It's not easy to start a clothing line from scratch, but if you are passionate about the clothing and design business, you can do it. If this is your first time starting a business, there are many important facts you should know, because starting a clothing line isn't just about the clothes. There are all kinds of legal, financial and logistical hurdles to overcome.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Business plan
Choose a name for your clothing line, trademark it and buy the Web domain name for it. Domain names on the Internet are being sold quickly, so make sure you buy one with the name of your clothing line right away. Also, do a trademark search for the name you have chosen to make sure there are no other business or companies already using that name. If the name is available, register it with the United States Patent office. Furthermore, register your business as a D.B.A. or LLC with your city clerk, and then get a bank account under your new business's name.
Decide what type of clothing you want to make and whether you want to mass-produce or start by making a few key items. You can start by making casual apparel or sportswear, such as T-shirts, sweatpants, jeans and other related products. Start small until you begin to establish your name. Moreover, find a contractor who can help you launch your clothing line. Producing locally is your best bet when starting a clothing line.
Obtain funding. You may have the necessary funds or you may have to take out a business loan. To get a loan from a bank, you may have to put up collateral because, traditionally, banks do not consider clothing lines a safe investment.
Prepare your designs and pick out fabrics and materials that you will need. Give your completed and professional sketches to a manufacturer, seamstress, tailor or screen printer. Also, match each fabric to a particular design to make sure the manufacturer knows what the final product should look like.
Supervise the manufacturing of your clothing line to make sure the manufacturer/contractor will have your apparel ready and delivered on time. The best way to do this is to stay in touch with your contractor during the entire process and make sure that things are going smoothly. Once your merchandise is ready, start taking orders from clients. In addition to personal orders, visit local shops and boutiques and meet with the buyer to try to get your merchandise into their stores.
Have a professional-looking website before you spread the word about your clothing line. The site will be the first thing people look at to familiarise themselves with your company and products, so it must reflect your clothing line. Issue a press release about your line and send it to newspapers and magazines in your area. Contact local radio stations and ask if they would like to interview you. Anything you can do to build buzz about your brand will be to your advantage.
Advertise your new line in local newspapers and magazines aimed at consumers in your immediate area. You can put up a billboard or direct a small commercial to be broadcast on the local cable channel. As your business grows, your marketing plan will expand to include other cities, states or even countries. Another important factor is to manage your money, costs and production to the last detail.
Tips and warnings
- Read an accounting book or hire an accountant to keep track of your finances.