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  • Kellen Anderson

How to Make a Unique and Sustainable Clothing Brand (Boyish Jeans Case Study)

Updated: Oct 27, 2021



Boyish Jeans is a sustainable women's denim brand formed in 2019 that has crafted a unique style of clothing and helped blaze the trails for sustainable fashion. We'll go over the details of how they've achieved this and how you can build your own brand with uniqueness and sustainability. We'll also discuss the brands marketing and how to meaningfully target an audience.


"As my career in denim evolved and I spent more time in factories around the world, I realized how much waste and toxic chemicals were being used in making jeans. Boyish Jeans derives from my passion for making environmentally conscious and sustainable jeans, and the need to educate consumers so they have a higher standard and knowledge when it comes to choosing products to buy."

—Jordan Nodarse, founder of Boyish Jeans


Sustainability for Fashion Brands

What the above quote understates is that Boyish jeans is almost blood-thirsty in their sustainability. They use non-GMO cotton, plant-based dyes, sustainable wash materials such as faux stone, recycled paper, and much, much more. They also meet with their suppliers in person to make sure everything meets specifications.


Sustainability has moved from being central restricted to the young consumer to being a mainstream concern for buyers. As you build your clothing brand, you can consider whether or not sustainability is something you value and whether you should include it in your business model. (As a matter of two bits, I would say just get it over with and do it. We have rely on sustainable processes eventually.)


To find the right manufacturers/suppliers one of the options is online directories, most of which are paid. Some examples are Makers Row, Sqetch, and Kompass. You can also use Alibaba, Google search, or you can ask around for some references. If you're dropshipping you can also look for sustainable and ethical suppliers for your goods.


Making a Unique Brand

Boyish differentiates themselves by their unique style of women's denim, defining it as "vintage-inspired silhouettes with modern updates." This continues to set them apart even as other jeans and like brands pry their way into sustainability.


And how does one create a unique, stylish idea for a brand?


Step 1

Klaus and Anna Kristiansenn say in their podcast that a unique clothing brand idea comes from a person expressing themselves—their beliefs, lifestyle, values, preferences, etc. Authenticity, they say, is crucial in the modern fashion industry.


Nolifer Merchant talks about the idea of "onliness," the kind of singular value that can only be provided by a person or brand because of their unique perspectives and skills. This is a good way to view the uniqueness of a fashion/clothing brand. Only you can bring to the table what makes you different.


Express your onliness by making what you think is inspiring. Authentic expression combined with a (workable) knowledge of fashion design and materials leads to a good brand idea. But to be unique requires one more step.


Step 2

Creating a unique brand idea requires knowing what is and isn't in the market. Hunting for brands to find these gaps in the market ins't difficult with the help of social media, thought-leaders, and Google.


When Jordan Nodarse was founding Boyish Jeans, he was able to make a unique style of products partly due to his experience in the fashion industry. He had worked for other companies that made similar products and was aware of what did and didn't exist in the marketplace.


As Boyish combined their unique values with an understanding of the fashion market, things turned out exactly as the founder described, creating a sustainable jeans brand with a rare chicness. But they ran into a problem soon after their conception. Customers would complain via social media that their prices were too high.


How to get the Right Price for an Audience

Boyish Jeans sells most of their products between $120 and $190 dollars. This isn't as cheap as Levi's or Old Navy by any stretch. However, most other brands you can find on Consciously, the sustainable fashion marketplace, sell within or above that range. Redone, as another example, sells at $250 or $300.


Boyish couldn't get their prices to go any lower while being sustainable, but the competition showed that there was an audience receptive to the high prices. The complaints about high prices, therefore, existed because of poor targeting. But the source above is from November 2020, and Boyish has since corrected that mistake.


Targeting via digital media mostly has to do with paid ads, influencers, and social media. However, since advertising metrics are largely private information we'll focus on Boyish's influencers and social media.


Surfing the user-generated content and influencers that are connected to the brand shows that they know their audience well. They've started to develop a presence in TikTok (a good idea considering the platform now provides creators tens of thousands in monthly revenue, despite having been previously scoffed at by experts). One creator they collaborated with was Delilah Isabel (@delilah_isabel) who makes videos on sustainable lifestyle tips.


In the past, this creator has done things like refer her followers to sustainable fashion brands, including ones similar in price point to Boyish. Her collaboration resulted in a post with 11,500 likes—much better engagement than most branded videos.


This is a strong example of choosing influencers that have an audience that is similar to a brand's own, and evidence that Boyish has improved from their earlier targeting errors.


Summary

  • Sustainability is a mainstream concern among consumers. You can look for sustainable suppliers via online directories, Alibaba, Google, etc.

  • Making a unique brand idea demands that you be authentic and express yourself through sufficient understanding of fashion design.

  • Boyish has learned that selling at the proper prices means targeting audiences that are interested in sustainable fashion and aren't deterred by the price. They target that audience via influencers very well.





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