• Repeat customers — It costs less to market to repeat customers than it does to attract new customers.
  • Customers become brand ambassadors who tell their friends and family about the brand for free.
  • Customers are typically not price-conscious and will continue buy new items that the brand releases.
  • Seed influencers and people that have a similar style as your brand, but it needs to be authentic to them. That will then in-turn introduce their audience to your brand.
  • Create engaging content. The content could be UGC (user generated content) created by your customers.
  • Start to think about how you are able to differentiate your brand from other companies in that space. Write all of that down and start to seriously think what you want your brand to be about and what you want it to look like.
  • Figure out how you are going to manufacture your apparel and/or accessories. Can you do that domestically or are you going to need to work with a manufacturer or supplier who is based overseas. There are pros and cons for doing both, so those are things that you will have to work out, including cost, time to manufacture, shipping costs, inventory, etc.
  • Cash is King. How are you going to fund your company? There are a lot of different ways to start a company, including crowdfunding, angel investment, or boot-strapping it, but you need to figure out how you’re going to get started.
  • START! Just start putting your product out in the market and put it in front of everyone in your network. You can set up an online store through Shopify in as little as one day and start sending ads to potential customers by spending as little as $5. Then you will be able to start to see data from social media sites like Facebook and Instagram on your product, and if there is traction, you’ll know that you have something that you can potentially scale.
  1. Don’t do it alone — When Gary had the idea for Deuce Brand, I remember him coming to my apartment and talking to me about the product that he found. He also talked to me about the vision he had for the brand and that we could leverage the connections we had, including our past experience in sports, for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a brand that sold products people could wear wherever they wanted. I can say through this journey that in the hard times, it has been Gary who has shed light that it is never as bad as it seems, and in the good times, it has been great to celebrate our wins!
  2. Focus on one thing and do that well — When we started Deuce Brand, we knew that the product could be branded 100 different ways — everything from fashion to surf/skate to mainstream sports. Being located in San Diego has allowed us to have a California vibe in all of our marketing efforts, which really opened the door to lifestyle marketing for Deuce Brand. For the first several years, we tried to do it all. We would send products to different influencers in different channels and would see some success, but the one thing that kept coming back that we couldn’t ignore was that NBA players were allowed to wear non-NBA wristbands, something that wasn’t standard across all sports. Because of that, in 2016 we decided to focus all of our attention on branding through basketball and the NBA. That meant that if other opportunities came up, we would turn them down to continue to focus on the one thing that we knew could put Deuce Brand over the top.
  3. Don’t give up — Deuce Brand was retail-focused when we first started the company. Fortunately, God blessed our business and we found opportunities with companies like Brookstone, Dick’s Sporting Goods and City Sports, just to name a few. In 2015, we were just about to start a test run with Sports Authority and had some positive traction. Encouraged, we received a significant holiday order that was due for delivery the first week of November. At that time, we were working through a distributor to help sell into Sports Authority. So, we delivered this huge order to the distributor and then two days later, we were told that Sports Authority was not going to take it in. And not only did they not take in the order, but the distributor wanted to return the product to us, so we got stuck with a ton of product, loans that were coming due on a bridge loan for the inventory with the factory, and on top of all that, a distributor that wanted to return the product. I’m not going to lie, this was a tough time in our business. It was a pivotal moment and we had talks about what to do next and how we could even move forward, and I definitely had thoughts about quitting Deuce. But after a number of conversations with Gary, we decided that we could never let our business be tied to a retailer taking in our products and that we would learn from this mistake. Going forward, we decided that we had to control our own destiny and the very next day, this was in early 2016, I set up a website on Shopify and Deuce Brand changed our focus to being a DTC brand and we are now a seven-figure figure DTC brand!
  4. Create multiple revenue streams for your business — When we first started Deuce Brand, we had one product that we sold. It was a silicone wristband with a timepiece in it. After two years in business, we started to see quite a few knockoff products that were similar to ours hitting the market and it caused competition within the retail stores that we were selling into. Because of that, we had to get very creative on how we were bringing in revenue in order to help with the cashflow for our business. We had a wholesale business selling into retail, but we knew that we needed an online store, so we were steered toward hiring an agency to help us build one. This was before Shopify, so you had to have a company build you a website with a checkout cart, which looking back today, was very, very expensive. It’s a lot simpler today. Anyways, we then started getting questions from a lot of different customers, asking us if we could customize our wristbands and watches, and this led us to create a portfolio of products that we could customize, and that in-turn opened doors for us to work with players in the NBA, WNBA, NCAA, AAU and more. It helped us diversify our business so that no matter what time of the year it was, we had revenue coming in to support the business.
February 08, 2021
Tags: Tom Malloy

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