Many people want to start a clothing line with strong equity in the market and generate a lot of brand loyalists. While this isn’t impossible, it might look like a difficult feat in terms of capital.
How much do you need to start a clothing line that flourishes? Can you start one with little or no money? What are the things you need to know before starting a clothing line? Read on to find the answers to these questions.
Want To Start A Clothing Line? Here Is What You Need To Know
Starting a clothing line isn’t rocket science, but there are important things you need to know before launching. This will help you not to lose sight of essential things in the course of your business.
People across the globe are willing to buy new clothes and step up their fashion game, but not everyone has the exact needs. A preschooler’s fashion needs are different from those of an office worker.
Besides, when starting, you might not be able to serve every sector in the market. As such, it’s best to pick a sector whose needs you can adequately meet. This, in turn, will inform your target audience, marketing activities, price points, product packaging, etc. Niching also positions you as an authority in your industry, which means more income and potential for your business.
Another vital thing to consider is production. How will you get the clothes you want to sell? Do you intend to get a manufacturer to supply you with clothes or have your manufacturing company? Sourcing products for your clothing line is a matter you should settle before launching your business.
You don’t want to keep customers waiting or provide them with low-quality products. In addition, bear in mind that production costs determine your price points. The cheapest commodities aren’t always of good quality, and you don’t want to alienate potential customers with your prices. You’ve to choose a middle ground.
Getting capital to start your clothing line can be easy or difficult, depending on how you approach it. You can turn your savings into capital or seek financial support from family and friends. You can also get loans, which is only advisable if you have a good business structure to bear the loan repayment.
Venture capitalists and angel investors can help too, but you must meet the conditions. On the other hand, you can launch your clothing line without capital. You can reach an agreement with a manufacturer, get a buying audience through social media and start selling the clothes. From the sales, you pay the manufacturer and use your profits to scale the business.
The Cost Of Starting A Clothing Line
There is no fixed amount for starting a clothing line. The cost depends on your manufacturing, launching, and delivery costs. Also, the scale of your fashion business matters. You can’t compare the cost of starting a small-sized clothing line to a large-scale one.
Besides, many factors influence the cost of starting a clothing line. One of such is location. Production is naturally cheaper in some places. For instance, production will be more affordable in Africa compared to the United States. Another critical factor is the cost of the fabric. The better the deals you get, the cheaper your prices. However, below are some figures you can plan with.
Small-sized clothing line
For a small-sized clothing line, you need at least $1000 – $2000. This amount will cover your production and launching costs on a small scale. If you’re designing and sewing yourself, you’ll need to get fabrics, accessories, and some machines.
If you’re outsourcing the job, you’d be paying for staffing. With this amount of money, you’ll be relying on primarily organic and free marketing channels, and your customers might have to pay for delivery first before you send their orders.
Medium-sized clothing line
If you launch your fashion business on a medium scale, you’ll have more pieces in your collection. You’ll also be able to leverage more paid marketing channels such as social media influencing, running ads, etc.
You’d need to employ more hands to run your clothing line as you can’t manage production and delivery alone. Starting a medium-sized clothing line requires at least $2000 – $5000.
Large-sized clothing line
A large-sized clothing line costs about $25000 to $50000. Here, you go all out on production, launching, and marketing. You’ve to be extremely careful so as not to mismanage funds.
No matter the size of your business, your work plan should be ready and practical enough to absorb your funds. In addition, you might need to employ a seasoned manager who oversees the productivity of staff and resources.
The bigger the capital, the more the profits. While more money means more leverage for your business, what matters is your resourcefulness with what you have. You can start small but pull a large, buying audience. Besides, digital media has helped subsidize marketing costs and given smaller businesses a voice.
Can You Start A Clothing Line At No Cost?
Do you always need money to start a clothing line? No. The business world has so much evolved that you can start a business with no capital simply by being the link between the manufacturer and a willing, buying audience. It all depends on your creativity, strategy, and innovation. Here’s a video on how to start a clothing line with no money:
How do you go about starting a clothing line at no cost? Use print-on-demand drop shipping. This business model ensures that you only sell clothes when there are orders.
As such, you don’t have to foot production or delivery costs, and if you play your game well, you’ll get reasonable profits. Here are some things to note when using the print-on-demand drop shipping model for your clothing line.
Designs push your fashion business to the forefront. Everyone wants to stand out in whatever they wear, and they’ll go for brands that provide such clothes.
Print-on-demand requires you to upload designs you want to be printed on the clothes. If you aren’t creative enough, you can check out design websites for inspiration. However, remember that your creativity will determine how far your business goes.
Most POD websites have manufacturers across the globe to help subsidize costs and accelerate delivery. Even though you’ve more control over the quality of clothes as you can customize them, you can still order some samples for yourself to check the quality. You don’t want to sell poor-quality products to your customers as this will affect your brand’s reputation.
In the POD dropshipping business model, your profits are determined by how many customers you get. The more your customers, the higher your earnings.
Also, you’ve to be strategic with the margins you put on the wholesale prices. You don’t want to alienate your customers with high price points, nor do you want to run at a loss. Your target audience should be comfortable with your prices if your brand thrives.
Having a plan for dealing with replacements is a must. Sometimes, the quality of some clothes might fail, and your customers demand a replacement/refund. You need to know how to handle this to preserve your brand’s credibility.
5 Steps To Follow When Starting Your Clothing Line
Once you’ve identified the major blocks in a clothing-line business, the next step is to launch your brand. Remember that you’re just starting, so it’s advised you don’t overwhelm yourself.
Have a business plan
First, develop a business plan. It should contain your business’ objectives, goals, and means for achieving those goals. You might need to sit with a consultant to develop a practical plan. Even if unforeseen things happen, your plan will still keep you on track. Ensure the plan contains strategies for dealing with challenges and setbacks.
Market your brand
Having a business without promoting it is like a handsome man winking at a beautiful lady in the dark. No matter how hard you try, the lady will never see your love gestures.
You can start with marketing channels you can afford, such as social media, blogging, email marketing, e-commerce platforms, etc. The higher the number of people who know your brand and the more you expose them to it, the more sales you make.
Organize your business
No business thrives without proper organization. You have to keep everything in shape to not run at a loss. For example, you’ve to ensure customers get their orders as soon as possible; your books are up-to-date, your marketing activities are practical, etc.
If you can afford to employ other people to help you run the business, do. If not, you can outsource some activities to freelancers or develop your competencies to meet the demands of your fashion business.
Leverage fashion events
As a budding fashion entrepreneur, playing an active role in fashion events is one of the ways to build your credibility and expand your network.
As you connect with industry experts, fellow entrepreneurs, sponsors, etc., you’re indirectly building your brand equity. If possible, style one of the prominent figures at such events. You can also organize your fashion events, either alone or by partnering with others.
One way to make your mark is to partner with businesses that offer complementary products to what you’re selling. For instance, like a clothing line, you can partner with businesses that sell fashion accessories or beauty products. This way, you get more eyes on your products, more credibility and sales, and an increase in network.
You can start a clothing line with as little as $500 or no cost. What matters is that you use the resources you have, whether financial, human, or intellectual, to become a strong force in the market. However, before you start, ensure you’ve ticked all the boxes and are ready to give it your best.