Over the past few years, more people than ever before have been tapping into their entrepreneurial energy and starting their own businesses. In fact, last year, the U.S. saw a record 5.4 million new businesses open their doors.
Many people realized they were unhappy with their current situation and wanted to change something about it.
This return to a more entrepreneurial society can be attributed to a few different factors. First, the pandemic changed the way people think about day-to-day life. Many people realized they were unhappy with their current situation and wanted to change something about it. For others, recent technological advancements have made starting an online-based business, such as a clothing line or craft store, much more manageable and cost-effective.
Every brand, company, and product has to start somewhere. If you’ve been thinking about opening your own business, specifically your own clothing line, we’re here to help. Starting a business in such a competitive industry can feel overwhelming, but with the right help and guidance, your brand will be on its way to success.
Here’s a guide to starting your own clothing line this year.
Work On Your Craft
Whether you’re fresh out of college or if it has been a while, taking the time to hone your design and fashion craft will help jumpstart your business.
If you recently graduated college with some sort of fashion degree, you may be thinking that you already know everything you need to start your clothing line. While you may have some base-level knowledge, meeting with designers who are working in a real-world setting could provide valuable insight into what will work in practice, and what should stay in the classroom.
Meeting with designers who are working in a real-world setting could provide valuable insight into what will work in practice…
If your city has a strong fashion presence, there may be local groups you can join that are tailored towards helping fashion-led businesses find success. At the very least, it would be a good idea to check out any local small businesses development centers that may be in your area.
On the other hand, if it has been a while since you’ve taken fashion classes, taking some refresher courses should be a priority of yours. People in this situation likely followed another career path post-college, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to jump back into things. Over the past few years, courses offered through online learning centers have become increasingly popular. This has made it possible for people to hone their skills, even if they work another job or have other responsibilities.
Create a Business Plan
Every business needs a plan to help guide the company’s journey. A business plan will help shape the identity of your business while also laying out the goals and objectives that’ll guide your decisions.
For now, we’re going to focus on a few of the key components that are most important to anyone who’s starting their own clothing line. If you need help you can learn more about how to complete a business plan here.
- Industry Niche - Every industry consists of multiple sub-industries, and the clothing market is no exception. With that said, you should identify what type of clothing line you intend to develop in your planning phase. Some different types of clothing businesses you can start are: casual, sports, vintage, street, chic, designer, and grunge.
- Company Description - A company description will include information about business goals, who you’re going to target, and what will make your company stand out from the competition.
- Products - Similar in vein to selecting what type of niche you want to be in, you’ll need to select what type of clothes you’re going to sell. Your brand type will likely dictate the type of clothing you offer. For example, a grunge-inspired clothing line likely wouldn’t sell custom suit jackets. Also keep this in mind when designing your logo and setting your brand’s feel.
- Funding - You’ll need to detail how you plan on funding your business idea. Self-funding is the best option if you have the resources to do so. If not, there are several different funding options to explore. You could take out a personal loan if you want to get a guaranteed amount of money. If you want to bet on your idea, you could take to crowdfunding platforms as a way to raise capital. Sadly, if you haven’t owned a business before, you likely won’t be able to take out a business loan just yet. This is due to stricter requirements that traditional business loans require.
Now that you’ve laid out your plan, we can get into the more exciting stuff.
This is the area where you let your expertise shine. As a new company, you’ll completely control the look and feel of your clothes and, subsequently, your brand.
Obviously the clothes and brand you create will come from your own original ideas, but keeping up with trends is always a good way to draw inspiration. You can use current trends to your advantage when creating a brand identity. If you want to be a disruptor, going against whatever is popular in the space is a great way to make a statement. Alternatively, if you’re trying to stay up-to-date and modern, then keeping up with whatever is mainstream is always a good idea.
Use current trends to your advantage when creating a brand identity.
When you start creating your first few designs, try to encapsulate exactly what you want your brand’s identity to be. Your clothing company’s first release is how you can make your first impression on consumers and if you miss the mark, your business will be starting off on the wrong foot.
As you start creating the first line of clothes for your business, try to keep the future in mind. Are these pieces something you can continuously recreate? Or will they be one-time releases? Knowing details like this ahead of time will help you build and maintain momentum during your launch.
Market Your Products
Before your first release, you should make an effort to build out a well-rounded marketing strategy that’ll promote both your brand and the upcoming clothing release.
Here are some things to consider including in your marketing mix as you approach your grand opening.
- Social Media - Social media marketing is great for newer business owners because it costs almost nothing to begin. In the fashion industry, word of mouth is a huge proponent of making or breaking brands. Getting your products showcased on social media will increase your visibility and, in-turn, increase the chances of people talking about your brand. Keep in mind that you’ll want any product photos to look as professional as possible. If you don’t have the gear to make this happen, we offer product photography as one of our many product and branding services.
- Website - Today, most clothing brands start out online-only. Seeing that you’ll likely be selling your products online, you’ll need to have an effective website for consumers to order from. Leaning on outside help to create an easy-to-use eCommerce website will win over customers. There is nothing worse than trying to order something from a site that is buggy or appears scammy.
- Packaging - Some product packages are so iconic that they can serve as a form of marketing themselves. Think about the orange Nike box or a Happy Meal box, these are marketing vessels in themselves. Creating eye catching packaging designs for each of your product offerings can help spread the word about your newly launched brand.
While this guide is just scratching the surface of what goes into starting a clothing line, the advice should give you a starting point to go off of.
Some other things to consider will be: where will you source garments from? Will you make everything alone, or will you hire help? And do you want to open a physical store?
For now, you have enough things to do before you can launch your brand. Remember that we’re always here to help you market your business. Contact us today to learn more about our physical and digital marketing capabilities!
Keep reading. Additional articles you may be interested in:
How Branding Improves Customer Perception of your Product
Why Are Young Entrepreneurs Easy To Scam
Custom Packaging For Small Business – Why It’s Important & How To Get The Best Results