Tips for Starting a Successful Clothing Brand

For entrepreneurs who are creative and design-orientated, starting a clothing brand could be a lucrative business. With a worldwide value of $3 trillion annually, the fashion industry is something that many entrepreneurs consider, however in order to be successful, you must possess a particular set of skills, which not everyone has.

You’ll need a creative flair, which will enable you to design fantastic products, as well as business knowledge to help you through the often tough early stages of starting any brand. At Hawthorn, we deal with startup brands every day and have a great deal of knowledge on starting a clothing brand.

Below, you’ll find seven steps to starting a clothing brand of your own:

A long term business model requires commitment

You always need time and money to help build your business, no matter the industry. When starting a clothing brand, it’s common that it will take more time and money than initially thought, and it would be wise to extend your budget and time frame from your first estimates. Another important thing to do is to begin researching clothing manufacturers early on. Think about the minimum orders necessary to commit to and find someone who can help support your startup.

A good plan is essential

All businesses should have a business plan, which helps give direction to a new brand. This may appear as a monumental task, but it doesn’t have to be at this early stage. If you haven’t already, take some time to think about what direction you want your brand to go in. Do you want to target streetwear, sportswear, tailoring or a more high end market? It’s great to be unique, but be sure to keep within modern fashion and trends. Remember, this is a business and you need to create items not just you would like, but ones that your audience would like, as well.

Related: How to Start a Clothing Store [Infographic]

Create your branding

Coming up with a name can be a difficult process. First, keep in mind your branding; don’t choose anything too hard to spell or pronounce. This is critical if you want your brand to be shared by the public. Another thing to consider is that you may find you have a great idea for a name but it’s already trademarked or in use by another business.

For this reason, always check databases to be sure that when you choose a name you have the legal right to use it. Then you’ll need to start thinking about product lines, because you shouldn’t just have one product. It will make you appear less established and trustworthy than a brand with multiple items for sale.

Establish a pricing structure

The pricing of your items is critical to the success of your business because if you price too low, you will lose out on profit, and if you price too high you may lose potential customers.

Generally, 30 percent to 50 percent is a good ballpark figure to be earning in profit, but if you have an exceptionally high end brand, you may be able to achieve more.

Some customers may also think that if your pricing is too low, the quality of your items may not be good, so avoid pricing yourself too low.

Design your product lines

Undoubtedly, this is one of the more exciting steps to starting a clothing brand; seeing new designs hit paper is often one of the driving forces for creative entrepreneurs. You will need to provide your manufacturers with designs, but don’t worry if you’re not a design professional or if you don’t have access to professional software. Most manufacturers can work from sketches and textual descriptions in the first instance, and some will help you develop your ideas from inspirational images.

Related: Sign up to receive the StartupNation newsletter!

Finding a clothing manufacturer

Finding a great clothing manufacturer is one of the most important steps of creating a clothing brand. To ensure you find the right manufacturer, you can create a list of those you think might be suitable using Google, and then ask them the following questions:

  • Do you offer a fully factored service or do I need to provide fabrics and materials?
  • What products do you normally make for your clients? (A manufacturer with lots of experience in production will be advantageous)
  • What services do you provide? (Pattern development, grading, design, etc.)
  • What is your minimum order quantity?

Taking your products to market

Now that you are the proud owner of a new clothing brand, you’ll need to get started on a marketing campaign next. Attract potential customers to your brand by displaying your products on social media with a well-thought out campaign in support of your launch.

The fashion industry is dynamic, constantly changing and developing, meaning that it is naturally competitive. However, if you execute your brand correctly, you’ll find it to be both rewarding and lucrative.

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