Hey there, fellow fashion visionary! Embarking on the journey of creating a sustainable athleisure brand is thrilling, but let’s face it, finding the right suppliers can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. Fear not! We’re here to share three golden nuggets of advice to help you partner with suppliers who not only get your vision but will also help elevate your brand to new heights.

1. Data is Your Best Friend: Before you even start looking for suppliers, dive deep into the data about the product you’re dreaming up. What’s the demand for tis product? What materials are you using? What’s the production cost? What’s the environmental impact? Gathering this data will not only clarify your vision but also give you solid ground to stand on when discussing specifics with potential suppliers.

The easiest way to find out is using Google. My secret weapon to get inside customers’ heads is the Google Search Trends. The tool allows you to Google anything, and then see how many other people per month are also Googling the exact same term.

Pretty cool, right?

Now, let’s go back to our sustainable athleisure example mentioned above, and why that type of email is a red flag for most suppliers.

Are you ready for a crazy data point?

Only 590 people in the United States Google the term sustainable leggings per month. Are you shocked?  That is not a lot of potential customers. Especially when you think about how saturated the market is with other competitors vying for those same 590 searches. On Kickstarter alone, there are over 10 sustainable legging startups looking for funding.

The competition for this niche is steep!

So, when you tell your supplier you want to start a sustainable athleisure brand, our confidence in you succeeding (aka, eventually one day placing big orders) is low.

But, we’re not going to give up just yet.

2. Analyze to Realize: Now that you’ve got the data, it’s time to play detective. Analyze the heck out of it! Look for patterns, trends, and insights that could influence your product design and functionality. This step is crucial because it helps you understand the market better and communicate your needs more effectively to suppliers.

By looking at Google’s search data we learn two things. The first is that maybe the market that we thought had a lot of potential is not as big as we had hoped.

The second thing we are able to do is to assess if there is room for us in the market. With only 590 people searching for sustainable leggings, and hundreds of brands out there, we can assume competition to get those customers is going to be fierce.

After doing the research, it’s obvious that sustainable leggings are not the best market for a startup brand to go after.

So now we need to ask ourselves, how can we create sustainable leggings, but appeal to a broader audience?

Think about your customer’s pain points that are unique to your niche.

My leggings always start to smell weird after they get sweaty, no matter how many times I wash them.

So, the next thing is to look at how many people are searching for information about odor-free leggings, getting funny smells out of gym clothes, and things like that. And, honestly, the numbers aren’t much better. We found about 10 different search terms that each had about 500 searches a month.

That’s not bad, because when you add all of them, up that’s over 5000 people searching combined.

Plus, when it comes to odor-free leggings, there is a lot less market competition!

3. Use Data to Drive Innovation:

If you dig deeper using random things that come to mind related to leggings, we found that 1300 people a month search for cotton leggings with pockets. Maybe pockets could be a really good product feature!

22,200 people search for “plus size leggings.” That’s a lot more customers compared to the 590 for sustainable leggings.

Now you are probably thinking, “but plus size leggings aren’t sustainable leggings”

Don’t worry.

You can still produce your leggings consciously, but, the fact that you are a conscious brand just becomes your secondary storyline and not your brand’s main focus, opening you up to way more customers and sales.

Now you can still stick to your idea of odor-free leggings that are made out of natural cotton. But, what if you added a second target customer? Not just women who like to run, but also plus size women (a historically underserved market) who like to run and are looking for pants too because who says you need to fit into standard sizing to enjoy a jog in the park or a brisk walk with your dog?

Before we go, here’s a quick tip, if sustainability was your brand’s differentiator, you need to go back and do more research.

Armed with your newfound knowledge, approach suppliers with confidence. Show them how the data has shaped your product concept and how it can lead to a better, more marketable end product. When suppliers see the level of thought and analysis you’ve put into your product, they’re more likely to jump on board and collaborate closely with you.

Need help with your sourcing? Get in touch with us as we arrange sourcing trips in Jakarta and Bandung. Just WhatsApp us and we’ll get back to you on our next trip.

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