top of page
  • Writer's picturelevi

Creating a Fitness Brand 1 - Inception

Updated: Aug 24, 2023


A man wearing a custom print t-shirt

With minor experience with ecommerce but literally no experience in clothing, branding or manufacturing. This was a daunting leap to take at first. In this blog, I'm going to talk about the initial steps I took to get started.

Pictured left was my first ever print.

 

Before I begin, I just like to thank you for taking time out of your day to read this blog. I hope this provides knowledge, insight and maybe some entertainment as I talk about what goes on behind the scenes. I intend to produce numerous blogs as my journey to create a brand develops over time. So, please subscribe to the site. That way, you'll be informed about these blog posts and you'll occasionally receive exclusive discount codes. Which has already been sent to current subscribers. Don't worry, you won't get spammed.

 

Lets start with day one, how'd that happen?

Truth be told, I was saving up for for a house. My main priority in life, besides my health, was getting on that ladder. But as most of you will know, 2021-2022 pretty much kicked everyone in the balls as interest rates we rising like it was going out of fashion (No clothing pun intended). So that ever so sweet dream of owning a house on my own started to look about as realistic as Kim Kardashians glutes.


So I was sitting there, curled up on a coach, talking about this whole disaster of a housing market. Wondering how I could productively use my deposit instead of inflation eating away at it. Then it clicked, an old fantasy from many years before popped up in my head. I've always wanted to be apart of a brand, originally it was an idea to co-start with friends. But ideas are easier to produce than acting on them. I wanted to represent how many of us are blind to the fact that we all have the ability to achieve. The reason behind this meaning, I'll talk about in another blog.


So, I verbally announced I was going ahead with it while slumped in a cosy fetal position on a couch. Unsurprisingly, the person I was talking to displayed the typical face of.... 'OK then, I'm sure you will'. This always happens when new routines or ideas happen, this is fuel. I'm sure you've experienced this too.


Weeks of learning, trials and errors.

A man wearing a gym vest

So, behind the scenes, I raided the library of YouTube videos and tutorial blogs. I started learning about how clothes are made. I learnt the lingo, the processes, documentation, hardware and software needed. I needed to know how it all works.


Within a few months, I gained enough knowledge to make my own mock up vest. I bought a sewing machine and learned how to sew. I learnt about fabrics, threads, stitching. And I produced this mock up vest pictured left (As of May 2023, this vest design is being sampled at my manufacturer).


Learning the fabrics was pretty long winded If I'm honest. But I was on a crash course pursuit to gain all the knowledge I believed I need to know to get started. I ordered so many samples from fabric sellers, so I could see and feel them all. How are they knitted, do they stretch, how thick is 150, 200, 250 gsm? I needed answers.


Although I looked back and thought I wasted a lot of time learning things I may have not been required to know. I've realised that it was important research to improve my understanding for the intricate details of clothing. Ultimately, my manufacturer sources fabrics, builds the pieces, does all the detailing of the construction. All I have to do is send them my design in a format called a tech pack, measurements and requirements and talk about the details. At the start, I didn't know this.


Creating that vest myself was an achievement in itself. It confirmed I'd learnt something after hours of reading and YouTube video tutorials. It gave me that exact same satisfaction you get after your first build in your woodwork class at school, I was momentarily a master craftsman of a shabby made vest..


An unrealistic dream shattered.


My dream was to have a British brand. The thought of owning a British brand excited me. Contributing to the economy as much as I could, helping people in the UK with work and pay. This dream was shattered quicker than the thought of England winning a world cup.


Let me tell you, British manufacturers are not start-up friendly. It's not even the costs of producing here, which is 3-4x higher than abroad. They just won't work with you because your too small and you're most likely not going to last, which is understandable.


The ones who would work with me were clearly trying to rip off this inexperience brand owner. The cost of making a simple vest from this particular manufacturer on the outskirts of London, excluding the cost of materials which I have to supply was scandalous. I could have bought a ready made piece from Nike or Adidas for price of sewing the fabrics together. God knows how I would have sold them with materials added on top, plus running costs.


I'm adamant that the designs are my own, I didn't want to be one of those new brands copying and pasting onto warden blanks. I want people to buy from the brand, knowing that what they are wearing is truly unique to the brand. So, the only realistic route I had was overseas to get myself started. I could always transition to a fully British brand when I have momentum on my side.


Going abroad was a challenge in itself. This I will talk about in another blog.

(See what I'm doing here? come back for more).


That was my first few months.


The first couple of months consisted of a lot of research. A couple of actionable moves to make the idea a physical reality. But nothing compared to later on in my journey. In essence, I've jumped head first into a sea of the unknown, learning to swim as I go. No courses, no clothing design background, no mentor. Just a creative head on my shoulders and an insane ability to soak in information.


This is a tip of a very deep ice burg. In my next blog, I want to talk about the following few months. Things started to get more juicy as the idea I had in my head, started to become more of a reality. that being said, it took me six months to learn, create and manufacture my first piece. In this blog, I skimmed through the first eight weeks or so.


I'm being conscious to the fact that you may not want to read a novel about creating a brand, or do you? So, I've kept this blog pretty small and precise. Bit size chunks spread over multiple publications. You can always let me know in the comments If you'd prefer it longer, shorter or if I could just leave the writing to the professional altogether.


If you have any questions, you can comment on this blog and I will get back to you.


Below are a few things worth mentioning that you may find interesting or useful.


 


Things to consider:


  • What I've spoken about is thee definition of the brand. Doing something that feels risky or unattainable is what we're about. But of course, within the fitness niche. The only person who's stopping you from achieving, Is yourself. We're all naturally gifted with the ability to achieve. You've just got to start.


  • If you're uncertain about something, research and learn about it to maximise your chances of success. Now, I'm not saying I'm successful in the clothing industry by any means, I have a long way to go. But, I have achieved success in the fitness industry. And believe me, I was fitness dumb. Anything is possible.


  • If your starting a brand. Don't waltz into a manufacturers arms, unarmed with the knowledge of typical pricing. One way trip to be ripped off.


  • I think its important to have friends who want to support you. You know the types who are not transactional and genuinely believe in your ideas. They want you to succeed and go out their way to motivate and promote you. Keep these people close, because they spark life back into your ideas when your spark naturally dims on the bad days. and this has happened to me.

Did you find this blog interesting?

  • Yes, Please do more BTS Blogs

  • No, It needs improvement.





44 views4 comments

Recent Posts

See All

4 Comments


Charlie Toseland
Charlie Toseland
May 24, 2023

A great first part to your blog Levi! It’s informative and humorous and doesn’t shy away from the flaws of starting up something like this. Look forward to the next part 👍🏻

Like
levi
levi
May 24, 2023
Replying to

Thanks Charlie. I've had quite a big hiccup accure very recently. Which you'll have a chance to read about soon. But I think transparent honesty is the way forward.

Like

Jay Nelson
Jay Nelson
May 24, 2023

Good read mate, nice to see you haven’t lost your sense of humour. 😜👍

Like
levi
levi
May 24, 2023
Replying to

Of course not. Just because I spend 23 hours a day looking in the mirror. That doesn't mean I don't have time to crack a joke 😂. This was a joke btw

Like
bottom of page