How to Start a Clothing Business: Building a Brand
If you’re at all like us, you crave innovative designs, creative ideas, and popular art pieces that resonate with customers. A great way to connect with fashion fans is by starting a clothing business. But this is easier said than done. You want creative freedom (who doesn’t?), but you don’t know where to begin. Well, let’s lay out a general framework for how to start a clothing business, what to avoid, and the keys to success.
How to Start Your Own Clothing Business: Laying the Foundations
Saying you’re going to start your own clothing business and actually doing so are wildly different things. So, let’s see what you’ll need to actually get your fashion brand off the ground before you start launching your own clothing line.
Who is Your Target Demographic?
How to start a clothing business rests entirely on connecting with your target audience. What are your clothing line and unique style aiming to achieve? Who is it made for? Is your clothing line fulfilling a need?
More importantly, why should your target customer want to buy your clothing line?
All of these questions should never be taken lightly, as they define how you create, market, and sell your products to customers.
Define your niche in the fashion market, use social media and attractive websites to push your product, and connect with others. Simply knowing who to market to is the perfect first step in starting a clothing business.
Crafting a Business Plan
What’s your business plan?
A business plan helps you identify your overall sales goals, production quotas, marketing strategies, advertising campaigns, and more. As with identifying your ideal customer, crafting the perfect business plan is an essential step of not only succeeding with your clothing lines but creating a clothing company that’s prepared for anything.
Some questions you may ask when developing a business plan are:
- What are my fashion goals?
- Where do I want to sell my product? Places like specialty stores, boutiques, or more prevalent businesses like department stores.
Teaming Up With a Clothing Manufacturer
Without a clothing manufacturer, your clothing line will remain just a fashion sketch on paper.
Clothing manufacturers help design, plan, and create your future clothing line. Every clothing manufacturer is different, however. That’s why shopping around to find that one that clicks with you is essential.
When looking for a clothing manufacturer, ensure that the business can deliver on your goals. Can this clothing manufacturer fit in with your business plan and your goals?
Once you choose a good clothing manufacturer, the work begins in full.
Now that you have a few vital details on how to start a clothing business let’s explore the more unfortunate aspects. Namely, how many business plans fall through.
Reasons Why a Clothing Business Fails
Here are some unfortunate pitfalls of the fashion industry and how clothing businesses can fail.
If you’re a determined professional, cutting corners shouldn’t even be in your vocabulary. However, this doesn’t deter everyone from skimping on details, sourcing shoddy fabric, and not using a tech pack for your clothing line put you at a serious disadvantage.
Why cut your dream clothing line short because it was easier to go halfway on something? In the fashion industry, you can’t get away with cutting corners on any aspect of the design or production process.
In short, don’t cut corners!
Weak Marketing Efforts
You’ve just completed production on your first clothing line. Everything seems great, but you’re not getting any eyes on your product. What’s the holdup?
A possible explanation is weak marketing. This is the age of social media. If you’re not constantly and effectively marketing your product to potential customers online, you’re hobbling yourself and your company.
At a minimum, you need an attractive website and the start of a strong network of possible clients and fashion industry contacts. It’s one thing to run a stellar Instagram or Facebook page. But if you have no followers, does it mean anything?
What you need is a sound marketing strategy. Various advertising campaigns that raise brand awareness, visibility and connect potential customers with products you’re selling.
Remember to hone in on your target audience, having your clothing brand fulfill a need for them. And be sure to have an easy-to-navigate online store.
Lack of Consistency
When you’re learning how to start a clothing business, you’ll likely start out partnering with small batch clothing manufacturers that offer no minimum order quantities (MOQs). As such, you won’t be dealing with too many fabric variations. However, if you’re looking to scale your clothing business, you need to remain consistent.
It’s exciting to try and branch out with multiple fabrics and dyes. But spread yourself too thin, and your clothing line will suffer for it. Supply chain issues, production costs, and fabric sourcing will all add up and leave you and your business plan in the lurch.
When starting your own clothing line and clothing business, budget is everything. Can your budget cover all the production costs? A majority of businesses go into the red due to poor budgeting, and it’s frighteningly easy for it to happen to independent fashion designers.
How To Start A Clothing Business With The Evans Group
The fashion industry may seem overwhelming to newcomers, but you’re not alone. At The Evans Group (TEG), we love to encourage and help emerging independent fashion designers achieve their creative endeavors. With clients like Greg Lauren, Guess, and the woman-led brand Hiraeth, TEG has helped fashion designers from all over the world flesh out their fashion business plans.
With our Los Angeles cut and sew services, along with a team of pattern makers, seamstresses, and creative designers, you’ll find a fantastic friend in The Evans Group.
Although starting a small business and subsequent clothing lines is no easy feat, there’s no reason to despair. Just follow TEG’s business plan tips, things to avoid, and you’ll have a better idea of how to start a clothing line business. And, more importantly, the resources to succeed.