So, you want to start a clothing line? Whether you’re a seasoned fashionista or a budding designer, starting your own clothing line is an exciting and challenging endeavor. Before you get started, there are a few things you should know about the business of fashion.
10 Steps to Launching a New Clothing Line
1. Choose Your Type of Clothing Line Business
The first step in launching a clothing line business is to identify the type of clothing line business you want to launch. You might choose from the following types among others:
- Mass market : A mass market clothing line is one that’s produced and distributed on a large scale to many different retailers.
- Private label : A private label clothing line is one where you design and manufacture your own products, which are then sold under your own brand name.
- Designer : A designer clothing line is one where you create your own unique designs that are then sold to boutiques and high-end retailers.
Learn more about the types of clothing line businesses.
2. Name Your Clothing Line Business
Give your clothing line business an identity so people will think of it as a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your clothing line business from your industry, focus on a geographical location, or use your own name among other options.
The main goal for naming your clothing line business is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so customers will want to buy your products.
3. Determine Your Clothing Line Business Model
There are several possible types of business models for a clothing line business, including:
- Wholesale : In the wholesale model, you manufacture clothes and sell them to retailers who then sell them to customers.
- Direct-to-consumer (DTC) : In the direct-to-consumer model, you sell your products directly to consumers through your own retail channels such as an ecommerce website or brick-and-mortar store.
- OEM: In the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) model, you manufacture clothes for other companies, who then put their own brand name on the products and sell them to customers.
No matter which model you choose, make sure that it aligns with your business goals and the products you offer.
Read more about choosing the right business model for your clothing line business.
4. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business
By incorporating your clothing line business, you will limit your liability. You can incorporate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a C Corporation (C-Corp), or an S Corporation (S-Corp). Or you can operate as a sole proprietorship.
The business structure you choose for your clothing line business will determine the amount of taxes you pay and which state or federal tax forms you need to file.
Read our article comparing the most common clothing line business structures.
5. Write a Clothing Line Business Plan
All clothing line business owners should develop a business plan.
A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and operations of a business. It can be used to secure funding from investors or lenders, as well as to guide the day-to-day operations of the business. The business plan should include information on the company’s products or services, market analysis, financial projections, and management team among other things.
When developing your clothing line business plan and strategy, you should think about the following questions your customers might have:
- What type of clothing do you offer?
- Do you have a website where I can buy your clothes?
- What is the price range of your clothes?
- Do you sell to stores near me?
- Do you have any sales or promotions coming up?
Read our article about how to write a clothing line business plan.
6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses
There may be required licenses and permits you need to obtain before launching your clothing line business.
For example, you may need to apply for a business license, sales tax permit, resale certificate, or manufacturer’s license.
You must also register your clothing line business as a legal entity with the state where you plan to do business. You can simply file an online form through your Secretary of State website.
Registering with the federal government is also essential so you can properly pay taxes for your business. You will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can apply for at the IRS website, if you plan to hire employees.
Read our article about obtaining the proper clothing line business licenses.
7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed
In developing your clothing line business plan, you will figure out how much funding you need to start and grow your business.
If you have your own funds to invest in your clothing line business, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your clothing line business include traditional bank loans, SBA loans, credit cards, angel investors and family and friends.
Read our article about the costs associated with starting a clothing line business to help you determine if funding is needed.
Read our article about how to fund your clothing line business.
8. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently
When you start your clothing line business, it’s essential to have the right technology in place to maximize efficiency. You definitely need a computer with Internet access, and accounting software for tracking expenses and revenues.
You may also want to invest in a point of sale (POS) system, which can help with inventory management, sales tracking, and customer data. In addition, a POS system accepts debit and credit card payments, which assists you and your customers in tracking sales.
Other software that may be helpful for your clothing line business include design software, order management software, and email marketing software.
Read our article about the technology and software you need to run a clothing line business.
9. Market Your Clothing Line Business to Potential Customers
Before you start selling your products, you have to let the world know you exist. The first step is to create a website so people can learn more about your products and how they benefit them.
After you launch your website, start promoting it through social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Also consider networking with other people in the clothing line industry through social media and blogs so they can help share your business.
You also need to start gathering the materials needed to execute on your promotions strategy, which is your strategy for attracting new customers. Clothing line businesses should consider the following promotional strategies for which you should start getting prepared:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Pay per click (PPC) advertising
- Social media marketing (SMM)
- Email marketing
- Affiliate marketing
- Content marketing
Read our article about how to market your clothing line business for more tips.
10. Get New Customers & Grow Your Business
When you promote your products, you’ll start to get interest from potential customers.
Make sure you’re ready to serve these customers. Also, be sure to establish systems to ensure consistency and reduce costs. And be sure to find and train the right people to help you grow your clothing line business.
Read our article about how to effectively grow your clothing line business to learn more.
Starting a Clothing Line Business FAQs
There are many reasons why you might want to start a clothing line business. Maybe you’re passionate about fashion and want to share your unique style with the world. Maybe you have a great eye for design and believe you can create products that people will love. Or, maybe you see starting a clothing line business as a way to make money and achieve your financial goals.
Starting a clothing line business from home is definitely possible. In fact, many successful clothing lines started out as home-based businesses.
Of course, starting a clothing line business from home comes with its own set of challenges. For example, you’ll need to find a way to store inventory and ship orders from your home.
You’ll also need to be comfortable with promoting your business online and through social media. But, if you’re willing to put in the work, starting a clothing line business from home can be a great way to get your business off the ground.
There are many ways to market a clothing line business online. One of the most effective ways is to use social media.
Make sure you create profiles on all the major social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Then, start sharing your products and stories with your followers. You can also use paid advertising to reach a wider audience.
If you’re thinking about starting a clothing line business, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, you need to be clear about your target market and what kind of products you want to sell.
Next, you need to create a professional website and start promoting your business online. Finally, make sure you have a solid plan for growth and scaling your business.
A simple checklist to use when starting a clothing line business is as follows:
- Choose Your Type of Clothing Line: This should be based on what you are best at and how much experience you have. Remember to keep your interests, skills, and experience in mind at all times.
- Name Your Clothing Line Business: This should be done with care, as your brand is important for attracting the right customers. A simple, memorable name will go a long way.
- Choose a Legal Form for Your Business: Whether you choose to become a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation or another option will depend on your business. Ensure that you are aware of all the implications of each type.
- Determine Your Clothing Line Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
- Write a Clothing Line Business Plan: Your business plan will also help you determine what your start-up costs will be and will provide a roadmap with which you can launch and grow.
- Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses: In most locations you will be required to apply for a business license and/or permits before you can begin operations.
- Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed: You will need to know how much money you have to spend on all of your business-related expenses before opening any doors. If needed, apply for a small business loan or other funding options.
- Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently: You need to have the right tools in place to succeed. Implement software that will help you manage your time, contacts, and business operations in general.
- Market Your Clothing Line Business to Potential Customers: A solid marketing plan will be crucial to your success. It should focus on attracting the right customers so that you can provide them with the products they truly need.
- Get Customers & Grow Your Business: Once you have a solid marketing plan, it's time to actively pursue and secure those who could benefit the most from your products.
Starting a clothing line business can be a great way to get your business off the ground. But, there are a few things you should keep in mind, like having a clear target market and creating a professional website. You should also make sure you have a solid plan for growth and scaling your business. And, finally, don’t forget to market your business to potential customers. With the right planning and execution, you can succeed in the clothing line business.