If you’re reading this through my website and have looked through all of the pages , you would have come across a page about ‘Aion Clothing’ a fashion brand I’ve been trying to get off of the ground fro the past year.
Coming into the project, I though it would be an easy way to make some passive income. Boy was I wrong.
Here are someone of the to the trails and tribulations I have faced in launching the brand, and all the mistakes I’ve made.
I came up with the idea to start a clothing company one day whilst I was laying on a free sofa bed I had coped when moving into my tiny studio flat in Finsbury Park. I was looking for a second way to make some income, and for some reason I though that launching a company in an already over saturated market would be the way to go.
So I did a minimal amount of research, my first mistake as had I done some I would have realised this venture may not be the best fro me, and came across a website: ‘Printful’. An extremely hand website that allows you to upload designs which they will print on demand and ship for you only taking the price of shipping and the item plus printing. This allows you to keep the profits per item without having to deal with packing and shipping. Joy!
I however underestimated the fact I was left with two very difficult jobs… designing and marketing. Both of which I have little to no experience in. Well you gotta role with the punches I suppose.
So Aion is an interesting name. It means eternal or eternity, I got it from the Greek Hellenistic deity of time. I wanted a name that would give my company a touch of class. Little did I know that Aion was also the name of a MMORPG and a snow time clothing company. Should I have changed the name? Probably! But I’d already changed the name once. From the original name of CloudFine with the tag like, ‘Your Cloud Nine Clothing Line’. Honestly, I should be paid to write jingles.
One of the biggest mistakes I made in this process was trying to ‘legitimise’ the brand, or as I saw it at the time, the company. Instead of going ‘guerrilla money making’ with this idea, I decided it would be the best course of action to make Aion into a company. An official online sole-trader business. Did I do research as to how to do this? No. Have I done this? No. Did I blow over £200 on a needless Trademark for the name? Yes! Until the Year 2028 I am the holder of trademark UK00003320096.
Was this a necessary use of my money? No way. I reiterate, I would have been better served taking a fringe route and investing the £200 in Facebook advertising in an attempt to make some sales and creating a recognised brand before trying to register for trademarks or even register the company.
Once again I fell into the trap of trying to create an air of legitimacy around the brand. Or at least what I thought was an air of legitimacy. So I decided to sign up for a Squarespace website (much like this website if you’re viewing this on sullyiqbal.com). Squarespace websites are beautiful and I wholeheartedly recommend them, unless you’re in a position where a few hundred pounds means a lot to you, which in my case, a few hundred pounds means a lot.
Printful has this nifty feature which allows you to auto-sync products to certain e-commerce platform and fulfil orders automatically from those platform. Squarespace isn’t one of those. Products have to be manually listed to Squarespace and automatic fulfilment only takes place after the first order of an individual listing. This means automatic fulfilment only takes place on a certain product in a certain size in a certain colour, only once that very specific item has be ordered at least once.
So I essentially traded ease and simplicity for look and style, and not to mention a significant amount of money.
However this was one mistake I learnt something from. I decided, it would be best for me as an individual to go back to the basics. I decided to make my main hub for the business a Storenvy website. The website is far more basic and I do not have a custom domain (I’m on the free plan) however the ease of automatic fulfilment and Storenvy’s marketplace make the switch worthwhile in my opinion.
The final area where I have made mistakes is in marketing. My main means of marketing is social media, as many other burgeoning brands are also doing so. However where Aion has struggled is finding the tone and voice of the brand. The Instagram page has gone through so many stylistic changes there is no set brand feeling.
Furthermore, I went into paid marketing for the brand without much knowledge of the landscape. This had both negative and positive impacts. Obviously, the negative impact was that resources have been sunk into wildly unsuccessful campaigns. However through these unsuccessful campaigns there were very small granules of useful data collected. By compiling this data, campaigns have been refined and ultimately become more successful. Particularly on Facebook, where ads are far cheaper to run than on Google.
Furthermore I originally paid little attention to the content I was putting out, under the guise of quantity over quality. However I soon learnt that ‘content is king’ and that potential customers are far more likely to buy when they are presented clothing in new and interesting ways. This seems like a no-brainer, but when you’re an individual on a low budget, it’s easy to want to take short cuts. However after learning this lesson, the brand will use it’s lack of funds to find a way to create unique content, which will be a driving force behind the brands image.
I’ve made many mistakes when it comes to Aion Clothing and I’m sure I’ll make many more, however the learnings from this first year have been so substantial, they serve as motivators to push on with the brand and make Aion live up to it’s namesake and become an Eternal Brand.