How To Design Your Own Clothes Online – If you’ve been thinking (or dreaming) of having your own line, now is the time to learn how to start an online clothing business.
Research shows that the online clothing industry is growing and continues to grow year after year. According to Statista, the retail e-commerce industry was worth $102.5 billion and will reach $153.6 billion by 2024.
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Starting a business from scratch can seem intimidating. And I’m not going to lie: it’s a lot of work. But if you’re willing to keep going and put in the time, resources, and effort, the rewards can be amazing.
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So this article is full of helpful tips and resources on how to start a clothing line and market it successfully. We will describe 10 steps on how to run a clothing business and look at some beautiful store examples.
How to Start a Clothing Line or Brand in 2023: 10 Steps 1. Identify a Need in the Market
You may already have some ideas about what you want to sell. That’s great news, but don’t launch it yet.
One of the main reasons new business owners fail is because no one really wants what they are trying to sell. And it would be a true tragedy if you went through the whole process of learning how to start your own clothing line but never had the success you hoped for.
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There are many free and paid resources where you can make sure your clothes are in demand in the market.
There are two types of market research: primary market research, which is data you collect yourself, and secondary market research, which is data you get from other sources who have already done the research. Such as Nielsen, NPD, and Market Research. com.
Caution: Purchasing research reports can be expensive. If you are starting your business out of pocket, you may want to focus more on primary research.
Here’s a quick search for “short tops” on Google Trends. It had a fairly steady level of popularity last year and is expected to increase as spring approaches.
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Identifying a need and identifying a target audience go hand in hand, as these are a specific group or groups of people who need or want your products.
And that group is your target audience. These are the people you are trying to communicate and connect with every day. The better you understand those people, the better your chances of securing them and keeping them as customers.
If you want to learn how to actually start a successful online clothing store, you’ll need a deeper understanding of your target audience.
Ideally, your clothing business plan should cover the first three to five years of your business. Of course, things don’t always go exactly as planned, but you should have something to work with.
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Most importantly, you should have something to compare your progress to so you can better understand if you are on track to reach your goals or if you need to make changes to your original plan. is
Additionally, your clothing line business plan is what you will show potential investors and partners (step 10 of this article). If your plan is thoughtful, strategic, specific, and promising, you’re more likely to get people on board to support your business and help it grow.
US The Small Business Association (SBA) has great resources for writing a business plan, including how to prepare section by section.
Carry a sketchbook with you at all times. You never know when creativity will strike, so make sure you’re always ready to jot down new ideas and inspiration.
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Don’t compromise on the ingredients or the overall quality of the product. Especially if you’re creating a luxury line or boutique, your customers will know if you’re taking shortcuts to save money.
It’s a great idea to make your own templates. A thorough understanding of the process will help you run your clothing business more smoothly, especially when negotiating costs with your manufacturer. But don’t get so caught up in the technical aspect that you sacrifice your creativity and ability to design new pieces.
Start building your “tech stack” early. This is the basic information you will give your manufacturer when it comes time to create your clothing line. Your technical package should include technical specifications and product details, such as dimensions, materials and accessories.
On your journey to learn how to start a clothing company, finding the right manufacturer is a big problem. This is why you should take the time to properly research and examine your options before making a decision.
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You may save money by going with an overseas manufacturer, but find that it’s ultimately not worth the potential drawbacks, such as longer delivery times or lower product quality.
Do a good old-fashioned Google search and explore social media sites like Facebook groups. You can also find industry meetings, directories, or networking opportunities.
Once you have a list of manufacturers, vet them thoroughly by asking a number of questions and noting their response times. Check online to see if they have good or bad reviews of other clothing companies.
This is the time to develop creative content that represents your clothing line: things like your branding, logo, graphics and images, product photography, and color palette.
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Doing all the design and branding work can seem daunting. If you don’t have the design skills or budget to hire a professional developer, there are plenty of free resources to help you keep things affordable for beginners.
You can also find an affordable graphic design freelancer on marketplaces like Fiverr, 99designs, DesignCrowd, or Upwork.
To choose an appropriate price, you must have a good understanding of how much it costs you to make the goods, also known as cost of goods sold (COGS). COGS includes things like the cost of materials, labor, and production.
You’ll also want to consider the general costs of running your clothing line, such as how much you pay in rent for your warehouse, shipping costs, and wages for your employees.
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Once you know how much it costs to run the business, you can choose a price that covers those costs and gives you some profit after paying all the bills.
A common pricing method is called trapezoidal margining, where the price is simply doubled. So, if it costs you $10 to make a blouse, you can sell it in your store for $20. Or you can sell to wholesalers for $20 and sell in your online store for $40.
Regardless of how you decide on price, be sure to consider how much your target audience would be willing to pay. It may take a little experimentation to find the perfect price.
Marketing is a fundamental part of learning how to run an online clothing business. After all, no one will buy from your store if they don’t know it exists, right?
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Ideally, you should start setting up your marketing before you even start your clothing store. That way, you’ll be ready to start working.
You start by setting up Facebook ads, which is a popular advertising method for clothing companies to build their customer base. Facebook has great targeting capabilities that help you reach the right people.
If you have a small advertising budget, you can start with organic social media marketing strategies, which focus on creating great content that entices people to follow you and shop with you.
Influencer marketing is a great idea for a low budget: offer free items in exchange for mentions to social media users with a strong following base in your target audience. Here’s Instagram influencer @gonolivier’s post promoting a new denim line from clothing company boohooMAN.
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You can also host a giveaway to build your email list before your store goes live and then use email marketing to build a strong relationship with them after launch.
You know that old saying: “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” The same goes for anyone who masters the art of starting a clothing business.
In the early stages of your business, you will have a lot to learn. A lot of trial and error. Lots of testing, adjusting and retesting.
Make sure you are kind to yourself by setting realistic goals. It is unrealistic to say that you will make a million dollars in your first year (although it is possible!).
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A more realistic goal might be to increase your revenue by 20% every quarter for the first year of business. This type of growth-oriented goal helps ensure that you don’t choose arbitrary financial numbers that simply aren’t achievable.
The same goes for distribution if you are thinking about how to start a fashion line that is sold in other stores. Start with the goal of finding a few solid distribution partners for the first year and then grow steadily from there.
Now that you’ve established a presence and generated some anticipation, you can release your masterpiece to the world.
This is when you can pull the trigger on all the marketing campaigns you are working on. Continue to work and build on them; As with everything on the road to how to start an online clothing business, you’ll need to keep experimenting.
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