Creating a clothing label is quite different from starting a clothing line. The two are not interchangeable, but a clothing line needs a clothing label to go to market. An entrepreneur with no design experience can start a clothing label with a few simple steps. You just have to know where to look for what you want and what steps to take in the process.
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Take your label design from concept to paper. What you have in your head may not look exactly the way you thought it would when you put it on a label small enough to fit in the back of a clothing item. Keep it simple. Sometimes, just plain words are better than fancy pictures for brand recognition.
Go to the United States Patent and Trademark Office at uspto.gov/main/trademarks.htm and click "Search Marks." Click on the "New User Search Form" and enter the brand or label name that you've been working on. If the name is free and hasn't been used, it won't show up in the database. If it is close to a name someone else has registered, you'll be shown a list of those registered trademarks and the status of their registration.
Set up a business entity in your state and get all of the necessary licenses and tax identification numbers required by the city, county, state and federal governments. You'll need to know if you are going to be selling anything through retail sales or if you're just going to wholesale to merchants and vendors. This makes a difference in whether you have to pay sales tax on your purchases. Different states have different fees for this process. It could cost £325 to £455 to get all of your initial paperwork and liability insurance. (You'll need a minimum of £0.6 million in liability insurance before you get started.)
Register the name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This can be done either online or through the mail. Remember, even though you have researched the label name (trademark) and it doesn't show up in the database, someone else may be in the process of registering the same name when you are. Whoever gets there first is the winner. It will cost between £178 and £243 to register your brand. If you register online, be prepared to pay with a debit or credit card; if you register by mail, you can send a check or money order along with the application. Register the trademark in both your name and the name of the business. Doing this protects you when you're ready to sell. You can sell the business without selling the trademark, or you can sell the trademark separately from the business.
Create a label. One of the easiest ways to do this is through what is called private labelling. First, you'll need to design and have a label ready to print. Decide what private label designer or manufacturer you want to work with based on the type of clothing it has to offer. You can purchase the items as is or add your own special touch. You'll have to send the company the labels you had printed for this occasion. Your clothing labels will be affixed to your items as the items are made.
Tips and warnings
- Consider hiring an attorney who specialises in trademark matters, as the procedural requirements for acquiring a trademark can be complex.
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