutique and department stores, make sure you find out their packaging requirements. They may want garments delivered on hangers, for example. Others may want units shipped in a flat plastic bag. They can be very strict and if you don’t get it right, they may reject the order and send it back to you with shipping charges as well as other fees. You definitely want to avoid this, so make sure to do your research.

Branding Your Clothing Items
Let’s talk about clothing labels and tags. During the production process, you will potentially have several types of labels sewn into your garments, some are optional while others are mandatory.

One very important label is your brand! Think about if you want a woven or a printed label and what type of material you want to use—jacquard ribbon, satin polyester, twill tape, etc. Of course, there is always the option to use screen printed or heat-sealed labels, also known as tagless labels. You’ll find they are often used in t-shirts, underwear, and other garments where a woven label is not ideal.

Make yourself familiar with mandatory labeling requirements. Grab a few things from your closet that you recently purchased in the U.S. and check the labels. Notice that they all have at least three things in common—what it’s made of, where it was made, and an “RN” number. This is because the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act (TFPIA) requires that garment labels include the fiber content, country of origin, and a registered identification number (RN) of the manufacturer or importer. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) actually has a database on their site where you can punch in the RN number and look up the manufacturer.

You are also required to include a label with instructions on how to care for the garment (i.e., dry clean only, cold wash, lay flat to dry). The use of symbols for care instruction is not mandatory, but if you use them they must be correct. Check out the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) for all the care symbols.

There may be other requirements, too. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) handles regulations regarding the safety of children’s apparel, for example. You may have to include special hangtags or labeling, depending on the requirements.

A hangtag is a paper tag attached to the garment during the finishing stage of production that is meant to be removed before the garment is worn. Hangtags usually include some of the same information as the sewn in labels, such as the brand, the material used, and the recommended care instructions. Sometimes they also include the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). Hangtags are the perfect place to tell your brand’s story or highlight your brand’s mission or tagline.

One last thing. You know what’s not required by the U.S. government to be listed on a garment label? The size of the garment! But, definitely include it anyway. It’s just nice to have sizes labeled in garments. You should know, though, that sizing in the U.S. is not standardized. The numbers mean whatever you decide they mean. In other words, a size 8 in one brand can be a size 10 in another. If you plan to export your product to another country, you will have to do your research as they may have special requirements when it comes to labeling size and measurements.

This wraps up our series on how to start a clothing line. On your journey, if you ever have any questions or need zippers, feel free to contact us here.

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