Opening a Clothing Line: Five Steps to Get You Started

For business leaders and entrepreneurs in the fashion industry, it’s more than just earning money but also following their passion and doing what they love. Creating new stylish looks that can help others be more confident and happier surely is an amazing way to run a business. If you’re a fashion enthusiast and would love to share your style and talent with the world, then starting up a clothing line might be something the suits your perfectly.

While this business venture sounds fun and exciting, it does require thorough planning and great effort to achieve. On a positive note, it’s definitely not impossible to make it happen. Ready to start your own clothing line? Listed below are the top planning steps to guide you,

1. Choose your niche

Firstly, you should decide on the niche of your clothing line. Are you planning to start a clothing brand dedicated to specific fan bases or famous bands? Or maybe you’re opting to start a sports or fitness clothing brand? You could also brand is based on specific ethos or needs such as cruelty-free clothing. Deciding on the right niche you want to pursue won’t just give your line an identity but also provides you with a guiding principle when you’ll be introducing new designs or branching out.

2. Assess startup costs

When starting a clothing line, it’s also a vital thing to crunch the numbers before anything else. Begin with your startup costs such as the fashion brand design like website and logos, permit and license fees, rent for physical location or workspace, design and manufacturing tools and machines, materials like embellishment décor or fabrics, and of course, the hourly wages. You will then need to compare these costs with the funds you have on hand. Make adjustments and be resourceful if necessary.

For instance, it’s recommended to always shop around for the best prices if you want to work with pre-made wholesales garments. In case you’re thinking of a cut-and-sew line, you’ll need to calculate the right number of yards of fabric to buy and ensure you won’t purchase too much.

3. Create your designs

sewing

Next important step to take is, of course, creating your designs. This exciting phase should be done as early as you can regardless if you only have one or two designs to launch. You can start drafting your designs on paper or better yet, get some digital sketches done. You think the designing phase is done once you have the sketches? Nope. You still need to consider the tech pack, which includes the technical specifications and details of the products, from the features, materials to use, down to measurements. After that, you can proceed with pattern making.

4. Acquire production equipment

There’s a multitude of equipment and machines you’ll need to produce your products, particularly if you’re not planning to use a manufacturer. For pattern making or product design, you’ll need computer-aided design or CAD software to improve garment fit and estimate fabric requirements. As for printing your designs and graphics on the clothes, you will need full-color heat press machines for the accuracy and quality of production.

For inspection and testing of fabrics, some basic equipment you might need include a fabric testing or visual inspection machine, weighing and meter scale, fiber content and color cabinet, and a sample washing machine and drier. Others you might need include sewing machines and finishing equipment like thread trimmers and spotting guns, cutting tools.  Lastly, you might also want to consider office equipment necessary for your operations such as laptops and computers, photocopier machine, and printers.

5. Craft your sales plan

Last but not least, you’ll need to create a good sales plan for your clothing line. Business experts suggest not being over-detailed with it and focus on creating a basic plan. This also includes choosing the sales channels and distribution channels you want to you. For the sales channels, you can pick from direct-to-customer, wholesale, or third party.

Under the distribution ones, direct-to-customer uses catalogs, pop shows, and your website. Wholesale covers trunk shows, showrooms, and department stores, while the third party includes dropshipping. Evaluate your brand values and check your margins when making a decision. Also, you can always adjust your channels as your clothing line evolves.

By spending the required time and effort, you can start and run your own clothing line on a much easier road. Just make sure to always stay updated with the latest changes in the fashion industry as this is an important key to keep your brand afloat. After all, the world of fashion is all about trends so stay trendy.