Why do creator brands fail and what you can learn from it.
In the glitzy world of fashion, the allure of celebrity-backed brands has often promised a tantalizing blend of star power and style. From Kanye West’s trendsetting Yeezy empire to Rihanna’s revolutionary Fenty Fashion, these ventures captivated attention, wielded influence, and rode on the coattails of fame. Yet, beneath the surface glamour, an undeniable trend emerges—a trail of shuttered storefronts and abandoned labels. The question lingers: why do these celebrity brands with massive loyal fan following and grand visions, falter and fade away?
The demise of these creator-driven brands serves as a cautionary tale for budding creators looking to start their own fashion brand. within the realms of commerce, creativity, and consumer culture. The complexity and pitfalls of merging celebrity stardom with the intricate landscape of the fashion industry are painted with red and we will talk about some of those spectacular failures later.
But first – Let us understand some broad reasons why these celebrity brands failed. While there are many reasons why creator brands fail, but some of the most common include:
- Lack of authenticity: Consumers, particularly Gen-Z are increasingly getting turned off by inauthentic marketing, and they are more likely to trust brands that are genuine and transparent. Creator brands that fail to connect with their audience on a personal level or that seem to be “just promoting” products or services that they don’t genuinely believe in are likely to struggle.
- Poor product quality: While building a loyal audience is one thing and building a product is another. Most creators lack the domain expertise to deliver a high quality product. As a matter of fact, several creators don’t even have the right evaluation parameters to evaluate a potential partner or a supplier.
Creators have a responsibility to ensure that the products or services they endorse are of high quality. If consumers are disappointed with the products they purchase, they are less likely to trust the creator’s recommendations in the future.
Do you remember Mr. Beast saying – I can’t guarantee the quality of the order
3. Overextension: Many creators try to capitalize on their success by launching multiple brands or product lines. However, this can sometimes lead to overextension, as creators may not have the time or resources to properly manage and promote all of their ventures.
4.Lack of marketing support: Even the most successful creators need some level of marketing support to reach a wider audience and build brand awareness. Creator brands that fail to invest in marketing, more specifically performance marketing for their Top-of-the-funnel segment, are likely to struggle to compete in the crowded marketplace.
5. Changing consumer trends: Consumer trends are constantly changing, and creators need to be able to adapt their brands to stay relevant. Creator brands that fail to evolve with the times are likely to lose their appeal to consumers.
6. Unrealistic expectations: Some creators enter the branding space with unrealistic expectations of success. They may believe that their celebrity status alone will guarantee success, but this is not always the case. Building a brand is a lot more heavy lifting than just a launch. Creator brands that fail to set realistic expectations are more likely to be disappointed.
7. Lack of understanding of the target audience: Creators need to have a deep understanding of their target audience in order to create products or services that will resonate with them. Creator brands that fail to understand their audience are likely to miss the mark. You will see how some creator brands ended up over-pricing their product to such an extent that most of their merchandise was out of budget even from their own loyal followers.
8. Poor business acumen: Running a successful brand requires more than just creativity and charisma. Creators also need to have a strong understanding of business basics, such as marketing, finance, and operations. Creator brands that fail to develop these skills are likely to struggle.
9. Lack of focus: Some creators try to do too much with their brands, leading to a lack of focus and direction. Creator brands that fail to identify their niche and focus on their core strengths are likely to lose their way.
10. Unforeseen challenges: Even the most well-planned creator brands can face unforeseen challenges. These challenges can be anything from a change in the market to a personal scandal. Creator brands that are not prepared to adapt to change are likely to fail.
Now that you have understood some broad reasons why even the celebrity driven creator brands fail, let us look at some really well-known celebrity driven creator brands that failed to make a mark. We are going to uncover some of the missteps, product failures, and strategic errors that led to their untimely closures.
Mandy Moore | Mblem
Mandy Moore, renowned for her acting prowess, embarked on her fashion journey with Mblem. While the brand built a very strong anticipation prior to launch, the brand failed to resonate with its target audience. The line suffered due to a lack of clear brand identity, ineffective marketing, and crucially, poor product quality.
Moore’s attempt to merge high-end aesthetics with affordability proved challenging, resulting in compromised craftsmanship and unsatisfactory materials. The disconnect between the brand’s vision and the final product that was delivered, ultimately led to its downfall.
Learning: To avoid this fate, Moore’s Mblem could have benefited from meticulous quality control, clearer brand messaging, and a more defined target demographic. If you want to build a high-end brand, then you need to invest in impeccable materials. If you are trying to cut corners, whether it is lower
Most high quality materials have minimum order quantities (MOQs) : because they are high end, and not everyone is making those materials – that’s why those materials are high-end.
Cutting corners is not just on unit price but on the over merchandise budget. You cannot have $1000 retail price for a product but you invest only $20 to make – sooner or later people will find it out.
Emphasizing quality over quantity and maintaining a cohesive brand identity would have potentially prolonged its presence in the market.
Heidi Montag | Heidiwood: The Fading Glamour of Hastily Conceived Fashion
Heidi Montag, a prominent reality TV star, ventured into the fashion industry with Heidiwood. Despite initial excitement, the line failed to captivate consumers due to rushed designs, inconsistent aesthetics, and inadequate market research. It was classic example of poor product development and continues to remind us -why sampling is super critical if you want your audience to remember your brand.
Moreover, poor product quality and an inability to meet consumer expectations led to diminished credibility and swift consumer disinterest. Heidi’s personal brand credibility suffered because of poor product performance of Heidiwood.
Learnings : Heidiwood’s demise underscores the importance of a very strong product development process that starts with conducting an extensive market research, and ensuring product quality. A slower, more deliberate approach to design, coupled with a focus on building a genuine connection with consumers, could have potentially salvaged the brand.
Blake Lively | Preserve
Blake Lively, aka the Gossip Girl celebrated for her acting skills and fashion sense, ventured into the world of lifestyle and fashion with Preserve. Despite its ambitious concept centred on artisanal goods and storytelling, Preserve faced challenges due to an unclear brand identity and a lack of focused product offerings.
The brand’s attempt to blend too many diverse elements—from fashion to home goods—resulted in confusion among consumers and an inability to carve a distinct niche. This is a classic example of trying to go after several niche categories without establishing dominance in one core niche category. Additionally, the high price point coupled with inconsistent quality further undermined its market presence.
Learning: Preserve’s downfall highlights the significance of a well-defined brand identity, streamlined product offerings, and a consistent narrative. Focusing on a specific niche, refining product quality, and aligning price points with consumer expectations could have fortified Preserve’s foothold in the competitive market.
Natalie Portman | Te Casan:
Who doesn’t know Natalie Portman, but did you know that Natalie Portman launched Te Casan, a venture that aimed to offer luxury footwear with an ethical touch. Despite its noble intentions, the brand faced challenges stemming from inflated price points, distribution issues, and a failure to strike a balance between luxury and accessibility.
Te Casan’s downfall was exacerbated by production delays and the inability to sustain consumer interest, leading to a premature exit from the market.
Learning : Te Casan’s downfall underscores the necessity of maintaining a delicate equilibrium between luxury and accessibility. A more strategic pricing strategy, efficient distribution channels, and improved supply chain management could have prolonged the brand’s presence. Additionally, leveraging Portman’s advocacy for ethical fashion could have better resonated with socially conscious consumers if their suppliers delivered consistently.
The demise of celebrity clothing brands like Mblem, Heidiwood, Preserve, and Te Casan offers a valuable lesson for aspiring creators in the fashion industry.
If you were to learn something from these failures –
- Have a clear brand identity
- Build a meticulous product based on thorough market research, and a genuine connection with consumers.
- Your product quality would stand as pillars for success. Never try to cut corners on materials, MOQs or cost.
By learning from the missteps of these failed ventures and implementing insightful strategies, future creator brands can navigate the challenging terrain of fashion with a higher probability of success.