How To Start A Clothing Line

May 12, 2022

Did you know that Calvin Klein did not have enough capital to start his clothing brand? But his friend Barry Schwartz lent him the money to get samples made, and the rest is history!

Starting your clothing line may be alluring, but it requires hard work, sweat, and commitment. 

If you are looking for ways to start your clothing business, then we have put together a detailed process on how to begin a clothing line business. Let's get started!

10 Steps to Start A Clothing Line

 Study Fashion

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While Ralph Lauren didn't have any formal education when he started Polo Fashions, he was still highly well-versed in fashion. 

He was interested in fashion even when he was 11 years old. Rather than buying candy and toys with his pocket money, he saved up and bought expensive suits. 

If you want to get into the fashion industry, you need to know fashion.

In this age of the internet, it is easy to get self-taught. You can take online courses or study fashion offline. 

If you're serious about starting your clothing line, consider taking classes at a local college or university. 

It is your choice. But brushing up your knowledge on that matter is of high priority.

The first step to starting your clothing line is understanding what makes good fashion. 

Learning about the industry will help you understand how you can make clothes and what it takes to sell them.

  • Learn about the different fabrics and materials used in clothing production and how they're used together to create garments with certain textures, colors, and silhouettes.
  • Learn how designers get their ideas from the runway and develop their collections based on trends.
  • Study famous designers and learn about their work process.
  • Study color theory so you can create perfect combinations for your designs.

If possible, take some design classes to get hands-on experience and see how things come together from concept to finished product.

Fashion is also a science; it's an art form that requires technical know-how and creativity to create functional and beautiful looks.

Perform Necessary Market Research

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The next step is performing necessary market research. Here are a few things to look into while doing market research.

  • Look at what's selling in your area and what people are wearing.
  • Pay attention to trends and look for gaps in the market — this will help you design clothes that people want to buy.
  • Do competitive research and ask questions like::
  • Find out what your competitors are doing in that space,
  • How much money they're making
  • Whether there's room for another player in the market.

You'll need to research your target audience and what kinds of clothes they like buying.

For example, if you make high-end men's suits aimed at young professionals who like dressing sharp but don't want anything too formal or expensive.

If this is the case, your target audience would be younger men who work in offices but want something more stylish than khakis and button-downs every day. 

The research will help you learn about the fashion market and find your niche.

Make A Business Plan For Your Clothing Line

If you want to start a clothing line, you need to create a business plan. This will help you figure out how much money you'll need and what kind of funding sources are available for your business model.

Learn more: How To Write A Business Plan

Here are the elements that you should include in your plan:

Your Business Model

There are many types of business models you can choose from. 

Will you sell wholesale or retail? Will you print on demand or cut and sew clothing based on customer feedback? Will you sell online or offline? What will your profit margins be? 

These questions should all be answered before starting any kind of manufacturing operation. 

Different models have budgets, costs, profit, time consumption, etc. So decide what suits you best. 

Below we have mentioned the various types of business models for clothing brands-

This is one of the most common methods for starting a clothing line. The Print-on-demand process involves uploading your designs and requesting them to be printed on t-shirts, hats, or other types of apparel.

Private Label Clothing Line/ Wholesale

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Another option is to create your private label or wholesale clothing line by working directly with manufacturers overseas. 

While this isn't as easy as using print-on-demand services, it does give you more control over how your designs look, feel and fit.

This requires more investment upfront with sewing machines and other equipment, but it can pay off if you can sell enough products via wholesale orders from retailers such as Walmart or Target.

If you have some experience as a designer or know someone who does, you may want to consider selling your designs wholesale or private label. 

This gives you more control over pricing and profit margins because you don't have to pay any fees or royalties when selling your designs through other retailers such as H&M or Zara.

It can be expensive to create new designs because they are not already established in stores worldwide like big brands like Adidas or Nike.

Custom Cut & Sew Clothing Line

If you’re going to create your custom clothing line, it helps to have some experience in the industry. You need to know what you’re doing with your brand. 

If you don’t know how to make a pattern or sew a buttonhole, you’ll be in for hurt.

On the other hand, it may be worth the investment if this interests you because there are so many benefits to creating your clothing line.

  • You get total creative control over every aspect of your brand and products (this is especially valuable for artists who want complete control over their work).
  • You can set your prices as high or low as you like (depending on how much time and labor goes into each piece).
  • You can market yourself however you see fit (you don’t have to follow trends, but if they work for your brand, then go for it)

Customer Personas

After deciding on what type of business model you want to run, next, you should mention customer personas that you would like to cater to. 

  • Who is your target customer? 
  • How old are they? 
  • What do they like to wear?
  • How much do they typically spend on clothes? 

If you manage to answer these questions, it will help you determine how much inventory should be stocked at any given time and what price points might work best for selling your products. 

You also need to think about whether or not women's or men's apparel would fit better into this niche market.

Competitor Strengths & Weaknesses 

Knowing your direct competitors makes it easier to tailor your marketing strategy to their strengths and weaknesses. 

For example, if you’re trying to market t-shirts with funny sayings on them, they sell only plain t-shirts. 

That could be an advantage because your customers will be more likely to pay more for something unique than basic.

Costs & Margins

How much will it cost to produce each item? In addition, if you're starting a retail store or selling online, this section should include information about where and how you plan to sell your products. 

If it's an eCommerce site or brick-and-mortar store, be sure to include details about the location and size of the space, estimated inventory levels, and more.

These are all the essential elements that should be part of your business plan. Another crucial part of the plan should be brand identity. 

You need to define what kind of clothing brand you want to build.

Build a Brand

Building a brand

Building a brand does not mean creating a logo and slapping it on products. However, you should strive to make an impactful fashion brand that customers recognize your brand from your style or logo. 

For example, Louis Vuitton; everyone knows the LV logo, not because it's pretty or bold, but because it is a high-end luxury clothing brand. Having LV shoes, bags, or scarf is a sign of prestige. Here are some tips for building your fashion business.

  • Leverage social media (especially Instagram). Social media is your best friend if you want to start a clothing brand. It allows you to connect with customers and build your brand.
  • Being authentic is essential because people can smell fakeness from miles away! Be yourself and let your identity reflect in everything you do as a business owner.
  • Define what makes you unique. Every brand has something that makes it stand out from the crowd — whether it’s the quality of the garments or the design aesthetic behind them.
  • Select Your Target Market. Once you know who your customer base will be, it’s time to decide how you will reach them. You can start by using your target market's social media platform to get more visibility.

Source The Fabric And Materials

Source The Fabric And Materials

You need to source your fabrics and material to start a clothing line. It depends on whether you are customizing all the pieces or are working with a wholesale manufacturer overseas. 

If you are doing it yourself, then here is what you can do to find out what's available in your area.

  • Visit local fabric stores and ask for samples. Some stores will even allow you to take photos of their stock to see how it looks on real people before buying anything.
  • You'll also need tags, buttons, and other unique accessories for your brand.
  • If you're looking for something unusual or hard-to-find, consider using online stores like Etsy or eBay instead of local retailers who may not have what you're looking for.

This will require some research and legwork on your part. You will need to find factories that can produce high-quality clothes at an affordable price.

Once you locate these factories, make sure they offer quality services at competitive prices before making any arrangements.

If you are looking for clothing manufacturers overseas, you can check out websites like eBay, Alibaba, and other e-commerce platforms with verified sellers.

Clothing Production & Manufacturing Process

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Once you have the materials, it’s time to start producing and manufacturing your clothes.

If you don’t have experience manufacturing clothes, consider working with a clothing manufacturer who has experience producing fashion brands. 

This person can help guide you through creating your own business from start to finish and will make sure everything is done correctly. 

Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a manufacturer:

  • Do not settle for a few manufacturers; find many and communicate with everyone about your needs.
  • Ask the manufacturer to produce samples based on your designs/expectations.
  • Do also inquire about the costs and turnaround time to decide who is the best choice.
  • If you want your brand to be environmentally friendly, you need to choose your manufacturer wisely.
  • Is ethical production vital to you? If yes, you need to talk to your manufacturer about the production process before sealing the deal.

Design Your Clothes

Whether working with a manufacturer or sewing it yourself, you need to design your clothes first. For a simple production process, you need to

Design Your Clothes
  • Sketch and design your clothes
  • Choose the fabric you want to work with.
  • Start sewing. If you are working with a manufacturer, communicate your design with them.

The first piece of your brand is not necessarily going to be perfect. Whether you are a fashion designer sewing the clothes or a business person using a manufacturing facility, you will make mistakes. 

But the first batch of clothing is like the sample batch. It is mainly focused on finding potential issues with the clothes and improving the clothing line.

Create Clothing Collections

Create Clothing Collections

You can create your collections before you start manufacturing or after. You can do it yourself or hire someone to help you with design. 

But if you choose the second option, make sure that you work with a professional who knows how to create the right look for your brand. 

Also, remember that a good designer will be able to work within your budget and create pieces that are not only beautiful but also comfortable to wear.

When creating collections, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Think about what kind of wardrobe pieces would suit your target audience and what they are hunting for.
  • You need to know what's selling and what kind of customer you're trying to reach.
  • Don't forget to keep in mind what season it is when designing— if it's summer, people may want something light and airy; if it's winter, they might prefer something warm and cozy.
  • Create collections based on the customers' needs and buying habits.
  • Your collection should include five or six pieces that complement each other well and stand alone as unique pieces that you can wear together or separately.

Choose A Price Point For Your Clothes

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Choosing the right price point is one of the most critical factors in your success. Here is how you can do it

  • You need to analyze the market and determine the average price people are willing to pay for your product.
  • Keep an eye on your competitors. If you want to sell t-shirts, you should check all other t-shirt sellers online and offline and see what they are selling their products.
  • Don't forget that you should also consider your expenses when choosing the right price point.

Choose A Platform To Sell Your Clothes

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Once you've decided on your price point, it's time to determine where you'll sell your clothes. You can build a brick-and-mortar store if you have the funds. 

If not, you can always open an online store.

TIP: Start an online store, and once you start making enough money, you can open an offline store.

There are plenty of online selling options, so make sure you choose the best one for your needs. 

Some of the most popular platforms include Shopify, Etsy, and Amazon. 

If you're looking for something more traditional, try contacting local boutiques or consignment shops in your area and see if they'd be interested in carrying some of your designs!

Start Marketing

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Once you've picked a platform and decided on pricing, make sure you start marketing immediately! 

People won't know who you are unless they see your name everywhere they look. 

Maybe online — on social media profiles and websites like Facebook and Instagram; in search engine results; and maybe even on billboards or buses!

  • Make sure that you have the right product for the right market
  • Use a catchy brand name, tagline, and logo to make the right impression.
  • You can create Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram accounts for your brand and uses these platforms to market yourself online. (Did you know you can sell on Instagram as well).
  • One of the best ways to promote a clothing brand is by using influencers — people who are well known in their field and have large followings on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook. They're often willing to do free promotions for companies if they're impressed by what they see about quality and style.
  • You can also create ads on various websites where people buy clothes online, like Amazon or eBay, or even make an Etsy shop if you want to sell directly from your website.
  • Another great way to promote yourself is by going into physical stores and getting them to carry your product.

Conclusion: How To Start A Clothing Line

Starting a clothing line is not easy, but you can do it if you know what you're doing.

You will have to take many steps, and some of them will take longer than anticipated. 

At the end of the day, though, you will have made it if you can get your clothing line off the ground and on the market. You will have a lot of work to do as soon as you start your clothing line, but it's all worth it.

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