Have you ever wanted to start your clothing line? You’ve probably thought, “how do I create my own clothes?” Well, look no further.
This step-by-step guide will tell you how to start a clothing business from start to finish. It contains all the information you need to know so that when you are ready to launch your online store, it’ll be a piece of cake.
One of the best ways to combine your passion for fashion and your business acumen is to start a clothing business.
It goes without saying that a clothing business is an excellent way for creative entrepreneurs to thrive. So if you are a creative individual with an eye for fashion and a dream of launching your own business online, then starting a clothing line might be the right choice for you.
What is a clothing business?
Simply put, a clothing business is a business project where entrepreneurs create their own clothing line. It aims to attract a specific target demographic for the purpose of selling these products.
Sometimes clothing companies would sell jewelry and other accessories as well. There are businesses that focus on women or on men clothing, and others that specialize in children’s clothing.
Some stores offer products to youth customers and others prefer to serve older populations. There are also those who sell generic clothes without focusing on a specific demographic.
8 steps to starting a clothing business
To start a clothing business, you will need to develop a clear business plan, a solid sales strategy, and a well-thought-out marketing process.
To do that, you will need to follow the following steps:
Step 1: Choose your niche
The very first step in your clothing line creation process is to identify your niche. In their book The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, Al Ries and Jack Trout mention a concept that can be super useful here. The concept is called: The Law of the Category.
If you are unable to become the first player in the field, then in order to be successful, you will need to create a new category.
This means that, in order to have a successful clothing line, you need to differentiate yourself from your competitors and find your own niche.
For example, if you are planning to sell t-shirts, you will need to think of a unique sub-category. Think of something that nobody else is doing, and don’t be afraid to take some risks.
Customers nowadays are looking for personalized experiences, so if you can tap into that, you will ensure great success for your business. You can print many things on t-shirts ranging from quotes to unique designs and zodiac sings, so experiment with a few varieties until you find your category.
Step 2: Choose a clothing business model
Now that you have decided on your niche, you will need to decide on the business model that will work best for your clothing line.
The most common models for a clothing business are drop-shipping, manufacturing, and print on demand. Below, you will find the advantages and disadvantages of each one of them to help you decide which one is suitable for our new business.
This is the easiest and least expensive option for you if this is going to be your first online store. Dropshipping will allow you to start experimenting and testing with different types of clothing without needing to spend a lot of money.
You can take your first steps in the fashion industry without breaking the bank, and explore ideas until you find the ones that work best for your target audience.
However, this business model can be limiting for your clothing line. Because you will rely on the products that other clothing manufacturers have already procured, you will not have enough creative freedom to make your own clothing designs.
Another business model that could work for your clothing brand is manufacturing. If you can bear the manufacturing costs, this will give you a lot of freedom to set your clothing line apart from your competitors.
You could either choose a manufacturing partner who will be in charge of producing products for your clothing company, or take care of the manufacturing process yourself.
Of course, if you decide on the latter option, you will need access to a manufacturing facility which might be too expensive, especially if you are starting out.
To make it work, you will need a solid business plan with a clear pricing strategy, so you can ensure the success of your online clothing store.
This is by far the easiest and least risky option to start a clothing store. There are many websites that can help you sell t-shirts easily. To start a print-on-demand business, you do not need a complex business structure.
There are even specialized print-on-demand marketplaces where you can automate the entire production process and only focus on online marketing. You won’t even need the advice of a fashion designer to sell your products, and can do it all online.
Step 3: Create a business plan for your clothing brand
Like with any business, creating your own clothing business requires you to write a detailed business plan. You need to start with your market research and identify market opportunities that will make your business stand out.
Writing a list of your potential business partners could be beneficial to include in your clothing line business plan, especially if you are a small business.
Another thing you need to have is your marketing plan and your brand book. This will allow your clothing brand to have an identity of its own.
If you can’t find a brand name, market research can help you find a unique brand name.
Finding your niche will help you find the inspiration for your brand’s name.
Your business plan needs to conduct a customer segmentation and identify how you will reach your target market and who your suppliers will be. After conducting market research, you should be able to put in place a financial plan that includes your target price point.
A business plan will also help you build a customer persona based on your target customer and set realistic sales goals.
Another thing you need to mention in your business plan is whether you will have a physical store or you will run your business primarily online.
Your sales channels are essential, so make sure to assess if you need to use an eCommerce platform to sell your products or if you will need to build your website from scratch.
eCommerce platforms make it easier for you to automate your process, but building your website will give you more flexibility and customization options.
Your business plan will help you answer the most critical questions and set a clear strategy that will determine the success of your clothing line.
Step 4: Take care of legal documents
During your initial market research stage, make sure to spend enough time learning about the legal aspects of your clothing line business.
There are many legal forms under which you can operate your small business, such as a sole proprietorship or LLC. Make sure to consult with an accountant and a lawyer to have a better understanding of the law before you start selling your products.
It is important to obtain the necessary permits you need to operate as a clothing manufacturer or retailer and understand the consumer law in your country.
The clothing industry has its own rules and regulations and if you are planning to sell internationally, you need to be informed about the laws in the countries where you will be operating.
Step 5: Develop your own clothing line
To set yourself apart from other fashion brands, you will need to spend time and energy finding your unique brand identity.
Your brand identity is essential to your fashion business. Check out our guide on branding to find your brand’s voice and set yourself apart from the competition.
Step 6: Plan manufacturing and logistics
Once you have an established brand, you will need to figure out the manufacturing process and the logistics that will be put in place.
These will be determined based on the business model that you have chosen. So if you decide on the drop-shipping model, things will be a lot simpler.
All you need to do is research the products you want to sell and schedule the delivery from the supplier’s website to your customer’s address.
However, if you decide to follow another model, you should be prepared to deal with a more intricate production and delivery process.
You will be the one responsible for tracking your inventory, shipping your goods, and ordering new supplies. While this may sound complicated, with a clear plan, you can stay on top of your sales.
Step 7: Promote your brand and scale your business
No matter how great your products are, your clothing line cannot be successful without a great marketing plan. Once you have created your fashion brand, written your business plan, and figured out the logistics, it is now time to work in more depth on your marketing strategy.
Start by studying your target audience. Research where they are usually found online, their buying behavior, and then develop your strategy accordingly.
The first step you will need to follow is to create a website. You can’t start your fashion brand without first building a website.
With Zyro’s drag-and-drop builder, you can choose one of many templates that would work wonders for your new clothing line.
Zyro is not just an eCommerce platform, it is an all-in-one platform that helps you launch your success online.
Once your website is in place, you can start developing your marketing strategy. We recommend creating an inbound marketing strategy that will ensure to reach your potential customers through different channels.
Make sure to use data to track the performance of your marketing efforts and find out which ones are performing better and are attracting your future customers.
Having a blog section on your website is a crucial element that will help your fashion startup reach out to your new customers.
A blog is a way for you to share information with your target audience, and it can be a great way to help you attract more traffic to your website if you learn how to leverage SEO.
Social media marketing
It goes without saying that social media has become an essential part of any marketing plan. You can use paid ads to attract new customers and tailor your content to your target audience.
Create a social media schedule for your clothing brand and make sure to run promotions during important periods of the year such as Christmas. Plan sales and promotions frequently to improve your sales.
Another way to take advantage of social media is to partner with influencers.
Believe it or not, emailing still has a place in online marketing. It’s especially important for a clothing company since having an online store differs from having a brick and mortar store in a few key aspects:
- An online store can be easily forgotten by people. A good email list allows you to reach people directly in their inboxes and keeps your store and its offers in the minds of your customers.
- Online stores, especially in the fashion industry, have a lot of competition. That’s why you need to take advantage of every digital marketing channel. Creating successful emailing campaigns ensures that you will reach your clients frequently and will make them remember you when they need to make a purchase.
Step 8: Look for investments and partnerships
If you want to grow your clothing company, you will need to think about creating partnerships with retail stores, or department stores.
Sure, selling your clothes online is an efficient and easy way to grow, but at some point, you might want to consider partnering with physical locations to attract more clients.
It is important as well to start thinking about potential investors, so you can expand your clothing company.
There are many ways you can fund your clothing business:
A crowdfunding platform is one of the best ways to secure funding and get your brand known. People who like your products will make a pledge before your clothes are produced and will later be rewarded with special gifts as a thank you for their contribution.
This is a great way to help you not only get more funding for your clothing brand but also get other forms of support such as skill development opportunities and access to a large network of like-minded entrepreneurs.
One of the advantages of working with an angel investor is that they do not require payment or interest to invest in your brand. They will fund your project in exchange for an equity percentage, so you do not have to worry about paying back loans and can focus on growing your brand.
Your personal network
Another easy way to fund your project is to ask your friends and relatives to contribute. You can offer them great discounts on your products in exchange for their help.
Why start a clothing business?
Starting a clothing business isn’t for everyone. In fact, one might think that it’s better to invest in something like an app instead. After all, who would want to pay for getting their shirt sewn instead of paying for a cool new app?
Clothing business is the best option for people who are both artsy and business savvy. It allows you to express your creativity and have a reasonable amount of financial stability.
By being or partnering with a good fashion designer, you can make sure you will sell your clothes, and if you have business smarts, you can manage all aspects of the business with ease.
Things are pretty easy when you work for yourself; there’s no boss to answer to and no stressful meetings. There aren’t many downsides, but there are risks that you still need to consider before taking the leap.
Risks to consider when starting a clothing business
To be able to run a successful clothing business, you need to understand the clothing industry enough and learn to be a shrewd businessperson.
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that running a clothing store is as easy as selling popcorn in the movie theater. Reality hits home when you find out that you’ll have to understand a whole new set of rules and regulations.
There are rules on how to conduct your business, advertising techniques, designing clothes, and so on. Don’t worry though – we’ve put together a list of the top 5 risks associated with starting a clothing business and some potential solutions for each one of them:
No risk is too high for those who achieve their goals. When you decide to start a clothing business, it is important to remember that there are always some high costs associated with it. Before you start, it’s important to determine how much money are you willing to invest in your clothing business.
Bear in mind that you might need to spend a lot of money in advertising at first to get your brand noticed, so it is indispensable to study your pricing and set up a clear budget from the get-go.
The competitive nature of the online clothing industry means that your web design must stand out from the crowd. The overall shopping experience should be more attractive to your customers than your competitors.
Some online shops are focused on one particular section of the market which could allow you to enter the other sections. It’s worth considering how you can stand out by focusing on providing a good service in your niche. Focus also on keeping customers loyal to your brand with regular promotions, birthday offers, and personal emails.
Inventory management can be tricky for online stores. This is because inventory is tied to your suppliers and the marketplace you are selling on, which means that you may not be able to control how fast you need the inventory to be sent to you if you run out of a particular product.
By using drop-shipping, you’ll have the peace of mind that you can still manage your store effectively without having to worry about when you will get your next shipment.
If you decide to make your own clothes, then using a platform such as Zyro can help you manage your supply and ensure that you can never run out of products. You’ll be able to create designs, launch your own clothing line, and even expand into accessory markets and sell on social media with Zyro’s easy-to-use marketplace.
Delivery is one of the most challenging aspects of running an online store.
Delays can impact your brand’s reputation, so be sure to streamline and automate the delivery process as much as possible.
Good customer service is crucial for your company’s growth in the market, so stay alert about any complaints about delivery delays. Some companies even hire third-party help to ease this issue.
Keeping up with the trends
The fashion industry is ever-changing. Keeping up with new trends, designs, and fashion practices is one of the most difficult tasks for business owners and designers within the fashion industry.
Trends change so often that fashion designers and buyers rarely have enough time to anticipate them. Even so, people continue to dress according to the latest fads.
Also, make sure you know what’s popular by watching what people wear on the street and by signing up for newsletters or following brands, designers, and fashion professionals online.
Clothing business store examples
As a fashion brand, it is important to look for real-world examples when it comes to opening a new store. Many people just make assumptions on how their fashion brand is supposed to be, so it is important to closely study those who made it in the retail industry.
Here are some of the best store examples to get inspired from:
This women’s clothing store has over 1.9 million followers on Instagram. It offers a great variety of clothes for women and knows how to jump on trends and attract new customers.
It ran promotions often and had options for all tastes. This is a great example of an online store that knows how to leverage social media.
Specializing in swimwear and workout clothes, this shop’s selling advantage is its sustainability pledge. This is especially attractive to customers who are looking for slow fashion stores. Their designs are minimalistic and colorful and are available in all sizes.
The brand features models from different shapes and sizes, which shows its great support for the body positivity movement.
What makes this brand stand out from the rest is that it integrated Tunisian cultural aspects into its designs. You will find texts inspired by the Tunisian culture sown into its clothes but you can also discover a modernized version of the Dengrii, which is the traditional uniform worn by workers/.
This sustainable brand offers a variety of choices of luxury clothing. It prides itself on providing accessories made from recycled leather and offers the option of customizing the products.
All you have to do is choose a design, send them your measurements, and they will take care of the rest.
Start your online store today
Running an online clothing store is a fun endeavor that requires a lot of work and dedication.
The first thing you need to do is identify your target market and develop something that would fit into this niche.
Your fashion business needs to be unique and have a solid plan to stand out from the competition.
There are many options out there and many tools that you can use to market yourself, so don’t be afraid to test them until you find what works for you.