Anyone obsessed with fashion has dreamed of making their own clothing at one point. But making your own clothing line is no walk in the park.
Unlike many other start-ups, 53% of clothing brands will fail by the fourth year. These brands might crumble because of a bad product, but many fail because of bad business decisions.
Creating your own clothing line is more than have a good look and staying on top of the trends. It takes as much hard work and creativity as it does luck.
If you’re dreaming of your own clothing company, you want to make sure you get off on the right foot. You can do this with our tips on how to start a clothing line.
1. Think About What You’re Going to Sell
There are two parts to figuring out what you’re going to sell. The first part involves getting to know your ideal customer.
Tips for Knowing Your Audience
Before you even think about how to start a clothing line, you need to consider who will buy from it. Are you aiming for the popular young adult crowd? What about men’s wear?
It’s good to know the general customer base, but if you want to succeed you need to “niche down.” That means you’re not selling clothing to men, you’re selling colorful workwear to men under 5’8″. These men are in the mid-20s to early 30s age bracket, and they make $60,000 a year from online marketing.
By narrowing your niche, you’ll make your clothing easier to market. It can also weed out some competition, and create a more loyal customer base.
What Are You Selling?
Now that you know who your customer is, think about what your first line will offer them. Will your customers like t-shirts, or button-ups? Fancy socks, or unique ties?
Try to visualize what their closet looks like. If they could only own 20 pieces of clothing, what would they choose? Think about these things when you’re starting a clothing line.
2. Make a Business Plan
Business plans are essential to the success of any clothing line. Without a plan, it’ll be easy for you to get lost in the weeds of business.
Your initial business plan should be about one to two pages long. You’ll expand this as you go, but for now, consider these points.
- The General Description of Your Business– What is your company name? Who are the owners? What is your niche in the fashion industry? What products do you offer? What are your goals?
- Product Description– Describe your current and future product lines.
- How Will You Operate– How will you run your company and where are you manufacturing the products?
- Summary– Summarize the key parts of your business model.
For more detailed sample business plans, you can click here.
3. Keep Your Business Legal
Whether you’re selling your products out of your car or in a boutique, you need to make your business legal. You can register your business with the government. This will help you gain some tax advantages that can help your business.
4. Figure Out Manufacturing
As a clothing brand, you need to have a quality product. For that, you need a good manufacturer. There are a few different ways to manufacture your products.
- Print-On-Demand models involve printing your logo or design onto a blank clothing product. This could include t-shirts, shorts, and jackets. If you’re starting a clothing brand around t-shirts, this is a great idea for you.
- Private Label Lines make their apparel purchases upfront. Then they customize them with labels or prints. This is a cost-effective approach if you know you’re going to sell at a high volume. But you’ll have to consider storage if you go with this option.
- Custom Cut & Sew Clothing Brands are by far the most expensive and involved options. But you’ll also have the most control over your product if you do this. Keep in mind you’ll have to make a lot of decisions. You need to decide everything, from fabric sourcing to what kind of zippers and buttons you’ll use.
You’ll also need to interview different manufacturers to find the right fit for you.
5. Find a Pricing Model
Look, it’s great that you have your own clothing line. But how are you going to make any money from it?
The rule of thumb for pricing is that your profit margin should be 30-50% higher than your expenses. Remember to consider your customer’s price ranges when creating a price model.
6. Show Off Your Clothing Line
You have your ideal client, you have your sample products, now you need to get it out there. But what is the best way to do this?
First, solidify your brand. You already know who you’re going to sell these products to, so now you need a brand that appeals to them. You can view here for some great examples of apparel branding.
The next thing you need to consider is where your customers are hanging out. Are they in trendy city boutiques? Do they go to trade shows and flea markets? Or do they shop from their phones?
Regardless of where you customer shops, you need to establish an online presence. Putting yourself online will help you get your clothing brand in front of a wide audience.
Once you’ve worked out how and where to sell your clothes, work with a marketer to create a brand launch.
7. Launch, Rinse and Repeat
You’ve created and launched a clothing line. Hurray!
But now it’s time to make your company even better. Take all the feedback from your launch, and revisit your business plan. Throw out what isn’t working, and create new solutions.
By working hard and being creative, you can create the foundation for a strong clothing brand.
Want to Know More about How to Start a Clothing Line?
If you’re ready to start or improve your business, then check out our blog. We have tons of articles, from how to start a clothing line to how to get a loan for your startup.
You can also read our consumer resources for ideas about how to help your customers.