How to decide on a range plan

Trying to decide on a range plan for your new brand? It’s easy to get carried away with loads of great ideas while you’re brainstorming different products. However, it will work in your favour if you don’t overcomplicate things, particularly if you are a new brand, just starting out.

I know there’s always that tendency to want to do everything and to have everything in your range. You want to do men’s, and kids, and children’s, and accessories, and shoes. But, my best advice is – don’t overcomplicate things when you start out.

The businesses that I’ve seen do really well making in the UK are the ones that have focused on just one or two things at the start. Because that meant they only needed to work with one or two factories.

UK manufacturers are specialists

Most UK manufacturers are small to mediums sized organisations and tend to be specialists in their field.  So for instance, they may specialise in jersey garments or outerwear, or knitwear or leather goods. This is usually due to the type of equipment and skills they have which dictates what types of materials, and therefore products, they can handle. Similarly some bag manufacturers will only work in leather and won’t make bags from man-made materials.

Approaching a manufacturer and asking them to make everything from jeans to hoodies to baseball hats is not the way to go. Instead you would need to find a manufacturer for each one of these product areas.  

Take it easy on yourself

If you’re a startup or launching a brand, the last thing you want to do, on top of everything else you’ll be doing, is dealing with multiple factories. You’ll want to be working with only one or two. Get it right with them first, and then expand the range into other things.

This is why you should aim to keep the types of products in your range as tight as possible when you are starting out. Decide what is going to be in your product range and what materials they are made from it. This should make it much easier to approach the right manufacturer because you’ll be aware of what skills and equipment you will be looking for them to have.

Another reason for sticking to one or two factories is because manufacturers don’t necessarily like it. If they know that you are reaching out and working with a whole lot of different people, it will make them question (understandably) “Am I actually going to get the business at the end of this?”

Stay focused

So, being focused is really important. When you come to put your range plan together keep it concise. I know it’s really exciting. You start sort of Googling things and you think, “Actually, I hadn’t thought about that! I could add that into my range.” 

There’s all these different products you could put in, so pull that list of ideas together. But then whittle it down to two or three, thinking about what can be made in a similar way by the same manufacturer.