How can shops help customers looking to start their own brand?

You can help your customers start a brand in numerous ways, but let’s touch on the three areas: approach, services, and pricing.

One way I approach a customer looking to start a brand is as a teacher, mentor, and corporate partner.  If this is their first venture of this sort, there is generally a lot to learn. Your experience, wisdom, and insight can help them get on and stay on a path to success while allowing you to mold a near-perfect customer and build a long-term relationship. When faced with such an honor I slow my pace down and walk with them through the obstacles and the challenges, point out possible decisions they’ll face, options they’ll have, and pitfalls that may lie ahead, while offering suggestions on how to avoid or prepare for them.  Now to be transparent, if I am going to take my time and energy to help them learn and understand the ropes, they must be paying attention, taking notes, and have a need to succeed. No one wants to waste precious business time with the uncommitted so before going all in, take some time to qualify them, and make sure that this in-depth collaboration is a good investment of your time and theirs.

When it comes to the services, I will go over the following:

  • Designs
  • Type of garments they are interested in
  • Sourcing options
  • Points of distribution
  • Projected sales
  • The collective vision (and vision per design)
  • Marketing strategy
  • Where they feel they need help
  • What kind of support they need

Additionally, we will discuss decoration methods, the customer’s needs, and why and how they will meet those needs. Take a look at their budget, who their target market is, and why they chose them. Explain to them what you offer, production times, and thoughts on their direction.

The goal here is to analyze how these operations will work together to meet everyone’s needs, what services they have in mind, and what will best fit their goals. In all this, you position yourself as the expert, a resource, and a teammate who can support them with a valuable must-have service.  By asking these questions and others like it, you will be able to hone in and drill down what presents them with the greatest opportunity for success while creating a piece to their game plan for the future that is tailor-made for you.

As far as pricing, for the most part, I try to keep it simple. I explain the formula for retail to the customer, go over why people buy, and how that can affect pricing, as well as fees and costs to keep in mind like shipping. Provide an idea of where printing and production prices could land based on their desires and their supplied information, and available upgrades.

When it comes to starting a brand, you are a pivotal part of the conversation.

—Kaptain Kirk Clothing Co.

Kirk Harris

Kirk Harris

Kirk Harris currently serves as president of Atlanta-based Kaptain Kirk Clothing Co. Harris' love of apparel began with retail in the late '90s and in 2006 he founded his first clothing line. In 2012 his journey led him to apparel decoration and in 2014 he settled into his current position. He's reachable at, 404-396-7171, or

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Charlie Fox

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