Have you ever thought of starting a clothing business but got discouraged because you didn’t know how to go about it? Or do you think you were inexperienced and wouldn’t do well in the long run?
Perhaps your own greatest fear was little or no money to kickstart the business. These excuses are valid but not powerful enough to stop you. Here, you’ll learn a practical, step-by-step guide on starting a clothing business with no money.
Can You Start A Clothing Business With No Money
The world has become a global village, and the internet affords us so many opportunities, which you can leverage to start a clothing business at no cost.
You only need to place inventories on your website and quickly drop shipdirectly from the supplier or manufacturer to your customers once you get orders.
This way, you only serve as a link between the manufacturer or supplier and the customer. Apart from dropshipping, you can also sell your products through pre-order.
People indicate their interest in a product and pay for it before it is available. This way, you can determine how much profit you’ll get from the particular product.
Most people think that a clothing business is capital-intensive; hence they tend to go for something else. But the truth remains that it is one of the most profitable businesses you can do with little or no money.
According to Market Business News, the demands for clothing products have never diminished over the years. Asides from its profitability, the clothing business is the ideal no-capital business because of the following reasons
- It is easy to start from scratch. Unlike other businesses that are capital intensive and require facilities and some workers, you can easily start a clothing business from scratch using online platforms from the comfort of your bedroom.
- The business is aimed at people from different walks of life, both male and female, young and old. As long as humans exist, there will always be a demand for clothes as they are one of the basic needs of life.
- More so, you don’t need years of experience to start a clothing business. All you need is a heart willing to learn and adapt to trends.
- If you dream of building a global business brand, a clothing business is an ideal stop. Most of the famous clothing brands worldwide started as small firms but have expanded beyond the shores of their starting point.
- Because of the flexibility of the business, you can shuffle it with other jobs. In other words, you don’t need to stop your current job or business before venturing into the clothing industry.
Starting A Clothing Business With No Money: What You Need And 4 Things To Do
To start a clothing business with no money, you need some things to aid the smooth running of the business. They include:
- An internet-enabled device: Online stores are fast replacing the traditional physical stores as people prefer sitting in the comfort of their homes and having their orders delivered to them. Therefore, it’s more beneficial for your business to go digital. You can use a laptop or even a mobile phone.
- A business plan: this helps you monitor your clothing business to achieve set goals. The plan will guide you in making decisions concerning the business. Here’s a video to further explain the business plan and write one.
- A website: creating a website for your clothing business helps people locate you quickly. It is also advisable to have an email linked to your website for customer correspondence and reviews.
- Sales strategy: After getting the three above, you need to devise a means of diverting traffic to your website to sell your products. You must include the 4ps in your sales strategy – Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Strive to make the clothes(products) needed available each season and on time, and know when to increase or reduce your product prices; this can attract or repel customers. You should leverage Facebook and Instagram ads and TikTok videos in your sales strategy.
Once you have these four things ready, here are another four things you must do before starting your clothing business.
- Learn about the business before going into it: One of the mistakes entrepreneurs make is to dabble into a business without adequate knowledge. To start a clothing business, you have to research. Ask successful people in the industry for tips as they are more experienced. Understand production costs, price range, etc.
- Coin a business name: A name will help people identify your brand and differentiate you from other clotheslines. You should also create a logo alongside the business name. You can read more about creating a business name here.
- Know your customers: this will give you insight into their needs and how to meet them, target them and position yourself. Carry out a demographic survey to know their age, gender, location, religion, educational level, and so on. For example, a clothing line that wants to launch crazy jeans would identify young boys and girls as its customers.
- Harness the power of social media: social media can blow up your business if properly utilized. You can use Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp to publicize your brand.
Starting Your Clothing Business Through Dropshipping
Dropshipping is a form of order fulfillment that retail businesses use in getting products to their customers. Here, you link between the manufacturer/supplier and the customer.
You need to purchase inventories from the manufacturer or supplier to fulfill orders. You are not required to have the goods in stock; your responsibility is to market and sell the product.
Your profit is the difference between the wholesale price and the amount you decide to sell the product, including shipping. Here’s a guide on how to dropship:
- Advertise the products on your website and other social media platforms. You can also consider running paid ads to reach a wider audience.
- Customers place their orders and make payments through predetermined means. Do well to utilize a less complicated payment method since your customers can range from any age. You don’t want to lose any customers due to faults with payment processes.
- After, compile the orders and their shipment details. Be careful not to mix up customers’ orders in the process.
- Forward the orders and shipment details of the customers to the manufacturer/supplier, who in turn ships the goods directly to the customer.
Below are two major problems you are likely to encounter when dropshipping and how to solve them:
- Low-profit margin: Because of the competitive nature of the clothing industry, you might need to lower your price to get more patronage. This is so because people compare prices before deciding whom to patronize. This will affect your profit and might be discouraging.
Solution: To boost your profit, work on your marketing and advertising strategy to get more patronage. The more customers you get, the higher your profit margin.
- Inventory issues: Because you don’t keep the goods in stock, it might be challenging to know the available and unavailable goods, especially when you get goods from multiple manufacturers.
Solution: To keep track of available goods, you need to keep the communication lines open with the manufacturers to get regular updates. Once you are notified of the unavailability of a particular product, remove it from your website’s catalog or simply tag it ‘out of stock.’
Starting Your Clothing Business Through Pre-ordering
Unlike dropshipping, pre-ordering is when an order is placed for an item that has yet to be available.
Accepting pre-orders help you in forecasting demands for your product and inform you of the quantity of the product you should order. Here is a step-by-step process for pre-ordering.
- Let people know pre-orders are open. You do this by advertising the goods on your website and social media platforms for a speculated period. People will place their orders(which will be delivered when the products are available).
- You can charge the customer when the order is placed or once the item is shipped to them. Then, you set up a payment method. There are many payment gateways you can pick from. However, go for an easy-to-use platform for people from all walks of life.
- Collate customers’ orders and get them ready from the manufacturer/supplier. Do well to cross-check and lodge complaints immediately if there are any.
- You might want to repackage the goods, so they bear your brand name.
- Deliver the goods to the customer. Make sure the goods get to the destination within the speculated period.
- Endeavor to keep track and follow up on your customers. Try as much as possible to get reviews from them to improve your clothing business and boost your brand credibility.
However, pre-ordering isn’t without problems. Here are two likely issues you might have and how to solve them.
- Dependence on manufacturers: If you ask customers to pay upfront, the fate of your clothing business lies in the hands of the manufacturer. So many things such as price increase, late delivery, low quality of products, etc., could go wrong that will make you lose customers.
Solution: To prevent these, get a tested and trusted manufacturer who can easily reach you should any negative contingency happen.
- Limited products: Products available for pre-order are always limited; hence you have to be on the lookout and order from the supplier as soon as pre-ordering starts.
Solution: constantly interact with the manufacturer to be informed of changes within the stipulated period to release the product. This will guide you in making the right decisions.
Starting a clothing business with no money may seem difficult at first, but it is possible. Nevertheless, it requires a conscious effort to build and sustain a successful brand in the clothing industry.
Although there is no one-cap-fits-all method to building a clothing business from scratch, you need to discover and practice what works for you.
Once you master the roadblocks and avoid the pitfalls, getting patronage comes easily, and raising your profit margin becomes natural.
Jessica Oliver is a fashion enthusiast with more than ten years of experience in the industry. She previously managed her own clothing store in New York before becoming a mother of three. With a passion for sustainability and a desire to share clothing care and recycling tips.