How To Start My Own Online Clothing Store

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How To Start My Own Online Clothing Store

How To Start My Own Online Clothing Store

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After collecting a degree in fashion, many budding designers jump into the real world with the same question that has long plagued creatives of all stripes: Now what?

While fashion school can teach you about pattern grading, sewing and draping, it doesn’t always prepare graduates to start their own fashion label.

Successful fashion designer and entrepreneur Sarah Donofrio credits real-world experience for getting her the rest of the way. What she’s learned over the past two decades is that taking your dream from concept to launch and making it into the crazy world of fashion requires a certain skill set, a generous dose of creativity and a pinch of business acumen. .

In this guide, you’ll learn how to start a clothing brand from scratch – from education and design to production and marketing – with tips for selling clothes from a seasoned professional.

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Sarah has lived and worked in two countries and her experience spans everything from design, manufacturing, education and physical retail. In 2016, he was a contender

Since that moment of fame, Sarah has launched her own clothing line and online store, won numerous awards and appeared in numerous publications and retail stores. Learn the secret behind her success with these 12 steps to developing your own clothing brand.

Designers like Vivienne Westwood and Dapper Dan found huge success in the fashion world, even though they were self-taught. And they started their careers before the internet. We now live in an age of accessibility, where rebuilding an engine or making a t-shirt can be learned by watching a YouTube video.

How To Start My Own Online Clothing Store

It’s possible to drop out of school and still start your own clothing line, but formal education, whether in the classroom or online, has its advantages: learn the latest industry standards, gain access to resources and equipment, make contacts and meet professionals. Get feedback.

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While Sarah owes much of her success to learning professional skills in the classroom, most of her education was gained on the job, working in retail. “I wanted to work for myself,” she says, “but I felt it was important to gain experience.”

It took me a long time to be confident enough to fill a store with my clothes. Sarah Donofrio, fashion designer and entrepreneur

Sarah is a big advocate of spending a few years learning the ropes from other brands and designers. “It took me a long time to be confident enough to fill a store with my clothes,” she says. “I think I needed time to grow and get advice and experience.”

Many institutions offer fashion design and small business programs in various formats. Schools such as Parsons in New York and Central Saint Martins in the UK are world-renowned for their fashion programs.

Working On New Collection. Young Successful Business Woman Fashion Designer Sitting On Table And Works On Laptop At Her Own Workshop, Female Dressmaker Or Seamstress Creating Clothing Design Online Stock Photo

If you have more drive than money or time, there are a growing number of crash and online courses for fashion industry hopefuls. Check local community colleges for virtual or part-time formats that fit your schedule and budget, or through sites like MasterClass (this is a fashion design course taught by Marc Jacobs himself), Maker’s Row Academy, or Udemy. Consider learning.

To appeal to investors, your clothing line may need a business plan that outlines your target market, brand identity and sales strategy.

As Sarah discovers, the fashion world and the business world have a lot more overlap than she expected.

How To Start My Own Online Clothing Store

Starting a clothing line requires the same considerations as starting any business. How much does it cost to get started? When should you apply for capital for your start-up? What outside help do you need to navigate the legal, financial, manufacturing and distribution aspects of your business?

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This guide is for those who want to design and develop their clothing brand and collection. If you are interested in the world of fashion but have no interest or skill in design, consider reselling by buying wholesale or trying dropshipping.

For those designing a clothing line from scratch, this is the point where you decide what type of business you want to run. This will help you decide how much time, effort and funding you will need in advance.

When you have a small business idea for your clothing line, you may be able to finance it yourself and start as you go. Designing and sewing custom clothing yourself means you don’t need to carry a ton of inventory. However, you have to invest upfront in equipment and large quantities of fabric to be cost-effective. Other costs include shipping materials, fees to launch your website and a marketing budget.

If you plan to work with manufacturers on a production run, you will have higher costs to meet the minimum requirements. A solid business plan and costing exercise will help you determine how much funding you need.

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In either case, expect to need thousands of dollars upfront. “In fashion, you don’t just cost fabric and buttons and labor,” says Sarah. “You pay shipping, you pay heating and rent.”

However, there are some low-budget entry points into the world of fashion, including consignment, dropshipping and print on demand.

Sarah keeps a close eye on trends, but ultimately only incorporates those that make sense for her clothing brand.

How To Start My Own Online Clothing Store

Throughout Sarah’s years of developing her brand as a side hustle, she has learned that while spotting trends is very important, focus is just as important. Find your strengths and stay true to your own design sensibilities.

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The fashion school will teach you the basics of making everything from underwear to evening wear. “The trick is to find what you’re good at and focus on that,” says Sarah.

While her line has consistency from year to year—design choices in her pieces that are unmistakably hers—Sarah is always on top of trends. The key, she says, is to adapt these trends to your brand, adapt them and make them work for your customer.

“I’ve always had a very good sense of trend,” says Sarah. “But it’s all about translation.” Working with plus-size collections during her time in the corporate world, Sarah says that translating trends means Also keeping in mind the needs of the plus-size customer.

Although she sticks to her strengths, Sarah takes fashion – and the world around her – to her growth. “Take time,” she says. “I don’t do tights, I don’t do sports bras, but this cool knit crop would look absolutely amazing with tights, so I’m going to incorporate the trend.”

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By keeping production tight and retaining control over design, Sarah was able to pivot quickly in the face of the global pandemic, incorporating face masks into her signature prints. He sold 1,100 masks over a two-month period, and he turned those sales into repeat customers.

To get inspiration for your own idea, peruse fashion publications, follow style influencers and subscribe to fashion newsletters and podcasts to stay inspired and catch trends before they emerge.

In the noisy world of fashion, consider finding niches or filling gaps in the industry like these inspiring founders:

How To Start My Own Online Clothing Store

Kerin Rose Gold began designing her own sunglasses before being discovered by top celebrities. Now she hires more artists while expanding her label, A-Morir.

Female Fashion Designer Creating Clothing Design Online On Laptop Stock Image

A recognizable brand identity is a consistent thread across Sarah’s social media accounts, her online store and her clothing designs.

Remember, “brand” doesn’t mean your logo (it’s branding). Building your fashion brand is an exercise in putting down on paper your values, your mission, what you stand for, your story and more.

Creating brand guidelines will help inform all decisions about your business and branding as you grow. They will determine the visual direction, website design and marketing campaigns. They should determine what you look for in a retail partner or new hire.

Use social media to create a lifestyle around your brand: share your inspiration and process, inject your own personality, tell your story and be intentional with every post.

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“The key to social media is consistency,” says Sarah. “I think you have to post every day, but it also has to be interesting.” Combines interesting statistics from your analytics dashboard.

Sarah is an advocate of the sketchbook as one of the most important tools for a designer. “I carry my sketchbook with me everywhere,” she says. “When I’m sketching, I sometimes think, ‘Oh, this little drawing would translate really well into a repeating pattern.’

He was not allowed to carry a sketchbook due to competition rules. “It really threw me off my game,” she says.

How To Start My Own Online Clothing Store

By creating her own clothing line, Sarah has developed a unique illustration style that resonates with her target audience.

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Buying fabric has a lot to do with what you know, says Sarah. Create a network

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