As the fashion industry continues to grow, so does the demand for sustainable clothing. Consumers are becoming more conscious of the impact their clothing has on the environment, and they’re looking for makers of brands who share their values. If you’re thinking about starting a sustainable clothing line, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
10 Steps to Launching a New Sustainable Clothing Line
1. Choose Your Type of Sustainable Clothing Line Business
The first step in launching a sustainable clothing line business is to identify the type of sustainable clothing line business you want to launch. You might choose from the following types among others:
- A brand that focuses on using sustainable materials
- A vintage or second-hand clothing store
- A consignment shop
- An online retailer
Learn more about the types of sustainable clothing line businesses.
2. Name Your Sustainable Clothing Line
Give your sustainable 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 sustainable 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 sustainable clothing line business is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so that potential customers will want to purchase your products.
3. Determine Your Sustainable Clothing Line Business Model
There are several possible types of business models for a sustainable clothing line business including:
- Boutique: A small store that offers unique items
- Direct-to-consumer (DTC): Selling products directly to consumers without going through retailers
- Ecommerce: Operating an online store
- Franchise: Licensing your business model to other entrepreneurs
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 sustainable clothing line business.
4. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business
By incorporating your sustainable 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 sustainable 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 sustainable clothing line business structures.
5. Write a Sustainable Clothing Line Business Plan
All sustainable 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 sustainable clothing line business plan and strategy, you should think about the following questions your customers might have:
- What are your core values as a clothing line entrepreneur?
- Will I have to pay more for sustainable clothing items?
- What does “sustainable clothing” actually mean?
- What is the production process of your sustainable clothing?
- Where will your sustainable clothing items be sold?
Read our article about how to write a sustainable 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 sustainable clothing line business.
For example, you may need to obtain a resale license if you plan on selling products wholesale to retailers. You will also need to register your business with the IRS and your state government.
You must also register your sustainable 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 sustainable clothing line business licenses.
7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed
In developing your sustainable 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 sustainable clothing line business, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your sustainable 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 sustainable clothing line business to help you determine if funding is needed.
Read our article about how to fund your sustainable clothing line business.
8. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently
When you start your sustainable 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 retail management software, especially if you plan to sell sustainable clothing in brick-and-mortar stores. There are many different types of software available, so make sure to do your research before investing in any one solution.
Read our article about the technology and software you need to run a sustainable clothing line business.
9. Market Your Sustainable 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 sustainable 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. Sustainable clothing line businesses should consider the following promotional strategies for which you should start getting prepared:
- Develop a strong branding strategy. Your branding as a sustainable clothing designer or manufacturer is what makes you unique and memorable to potential customers.
- Start a blog. Use your blog to write articles about topics related to your sustainable clothing line. This will attract new visitors to your website who may not have heard of your business before.
- Get involved in your community. One great way to get the word out about your sustainable clothing line is to get involved in your local community. You can do this by setting up a booth at local events, participating in trade shows or partnering with other businesses.
- Develop a social media presence. Social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook offer great opportunities to connect with potential customers and build relationships.
- Get press coverage. One of the best ways to promote your sustainable clothing line business is to get media coverage. You can do this by pitching story ideas to journalists, writing press releases or holding a contest in your community.
Read our article about how to market your sustainable 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 sustainable clothing line business.
Read our article about how to effectively grow your sustainable clothing line business to learn more.
Starting a Sustainable Clothing Line Business FAQs
The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. But, there's a growing demand for sustainable clothing options, which is good news for entrepreneurs who want to start a sustainable clothing line business.
You can start a sustainable clothing line business from home by investing in the right technology and software, building a strong branding strategy and creating a social media presence.
You can market a sustainable clothing line business online by creating a website, writing blog articles, getting involved in your community and getting press coverage.
Some tips for starting a sustainable clothing line business include:
- Find a niche market
- Develop a strong branding strategy
- Start a blog
- Get involved in your community
- Develop a social media presence
- Get press coverage
A simple checklist to use when starting a sustainable clothing line business is as follows:
- Choose Your Type of Sustainable 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 Sustainable 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 Sustainable Clothing Line Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
- Write a Sustainable 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 Sustainable 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.
There are many things to consider when starting a sustainable clothing line business. But with the right planning and execution, it can be a very successful endeavor. Keep the tips and information in this article in mind as you work on getting your business off the ground.