All Women's Talk

7 Tips on Starting Your Own Clothing Line ...

By Stacie

Ever thought of starting your own clothing line but have no idea where and how to start? Let Stacie's informative post show you how!

Pop star Katy Perry will launch her own clothing line, according to The singer already has a line of perfumes and hair products, and now wants to try her hand in clothing. Perry obviously has the connections and resources to get her ideas from sketches to store shelves relatively fast. The aspiring, average Jane and Joe, however, are in for an uphill climb, but one that can be very rewarding for the persistent entrepreneur. Once you have your drawings and desire in place, the rest will come down to good business acumen, patience, and thick skin.

Table of contents:

  1. Develop a plan & stick with it
  2. Be a specialist
  3. Be a businessperson, not a designer
  4. Buy materials wholesale
  5. Make prototypes
  6. Get licensed & registered
  7. Marketing

1 Develop a Plan & Stick with It

The first and most obvious issue that'll need to be addressed is startup capital. It's best to sift through the best business credit card offers and find one that provides benefits and rewards relevant to your business. This will also get you into the habit of keeping all your business expenses in one place and not mixing them with personal expenditures. Your business plan should include an analysis of competitors, determining overhead costs, a plan for distribution, and an estimate of cash flow. A representative at your local Small Business Association office can provide some guidance with this, as well.

2 Be a Specialist

You may be a Jill-of-all-trades when it comes to producing nice garments, but start with one item or genre in the beginning. Concentrate solely on maternity wear, toddler clothing, or whatever peeks your interest. Trying to do too many things at once will cause you to neglect some aspect of your business at the expense of another. You can expand your clothing line once a comfortable level of success has been attained.

3 Be a Businessperson, Not a Designer

Your dream is to become the next Donatella Versace or Ralph Lauren, but you'll never get there thinking like a designer. Yes, that sounds absurd, but people who are successful financially in their field are businesspeople first. Enrolling in a few business courses at a local community college or online university will teach you some of the lingo and processes you'll inevitably run into. Marketing will be the lifeline of your point, so attending seminars or, again, taking a course or two will prepare you for what's to come. If the opportunity presents itself, shadow someone who is already in the business, take notes, and ask as many questions as you can.

4 Buy Materials Wholesale

The biggest cost you will incur while growing your business is for raw materials. The best thing to do is shop around with various wholesalers to keep overhead as low as possible. Denver Fabrics and Fashion Fabrics Club are just a couple you can explore. Who you ultimately go with as a supplier will all depend on what fabric you need, the quantities, and how often you'll be ordering.

5 Make Prototypes

You'll need a sample of each piece from your collection. If you're the artist who drew up the plans, hire a seamstress to put them together (unless you're multi-talented and you can do it on your own). There are companies, such as that provide complete prototyping services, from development, wash testing, and mass production. Be certain you get an estimate as to final costs and stay within your budget.

6 Get Licensed & Registered

The licenses and permits you'll need to start your business will vary depending on where you live. Your local chamber of commerce will be able to clarify what exactly is required to get started. You may need to register a DBA (doing business as) if you plan to refer to your company as something other than your name or a variant thereof. You'll definitely need a taxpayer identification, also known as an EIN or TIN, for tax filing purposes. There are instructions on how to obtain this on the IRS website.

7 Marketing

Without marketing, you have no business, regardless of how comfortable or stylish your clothing is. The marketing methods you can use will depend on the business model you choose. A fashion show, which you can use friends and family to model your garments, is a great way to your product a large amount of exposure in a relatively short period of time. You can hold the show in your home or rent a space. Facebook, Twitter, and word-of-mouth will help you spread the word. Send free samples to retailers and others who have a means to expose your products to the masses. Your business will only be as successful as the effort you put into it.

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