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Starting a Clothing Line: Things To Consider

Moneymagpie Team 17th Apr 2024 No Comments

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Starting a clothing line can vary significantly in cost depending on the size. A small clothing line just getting going will usually need at least $500. You’ll need somewhere between $1,000 to $5,000 for a medium-sized line. A more substantial, extensive clothing line usually takes $25,000 to $50,000 to get off the ground.

Given the market size of $1.71 trillion, there’s ample business opportunity available. This is particularly significant when considering the initial investment of $2.43 thousand and the potential annual revenue of $513 thousand, with gross margins at 40%. 

So, if you’re wondering how to launch a clothing line, read on. 

Things To Consider When Starting a Clothing Line

If you’re passionate about fashion, launching a clothing business could be an excellent path to transform your talents and creativity into a career. 

Nowadays, it’s easier for aspiring entrepreneurs to sell their clothing online and generate income. There are numerous avenues to sell clothes, whether collaborating with partners and wholesalers or offering top-notch products to eager customers. 

Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to start a clothing business from beginning to end.

Develop an eye for fashion

Some famous fashion designers like Vivienne Westwood and Dapper Dan became hugely successful even though they had taught themselves and started their careers before the internet. It’s wild to think about accomplishing so much without our current resources. 

Nowadays, everything is available online. You can learn how to rebuild car engines or tailor shirts by watching YouTube videos. Learning things outside of traditional schooling and launching your clothing line is possible. 

However, there are advantages to getting formal training, whether in a classroom or online. You’ll learn the latest industry standards, access resources and equipment, make valuable connections, and get feedback from experienced professionals.

There are many institutions that offer courses in all sorts of formats. Schools like Parsons in New York and Central Saint Martins in the UK are top-tier for fashion—they’re known worldwide for their programs. 

But if you need more time or money, don’t worry because there are now plenty of fast-track and online courses, too. Many community colleges have virtual or part-time classes that work better with your schedule and budget. You can check out courses on MasterClass, Maker’s Row Academy, or Udemy with self-paced fashion design options.

Pick a market-level

Figure out where your brand fits in the market. No matter what level you decide to sell at, it’s essential to establish what tier your products will be. This will affect the materials you choose, your pricing, and the type of items you offer.

The top level is haute couture. We’re talking about the best of the best, with super-specialized craftsmanship shown in just two collections each year. Every piece is custom-made to each client’s measurements by famous haute couture houses. 

Next, we have luxury brands like Louis V, Bottega, and Fendi. They advertise prominently to sell products — perfume, accessories, and clothes. Sometimes, designers from different brands will collaborate on clothing lines, too. A good example is the Louis Vuitton Cruise 2020 show.

Then there are designer or ready-to-wear brands. This covers everything from small indie labels to established names like Dries Van Noten. They make standard-sized clothes but still feel exclusive through their unique style. 

After that are high-street fashion or mass-market brands; these companies churn out huge volumes fast, often selling directly through their stores. The timeline from sketch to finished product is speedy, sometimes just a matter of weeks. Zara’s women’s fall collection demonstrates this well. 

Finally, there’s the online or home shopping sector. These platforms give access to a wide selection, including niche labels not in physical stores. Best of all, they deliver straight to customers’ homes. That’s why it’s booming—the convenience lets smaller brands reach people directly.

Draft a business plan

The first step is figuring out the brand—you want something simple that people can remember. Also, ensure the name and logo will hold up without feeling dated. Pinterest is a great place to look for logo inspiration. 

Next is determining the problem you’re solving. Who specifically are you helping, and how? Is it about quality, price, or accessibility? You’ll want to explain why customers would pick your offering over others.

After that comes the solution: What makes your product or service unique? What value are you providing that competitors don’t? Highlighting the unique aspects is critical.

You’ll also need to identify the target market. Who specifically are you trying to reach? Look at common traits among groups and understand the overall market size. 

Understanding the competition is essential, too. Take a look at similar options out there and any strengths or weaknesses. What alternatives might customers consider instead of your offering?

It is essential to spell out your advantage over others. What unique features, patents, or benefits does your business have? Why is your solution superior to what else is on the market?

The sales process is another thing to map out. How will you turn potential buyers into paying customers? What strategies will help close deals, whether through salespeople or other channels?

Marketing is a big one, too. How will you spread the word about your product or service? Consider advertising, content, social media, or other tactics for your target markets.

Projecting revenue is critical as well. Explain how you estimated sales based on history, research, or other methods. Include growth assumptions and sales targets. 

Lastly, outline critical hires and expenses. Note both fixed and variable costs, such as direct delivery costs. Identifying essentials upfront is vital for planning purposes.

Start creating designs

You’ll want to assemble a few things to clarify your vision for the clothing business. The first step is a design – get some paper and sketches and play around with your concept. Don’t worry too much about it being perfect. Just get the basic idea down. 

Next, do a mood board and reference board to show colors, textures, and other brands that inspire you. This representation will help get your vision across. 

Once you’ve sketched some initial designs by hand, refine one in Illustrator or another program. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Once you have a design you like, assemble a tech pack. This pack has all the specific details about the product manufacturers will need, like measurements, materials, care instructions, etc.

Finally, it’s time to make it real. You’ll make a pattern so it can be reproduced, grading to accommodate different sizes, and source your fabrics. Before you know it, your design will be ready to wear. 

Test your products

As you’re getting ready for the big launch, here are a few things you’ll want to think about:

First, you need to figure out pricing. How much will you charge for each item? You’ll also want to start spreading the word about your brand—it’s time to advertise. 

If you’re planning on selling online, set up that website. Get all the pages and checkout process ready to go.

Think about any special deals or promotions you could do to get people excited at the launch. Design some packaging, too, whether it’s boxes or bags. People will want their items shipped nicely.  

If you’re shipping orders individually, make sure to have a plan for getting everything out on time. You’ll need shipping labels and a way to track your shipments. And you want to remember returns and customer issues, too. Have a policy ready and a way to handle any problems.

Lastly, connect with your manufacturer. You’ll want to coordinate future seasons and times when demand might be higher, like holidays.

Now Is the Right Time To Start a Clothing Business

Starting a clothing business is a fantastic way to merge your creative talents with entrepreneurship. Imagine seeing real people wearing your designs. Turning your passion into profit is incredibly fulfilling. Launching a clothing line is more accessible and affordable now, making your dream achievable.

Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence.

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Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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