The increased interest in African Fashion and the Nigerian Fashion Industry comes with the emergence of many labels and clothing lines. The emerging designers trying to make their way in the ever competitive market face stiff competition from already existing brands. As a new designer, there is so much to worry about, trying to get it right as well as getting ahead. A simple factor such as your brand name could be the little push that gets you the little leeway you need.. and let’s face it, every little advantage counts..
The first thing an aspiring Buyer, Editor, Stylist or even just an observing consumer identifies with is your business name/brand name/ Label name and of course your designs. Sometimes one before the other. Choosing the right name to represent your brand is one of the most important decisions you would make at the onset of your career journey. Whilst hard-work, skill and consistency would pay off in the long run, your fashion name is one of the first things that draws people in. It is sort of like a fancy window dressing, it rounds up your aesthetic and adds depth and character to your brand .. “if it’s a great name“.
Here are some more advantages of a great brand name:
a. It intrigues/draws the consumer in.. and their curiosity leads to interests/further research and potential purchases
b.It sets you apart
c.Lends positive assumptions with regards your design aesthetic and general brand direction
d.Gives you a competitive advantage
e. It is confidence instilling: to the consumer/general public
f. Makes you easily recognisable and hard to forget.
An aspiring designer or fashion business owner looking to start their own business would get great pointers from researching the importance of brand names and the most effective ways of portraying your vision through a catchy name or phrase. Often times, names are chosen without much thought and this sort of casts a negative shadow on your business and makes it appear to lack character or depth. I shall elaborate with some examples:
a. It is quite tempting to infuse couture to your brand name. However, this puts you amongst the hundreds of other designers that have “couture” attached to their brand names. The industry is dominated by names reading like; Fancy Couture, High-fashion Couture, Ezinne Couture, Zinkata Couture.If your designs are couture pieces, they really don’t need to be literally spelt out in your brand name.
b. Another quite popular practice is infusing the word “house” in your brand label. Hence names like “House of Ezinne, House of Zinkata, House of Forster, House of Fashion etc.
Whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong with these names. I believe it is time to try out other naming styles.As a stylist/ Fashion Consultant in Nigeria, I am quite aware of the power of brand names and how they can go a long way in propelling your career. A lot of thought and research should be given into naming a label. A poorly thought out business name, or an un-authentic one can totally leave a bad assumption in people’s minds.
I have a mini-confession.. I have also assumed wrongly about the quality/ class of a label’s work or design based on their brand names. It is actually quite an almost subconscious reaction.Say for example you get an email from two designers one with a really cheesy and un-authenthic brand name and another with a totally cool and intriguing brand name.. you would most probably gravitate towards the name that appeals to you more.. Sadly, they may not be the better designer, but their brand name has totally sold them!
There are so many resources available to help out with this and point you in the right direction.
Some helpful questions to consider would be:
a. What is the ethos of the brand
b. What demographic are you targeting
c. Is it Ethically driven?
d. Is there a similar name out there?
e. What are the brand names of the best designers/labels out there?
f. Does this brand name enhance rather than take away from..
I found this article titled “8 mistakes to avoid when naming your business”, an extremely helpful read. Please click highlighted text: Article.
All the best everyone!!!
Here’s to an economically explosive 2016!!