Brand extension into apparel, including sportswear, can work well if there is synergy with the ethos and market positioning of the parent brand.  It can also be a disaster if there is a mismatch in cultural associations, or if the new line does not live up to the high standards laid down by the parent.  In such a case not only will the new line not take wings, but it could damage the residual strength of the core brand.

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Bridge and Stitch, who specialise in UK manufacture of high quality garments, are finding that brands are starting to bring production of their brand extensions nearer to home.

By working directly with a local manufacturer the brand owner can feel more confident of the provenance, quality control, and ethics of production processes.

However, a single factory can generally only work within a certain specialism, for instance woven, jersey, tailoring, technical, outerwear, knitwear, but not all.  A single factory may also be limited by capacity, particularly as the line expands quickly, or during peaks in their order book.  Spreading the load/risk across several factories involves a logistical challenge that parent brand owners are often not geared up for or interested in.  It also requires close understanding of the garment production industry.

Research has shown that brand extensions are more likely to work well if they offer an extra ‘something’ to what is already available.

Bridge & Stitch works with British companies and international brands who are looking for a complete turnkey solution to designing and manufacturing their apparel in the UK.  The ‘Made in England’ message is the differentiator.

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Brand ‘fit’ is a term that researchers use to describe how consumers react to the brand extension and whether it is a happy union. Products like Snickers extending from a snack bar into ice cream was a natural fit, which has been a great success. JCB is internationally recognised as a provider of construction equipment. They are a fantastic example of a company who embraced brand extension to huge success with clothing and mobile phones now being a part of their offering.  We do not hear of many great failures, for obvious reasons!

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Bridge & Stitch sees natural synergy between performance equipment, such as brands of bikes, ice hockey, climbing equipment, and the high quality garments worn by the sports’ enthusiasts – whether followers or competitors.  For these types of company a successful clothing line will increase sales, without increasing overheads, and will raise the profile of the brand.