Anyone starting a clothing line doesn’t begin at the top. Calvin Klein opened a business with $2,000 in cash and a small loan. Betsey Johnson worked for a design company and then went solo. Coco Chanel was a seamstress before opening her first boutique in Paris.
Klein, Johnson, and Chanel are now influential fashion designers and household names in the public eye.
All three designers had the determination and vision to succeed. Accordingly, Camino Financial wants to be part of your success. That’s why we put together a step-by-step guide on how to start a clothing line. You’ll also find some tips to become successful.
When it’s all said and done, you may join the ranks of other well-known fashionistas.
Starting a clothing line
Designers all have one thing in common. They simply love to design, whether it’s creating clothing, jewelry, websites, or graphics. Still, anyone starting a clothing business needs to follow laid-out steps such as these.
1. Define your line
Do you prefer designing clothing for men, women, and children or everyone?
Are your designs distinctive, so customers see them as different and appealing?
Do you want to design outerwear, casual clothing, or couture?
These are just some questions you need to ask yourself to brand your product line. Once you have a clear vision of the type of clothing you want to design and sell, you can structure your business around your designs.
2. Decide on a business structure
How you run your business goes hand in hand with the types of fashion designs you make. Do you want to work by yourself, a partner, or contract with a factory to mass-produce your clothing?
The answer to this question determines how you set up your business, such as a sole proprietorship, limited liability corporation, or a corporation. Each structure has its pros, cons, and unique business advantages that can help you achieve your business goals as a designer.
3. Rob your piggy bank to buy design supplies
Since you’re starting a clothing line, you already know you need money to launch your business and maintain a steady cash flow. In addition to organizing your business, you need money to purchase sewing and design tools and materials to make garments.
Do you have a sufficient inventory of draping tools, dress forms, fabric pressers, fashion art tools, drafting tables, and other tools?
4. Create an inspiring space
Whether you work from home or rent space, your design studio shouldn’t hamper creativity.
When developing new collections, there should be ample storage space and the right sewing machines to create garments in all the stages of construction. Your design space should be motivational and uplifting.
5. Invest in research and development
Fashion designers are known for carrying around a sketchbook or drawing on napkins. To organize your designs on the fly, purchase a drawing tool such as Apple Pencil or Graphic for iPad.
Once you develop a design, you have your notes and drawings to make handmade samples. Many designers construct their designs by hand before they outsource their patterns to sewists or a factory. That way, they know exactly how much material and labor it costs to make one piece of clothing.
For the most part, designers work 6-8 months in advance to research and develop designs before the actual selling season begins.
6. Get samples
Regardless of who constructs your designs, get samples of their work and fabrics to make sure they produce quality clothing. The reason? Well-made clothing is essential to consumers. Likewise, plan to make regular onsite inspections to ensure your pattern designs are followed precisely.
7. Sell your clothing
You can sell your designs in a brick and mortar store, online eCommerce site, or to retailers by marketing your designs on Instagram, Shopify, Facebook, and other online platforms. Moreover, it’s crucial to build a network of reliable fabric agents, suppliers, and wholesalers.
Hiring a professional fashion consultant who has worked with major brands is a strategic investment for anyone breaking into the fashion industry.
Have a successful clothing line: 5 tips
After starting a clothing line and succeeding, use these tips to keep moving forward.
Don’t tame your passion
Your enthusiasm for fashion is one of the reasons you started a clothing line. Excitement for what you do fuels future growth. Furthermore, staying passionate helps you come up with new product ideas. Know what you’re good at designing and stick with that.
Branch out to different types of clothing as you gain expertise in the fashion industry.
Keep working hard
When you tackle challenges head-on, you’re more likely to succeed.
As your business grows, you’ll learn how to negotiate with suppliers, creditors, and retailers to offer the best deals to customers. After the glamour of designing your own label wears off, you’re left with the day-to-day demands of running a business that requires determination and perseverance.
Tap into your creativity
Making vision boards, mixing up your routine, and avoiding procrastination all help to keep your creative juices flowing. Take walks to clear your mind when it overloads. Bounce off your design ideas with people who believe in your vision.
Think like an entrepreneur
Not only are you a designer but a business owner. Along with cranking out designs, you must manage your finances. Staying on budget is paramount to have enough money to make clothing, pay suppliers, and cover overhead costs.
Professionals know how to evaluate criticism and learn from it. In the business world, everyone faces the possibility of failure when they take risks. View criticism from a distance so you can make objective decisions about whether to make changes to your clothing line.
Make it Work!
Making your dream come true of starting a clothing line requires effort, a portfolio of designs, and persistence. Another component of success that can’t be overlooked is funding. At Camino Financial, we help business owners achieve their dreams with our financial products.
We also provide a resource library you can access at any time. By providing information similar to what you learned in this post, we help you climb your way to the top of your industry. Helping your business grow is how we enforce our motto, “No Business Left Behind.”