If you’re even remotely into fashion, the idea of starting a clothing line has most likely crossed your mind. This is generally followed by a flood of questions, including how you’re going to get suppliers? What is your brand going to look like? And of course, how much money will this cost? However, if you can believe it or not, starting a clothing line can be one of the most cost-effective and creative business endeavors to go down; which is what we’re going to run through below:
Come Up With A Solid Brand
Your brand is going to be the cornerstone of why people will gravitate towards to your clothing line. As we often look at clothing as an extension of our personality, your brand will not only represent an ethos or philosophy others see in themselves, but something they feel so empowered to represent out and about. That’s a pretty significant honor, and as noted by Zimmer Communications, with 64 percent of consumers stating that shared values are the reason they do business with a brand to begin with, it goes to show how much weight we place on branding, especially in comparison to clothing. However, that’s why it’s the first component to map out.
As you most likely have a little bit of a vision towards what you feel like your brand is about, jot down the words or imagery that comes to mind, conducting a “brain dump.” This will start to give you a feel for both the type of overarching aesthetic and ethos you’re after, as a helpful way of thinking about a brand as a representation of a group of people. Even if it’s not perfect at first, be patient and truly develop this until you get that gut feeling you’ve done it right; because although it’s understandable to want to get started, you only get one shot out of the gate with your brand, so make it count.
Establish An Efficient Model
Once you’ve got a brand you feel good about, it’s time to start diving into your business model. As this is most likely your first clothing company, it’d be wise to go into online drop shipping to maximize to your revenue. How do we explain drop shipping? Drop shipping is only printing or producing what has been ordered rather than stocking a minimum inventory. And as noted by Preferred CFO, 82 percent of businesses fail due to cash flow problems, which is why drop shipping can help you decide on what’s going to sell versus what’s not.
The first part of your production schedule is going to be the design process, where you should put out a few different items that exemplify your brand. Although with drop shipping the shirts will be produced only when someone orders, it’s smart to get a few samples made to conduct lookbook style photo shoots. Furthermore, make sure to map out the bird’s eye view processes for marketing and distribution, as well as any incidentals that come along the way. While you still want to leave some room for error here and there, it’s smart to have a plan in place from the start.
Develop An Awesome Web Presence
As the web is going to be one of the first points of discovery for people when they hear about your clothing company, it’s important to establish a presence that will impress your audience. This includes not only creating something that other people will discover but genuinely want to follow, providing a hub for your fanbase. Plus, as noted by Shopify, direct to consumer sales in clothing has captured 7 percent more of the total market share in the past ten years, meaning customers are relying less on storefronts to purchase their favorite brands but rather just going directly to the source. And for your company, that means having a stellar web presence.
Your web presence can be broken down into a few different sources including your website, email blasts, and social media, with your website as the hub. It’s important for your site not only to be on-brand but additionally have a flow to it that encourages action, especially on mobile. Remember, a lot of your marketing sources are going to point towards this, and as we increasingly spend our time with media on our phones, that should be one of the first places you should capture.
Map Out A Marketing Strategy
Finally, with a brand, business model, and web presence in place to make sales, it’s time to start spreading the word that you exist via consistent marketing. For most clothing brands, utilizing tools like social media, email marketing, wholesale printing and possibly paid advertising can be a great start; however, that’s only scratching the surface. Particularly with digital marketing, a big focus should be putting your brand in front of those most likely to buy your clothes, which comes with part science and part storytelling.
An excellent place to begin is by examining you believe your current audience to be as well as who you aim to capture. For example, as noted by Pew Research, 71 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds are on Instagram; capturing a youthful audience is a good place to start, like diving into the specific hashtags, tone, and types of posts they engage with. Other smart aspects include figuring out the influencers that represent your brand well or conducting contests or giveaway. As marketing is largely a practice of trial and error, keep a solid focus on constantly improving your metrics and goals, while also being mindful of having fun with your brand as well, which as long as you stay genuine, will help you acquire customers for a long, long time.
What are some strategies you think would be beneficial in starting your clothing line? Comment with your answers below!