How to Launch a Capsule Collection Brand

For any fashion boutique or brand, it’s all about staying relevant and staying top of mind in the industry. Once you’ve got a solid brand identity and/or a rhythm of regular lines and launches, you can incorporate a capsule collection into your marketing plan. Capsule collections are a great way to pop in new interest—but there are certain guidelines that should be followed to ensure success.

WHAT IS A CAPSULE COLLECTION?

A capsule collection is a separate, smaller collection that is not a part of your main collection.

Your main collections are your biggest deliveries to retailers, happening twice a year in the fall and spring, when the line has the longest shelf life. Capsule collections, then, are essentially off-peak drops to retailers, occurring in between main sends when you have new products to sell. They are often useful for brands that are smaller and just getting started, as they are good filler to build around smaller main drops when a brand might not have that much capital yet.

These collections are typically comprised of eight to fifteen styles, which is less inventory and fewer overall units than the main collection. They are, by design, able to be frequently launched into the marketplace. Capsules are a great way to introduce new styles, build up brand awareness and excitement and create a cohesive line even if you don’t have the ability to launch huge main collections. They can also be used to test out new products or styles before fully committing an idea to a mainline.

APPROACHES TO LAUNCHING

As mentioned, capsule collections can be used to introduce new items to a fashion boutique during the off-season, but they can also be used as collaborations. Often, a bigger brand retailer will promote a collaboration collection with a designer. This promoted line is extraneous to the main lines and consists of only a few select pieces. The idea here is a sense of exclusivity for the retailer plus heightened promotion for the fashion brand.

Outside of collaboration, it is the brand’s duty to launch a capsule as not only something to attract new purchasing power but also as something thought out and tightly edited. The idea of a capsule collection is not to hit stores with another full line, but rather an accompaniment that shows thought behind it. Often, these collections will include pieces that can be worn throughout varying seasons or that can be mixed and matched year-round with the more statement styles from the main collection drop.

Launching a capsule collection should be a thoughtful and consistent practice. This is not a chance to randomly unload pieces on fashion boutiques as you design them. There should be a cadence to the capsules and they should be part of a larger marketing strategy.

When it comes time to promote the collection, be sure to include it in your overall marketing plan. This means additional photography, content, promotion, and advertising so buyers are not only aware but they are excited. Social media is an excellent way to generate collection outside of more traditional routes for mainline launches.

CHALLENGES

As with anything, launching a capsule collection comes with its own special set of challenges you should be aware of. Number one on that list is cost, plain and simple. Not only is this an additional cost to your regular production, but the capsule itself may also be more expensive to produce on a garment by garment basis.

Many manufacturers not only have minimum order quantities in place (meaning the size of your line may be at the mercy of minimums), but they also have fluctuating rates. Just like buying anything in bulk, the more you buy, the cheaper the product will be per unit. If there are fewer units or fewer styles produced, manufacturers are going to charge a more expensive rate per piece in order to meet their own costs.

For that reason, you should ensure you have not only enough money set aside in the budget, but that you’ve also taken the time to scope out these costs in advance so you’re not taken by surprise. The more planning you can put into something, the more time you have to talk to and negotiate with manufacturers.

Another challenge you can face is there simply not being enough awareness. Particularly if your capsule collection is only being shared with a few fashion boutiques, promotion and buzz are key. You may have exhausted a good deal of budget and time on marketing your main lines, but your capsule collection will need just as much—sometimes even more— promotion than a seasonal launch.

When executed properly, a capsule collection is an excellent way to bolster your brand and set your line apart. You can test out new ideas, keep your market fresh between seasons, and stay top of mind. Do you have a fashion boutique business dream? Email hello@scalingretail.com for industry expert insight and schedule a consultation.