Monday, September 2, 2019


By Guest Contributor

How to Start Your Own Clothing Brand: A Guide

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

If you’re passionate about clothing and design, starting your own clothing brand may have crossed your mind before. After all, so many others have done it – how hard can it be?

However, an apparel line needs more than just creative ideas. It needs proper manufacturing, distribution, marketing, and above all else, someone who’s passionate enough to be the driving force behind it all. If you’re ready to take on the challenge, here is a guide on how to start a clothing line from scratch. 

Develop your brand

Your brand is your public identity, so don’t overlook the details in brand building and development, as your public image can make or break your clothing line. Clothing is a personal purchase, as each piece is carefully thought of and bought to represent someone’s identity and how they see themselves. Ask yourself questions like, ‘who will wear my clothes?’, ‘what identity do I want my clothes to align with?’, and ‘what makes my clothing unique?’

Figure out the business details

There are a lot of aspects to consider on the business side of your clothing line. Are you establishing yourself as a sole proprietorship, incorporating as a business, registering a partnership, or establishing your company as an LLC? Filing the necessary paperwork is an entire job in itself, so make sure you’re up to speed on all the details, or speak with a professional who can help you navigate this process.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Consider the costs (and other important figures)

Figuring out your sales and profits is one thing, but determining your start-up costs, budget, and any employee wages is crucial. Your start-up costs can include branding and design (like a logo, website, business cards, etc.), rent and deposits on a workspace lease, marketing and advertising costs, sewing and design tools (like a sewing machine, etc.), materials (like fabric, notions, etc.), basic infrastructure (like a phone and internet service, software for ordering and invoicing, etc.), and any hourly wages for staff or yourself. 

Determine your prices

Knowing how much it costs to produce your clothing is the first step to pricing your pieces appropriately. Consider the cost of production, as well as running the business and factor in some profit into the prices, otherwise you’ll have a hard time sustaining or growing your business. 

Establish a web presence

Your website and social media presence are your brand’s most important representation. Nearly 100 percent of consumers will research a local product online before they buy it, so if you aren’t focusing some effort on your web and social strategies, you are most likely losing out on customers. 

Make sure your website design truly speaks to your brand, and that the design extends across all your social media channels. It’s a lot of work and time-consuming to maintain, so it isn’t a bad idea to invest in some help in this department to make sure your brand voice and identity is being projected accurately and properly. 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Prepare your first line for manufacturing

Unless you’re planning on sewing every garment yourself, you need to figure out how you’re going to manufacture your collection. When you’re just starting up and might be operating on skeleton staff (if any staff at all!) and a shoestring budget, you may want to turn to a design company to help get your first line off the ground. A company like MCR t-shirt printing offers customized t-shirt services, including embroidery, screen printing, vinyl printing, all over t-shirt printing, and direct to garment printing to help your designs look high quality and authentic. Once you’ve established your business better, you can move onto bigger manufacturing companies. 

Meet with a few different manufacturing companies before settling on the right one for your business, while keeping in mind your manufacturing costs will make up a large portion of your budget. You still want to remain profitable at the end of the day, so determine a realistic budget before committing to anything.

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