Launching a brand is all-consuming. And in an era of increasing online sales and a rough transition for brick and mortar stores trying to keep up, it can seem like having a fully built-out online presence is the only way to make it as a new designer.
There has to be another way!
Now, it is true that gorgeous photos do really help a brand- let’s take a minute to look at how far Thinx has come since its Kickstarter days. But that doesn’t mean that the website for your new collection has to have sales pages with three views of the product, plus detail shots, entrancing copy and specs in order for you to have a successful launch. Think of your website as your online business card and as a business card, your site only needs to answer these few questions:
Who are you?
What do you create?
What is your vision?
Where can I buy?
How to I contact you?
Who Are You Selling To?
An exception here is if you are planning to immediately become a direct to consumer brand. Many people are and that requires a slightly different web strategy. But what I’ve encountered quite often is brands who don’t quite know whether they want to start wholesale, consignment, direct to consumer, sell at markets or go traditional retail route.
Getting intentional about your business model can help make your site development smoother.
We can go into the pros and cons of traditional retail and direct to consumer models soon enough, but for now we’ll just say that if you plan on selling directly to stores, at markets and trade shows, your website can be very simple.
I’d like to introduce you to Bia Diadone. A line of beautiful sculptural jewelry that sells directly to boutiques, Bia Diadone has one of the most elegant websites I’ve seen in a while.
The site contains:
Images of two collections
An about page with a photo of the designer and artist’s statement
A contact page
A grid summary of the brand’s Instagram feed
Who? Why? Where? Gimme.
The site only needs to convey the vision for the brand, give a good overview of the products, let people know where and how to buy and link to other media across the web. If someone wants to place and order or get to know each individual piece available (along with colorways, size range, price and specs), they’ll simply receive a line sheet.
Another site that is delightfully succinct is Spanish footwear brand Mercedes Castillo. A simple one-page site that has current look-book images, a couple featured styles, an about section, list of stockists and contact information.
I could scroll this site all day. It’s beautiful, simple, informative and does not leave the viewer (neither buyer nor customer) wanting. It’s just a good website.
So if a New York Times reporter comes up to you at a Flea Market and asks you to make a site overnight, don’t work yourself into a lather. You can build a beautiful, functional website for your brand without having to photograph and write up every. single. one of your products.
Just get a few good pictures of your product, one good picture of you and you’ll be fine.