Clothing - an item synonymous with elegance, simplicity, or comfort. Starting a business is no cakewalk, especially as the textile market is rife with competitors and ever-evolving trends.
How difficult can it be, you ask?
As an entrepreneur, you are aware that plenty of thought and effort goes into starting a business. As for a clothing line, there are no definitive steps to follow. It all depends on your brand ideology and the niche that you are targeting.
These days, eCommerce and online shopping via social media platforms have become the modus operandi for many fashion brands. Sustainable clothing lines are being introduced to the market, proving eco-conscious can uphold quality and authenticity.
Competition is tremendous in the fashion business, however, once you resonate with your niche, you can cut through it all.
From Coco Chanel, Georgio Armani, to Donatella Versace, these recognizable brands have truly inspiring stories as to how they became global iconic fashion houses.
Not every fashion designer started their journey thinking they could be one. Creativity, skill, and persistent determination helped their business bloom.
We have put together an 8 step guide for you to start your own clothing line.
To start a business any entrepreneur must have a long-term business strategy that focuses mainly on brand identity. Brand identity highlights the visual elements along with the main attributes your fashion line has to offer.
The millennial generation loves to wear brands that offer an experience. Brands should be able to resonate and add a particular cachet.
Here are some key questions to ask yourself before you visualize how your clothing brand should be:
Answering these questions will lay the foundation to build your brand and put forth the best business you could ever run.
‘Niche’, ‘target audience', ‘potential customers’ are words often used as part of the business parlance. Once you have your brand identity in place, the next step is to identify your customer base.
You can start by answering the following questions:
Another important aspect that you must consider under this step is brand equity. Brand equity will determine how your brand impacts the minds of your target audience.
You must determine what attracts your target audience towards your brand. Your brand offering should be exemplary and able to lure loyal customers from other brands.
From style-conscious customers to those assessing the value of a clothing item by its price, your clothing brand should have a well-defined target demographic to flourish and gain momentum.
Starting a business is not easy. From artisans, logistics, equipment, your own space, online presence, finances, funding, to legal aspects, there are a lot of components that need to be in sync for your brand to flourish.
Pricing structures, product descriptions, material usage, filing the necessary paperwork, and registering the business are important from an operations point of view. Make a detailed guideline and outline every aspect before you launch your clothing line.
At this stage, start designing and sourcing authentic quality fabrics for your clothing line. Considering this is your livelihood on the line, ensure your creative and entrepreneurial spirit kicks into high gear.
While designing and sourcing, keep your brand ideology in mind. The first impression is always the last, so carefully design your products ensuring quality control. .
Practical decisions, quality products, designs, and pricing which are cost-effective are what will set you apart from your competition.
Manufacturers play a significant role in the success of a fashion brand. At this stage you need to answer the following questions:
You need to start setting up meetings with potential manufacturers. If you are working on a budget, you can locally design and manufacture your goods.
However, if you have a decent budget and are looking to stand out, you need to find the ideal manufacturer. This will be tedious but will serve as a stepping stone for your business.
This step includes understanding numbers and pricing your clothing goods accordingly. Pricing structures should be concrete, definite and practical.
Before pricing your products, understand the numbers thoroughly. Cost-effective products offer a competitive edge.
If you are looking to raise funding, having a strong business plan is imperative to get potential investors or venture capitalists onboard. Your funding will depend on how well you sell your idea.
Decide where you want to start your fashion line - it could be a retail store, online store, home studio, or any place that is accessible to your potential customers.
If your customer base revolves around those who choose clothes as per the touch and feel, a home studio or a retail store will work well.
However, with the increasing number of virtual shoppers, setting up an online store is the best way to launch your clothing line. You can start by creating an attractive and stylish website, and registering a memorable domain name.
For your online clothing store, .store is a great new domain extension that is meaningful, brandable, and will be super relevant to your customers. With .store, your domain name can simply be www.<brandname>.store.
Another important aspect of your brand is creating a logo that is chic and helps you outshine your competitors. Once you have your website and logo ready, you need to start marketing your clothing brand.
Social media presence will add great value to your brand. Budgeting your marketing goals and getting on board with social media managers and graphic designers will take your business to the desired heights.
Starting with a soft launch is always a great idea for fashion brands looking to set their base.
A soft launch mainly focuses on limited quantities and selective ownership. Start by focusing on your business plan to get potential investors on board to have access to capital.
Once you start seeing significant growth, you can focus on gaining full ownership of the profits and collaborations.
There’s a lot to think about when you start your own clothing line. You need to draft out a plan, follow this guide, weigh your pros and cons, and go with what your instinct says.
Many say that patience and grit decide the success of your business. In the end, you need to choose a business that fuels the fire in you, one that you can run on your own terms and will provide immense satisfaction to you.