How to start your own clothing business? Is this the question you’ve been having on your mind lately? You are probably aware of the fact that this business can and usually is nerve-wracking and takes out plenty of energy, but after you’ve had your first sample run and customer sale goes up, the feeling is amazing! If you want to get there, we recommend reading our 6-step clothing business plan.
1. Business Model Ideas
While all of this is still just an idea, deciding on your business model is a smart move. In general, there are 3 ways you can go with this:
If you want to do as less sewing as possible, you can consider focusing on On-Demand type of business. This means that you will order blank clothes and add pre-designed prints on demand. The good thing with this business type is that it’s a low-cost option and setting up this business is quick and allows you to do dropshipping and lower your costs as much as possible.
Similar to On-Demand printing, wholesale customization includes a finished product (more stylish and expensive than a T-shirt) that is customized by you by adding your label, print design. Normally, this business type involves higher-end printing machines, a bigger budget, and more work, but it brings higher margins.
Starting from Scratch
As the name suggests, you will start from scratch and do the whole process (design, creating, printing, selling and shipping) by yourself. Of course, the budget for this type of business model should be the biggest of all 3 models, but the margins you with this business model are 100% yours!
2. Choose Your Niche
Once you’ve decided which business model you’re going with, it’s time to choose the niche you want to dive in. Since you wouldn’t have entered this business if you weren’t creative, we aren’t worried that your designs are unique and will rock the market.
However, we just want to you remind you that choosing a specific niche is really important, at least in the beginning. It’s much easier to branch out to more niches than start too big and fail. Therefore, focus on your initial target group and stay at it. Once you see your business is growing and you can expand to other target groups, you will easily do it.
3. Build a Business Plan
First of all, you might not even need a full business plan to start your business if you’re doing a small-scale design test. However, keep in mind that your idea can quickly turn into a success and that’s where your business quickly scales up. Therefore, having a business plan just in case is never a bad idea.
4. Create Designs
This is definitely the part of the business that excites you the most, right? You need to have at least one design concept for starters. Therefore, start by getting your sketch on paper or computer screen. From there, rough ideas are transformed into nailed down digital sketches thanks to programs such as Adobe Illustrator.
When your sketch is ready, you have to gather the essential information that your manufacturer will use for production. This information includes everything from design and measurements, materials, down to features and accessories you might want to include. Finally, it’s time for pattern creation and grading, of course, before you send everything to your manufacturer.
5. Testing the Product
If you are thinking about using your sample run designs for testing out the market, you are on the right path. This is a great way to test your product without making a full batch and doing the official product run. There are numerous ways of doing this. For example, you can try out social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. This way, you will see if your targeted group is responding as you planned.
6. Taking Your Product to market
Okay, you’ve done the test, it sells just as you predicted, and now you need to officially hit the market. This is where things get serious and there are a few decisions you need to make before fully committing yourself to your new clothing business. Think about how you will:
- Price products
- Market the brand
- Create an online store
- Organize promotions and deals
- Package up your products
- Ship your products
- Deal with returns and customer issues because there will be issues for sure
- Check with your manufacturer for busy periods and new seasons
Sure, this all sounds like a business plan and it is to a certain extent. But it never hurts to work out all the little details ahead so that you save time and money in the long run and avoid unplanned setbacks.