Many of us dream of launching our own clothing line. Whether you’re looking to sell your own handmade clothes as a side hustle or launch a brand to rival Adidas, you’ll need to make sure that you thoroughly understand what it takes to bring a clothing line to market. Below are some fantastic tips on how to create your own clothing line and get it to sell.
Educate yourself on fashion
Designing clothes requires fashion design skills. You can self-teach yourself these skills, however most people will take a fashion design course. On top of understanding how to design clothes, you need to understand how the fashion industry works. This can vary depending on the type of clothing you’re planning to produce – the luxury shoe industry is very different to the sportswear industry. Develop a knowledge of all the brands that are out there and understand what their USP is and how they came to be.
Find your brand identity
Your clothes need to be unique in some way. If they don’t stand out, no-one will buy them. Work out what types of clothing you’re interested in designing and research your competitors. If you’re selling a clothing line, you’ll need to find a visual theme that links all of your clothing items together whether that be use of certain colours, fabrics or the shape. You’ll also need to come up with a distinct brand name and a logo. Make sure that this name and logo aren’t too similar to any of your close competitors.
Develop your designs
You may already have a few sketches of some of the items you plan to sell. Before you can think about manufacturing your clothes, you’ll need to make sure that these designs are as detailed and perfect as possible. Spend time working out all the measurements and which materials you will be using. If you’re likely to release seasonal collections, it could be worth creating designs for the entire first year. Once you’ve settled on designs, build prototypes of your clothes so that you can see what they really look like and what they’re like to wear. You can then go back and refine your designs if you’re not happy with certain aspects of your clothes.
Decide your manufacturing process
How will you manufacture your clothes? There are three main options. The first option involves hand-making your clothes. If you already make clothes as a hobby, this could be worth considering and it could save you a lot of money upfront. The second option is to set up your own factory using machines. This involves acquiring your own industrial and commercial embroidery machines. Compared to handcrafting clothing, this will be a lot quicker and could allow you to produce clothes in much larger volumes, however it will be more expensive upfront. The third option is to outsource a manufacturer to produce your clothing line for you. This could be cheaper upfront than buying your own machinery, but potentially more expensive in the long run if you’re going to keep releasing new collections.
Establish your budget
Work out exactly how much your clothing will cost to manufacture taking into account the method of manufacture and the materials that are needed. You’ll also need to consider other costs like marketing. It’s important to have a clear budget before you start manufacturing.
It’s possible that you may have enough savings to fund the launch of your clothing line. If not, you’ll need to find funding from elsewhere. Many entrepreneurs take out a business loan to help cover upfront costs until the money starts coming in. Another option is to seek funding from investors. This could include angel investors, venture capitalists or crowdfunding platforms. Most of these investors will expect shares in your company in exchange for giving you money – be careful not to give away too much of a slice of your profits.
Manufacture your clothes
Once you’ve settled on final designs and established the funds you need, you can begin manufacturing your clothes. If you’re making the clothes yourself, make sure that you have all the tools and materials that you need. If you’re outsourcing a manufacturer, take the time to collect quotes in order to find the best deal.
Set up an online store
An online store is a great place to sell your collection from. It’s much cheaper to launch a site than it is to launch a physical store (although feel free to launch a physical store too to help with sales if you have the funds). It’s worth hiring a professional web designer to create your site. You could even use your website to build up excitement about your collection before you start manufacturing so that you can start taking some orders early.
Invest in marketing
Marketing is essential for helping you to connect with potential customers and you’ll need to do a lot of it to stand out in the crowded fashion industry. There are so many different ways in which you can market your clothing line. Social media is a great place to advertise. You could also consider entering your clothes into local fashion shows to get your name out there – or even hosting your own fashion show. You’ll need to hire some models to help advertise your clothes. On top of photoshoots, you could consider creating some video adverts. Strong visuals are very important when selling clothing, so you’ll want to pay professionals to create these photoshoots and videos.
Work with other companies to sell your clothes
Networking and cross-promotion is key to success in the fashion industry. On top of selling your clothes independently, consider selling items to other independent stores. A lot of companies sell clothes through third-party sites like Amazon – consider creating an Amazon seller account for your brand. It could also be worth connecting with other independent clothing brands who are not direct competitors. You could work together to promote each other and possibly even host events together such as fashion shows.