What is the Difference Between An Original Design and a Branded Design?

Recently, folks have been asking us what the difference is between an original “Maroon Bell Outdoor Design” and a “Branded Design”. The big difference has to do with who created the actual piece (Shirt, pants jacket etc.). 

What is a Branded Design?

A Branded Design is when a company like ours prints a logo or picture on a shirt designed by another company. For instance, Maroon Bell Outdoor T-shirts were designed by a company called Next Level Apparel. We hire a print shop in Denver (A Small Print Shop) to purchase those shirts at wholesale and print our logo onto them. This is a usable strategy to help with brand awareness, marketing and testing certain designs. 

Some of the benefits to using branded products include::

  • Less risk
  • Quick lead times
  • Allows the clothing company to experiment with numerous styles

There is nothing wrong with producing branded products and it is actually a great way for small companies without investors to build their brand. The only downside we see is the shirt, sweatshirt or pants you are selling are literally being sold all over the country by a thousand other brands. Companies will often times remove the designer tag and print their own, further customizing the branded piece and giving it the appearance of an original product, however; it is still branded. Maroon Bell Outdoor now clearly identifies the specific designer on our website. 

What is an Original Design?

original maroon bell t-shirt

An original design means we innovated and developed the actual piece of clothing from scratch. This process is much riskier, takes a lot of time and is expensive, however; in the end we own a design exclusive to our brand. The process includes creating a unique design, sourcing the textile (fabric), deciding on the color, cut, fit, buttons, zippers and thread strength. You have to find a manufacturer you trust and one who will produce high quality pieces in a reasonable amount of time. This is very difficult for small brands because most reputable manufacturers will not work with companies on small MOQs (minimum order quantity). They will require your company to produce 1,000 pieces of each color in each design with 50% cash up front. This introduces too much risk for most startups.

How often does Maroon Bell Outdoor use branded products vs original designs? 

Maroon Bell Outdoor uses a mixture of branded products as well as original designs. As we grow we are slowly replacing all of our branded items with original designs so we can eventually have a full line of Maroon Bell Outdoor Original Apparel

Our First and Following Designs

buffalo leather gloves

The Campfire Flannel was our very first design four years ago. We originally manufactured the flannel in the USA which proved to be almost impossible. We have sold out of this shirt four times. Our second design was the Rocky Mountain Rugby shirt which had some issues and cost us a lot of money and time. It never made it to market the way we had hoped. Our third design was “The Buffalo Leather Glove”. This is one of our absolute favorite pieces because it is so unique. We designed this piece  to look like a 1930’s driving glove but rugged enough to use in the outdoors. You can wear our glove with a suit or at the campfire. It is three time stronger than cowhide, more durable and has a higher tear resistance. Our slogan for this glove is “The extraordinary glove you never knew you always needed”. Our fourth design was “The Doc, a vintage crew neck sweatshirt”. This garment was designed with my late grandfather in mind; “Tough enough for the greatest generation, fashionable enough for today's world”. You can read about that piece here.

What’s coming up next? 

This summer we are launching our very first Rocky Mountain Polo shirt, a pair of vintage ranching gloves and a backpack you will have forever.  Follow us for updates on IG and FB @MaroonBellOutdoor.

- Jeremy Dougherty 

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