Business · October 22, 2022

How To Start Fashion Business

How To Start Fashion Business – To help your freelance clients launch a clothing line or start their own, you need to understand the bigger picture. This will help you navigate every step of the journey. If you’re looking for a factory but haven’t decided whether you’re making sweaters or sleepwear, you’re working against yourself!

The process of starting a clothing line can seem super complicated, but when you break it down into steps, everything becomes a lot easier.

How To Start Fashion Business

How To Start Fashion Business

But how are you supposed to make a checklist if you haven’t started a clothing line before? You might even be diving into this with no fashion experience.

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That’s why, after interviewing over 100 successful designers and clothing line founders on the Successful Fashion Freelancer podcast, I put together this 10-step checklist you can use to support your startup freelance clients (or start your own brand).

We’ll go over each step in the checklist for starting a clothing line, and I’ll link you to the best episodes of the Successful Fashion Freelancer podcast to learn more. (Because the best way to learn about starting a clothing line is to get advice from someone who’s been there!)

In today’s fashion retail market, it’s hard to sell clothes based on looks alone. Nice design is not enough! Your product must meet the needs of the market.

If your dream is to have the next big clothing brand, don’t be discouraged by starting small with one product that fills the need! Diane von Furstenberg started with wrap dresses. Stance started with high performance socks. Spanx started with control panty tops. These clothing brands are now giants, but they all started with one unique product that met a need.

How To Start A Fashion Business

For more ideas on how to meet market needs to make sure your clothing line sells, listen to these episodes of the SFF Podcast:

Once you think you have a great idea for a clothing line, you need to test it to make sure it will sell. This is where market research will save you TONS of time and money – so you don’t build a product that no one wants to buy!

Market research is pretty unsexy, but it’s the best way to test and refine your idea before spending a ton of money on your clothing line. This is an ongoing process where you will talk to your prospect to get feedback on your idea and ultimately your samples.

How To Start Fashion Business

Read our detailed guide on customer research here! And for more ideas on how to research your customers and make sure people want to buy your clothing line, listen to these episodes of the SFF podcast:

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You’ve got a great idea and done your initial research, now it’s time to launch your business! This step may seem overwhelming, but it’s actually not that complicated.

Remember, if you’re freelancing for a startup brand, you don’t have to worry about the business side of things. Just focus on your freelance services and doing amazing work for your clients!

For more tips on starting a clothing line business to make sure it’s legit, listen to these episodes of the SFF Podcast:

With a proven idea and a business setup, you are ready for the first step in production: technical sketches and technical packaging. These are like blueprints for your clothing line. Just like you need a set of blueprints to build a house, you need them for clothes too!

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Technical sketches and technical packages are also two of the BEST services you can offer if you are a new fashion freelancer.

When you approach factories and other suppliers with professional technical sketches and technical packages, you will be taken seriously! Factories get a lot of requests from people who want to produce clothes. If your queries have gone unanswered before, this is probably why.

For even more on what a tech pack is and why you need it to produce your clothing line, listen to this episode of the SFF Podcast:

How To Start Fashion Business

Now that you know exactly what you’re doing, it’s time to secure the fabric and embellishments. One of the biggest mistakes startups make with their clothing line is buying fabrics at Mood or the Garment District (or even JoAnn’s!). These are retail stores, which means you pay retail prices!

How To Start A Clothing Business Online In 2022

To properly launch a clothing line, you want to source wholesale fabrics and trims. But you also probably don’t need to buy 100 yards!

There are tons of places to get fabric with low minimums, and The Complete Guide to Sourcing Wholesale Fabric for Your Clothing Line will show you exactly where to find it.

For even more on how to buy fabric for your clothing line or your freelance clients, listen to these episodes of the SFF Podcast:

Now that you have your fabrics and trims secured, you are ready to produce your clothing line. Which means it’s time to find a factory.

How To Start A Clothing Line Or Fashion Business

Listen to these SFF podcast episodes with factory owners to see if they fit your clothing line:

And for more tips on the process of producing a clothing line plus tips on working with factories and other suppliers, listen to these episodes of the SFF podcast:

With the factory selected, it’s time to order samples. Depending on how you plan to sell your clothing line, your needs may vary. For example, a Kickstarter pre-launch has different development needs than pop-up stores.

How To Start Fashion Business

You will coordinate sampling with your factory based on your launch plan. Talk to them about possible deadlines for mass production so you can let your customer know when the design will be ready. Factories are busy and you need to be scheduled, so it’s important to secure your place in the production line.

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For more on how samples and production work to get your clothing line launched on time, listen to these episodes of the SFF podcast:

While things are underway at the factory, the best thing you can do is market and engage with your audience before your clothing line is available for sale! Building hype up front helps get people excited and builds anticipation around your design.

If you plan to sell your clothing line online, there are many different ways to do it. Kickstarter, social media marketing, building an email list or hosting an event are all great ways to build momentum.

If you plan to sell wholesale, make appointments with retailers or visit a trade show to get pre-orders.

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For ideas and inspiration on how to market your clothing line before launch, listen to these episodes of the SFF podcast:

Once you’ve secured pre-orders, either through retailers or online from consumers, you’re ready to place a mass production order. It’s a really exciting time, but it’s also a decision you want to get right!

Many brands over-order. No matter how amazing your clothing line is, it’s harder to sell than you think. Do yourself a favor and start small. It is better to create a shortage by running out than to be left with too much product that you cannot sell.

How To Start Fashion Business

Along with spreading the word about your launch, there are logistics that must be in place to get your clothes to customers. How will you pack and ship your orders? What is your return policy? Take care of those details!

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It’s also important to continue to market your clothing line after your inventory arrives! If you want to sell online, what is your social media or email marketing strategy? If you’re going to do Facebook ads (which are EASY to mess up and cost a lot of money!), make sure you have a solid plan.

Starting a clothing line is a big undertaking! Now that you have the big picture of the steps and checklist, listen to each SFF podcast linked above. The knowledge you will gain from fashion entrepreneurs who have been there is invaluable. Learn from their mistakes to launch your clothing line faster and more successfully.

Extra tip: Don’t feel ready to start your own label? You can still see your designs come to life, plus gain experience with branding, customer research and more almost risk-free by becoming a freelance fashion designer!

Warning: We use cookies to customize your experience and track your interaction with our site to better serve you. OK more info A lot of people ask me how to start a fashion line and what they should do first when creating a clothing label. Well, the best place to start is the area that has the biggest impact on your business; the customer. Without a customer, there is no fashion business – simple (in fact, the customer is so important that I made hours of videos on this topic in my Fashion Startup online course).

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There is a common misconception that you should build a business and find customers to buy your products, I (and many others!) don’t believe that. Why? Let’s look at it this way. Business is tough, especially these days; they’re all limited and you have to work extra hard to get people to buy from you, so you can’t afford to have people ‘like’ you. In order for someone to buy something, they have to love what you do and what you sell

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