How to write a Mission Statement for your clothing company

By Liz at Pop Culture Tees

Telling your story, how to write a great mission statement

Have you ever read a mission statement that starts something like this?:

“Brand X is a brand that represents urban culture and is for creative edgy people everywhere. Every product of Brand X incorporates our unique vision, style, and attitude. We’re not just a t-shirt shop, we’re a culture…”

Horrible, right? Because there’s a half dozen problems with this:

  1. Of course your products are unique… but what actually makes them different from anyone else’s?
  2. T-Shirts are not culture, and they’re not a representation of the entirety of urban culture or anything else. They’re clothing. And unless you’re really lucky, they reflect pop culture, not create it.
  3. Lots of words without saying much. Buzz words are cheap, and you can string them together to make something that sounds great. Problem is, they usually don’t mean anything.
  4. Trying to defining and classify your customers is a great way to drive would be buyers away. If I don’t feel like I’m edgy and creative person, I’m not going to feel like your tees are for me.

This isn’t a real mission statement, but it is inspired by (and in some spots roughly borrowed from) dozens I’ve read from submissions to the site, and around the web. Your mission statement says who you are, and what you’re about, so why short change yourself by writing a bad one that doesn’t really say much at all?

If you want to write a great mission statement, follow these 3 simple rules:

  1. Tell people where you came from: how your brand started, what was the inspiration, why are you doing what you are.
  2. Tell people what’s really unique about your brand: Maybe all your tees and ink are organic or maybe your designs are all inspired by your favorite Star War characters, or maybe you donate 10% of each sale to the WWF. Whatever it is, make it plain and easy to understand.
  3. Tell people what your designs are about: This is hard if you don’t have a theme that connects your clothing line (hint: your brand will be stronger if you have a central theme), but you should be able to talk about what connects all your designs and what they’re about.

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  • eyeseeyou

    Great article. Even after having a few years in this industry and having to basically reinvent myself, it's nice to hear another point of view. I'll be mailing myself this article.

  • http://twitter.com/The11MrLegit MrLegit

    This I find very interesting. The header mission statement is something I have seen on many many many clothing lines websites. I am sure they are busy editing them right now after reading this article.

    ONE IMPORTANT NOTATION that I would add. It is more important to have a GOOD STORY then a great mission statement.

    Your story, or your brands story is what will separate it from everybody else. This is the only thing that is truly unique about your brand. 6 trillion people out there and none of them have your story. Only you do, and only you can say how it will go, you use your story to expand. And all the bullshit you go through trying to build your brand will give you a stronger story in the end. Like, 50 cent, he got shot 8 times, or Kanye got in a car wreck.

    Anybody can put ink on shirts the way your brand does, but the way to create a good brand is to capture an audience. You do this by engaging them with YOUR STORY. Only you could tell the story about how you started your brand from nothing, and had to recycle cans to place your first order of shirts. Shit like that. That's the kind of stuff that builds strong foundations that will follow your company through out your whole story.

    Look at the great companies that are around right now, and the difference between them and everyone else is their story.

    Read up on these companies backgrounds, you will see somewhere along their story they found the true drive and motivation behind their company. And that became their mission.

    Ford's story
    McDonalds story
    JayZ's story
    Apples story

    Their stories are more compelling then their products. Thats why jayz can sell clothes even though he sold crack. And thats why Apple is so big. Facebook too.

    KEEP WRITING YOUR STORY EVERYDAY.

    If any of you brands need an extra promoting hand. I'm offering my consulting and network marketing for $30 a month. I am looking to raise money to reopen up my own screen printing shop. The11Collection@gmail.com

  • Fairfaxfresh

    Great article and reply MrLegit. Both were very informative and I walked away with a handful of notes and knowledge. Thanks.

  • TP

    THIS IS SOME GOOD INFO

  • THEVAMPYREVKTHEUNDEAD

    I AM, VY' KHANN, ALL UPPER CASE – OVER THE TOP',- NEVER BELOW IT! and U' R' > PHUNETIK, I AM CEO OF EMPIRE COLOR COMBINATION'S (ECC) I will keep you in 'MIND' And 'U' have your PORTAFOLIO in The 'EYE of the same. I now have 'YOUR Email. Extra Promotional Hand – 'U' SAY' ? THE VAMPYRE VK THE UNDEAD@GMAIL.COM You're right about a story, I AM, The Author of 'MY' Script, I write it down and make it hapen…

  • Asr0305

    Hey whats going on. My name is Anthony Rubenstein (Available on facebook,Youtube,I Tunes). I'm currently in the process putting my designs together and speaking with printing companies. I would like to thank you for your insight on missions statements. I would like to add that as a business student, I feel you have a strong point of view and I appreciate the time taken in writing this article. On top of tee shirts I write music, scripts, interested in filming and phothography. My screen name is asr0305@yahoo.com feel free to contact with any further information in living a dream. Thank you for your time

  • Kaye

    Great article! I am in the beginning stages of creating an indie brand and this article came right on time. I'm working on my brands mission and while researching I've come across a lot of them that say the same thing…nothing. I agree with Patrik, MY mission should be MY story which will set me apart from the millions of other tee brands out there.

  • 1bfaygo

    Great article! I was stuck about to write the same crap until i read this article. Its funny because i allways tell people why i am starting my clothing line and it has brought some people to tears. I agree, a story is better than a cheesy punch line anyday and you will remember it. Thanks for showing me the light. Brazil

  • jonkruse

    You're making me want to read your mission statement just talking about it.

  • Vera

    Very helpful. Thanks for sharing!

  • Needle_thread

    I totally agree with what you have said 100%!! I have read
    so many brands/labels missions statements and they all sound repetitive and cliché!!
    Your three rules is so on point!!! Any on who is thinking about stating a label
    NEEDS to take into consideration these points!!! For those that have already
    written their statement, should probably read this and rewrite their statement.

  • SuperbSociety

    Wow! Super helpful bro. I definitely need this advice everything you said not to do, I did. It's back to rewriting my mission statement. Thanks. I really do appreciate the guidelines.

  • Jordan

    Im late but this entire blog is gold!