How to Start an Apparel Business from Scratch

Good to know that you finally decided to give life to those journal sketches by starting your own apparel business. To build any business, planning is necessary. A business plan works as a signboard for your business bike, directing it in the right direction. But don’t forget to carry your strategy helmet and marketing license. But before riding that bike, you will need to learn how to ride it. And for that, we have a list of steps to initiate to reach business planning.

1. Find Your Niche

Pinning a niche is critical for a clothing line because of the presence of a fancy word called ‘competition.’ You need a lot of research and a USP, of course, to stand out from the crowd.

Just like any other business, targeting an audience is essential. You cannot blindly start selling everything to everyone as it will make your brand ineffective in communication with any consumer base. 

If you are clear with the set of products or services you want to sell, list of a specific targeted audience, you will minimize your focus and invest only in those parts where you can get returns from. This even cuts your marketing cost.

Reasons why the niche is essential for the success of your business: 

  • Easy Penetration To The Market
  • More Affordable For Business 
  • Higher Customer Loyalty 
  • Less Competition  

2. Decide your Targeted Audience

This is an inescapable step that helps you get absolute clarity on how you should approach everything and how you should strategize everything. 

Perspectives that target audience gives you: 

  • What type of trend of clothes should you focus on? 
  • How to position yourself in the market?
  • How to approach your customers effectively? 
  • Which prices should you range your products from?

Your designing abilities and other strategies are of no use without the right marketplace and potential customers.

For Example, if you are making any high-quality men’s shirts with high prices and a guaranteed check, then targeting collegians or youngsters will be of no great use because they cannot afford your clothes every day and are more interested in wearing new and affordable clothing rather than sticking to classics. But targeting an age range from 40-60 will get you all gold coins. Because they believe in investing in something long-lasting, classy, and they can even afford your prices.

3. Design Your Clothes

Remember, the design you finalize for various clothes in your inventory is an essential attribute to define the success of your business. 

Undoubtedly, the design should be aesthetic, artistic, non-plagiarized, and pleasing to the eyes. But in the end, it is all subjective to your target customer base. So, sketch your designs while keeping your audience in your mind. Always.  

4. Don’t Compromise on Quality.

Quality is as important as those attractive designs, and you should never compromise on that.

And trying to fool customers will not be entertained more than twice. Because someday people will notice that your clothes are not durable, and then they are never coming back. 

The quality range decides the price range. So, make sure you ship them something worth their money when it comes to clothing.

Dynamics that quality of clothing includes:

  • How does it look?
  • Does it start degrading or shrinking after washes 
  • Does the color fade away after a few washes or due to other reasons? 
  • How comfortable is it to wear?
  • Breathability & elasticity of clothing 
  • Is it comfortable according to the targeted weather? 

5. Finalize the Business Model

When you are planning for your clothing brand, the initial phase includes taking many decisions, the critical ones too. Thinking about the future, you might want to consider investing in a business model. They give you the freedom to design budget-friendly trend designs with their unique features.

T-shirt design software is helpful in every business model to help you with designing your collection using clip-art, mages, stickers, and whatnot. It can change the outcomes for your business and accelerate overall growth in the market.

These are the most popular routes you can have:

Print-On Demand 

This is the easiest, affordable and automated option to start a print-on-demand clothing line brand. It involves branding blank existing clothing products and apparel. You can get logos printed on high-quality clothing products such as T-shirts, hoodies, etc. It sets up quickly to give you high-quality end products. 

Private Label

A private label clothing line, also known as a Wholesale clothing line, is quite similar to a print-on-demand clothing line. The difference is that there is more involvement, personalization, and higher margins in private labels.

Here you need to get unbranded clothing products that go for customization like prints, labels, tags, etc. 

Some of its pros includes:

  • Get discounts on volume purchase
  • Is Cost-effective
  • Gives Higher margins 
  • Is Potential to increase in perceived value

 Custom Cut & Sew

Everything will be under your control here, starting from the designing to manufacturing and then shipping the end product to your customers. It surely needs a certain amount to survive in the market. You can get 100% customized products, and this strategy indeed increases margins with more recognition values. 

6. Strategize Your Sales & Marketing Plan

Any business needs to strategize the most important part of the process- sales and marketing. This process has the power to hype up your brand in the market if done right! All the essential details are necessary to count on like:

  • Product distribution
  • Total lead generation
  • Targeted marketing platform
  • Digital marketing
  • Customer satisfaction ratio
  • Fluctuations in engagement graphs
  • Total profit count, etc.

After considering all these points, you can easily generate a budget for your marketing purpose.

7. Create A Financial Chart

This comes under the most critical section of your business plan. Writing a financial plan helps you to sort all the financial information or documentation. Even future projections of your clothing brand income and revenue will depend on this.

A financial chart should include:

  • Cash flow projections
  • Break-even analysis
  • Sales report
  • Income statements
  • Expense sheet
  • Debt obligation
  • Balance sheet

While finalizing a budget in the first place, don’t forget to include essentials other than the product material itself. You should include prices spent on packaging, add-on decoration materials, shipping, tiniest beads, team salaries, and most importantly, time consumed to make it. 

Tips to Promote your Apparel Brand Online

Online branding is a necessary part of promoting your brand. Clothing line brands can take the best out of available online sources to represent their products and stand there for a while at the early marketing stage only. 

You need to narrow things down in the early stages for your business to help you to take every decision effectively. 

Build Your Presence

Try to reflect your USP on every marketing platform as, in the end, that is what will attract the audience, right? You can build your presence by being active on social media sites, connecting through it to your customers, announcing launches in unique ways, hosting a virtual promotional event, etc.

Boost Your Organic Social Media Traffic

Organic social media promotions include free promotions that you can apply for your brand. 

You need to create relevant content focusing on your niche to attract people to engage on your social media accounts. 

Practice consistent posting on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. You should keep a check on the engagement stats on each post to know what your audience likes the most. 

In the initial period, organic social media strategies give identity and create brand awareness to your brand without even getting into paid ads. 

Few best strategies to go for in boosting organic social media traffic is : 

  • Use relevant hashtags 
  • Post high-quality images on Pinterest/Instagram
  • Add more visual content 
  • Apply daily posting 
  • Leverage user-generated content 
  • Engage with your audience via comments 
  • Utilize Paid Promotions

Paid ads are the best way to get noticed, generate leads, and get sales conversion as well. 

The key here is to choose the target audience very specifically. That’s it, and Facebook Ads, Google Ads, etc., will work great for your business.

You cannot Forget SEO, Right?

Search Engine Optimization helps your website to reach the relevant audience or the buyer-intent audience, which boosts the chances of a sale. 

SEO is an investment that returns you with leads, sales, and recognition.

It is a long-term game that requires time and consistent efforts to optimize your website to show up on the top search pages. 

Many beginners think of it as a later shot, but that is where they miss a shot! You can start working on SEO from the very start of your clothing line business to initiate the process of branding and sales.

The tip here is to keep optimizing your website according to search engines to improve your ranking. 

Communicating with customers and providing them with facilities like self-service also comes under the to-do list. You can start making the requirement list, plan the process, finalize the budget, and then trail for marketing. Also, after finalizing your business model, you can contact a developer to help you with the setup.

Guest article written by: Mr. Pratik Shah is Creative Head of Brush Your Ideas, a Web-to-Print technology solution offering custom product design software and Web-to-Print Storefront Solutions. He has been giving his valuable tips and suggestions about T-shirt Designer Software.


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