Diary of a Startup: Mood Boarding & Market Research

Diary of a Startup: Mood Boarding & Market Research Reading Time: 3 minutes

I promised that my next Diary of a Startup post would cover where I’ve got to so far. However, on setting myself up to write that post, I realised that I’ve actually done rather a lot. (This was a pretty great realisation to be honest!!)

So I’m going to break it down into several posts, because these have all been key steps in the creation of Béo so far.

Having discovered the idea of Béo, I really wanted to make that excitement snowball into something instantly tangible. There’s something about making an abstract idea into something concrete that can really solidify a goal.

Mood Boarding

To do this, I needed to fill my mind with inspiration and start consolidating what I found into one place. (A place that wasn’t my brain… a place I could show other people.)

So I started a mood board. By which I mean I set up a powerpoint pres and started saving images of activewear styles and shapes; patterns; and more miscellaneous shots of nature, lifestyle and fashion into colour-coordinated slides.

This presentation/mood board became Béo as it was then… an unnamed brain splurge of aesthetic images and colour ways. I actually still keep adding to it.

The document has kind of become the nucleus of the idea… beyond just these image slides, I now dump useful links, supplier options, startup how-tos, etc all in this one big document.

Checking the Market

In creating this mood board, I actually managed to come up with an initial design for my first release activewear sets! (But I’ll talk more about this in another post.)

This process also led me to further researching brands currently in the market. Yes… you’re right, there are MANY. The activewear market is rather saturated.

The European, sustainable, pastel-colours activewear market, however, is not so saturated. So that works for me!

As mentioned previously, the idea for Béo came as a result of searching the market for the above and realising it didn’t really exist. So I had done some research into the space previously.

But the mood boarding exercise encouraged me to seek activewear brands (or, I suppose, my future competitors) that existed and that inspired me.

Now I don’t have a clue about the ins and outs of algorithms and how personalised ads really work – I’m absolutely convinced that they actually listen to our conversations somehow.

But naturally, by searching for activewear brands, my personalised ads became very targeted. Soon enough a scroll through Instagram guaranteed the discovery of another activewear brand that I could be inspired by or learn from. For once these ads weren’t annoying, they were actually genuinely helpful.

I began adding all of these brands to a list – noting if they were sustainable or not; whether I liked their designs or not; and where they were from. My research consolidated that the sustainable, pastel coloured activewear market in Europe remains slim.

Learn From Existing Brands

Those brands I came across with ‘Our Story’ sections on their websites were particularly useful.

Having read so many of these so far, or deep-diving into any that offer more detail on their processes, I’m actually starting to understand some of the key steps in starting an activewear brand. These stories gave far more valuable insight than any google search of ‘How to start an activewear brand’ gave!

This research also made me realise how much more likely I was to buy into a brand with a real startup story or ethos behind them. Hence, my own documenting of Béo through Diary of a Startup

So, not only was I gaining inspiration in the mood boarding process, but I was also learning invaluable lessons from the brands I was discovering.

That said, it has also become very clean just how complex this whole process is going to be. And I’m a firm believer that there’s only so much research and prep you can do until you actually just have to take the plunge and learn whilst doing!

Key Takeaways

I continue to refer and add to my mood board whenever I want to reignite my excitement in the project.

And I continue to refer and add to my list of brands when checking material compositions, costs, processes etc.

So make these two things items on your startup to-do list:

  • Mood Board
  • List of Existing Brands