In a generation where fashion has no limits, fashion brands and designs have continued to change, evolve and return over the past decade. Whether it’s fast fashion, one of a kind, or small shop drops, there is no limit to the options available for your closet. Even in this era of fashion where we can choose styles from all over the world, there is always room for new fashion and trends to grow, and that’s where you come in! If you’ve been dreaming of starting your clothing brand and apparel shop, follow along as we go over ways you can start planning your new business today. From figuring out your market to budgeting, we go over the things you should know before jumping into this journey.
Start With a Plan
Before beginning any business, it’s best to start with a plan. The fashion industry is more than the pieces being sold, but understanding its steps to sell those pieces. There are multiple options for creating apparel: Direct-To-Garment based apparel, Embroidery apparel, Ready-Made Apparel, Custom Apparel, and so much more. The world of fashion is not one skill set or technique but is filled with endless options on how to create.
Once you have an idea of the products you plan to create, you can build your business plan. Your business plan should include ideas for your brand and products, budgeting and sale goals, marketing ideas, and more. The more details and work put into your plan, the better chance you’ll have when it comes to the time to open your shop and sales.
If you’re looking for more information on how to create a budget plan and calculate profit visit our post here to begin creating your own today.
Who’s Your Market?
Let’s begin by thinking of who will wear your fashion pieces! By identifying your target audience and what they’re looking for when they want to shop apparel, you’ll be able to locate your niche and find your customer base. The better you understand your audience base, the better you’ll be at marketing your products to them.
The top two things to keep in mind when studying your audience is:
Demographics: age, gender, income, marital status, geographic location, etc.
When you understand your audience’s demographics, you’ll have a higher chance of completing a sale. For example, if you market your product to women in their early twenties, you’ll have a higher chance of gaining a sale on Instagram and Tiktok than marketing on Facebook. Likewise, by knowing your audience, you can find the correct places to push your products and not spend energy on a site that focuses on an older audience like Facebook, whose average users are in their mid-40s and higher.
Psychographics: hobbies, interests, lifestyle traits, and what problems do they have in life that your product can solve.
Knowing the psychographics of your audience is where you’ll be able to create the right products. Here is where you can learn what fabric to use (is your audience athletic and need breathable material?), what interests they have (can you design graphic tees for fan bases?), and more. With every detail you learn about your audience, you’ll be able to create products that are better suited for their wants and create a solid returning customer base.
Once you better understand your niche audience, you can begin creating a solid marketing plan. If you’re having trouble making your marketing plan, follow along here as we show you step by step how to begin yours today.
Focus On Your Brand
Now that we know what you’re going to sell and who you’re going to sell to let’s start talking about building your brand. Branding goes past your business name and logo and dives into what your values are, what your mission is, and more.
Create brand guidelines and a storyline for your products that customers resonate with and want to follow. Focusing on platforms like your website, social media pages, email marketing program, and more will build that relationship between buyers and your shop. The best way to bring your brand to life in today’s age is through marketing on social media!
The key to building your brand is being consistent in your message, constantly posting and promoting your brand and products, and making sure what you put out into the world defines your brand correctly. If you’re unsure what to post, look into examples like behind-the-scenes videos, how-to’s, fashion inspo using your pieces, and more for ideas. Have fun and be creative when it’s time to get your brand out there!
Let’s Start Development
Now that we have an idea for your brand let’s begin designing and developing your clothing line.
- Keep your Sketchbook on You
Any artist will tell you that inspiration hits anywhere and any time. So be prepared for when you want to design a new piece by keeping a sketchpad on you or using your phone as a digital sketchbook with apps like ProCreate, Adobe Designs, and Adobe Illustrator.
2. Create Samples
Start creating sample pieces of what you want to make for your shop. Whether you’ll be doing buy-to-make or pre-made pieces, having sample work is perfect for modeling on social media and understanding material costs for re-production.
3. Have Your Beginning Set
When you first open up shop, it’s best to not overwhelm yourself with product varieties. Instead, find your top 3-5 products you want to create and go from there as you begin building your audience base and receiving orders. Once you create more demand for your brand, you can start testing out new designs and growing your product options.
Now that we’re in the development phase make sure you have your station ready! Start by deciding what fabrics you’ll be using in your apparel shop, what style you’ll create, and what machinery and notions you’ll need to get there.
For example, if you want to open an apparel shop that focuses on couture dress-making, you would look into a machine like the MO-654DE that offers built-in rolled hemming and the HZL-DX7 which offers presser feet options like the button attaching presser foot, invisible zipper foot and more. Your fabric choices could be options like silk, tulle, satin, and more.
By knowing what you plan to create, you’ll be able to have the right machinery, accessories, and notions on hand when it’s time to begin producing.
Start Setting Up Shop
Whether you’re setting up shop online or in person, having an online face is a great way to promote your business and gain new customers. Online shops allow you to reach new audiences! Below are some things to keep in mind when setting up shop.
Clothing Images: Take photos of your clothing that truly presents its colors, fabric textures, and closures. These photos don’t need to be professional if you’re working on a small budget; just have a simple lighting kit, a good camera and learn some tricks on taking professional fashion DIY shots.
Pricing, Shipping, and Handling: Make sure to have a plan in place for how you’ll be pricing your products. From shipping to taxes, you’ll need to make sure you price your products correctly to pay for your bills, time, workspace, etc. Learn your target audience’s price point and what they’re willing to pay for your product. Then, keep an eye on competitor pricing to confirm you’re in the suitable price range.
Website Design: Don’t forget to add your brand’s personality to your site! Set up your Social media, include graphics of your work, add an ‘About Me page, use your brand theme colors, bring in customers and build relationships.
Put Your Marketing Plan into Action
You’re now ready to begin implementing if you’ve created your marketing plan from our earlier steps! Start by setting up your shops’ profiles and deciding how you’ll be advertising. Organic advertising, meaning you do not pay and use search engine optimization like hashtags and tags, is a perfect way to start when you’re on a low budget. If you’re marketing budget includes spending for advertisements, begin setting up your ads by using the information you have on your niche. Focus on your top media sites for higher chances of receiving a sale.
Don’t forget the power of word of mouth, and research your options in ambassador marketing. By offering free items, or negotiating payments, you can bring in influencers from your target audience and work with them to promote your brands and products.
Launching your first clothing brand doesn’t happen quickly or easily. It will take time and dedication, but you’ll create your brand soon with the proper steps! After that, you can begin selling in numerous ways, from your social media accounts to in-person artisan markets and pop-up shops. Then, finally, it’s time to get your product out there.
Now that you have an idea of where to start when it comes to opening your apparel shop and starting your brand, we hope to see your brands’ names soon! What kind of apparel would you create if you were to open your apparel shop?