If you’re creating a clothing brand, you know it can be challenging to figure out what to do. Aside from generating killer designs, you must determine your target market and develop a financial plan covering everything from manufacturing and distribution to investors. 

With all of this on your plate, you might be feeling overwhelmed. This article has created a ten-step process to help you start your clothing brand without stress.

Starting a Clothing Brand in 10 Steps

  1. Identify your niche
  2. Develop a plan of action
  3. Locate your audience
  4. Create your designs
  5. Find a manufacturer
  6. Determine your branding strategy 
  7. Figure out the right price for your products
  8. Set reasonable goals
  9. Launch your brand
  10. Look for Partners and Investors

Identify Your Niche

To identify your niche, you need to understand the clothing industry. Figure out which demographic you are targeting, what type of clothing items are most attractive to that demographic, and how much money they are willing to spend on it. 

Finding a niche sets you apart from other clothing lines and lessens the competition. The fashion industry is a competitive market, so you want to be known for making a specific, high-quality product that keeps customers coming back for more.

To find your niche, conduct market research. Check out social media for similar clothing brands. See who they are marketing to. Talk to other clothing store owners about their niches and how they developed them. Look up “best seller” lists that include clothing you intend to offer.

Box Genie’s niche is providing sustainable, beautiful, high-quality, easy-to-design custom boxes that fit various shipping needs. We know that when shipping products, the first impression you make on customers starts with the box those products arrive in.

Develop a Plan of Action

Once you figure out your niche, it’s time to create a successful business plan for your clothing line. Your startup needs to execute a straightforward plan of action to get up and running.

To start your clothing line, you need to determine what business model you would like to follow. Three types of business models are:

  • Direct to customer/online
  • Wholesale/through a manufacturer
  • On-demand/via storefront

Before your startup can operate, you need to know how much everything costs. Launching a website, purchasing fabric, paying manufacturer production costs, marketing, shipping, paying employees, etc., all cost money. You also need to know how much utilities cost and how much the equipment costs.

Locate Your Audience

Who are you designing for? Locating your audience is similar to finding your niche. Create target customer profiles that list your ideal customer’s preferences, like what kind of style they have, where they tend to shop, and what hobbies they have. 

Once you have identified your target customer’s traits, reach out to people who fit the description. Conversations with your audience are necessary for starting a successful clothing line. These conversations will identify what your target audience does or doesn’t like and what issues they need your clothing brand to solve.

Create Your Designs

Once you’ve found your niche and located your audience, you’ve probably developed a vision of what your potential customer wants. So now, it’s time to create it for them. 

If you’ve got the guts to start a clothing brand, you’ve undoubtedly got the fashion designer creativity too. While the actual graphic designs are up to you, we’re here to help you find the tools to make those ideas come to life. Some options for creating clothing designs for your tech pack include:

Find a Manufacturer

Speaking of manufacturers, how do you find the right one? Here are our step-by-step suggestions for how to find the right clothing manufacturer:

  1. Pick your parameters.
  2. Use word of mouth or the Internet.
  3. Speak with a representative.
  4. Shorten your list and make your decision. 

Determine Your Branding Strategy 

As a startup, one of the most important things you can do is create a strong brand identity. You need to know who you are so that your customer understands who you are. When creating a fashion brand, you must consider:

  • Your market profile
  • Who you are
  • The aesthetic you want to maintain
  • Building a strong community

You’ve identified what demographic in the fashion industry you’d like to target. Now, it’s time to set up a market profile. A market profile is a formal list or document of characteristics of your target market. The list should include: 

  • Target buyer
  • Target geographic region(s)
  • Target values
  • Research
  • Other variables

Next, make a promise to that market. Customers want to feel special and included. Create a mission statement that shows them who you are, how you want to serve them, and how you’ll do it. 

To create a strong brand identity, you must have a consistent aesthetic. You can promote your aesthetic through your website and social media marketing. 

Think of your aesthetic as your vibe, mood, or style. When building an aesthetic, you need to consider:

  • Logo: This should be memorable — how your customer can identify you.
  • Business Name: This should be catchy and evocative of the heart of your small business.
  • Colors and font: This should match the overall vibe, too!

Finally, a strong brand name means cultivating a strong community. You must be transparent with your customers. Be real with them and be in tune with their wants and needs. You can achieve this through surveys and consistent community management. 

Figure Out the Right Price for Your Products

This might sound like a tough decision, but we are here to make your life easier. Ready?

Selling price = cost price + profit margin

Of course, there are other elements to consider, like the average selling price point of other products on the market. But when it comes down to it, that formula is your best friend. 

Set Reasonable Goals

Goals are important! They act as a template, provide direction, and allow you to monitor progress. When creating goals, you should include personal and business goals with incremental financial goals — by the quarter, by the year, etc. 

Reasonable goals require finding the balance between shooting for the stars and what is realistic. 

Launch Your Brand

You’ve done the work, and now — drumroll, please — it’s time to launch! Typically, there are two types of launches: A soft launch and a hard launch. A hard launch is when you set a date and officially open on that date.

A soft launch is a trial opening of your fashion business to a controlled customer base. When opening for the first time, startup owners will do a soft launch with friends, family, or local business owners to ensure all systems of operations are running smoothly. 

You can also use a soft launch as a marketing strategy to create buzz about your new business opening. You’ve worked out the kinks, tested everything, and are ready to go. 

Look for Partners and Investors

Launching a startup can often be a huge financial burden. However, it doesn’t have to be. When considering ways to help your finances, consider a partner, investor, or crowdsourcing. 

Although it might feel scary to let someone else in on your startup, it’s worth considering to alleviate stress and avoid taking on a business loan.

Things to Consider for Branded Packaging

Your customer needs to be able to identify your fashion brand. Branded packaging is a great marketing plan to impress your customer. Customers will associate that experience with your brand when they receive a beautiful package. 

When deciding what kind of packaging you’d like to use for your new clothing line, Box Genie is happy to help with custom boxes. Although Box Genie does not offer the following, you’ll also want to consider these packaging essentials: 

How to Create a Shipping Strategy

  1. Determine How You’ll Charge Your Customers
  2. Establish a Process for Dealing With Returns
  3. Decide on a Shipping Carrier
  4. Understand Duty and Customs Fees

Your shipping strategy should be integrated into your business plan. Whether opening a brick-and-mortar clothing store or operating an online store, shipping will come into play.

Determine How You’ll Charge Your Customers

Will you charge your customers for shipping, or will you offer free shipping?

On the one hand, 77% of customers say they abandon their product at checkout if free shipping is not offered. But on the other hand, customers will often add more products to their cart to meet the minimum order that will qualify them for free shipping.

Shipping is a huge consideration, so consider both situations and find what works with your business plan.

Establish a Process for Dealing With Returns

An essential aspect of returns is making sure that you have a policy. Policies will vary from business to business, but you should make sure to include:

  • Clarity on returns, exchanges, and time frames (30 days, 60 days, etc.)
  • Be upfront about final sale items
  • The condition of items that can be returned (damage, etc.)
  • Clear and concise language on how to complete the return process

Decide on a Shipping Carrier

You will need to find a cost-effective shipping carrier like anything else you do for your clothing brand. To get you started with your research, we suggest looking into:

Understand Duty and Customs Fees

If you are going to offer international shipping, you will need to understand duty and customs fees. These will vary depending on the country you are shipping to and the amount you ship there. Visit the International Trade Administration site for more information.

Moving Forward

Now that you’ve read through a step-by-step guide on what it takes to start your own clothing company, it’s time to get started! Remember:

  • Understand your target market and stick to it
  • Create a fashion brand that your audience will love 
  • Build a financial plan that considers: the manufacturing process, investors, shipping

Keep your goals in mind as you move forward, be confident in your abilities, and know that Box Genie is cheering you on!

 

Sources

How To Start A Clothing Line In 12 Steps | Shopify

Finding Your Fashion Brand Niche - In 7 Easy Steps (2021) | Apparel Entrepreneurship

Shipping Is Critical To Keeping Online Shoppers Happy ⎸ Forbes

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