If you search for “Inspiration” today, hundreds of results will come up. There are extremely talented professionals out there who can help others to think creatively, motivate them, and find exactly what inspires them. But what do you do after you’ve been inspired? You have this exciting idea that brings butterflies to your stomach and makes your heart race. You know this is your calling to create and build what inspires you, but you don’t know where to start…
The ironic response to that question is usually: backwards. In apparel line planning at Unmarked Street, the document that we start with first is our overall revenue line plan. I’m guessing that a lot of other companies might get to this step as one of the last items on their list, after they’ve designed and developed their amazing products. However, I contest that there might not be a product line to design and build if you can’t make the numbers work in the first place.
For example, let’s say you want to sell t-shirts with your company’s logo on them. You’re excited to work on the design of the graphic and start talking with a screen printing partner or a t-shirt blanks supplier, so you jump into those tasks right away. Then, you start looking at your budget and realize that you don’t have the funds to purchase the blanks that you need or pay for the screen printer. You’ve just wasted hours or maybe days on something that you can’t proceed with for lack of funds.
Moving backward from your ultimate goal, making sure you have the crucial pieces in place first, and then getting started on your design is how I recommend starting. What do you hope to accomplish by selling t-shirts? Do you want to increase your sales? Do you want more brand recognition by having your fans wear your logo on their chests? Or do you simply want to learn how to execute on a project like this, so you can expand on a bigger project next time? Responses to each of these questions will then force you to ask yourself how you’re going to get there. What kind of money will you need to provide up front to make a profit? Who is going to help you with the project, and how much are their fees? How many t-shirts can you afford as your first purchase with the cash you have in hand?
Eventually, working backward from your ultimate goal will bring you all the way back to step one, and you’ll know how to get started. All of a sudden, the path that you’ve laid for yourself is marked with many signs, pointing you to the next task. And at the end of that road, you’ll arrive at your destination.
This is what I like to call the Unmarked Street. It is that unlaid path that’s full of promise and hope, leading somewhere that will bring an idea to life. Marking that path with street signs and guideposts will keep you moving in the right direction, and will make any seemingly impossible task feel easier every day.