There are times when you go to shop for some dresses and when you see price tags, you think these dresses are so expensive, but they must have cost the designer pretty less. Yes, there is a huge profit margin that you get tempted you star your own clothing line. Well, the idea of starting a clothing line must have crossed your mind some time; and why not? It is not a bad idea at all.
For those who have got some artistic sense and usually get admired for the way you dress, then you can always try your hand at this profitable business. Having said that, starting a clothing line not as simple as it may look from outside. Well, some may argue that it is just about designing some clothes and get a place to display them at the end of the day. But reality is a bit different; one has to do a lot of planning, budgeting and hard work to set up a clothing line.
Well, fashion keeps on changing, and there lies a big challenge for fashion stores to be updated with the latest styles and trends. Shopping is not restricted only to the retail stores only these days. You can always shop online. And this is where the real opportunity lies. These days you don’t need to own a physical store to start a business as you can always do it online.
The number of people who do online shopping has been on the rise and it is predicted to continue in this way. Hence, you should not only think that you can sell your products through retail stores only as web gives you ample opportunity to market and sell your products. Below is a graph showing how digital buyers have increased in past few years and how they are expected to increase in near future.
The reason why starting a clothing line is a good option because these e-stores are gaining popularity in recent times as they always display new clothing styles as soon as they enter the market. Online stores have this advantage that they can update the latest styles much quicker than other stores. Thus, when it comes to new clothing styles, online stores are the best deal.
For all those who dream of starting their own clothing line, one thing is for sure that to be successful, one need to learn how to run a business and market your products. Well, there are a lot of things that need to be taken care of when starting a clothing line. Here are some things to be kept in mind when starting a clothing line.
Create a business plan
To do any business, you need to plan well in advance. Well, clothing line business plan should cover how you will you go about managing your clothing line. The first and the most important thing is that one should try to be realistic in your goals. Always be ready for initial difficulties and don’t think that you are going to achieve great profits. However, when you will earn some profit, you will be pleasantly surprised.
There are many websites and sources are there that can help you with your business plan. Here are some business templates that can really help you to understand how to create a business plan.
- Score’s Business Plan Template for Startups
- U.S. Small Business Administration Business Plan Engine
- The $100 Startup’s One-Page Business Plan
- LawDepot’s WYSIWYG Business Plan Template
Do’s of creating a marketable strategy!
- Calendar your opportunity – Thirty minutes to a hour every day of continuous concentration so you can be careful, retain what you’re learning and inquiring about, and clarify it clearly.
- Consider your optimal client – Everything you do in your business is to serve your best clients better. In any case, how might you do that on the off chance that you don’t know their identity? Set aside the opportunity to find the perfect customer for you, and make your advertising and operational plans around that symbol.
- Refer to your sources. – Search market and ensure you can clarify where you got your data from, with correct URLs and appropriate references at whatever point feasible.
- Clarify the numbers – Financial figures without a clarification of how you got the numbers won’t convey much weight. Work out your suspicions – the bank has to know this, and it’ll enable you to wrap your head around your benefit potential, as well.
I know that I am not saying something new when I say that market research is the integral part and most important of the success of your clothing line. You have to decide what the mood of the people regarding fashion is. One needs to determine what trends are popular in current scenario and you must know about the styles that are selling these days.
Here is a perfect example which will make you understand the whole concept of market research. We all know Amazon is one of the most sought out E commerce websites around. And if you want to sell your products there, this is what you must do.
Check out the step-by-step guide on how to sell clothes online.
- Register on Amazon as a seller – To sell clothes on Amazon.in, you have to first register yourself as a seller. After that, you need to enter some details like name; legal name and contact number.
- Entering your business details – You need to enter your store name by selecting Clothing & Accessories category. After that, you need to fill address details and continue to choose how would you like to ship your orders. One can read a simple guide to shipping options for an Amazon seller. One needs to update GST details and request approval for it. Keep in mind that Clothing and Accessories is a restricted category at Amazon.
- List your clothes – After entering business details, now it is time to list clothes on Amazon. Choose one out of the four available methods to list on Amazon; match your items to the existing list, scan them to list, use ‘Prepare your listings’ feature or ’Custom inventory template’ to list products in bulk.. Amazon also lets you create variations to help sellers sell same kinds of clothes in various sizes and colours by grouping varieties of the same dress on a single product page.
Image below is an example of how simply and specifically you can tell your users about what you got and how they can approach it. There are different tabs for men, women, kids, and type. You can easily choose where you want to go with your surfing.
Branding of your clothing line
Do you know what is common with all the leading brands of the world? They all have a very distinctive identity and have managed to communicate better with their customers. Well, every brand is different; for example – You don’t walk into Zara with the same mindset as Miu Miu.
When it comes to shop for apparels, most people look for specialists. One cannot be sell everything and be the best in all that. We all know that Levis is a world famous denim brand. People looks up to this brand for high-quality casual wear. Well, if you ask them to sell tuxedos, they won’t be able to create an impact unless they create their new sub-brand. So, in simple words – choose a niche and try to shine in it.
How to use offline relationships to grow your presence online?
There are brands such as Kate Spade NY have a good presence on both offline and online. We all know how trusted and famous this brand is. Offline is a stronger barrier for entry for new brands; however, they are coming up with inventive solutions. Think- shop in shop for instance, or retailing exclusively at airports which an Indian brand Happily Unmarried has maxed to the T. You need to choose specific locations and areas where your brand can reach its target consumers and build presence gradually.
Your brand thrives on consistency and uniformity in brand experience to ensure optimal brand recognition and recall. Everything you do must showcase or carry a uniform representation of the brand visually. It is not only the logo or the tagline but the overall color palette and the typography that is recognized by people. So, these elements must be uniform across the board including your stores, websites, billboards and brochures so that people immediately associate these with your brand.
Why a brand logo is so important?
When you hear the world Nike, what comes to your mind? It is the iconic swoosh logo and the punchline called “Just Do It”. These brand identities are very important and take a lot of time to come into its own, but when you achieve this feat then you are in good space. A successful branding exercise should lead to such straight away recognizable symbols that exceed geographic, linguistic and cultural barriers. The magic of a Coca Cola T-shirt whether written in English or any other language, you will instantly recognize it is Coca Cola!
Registration of Name, Trademark & domain
there is nothing without an identity; you must decide upon a good name for your line and brand it. One needs to do a trademark search for whatever the name you have in your mind. It is important to make sure that there are no other websites or businesses already using that particular name. Well, when you are sure that name is available, then you need to register it so that anyone else should not take it.
These days your online identity matters a lot. And that is why one should buy the web domain for the clothing line. But, make sure that the name that you have in mind should be bought quickly as you never know when it gets sold. So when you decide a name, buy it right away. It is imperative that you develop a website to demonstrate your line as it will be the primary place there your perspective buyers will look to get familiarized with your clothing and prices.
Moreover, register your business according to rules and regulations of the authority, and then get a bank account under your new business’s name. These are all vital steps to take before you start to design and produce clothes.
Create concept sketches
After collecting enough information and knowledge from your market research and creating your brand identity, it is time to come up with clothing styles and graphic work, which is the important step of bringing your concept to life. Always try to be creative and innovative. In the world of fashion, it is imperative that your design sketches should be a sign of the images of your target consumer, price points, age groups and current trends in styles.
For example you can create an inspiration board that includes various kinds of images, different type of fabrics and the things that inspires you. After deciding all those designs and fabrics, it is time for the drawing board to enter the frame. Just put in order the things and information, that you have collected, onto large art boards, which will help you to have a glance at the complete line at once.
Decide about materials to be used
When you are done with creating sketches of your clothing line, you should move forward towards the materials. One thing that makes your product come to life is material. You need to do some work to finding everything starting from fabric to zippers to buttons and linings. The whole thing you choose should be there, to be had in bunch of quantities and right colors.
Edit styles for sample development – Editing your concept line is your next step. Every style that you create cannot make its way to the sample development. What you have to do is, you need to edit sketches to the most creative and in styles, probable hot sellers. Just put across the styles that you have chosen reflect your imaginative concept or not? Along with it, one thing you need to keep in mind budget is the budget constraints, time, and availability of materials and more. What styles to send to sample development, what the chosen styles cost to develop samples and send to fabrication, is also a Part of your decision.
Find a manufacturer
A few people may say that they are good at making clothes with their own hands. Well, it is fine when you are making clothes for yourself or making them for a few people. However, when your brand grows, you have to outsource. That is why it is important to find a manufacturer who can be relied upon and enjoys a good reputation in the market. There might some manufacturers who are not used to new start ups approaching them. This is where you need to convince that you are serious about your clothing line.
For example when you are reaching a manufacturer for the very first time, one thing is certain that they will ask many questions from you. It can be about your brand, style, finance or anything else. You must be ready for all these questions. Make sure that you don’t take too much time to set up your budget, identifying with the production timeline and the most importantly, you must know your designs inside and out. They might ask you about your previous experience or more. Always look at this meeting as a partner meeting. Where you are looking to see if this factory suitable for your brand; similarly they will see your brand is fits them!
After specifying the list of manufacturers, who meet your all your requirements regarding what you professional services and quality, note down which are the manufacturers are suitable for creating your garments in future while meeting your budget requirements. Yes, it is the time to approach your potential manufacturer; it is easy to say, but difficult to do.
Things to keep in mind when contacting Manufacturers:
- Be genuine – In case in seems like that your interest in manufacturing is not genuine, it is a probability that you may not get a positive response from the manufacturers. Well, they don’t want to waste their time working with those kinds of people who are not serious. And why should they do when they could be functioning with those kinds of people who are actually wish to build and nurture their business.
- Be polite – It is the first thing that you need to learn to enter any business. And in this case your manufacturer will be working with you in the whole process; hence, they don’t exclusively work for you. That is why it is imperative to treat them with respect and keep in mind their requirements, processes and services.
- Be clear – The practice to be clear about the things that you’re looking for such as the services you require and your timeline can really help you in the whole process. It is advised to be frank about the things you want and always try to clear everything without leaving any room for uncertainties, which may eventually create confusion down the road.
- Follow up – It’s not a bad thing to follow up after your preliminary email to make sure the factory received and have gone through your message. Therefore is always better to be prepared well in advance to send around three follow ups after couple of day’s interval to get a quick response from a factory. By doing this, you will make it clear that you are eager and serious. This will make the factory feel that you are really keen to take their service.
- Avoid giving a lot of information – There is no need to overload the manufacturer yet with all kinds of information such as – what are your brand goals, what kind of material choices you have and telling them about your timelines. Instead, just simply introduce your company, and tell about the products that you are looking forward to creating with them.
- Sample Garment Development -When you have done with the styling best symbolize with your concept of clothing line as per the theme, time, material and finances, you enter the next step which is to create sample garments. Here you test the appearance, wear ability and fitting. This step includes a lot of changes, alterations and corrections. You need to translate concept sketches into flat technical designs. Now take the blueprints and drawings of each garment to factories as they require a tech drawing instead. At this stage you can eliminate many design mistakes so you should be more careful at this stage.
Merchandise your Clothing line
Coordinate items in the line as buyers would like to see options when they look at your line. Your goal is to have the buyer place an order for several items in the line as possible. Merchandising is all about increasing sales with a well coordinated line so that it has highest appeal to buyers. Likewise, you need to find a shirt to go with a pair of pants or a sweater to go with sweater. It will present the option of several looks, which your buyers may find appealing. The endeavor is to persuade the buyer to place an order repeatedly.
This is how you go about clothing line:
- Creating a dream for your store and pick the right stock to show. To achieve this, perform statistical surveying to discover who your clients are as far as age, sexual orientation and inclinations, and what they will probably purchase. Your purchasers might be youthful, in vogue and upscale, or they might be more seasoned, exemplary in style and esteem situated.
- Keep your finger on the beat of the garments business by perceiving patterns in style and texture. Incorporate things that are with regards to whatever is left of the stock. For a dress boutique, you may likewise need to incorporate frill like adornments, belts, shades, shoes and totes. While it might be hard to discover a really extraordinary thing, stock that isn’t effortlessly available somewhere else close by and incorporate dress lines that are important to your purchasers.
- All around evaluated or special valued things can be set in advance to draw purchasers. Place similar kind of articles together, similar to finish running with jeans and shades to run with swimsuits and concealments. Show the things in an intriguing way and position the things you need to highlight deliberately. Utilize boutique piece of clothing racks that can include fascinate with racks, bars, snares and pegs.
- Fashioned mirrors and lights to pull in customers to the stock and wood tables are additionally fascinating marketing vehicles. Wood sheds and custom hand labels likewise add to the panache of an apparel boutique.
Here we come to the business part of it called pricing your clothing line. You need to earn profit and to get it you need to add up all expense and after that mark up clothes quite a lot above your costs to get some decent profit out of it. This is where your negotiation skills will also enter the frame as the will always want better pricing for ordering further. Price your clothing in such a way that it will look like the price that you are demanding. Just have in mind what similar styles are being sold for.
You want a sheet that shows the costs as well as retail and wholesale prices. You can see different situations based on mark-ups. Well some people find it hard to look at the actual numbers while being honest with your cost sheet. Many people cheat and put in numbers that they know are not accurate, but look better.
Marketing and PR
When you are done with your pricing, the next step is to start marketing and selling your clothing line. One can do it through creating some catalogs of what your clothing will actually look like. You can hire models, stylists and photographers to do a photoshoot. Apart from this, you need to prepare a press kit. It is a vision statement of your line. You can include a designer bio and some photographs from your fashion shoot. Create a line sheet that includes different kind of pictures, prices, descriptions and colors for each and every style in your clothing line.
For instance, your brand tells the story of a youth who is adventurous. A new adventure awaits you every day, it is time to seize the day as you won’t get this life again, expand your boundaries and do something out of extraordinary. Well, this story has to perfectly fit your clothing line. This adventurous story of yours can be articulated by your clothing line. For example, t-shirts with an unusual print, baggy pants and a ragged backpack. World travelers are looking for clothes like this. One needs to incorporate this very story in your all communication messages. To choose the right medium for your story, social media and your website are the best platforms. This will make your clients actually trust your story and will fall in love with your brand.
The Promotional campaign of coca cola called ‘Summer of sharing: share a coke’ is a prime example of the best PR and marketing.
There was a campaign by Coca-Cola that was globally applauded. It was a great success and gathered a lot of excitement amongst soft drink consumers about getting a bottle with their name or their loved one’s name on it. The message was:
This summer, Coke is swapping out three of its iconic logos on 20-oz. bottles for the 250 most popular first names among American teens and Millennials.
Coca-Cola shared a personalized brand experience with this viral initiative with their one of the supreme global communication campaigns launched ever. It reached people from the whole world. They got plenty of PR hits worldwide along with millions of mentions and pictures shared on social media.
This is what a perfect PR and marketing strategy can do. Same is the scenario with clothing line.
Selling clothing line at market
Now we enter the business part of it, which is called making money. You can rent out a shop at apparel trade shows, put your clothes of e-commerce sites, and attend apparel market weeks to get your new clothing line in front millions of buyers. Always keep in mind that your main aim is to get orders. You have to be very flexible in your approach. Hiring a designer representative to sell your line for you can do wonders. You just have to pay a bit of commission for helping you with your sales. However, make sure that you only hire experienced people who know the pulse of the market trends and have several buyer contacts.
Here are a few choices to offer your item:
1) Sell to Boutiques – is sort of progression can influence you and a retail to shop “accomplices” around here which can truly help in a couple of ways; on the off chance that you convey late one season, for example, and getting profitable input from the purchaser about your line. (For tips on expanding the span of requests, watch this video).
2) Sell to Department Stores – definitely not suggested for new lines. The water is shark-filled and this business road ought to be kept away from until the point that you get your ocean legs – after a couple of seasons.
3) Sell through Trunk Shows – it’s beneficial for you since retailers are by and large ready to complete a show since they don’t need to put in a genuine request in advance. The upside of a trunk show to architects is that you gain admittance to every one of the clients without doing all the advertising. What’s more, stunningly better? You get the chance to meet the clients and get input from them re: fit, style, hues and so forth.
5) Sell at art fairs or craft fairs selling your garments line at a road reasonable will give you moment delight. The clients pay retail costs and you get the cash immediately. You additionally get the communication with your client who is fatal vital.
6) Sell online-You can set up your own particular online store. Be that as it may, be careful! Simply putting your item up online won’t influence it to offer. There is a considerable measure of promoting required to get activity to your site and get your item off the rack.
If you look at the movers and shakers in the clothing line trade, you will realize that they deliberately choose a name and create a logo that best communicate how they want people to perceive them. Once you are able to secure a good name for your clothing line business and then hire experts (graphic artists) to help you create a compelling logo; if you don’t mind, you can follow the trend in the industry.
So, if you have the desires to start your own clothing line, all you need do is to take really seriously all that this read has to offer and you will be well equipped. You can start you clothing label from a small town in the United States and if you are consistent and creative, it wouldn’t be too long before your brand becomes an internationally recognized brand.