So, do you know what you’ll need when starting your own clothing brand? Really?
It is the dream of many to own their own fashion brand and with the technological advances we’ve had in recent years, it is nowadays more feasible than ever to turn this idea into a reality.
But, of course, it’s not only you who has this dream. There are many people out there who wish to follow the same path. In order to stand out from the crowd, you’ll have to plan ahead.
Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself before handling the nitty-gritty parts of kickstarting a label.
1 – Where do I begin?
Start with the basics. Get a pen and paper and conceptualise what you want to do. List down everything you want to keep in mind. Set some goals. Set your priorities straight. Consider writing a business plan.
Create your first business log right before you go to the research part of the task. It definitely pays to have some planning skills you can put to good use in the business. Now that you have a written record, you can now delve into the act of researching.
Research where the closest materials sources are. This is where our best friend, Mr Google, comes along. With a business degree or with some experience on the matter, you may breeze through this step without much effort.
2 – What business model should I go with?
Print On Demand
It is the easiest and cheapest option as it is a fully automated business. The downside is that you can’t really diverge much from the usual clothing designs and you’ll probably make less profit.
- Practically no investment
- Can be set up very quickly
- No need to order stock
- Can deliver to almost anywhere in the world
- Little control over the final product
- Lots of competition
- The profits must be split
The one most people dream of, the private label. Unlike print on demand, this one involves buying blank materials in bulk. If you don’t have a physical space to store the stock, this might be a problem. Also, if you don’t sell the garments, you have to keep them. On the bright side, you can have a freer reign in the outcome and details of your final products.
You may need a larger amount of money though, around £2,500. The private label is much more hands-on than the first one but the rewards are also greater.
Cut and Sew
The final one mentioned involves more customisation done by your company. Designs, patterns, fabrics, and production are done or approved by you. This involves intensive management that could take time and money, around £10,000, due to manufacturing costs, the design, the human resources required to run the business and other miscellaneous expenses.
The potential with this business model that your products can become unique and therefore your brand. Also, there’s a potential for higher profit margins in cut and sew.
3 – How much capital do I need?
Again, the capital you need can range depending on what business type or model you aspire to build when starting your own clothing brand. If you want customisation, it will incur more costs due to the non-uniformity of your products and will also need more time to create.
If you decide to incorporate materials that are uncommon in your area, you would need to import it, and that would cost you as well.
Designing your logos and your clothing may require a creative touch, and for that, you may opt to hire people. You must also hire people to do other tasks if you want to focus on specific aspects of your business instead of all of the needed tasks.
4 – Where do I find raw material sources?
What kind of brand do you want? Is it a fast fashion brand like ZARA and H&M which offer the latest trends at an affordable price but at the expense of quality? Or would you charge a bit more just so your customers can receive good quality? Balancing quality and price is the constant struggle of the industry.
The higher the quality a garment is made of, then the more expensive it will be, right? That’s the general assumption but it’s not entirely true. Nowadays we can find affordable textiles that offer good quality.
Have a knack for budgeting? Why not look around your area and canvas which seller would be the most ideal for your brand. Quantity is needed for mass production, that is true. But you may end up investing poorly on these if they decrease the projected value of your product. But on another note, don’t spend too much on your materials as this may warrant higher product price which may make your customers decide longer on whether or not to avail.
5 – Where do I find the right manufacturer?
The business models mentioned above may also be applied for this part. There are three main concerns about manufacturing. These are quantity, quality, and delivery. It is important to keep in mind that manufacturing companies charge less for larger wholesale purchases. What can help you decide upon quantity is the business model you chose right in the beginning.
If you opt to avail the services from other manufacturers, you must always try to prioritise quality control. Make sure that you establish an agreement with your manufacturer from the very start of your partnership.
You can also try to outsource from other countries. Outsourcing may help you get cheaper manufacturing costs and more affordable raw materials. This would help you in increasing profits gained per product sold. Eastern countries are where some western brands look to for mass production.
Here’s a guide to working with clothing manufacturers.
6 – How to create the right design?
This is where your creativity and vision for the brand comes through. So, have you thought about the theme you would like for your brand to portray? Which age group would you like to cater to?
Perhaps teenagers, or baby clothes, or business types of wear, or maybe the casual look for both men and women. This question helps you think about which niche you’d like to fit into when starting your own clothing brand.
Now, to the designing part. You could choose to play the role of the clothing designer. This is your business after all. If designing is not your thing, you could hire someone to do it for you. Costs vary depending on the experience of the designer.
You may find designers on platforms like freelancer.com or you may also use stock image websites to look for copyright-free designs.
7 – How do I market my brand?
What do you think is the “face” of the brand? If you say a logo, then we’re on the same page. Again, if you are a creative thinker, you may find this work enjoyable. Creating a flowing and unforgettable brand logo that would imprint itself to the customer’s memory is the objective here.
Your brand name is also an important aspect that you have to think deeply about. Make it witty and memorable. Something that rings a bell when customers hear it. Again, you can opt just to hire people to do these creative types of work for you.
So now, how do you put your brand in the radar of potential consumers, especially with the ever-increasing number of brands popping up?
In the age of the internet, there are ways to advertise your label that are completely free. Social media is a good place to start and SEO can be your best friend. But, eventually, if you want to reach a wider audience, you’ll have to invest.
Thankfully, nowadays we have more advertising options than ever. There’s traditional and new media. Online or offline. You can choose whatever adapts best to your needs.
You could also choose to have a product launch to raise awareness when starting your own clothing brand. Of course, the whole aspect of event management may take away a part of your capital, but if things go well, it will work to your benefit.
You may also want to reach out to influencers would be able to spread the word about your brand. Mind you, this can be pricey.
8 – When should I hire help?
If all goes well and business sales go up, you should look into bringing in more people to work for you. You can’t do everything by yourself. It’s good to allocate work to others so you can focus on running your clothing business. You’re also providing people with a source of income, so the benefits for both parties are evident.
Some work aspects you should consider hiring for are listed below:
- Branding and Naming Team: For the logo, company name, etc.
- Social Media Manager: Website development, online pages, online orders, online publicity
- Accounting: Financial analysis
- Product Manager: For manufacturing requirements, getting fabrics and materials, analysing product quantities, preparing deliveries
9 – Should I keep the business going when sales are low?
When you conduct a financial analysis for your business, and you find out that it’s not really a hit with the customers, consider going back to the drawing board. Where did you go wrong?
Maybe it’s the product itself, perhaps? Maybe you could rethink your business model choice or the designs and concepts portrayed by the brand. Are the product prices too high? Is the quality questionable? Do you advertise and market constantly? Maybe your brand lost its traction if the business was great in the beginning but now is going slowly.
The choice of whether to continue your clothing line or not may be dependent on your available resources, available options to revive the brand and your remaining pool of capital. Don’t go hungry trying to keep your brand alive. Be smart with your choices. This is business, after all, and for some brands, you can’t always be afloat.
10 – How do I keep customer ratings up?
Approval can depend on many factors. Perhaps you are promoting a great cause through your brand, and that definitely leaves an impact on people. Social media pages help in keeping your clothing name afloat as well.
Availing promos and coupon discounts are a great way of enticing people to buy. Who doesn’t like to dish out when they know they’re saving money? Of course, if people use your product for some time and find that the quality is excellent, they may recommend it to others and buy again in the future.
Print on Demand
Here at Printsome, we’ve always supported creative endeavours which is why we’re proud to announce our brand new ‘Printsome print on demand’ service.
Thanks to our five years of experience in the apparel-printing industry, we were able to design a platform catered towards the needs of artists and designers who want to start their own T-shirt line.‘Printsome’s Print on demand’ service has no minimum orders and can print any design with no colour limitations.
From the moment you connect your online shop (like Shopify) with our platform, anyone can buy one of your designs. We deliver all over the UK and Europe. Drop shipping has never been this easy.
Why worry about inventory or logistics when we can take care of that? We deal with the boring stuff so you have more time to do what you love. To find out more, simply visit our brand new website.