Today we have a very special contribution from Marsha Kelly!
Do you dream of being a well-known fashion designer like Diane von Furstenberg or Tommy Hilfiger?
Were you creating fashions for your dolls as a kid?
Everyone ask you for style advice?
Can you do magic with a sewing machine and a few yard of fabric?
If so, you may indeed succeed in starting your clothing line. However, be aware before you begin that fashion-related businesses have a higher than usual rate of failure. To prevent your new line from becoming one these statistics continue reading and get the do’s and don’ts to creating a line of apparel for sale.
Clothing Business Dos
- Get it on Paper – Take the ideas from your head and put them to a paper by sketching, or get an artist friend, to put those looks onto paper.
- Make a Sample – Start by sewing one of your ideas into a wearable sample that you can have modeled, show potential buyers and prospective manufacturers.
- Find the Fabric – The right fabric, at an affordable price, will be key to making your garments look great and be profitable. Start right away to source material for your collection.
- Find Makers – How will you make many copies of your designs? Factories and subcontractor sewers must be found, and your costs negotiated.
Don’ts for Clothing Business
- Dream Only – Think through the reality of owning a real business. Because while there is certainly creative fun in designing, much of the time of fashion designers is spent on selling, sourcing, negotiating and bookkeeping. Know this before you proceed.
- Ignore Online – Today’s entrepreneur, whether they plan to sell goods online or not, must have a great website to attract retailers, investors and employees. Plan time and money to get this developed and ready for showing buyers early.
- Forget Branding – Clothing businesses are built on brands such as Nike, Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld. From the start, you need a good logo and brand message to communicate your vision to buyers, manufacturers, and investors.
- Run out of Money – Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you will make money as you proceed. Experts say that over half of all businesses fail because of lack of capital – don’t be one of those. Estimate costs and add in cushioning for unexpected price increases. Maintain an account of three months of working capital at all times to keep your apparel company going.
Costs to Start a Clothing Line
What type of money do you need to start a clothing line company? That depends upon the size and scope of clothing business you plan to start. Doyou want to launch a mini firm selling only few items that you DIY yourself or a more professional collection to sell in many brick and mortar stores?
- Small clothing lines such as a limited line of custom t-shirts or mini capsule collection of items will require far less capital and time to get started. You sell your apparel online in your store or at fashion shows. You don’t plan to expand your brand substantially. Estimates from $500 – $10,000. With $500 of startup capital, you can buy the blank t-shirts and silk screen them yourself or use an online printer that accepts low minimum orders. For $10,000 you can invest in a quality website, expand your brand by purchasing other designer’s work to expand your line.
- Larger brands of apparel will need a minimum of $25,000 to launch their lines effectively. You will need to buy professionally designed logos; custom made samples, advertising to the trade buyers and a very good website to promote online.
Learn from the Experts
The best way to be a success is to learn how others became successful in the fashion industry. The best resource is this in-depth business guide written by clothing line owners and the president of the trade association, Council of Fashion Designers of America – How to Start a Clothing Company written by associate editor of leading fashion magazines Peter J. Gallanis. It is chock full of business resources and advice including a business plan sample, financial budgets, sample order forms, press releases and much more.
How to Business Guide: How to Be a Fashion Designer
Read article about How to Start a Clothing Line on my blog here:
By Marsha Kelly,
Entrepreneur & Small Business Blogger
Hello – I am a serial entrepreneur, after doing Time in corporate America, who has learned about what products and services work well in business today. You can learn from my experience and my associates as we shop from the internet for tools, supplies, and information to build our businesses and improve the lives of our family and ourselves. Read more about me and my business blog here: http://best4businesses.com/about/