How To Start My Own Clothing Line

How To Start My Own Clothing Line – To help your freelance clients start a clothing line or start your own, you need to understand the big picture. It helps guide you every step of the way. If you’ve been looking for fabric but haven’t decided on sweaters or sleepwear yet, you’re working against yourself!

The process of starting a clothing line can be overwhelming, but when you break it down into steps, it becomes easier.

How To Start My Own Clothing Line

How To Start My Own Clothing Line

But how do you create a checklist if you’ve never started a clothing line before? You may be coming into this industry with no fashion experience.

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That’s why, after interviewing 100+ successful designers and clothing line founders, I’ve created this 10-step checklist you can use to support your freelance clients your startup (or start your own brand).

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

In today’s fashion retail market, it is difficult to sell clothes based on appearance. Beautiful design is not enough! Your product must fill a need in the market.

If your dream is to own the next big clothing brand, don’t be fooled by starting small with one product that fills the need! Diane von Furstenberg started with wrap dresses. The station started with high quality socks. Spanx control started with high pantyhose. These clothing brands are now giants, but they all started with one unique product that filled a need.

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For more ideas on how to fill a need in the market to ensure your clothing line sells, listen to these SFF podcast episodes:

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

Market research is very generic, but it’s the best way to test and refine your idea before spending thousands on your clothing line. It is an ongoing process where you talk to your customer to get feedback on your idea and ultimately your designs.

How To Start My Own Clothing Line

Read our in-depth guide to customer research here! For more ideas on how to research your customers and make sure people want to buy your clothing line, listen to these SFF podcast episodes:

Cristine Reyes Launches Her Own Clothing Line

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

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

For more tips on building your apparel business to make sure it’s legit, listen to these SFF podcast episodes:

With a proven idea and business creation, you are ready for the first step in production: technology sketches and technology packages. These are like your clothing line. Just like you need a set of plans to build a house, so do you need them for clothes!

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Technical sketches and technical packages are two of the BEST services to offer if you are a new fashion worker.

When you come to factories and other suppliers with professional technology sketches and technology packages, they really take you! People who want to make clothes often turn to factories. If your questions haven’t been answered before, that’s probably why.

To learn more about what a tech pack is and why you need one for your clothing line, listen to this SFF podcast episode:

How To Start My Own Clothing Line

Now that you know exactly what you are doing, it is time to attach and cut the fabric. One of the biggest mistakes clothing line beginners make is buying clothes from Mood or Garment District (or JoAnn’s!). These are retail stores, which means you are paying retail prices!

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To start a clothing line well, you’ll want to get great fabrics and trims. But you probably don’t need to buy 100 yards either!

There are tons of places to find low-key clothes, and the Complete Guide to Buying Wholesale Clothes for Your Clothing Line shows you exactly where to find them.

To learn more about finding clothes for your clothing line or freelance clients, listen to these SFF podcast episodes:

Now that you have the fabric and trims, you are ready to launch your clothing line. This means it’s time to find a factory.

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Listen to these SFF podcast episodes with factory owners to find out if they’re right for your clothing line:

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

It is time to order samples with the chosen factory. Depending on how you plan to market your clothing line, your needs may differ. For example, pre-sale launches on Kickstarter have different development needs than pop-up stores.

How To Start My Own Clothing Line

You coordinate sampling with your factory based on your startup plan. Talk to them about possible lead times for mass production so you can tell your client when the design will be ready. Factories are busy and need to fit you into a schedule, so it’s important to get a spot on the production line.

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To learn more about how sampling and manufacturing work to ensure the on-time launch of your clothing line, listen to these SFF podcast episodes:

While things are going on in the factory, the best thing you can do is go out to market and engage with your audience before you sell your clothes! Creating hype beforehand gets people excited and builds anticipation for your design.

If you are planning to sell your clothes online, there are different ways to do it. Kickstarter, social media marketing, building an email list or hosting events are great ways to build momentum.

If you plan to sell wholesale, arrange with dealers or attend 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 SFF podcast episodes:

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

Many brands over-order. No matter how amazing your clothing line is, selling it is harder than you think. Do yourself a favor and start small. It is better to run out and create a shortage than to be left with too much product to sell.

How To Start My Own Clothing Line

Along with finding out about your publication, there are logistics that need to be in place to deliver the clothes to customers. How do you pack and ship your orders? What is your return policy? Pay attention to these details!

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It’s also important to keep selling your clothes after your inventory has arrived! If you want to sell online, what is your social media or email marketing strategy? If you are going to do Facebook ads (they are easy to burn and burn a lot of money!), make sure you have a solid plan.

Starting a clothing line is a big deal! Now that you have the big picture steps and checklist, listen to each of the SFF podcasts linked above. The knowledge you get from fashion entrepreneurs who have been there is invaluable. Learn from their mistakes and get your suit off the ground faster and more successfully.

Bonus tip: Not ready to launch your label? By becoming a freelance fashion designer, you can still see your designs come to life, and gain risk-free experience with branding, customer research, and more!

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How To Start A Clothing Line By Answering 10 Questions

Kurt Adams is a senior editor. Before becoming a money nerd, he had nearly a decade of experience as a writer, editor, and digital marketing strategist.

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