Updated: May 24
- 1 Decide your niche
- 2 Determine your market level
- 3 Create a lean business plan
- 4 Create a design, mood board, reference board to clear up your vision
- 5 Test your product
- 6 Take it to the market
- 7 Start manufacturing
- 8 Scale-up
- Get started the business easier
I’ve watched and helped over 100+ small and startup clothing brands set up over the past year or so and it can be an enormously rewarding process. Most of the founders I have worked with had no experience in fashion but had a strong idea and a clear vision of what products they want to create.
Based on close 1-on-1 communication, references, comments, hand sketches got an idea about the vision. Next step is to start developing clear and detailed design drawings.
Eventually, came up not only with the drawings but as well as the drawings become actual products or the whole line. The beginning is the most exciting!
Throughout the cooperations with the new small startup brands, pointing out the main things which need to be considered before starting to launch a business. Enjoy reading!
To make sure your workflow goes good also needs to be done homework. Everyone who wants to create a business from scratch hoping to have failures as little as possible.
Click here to download a business planner template! Just print it, fill up (further you'll find instructions on how to fill each gap) and hang on the wall. Next morning you are going to get up from bed much easier!
I have planners everywhere - on my phone and notebook daily tasks, written long and short term goals on a large piece of paper and hanging on the wall, then a couple of inspirational books where I am collecting things I am passionate about.
Make sure you're motivating yourself in the way it works for you.
1. Decide Your Niche
One of your very first steps to becoming a successful entrepreneur with a profitable business is to pick a niche. Essentially, a niche is the industry you will be in and the types of products you will sell. Take in account two things: first you need to be passionate about that niche, second, find out if people are searching for the type of products you’d like to start selling.
Starting a clothing business is a very personal journey. It’s likely that you’ve spotted a gap in the market, or have a unique design in mind for a specific customer group.
Know your niche, and bear it in mind. Even if you branch out and introduce lots of other designs as time goes by, your original idea gives you heritage, a guiding principle, and a reason to be remembered.
2. Determinate Your Market Level
Regardless of where you sell your products, you’ll need to decide on a market level for your brand. This will influence the materials you choose, price of the product and the choice you make in your range selection.
HAUTE COUTURE. Haute couture is considered to be the highest and the most specialized level of fashion, showing two seasonal collections per year. The garments are made to measure by the haute couture house.
LUXURY BRAND. Luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton , Bottega Veneta , and Fendi, use high-profile advertising to promote products including perfumes, accessories , and range of luxury goods alongside ready-to-wear (RTW) collections. Designers may be brought in to develop the RTW collections.
DESIGNER/RTW. Range from small independent labels, such as Jonathan Saunders, to more established designers such as Dries Van Noten. The garments are produced in standard sizes, although the labels retain an air of exclusivity since the garments embody the designer’s individual design aesthetic.
HIGH-STREET BRAND. High-street fashion companies or mass-market brands produce and buy in large volumes of collections that may be sold in their own stores. The lead time from sketch to finished product can be a matter of weeks.
ONLINE/HOME SHOPPING. Provides access to a wide range of garments, sometimes not available in-store, and delivers directly to the home. Online shopping currently booming since it provides convenience and allows smaller niche or independent labels to reach the consumer directly.
3. Create Lean Business Plan
Writing a business plan can seem like a big task, especially if you’re starting a business for the first time and don’t have a financial background. Even if you do have some experience, getting a refresher on what a modern business plan looks like is always a good idea.
My suggestion to you, print a template above, take a pen, read instructions and fill up RIGHT NOW!
LOGO AND BRAND NAME. Brand name should be: unique and unforgettable, be simple and easy to pronounce, make some sense. Make sure the name is available! Good points to create a logo that won’t go out of style. Some samples and ideas can check here or obviously, Pinterest.
PROBLEM WORTH SOLVING. What do your customers need? Do they need a better product, a cheaper product, or just a store in a better location? Describe why customers will want to buy from you.
SOLUTION. What is unique and special about your company that’s going to set it apart from the competition?
TARGET MARKET. Describe your key customers – who they are and what their key attributes are. If your company is targeting multiple customer groups (also called ‘segments’), describe each group here. If you can, include details about how many people are in each segment and how large the total market is.
THE COMPETITION. Describe your current competition. What products and services are people using instead of yours?
OUR ADVANTAGE. Explain why your product or service is better than the others. Also, be sure to describe any competitive advantages you may have, such as a patent or other unique component to your business.
SALES CHANNELS. If your company relies on salespeople to close sales deals, you need a sales plan. Your sales plan should explain how you convert people who express interest in your product or service into paying customers.
MARKETING ACTIVITIES. Explain how you plan on getting the word out about your product to your target market(s). Will you use advertising? Perhaps you are developing a content marketing strategy. Whatever your marketing plans may be, describe them onto a sheet.
REVENUE. Did you project your revenue based on past results, market research, your best guess at how many people who visit your store and what percentage of them might buy, or some other method? What kind of growth are you assuming?
EXPENSES. What are your key hires and notable expenses? What expenses and direct costs you are going to have?
4. Create a Design, Mood Board, Reference Board to Clear up Your Vision
For any clothing business, one of the most exciting stages is product development. Even if you only have a design concept for one product in these early days, start getting it on paper or screen, as a sketch. Once you’re ready, turn rough ideas into nailed down digital sketches. Programs like Adobe Illustrator can do a lot of the hard work for you. No worries if you have no skills for it, we are here for you! :)
When sketches are done, you’ll need to think about your ‘tech pack’, which is the essential information you’ll give to your manufacturer. It’ll need to include your product’s details and technical specifications, from design and measurements to materials and any extra information.
From there, you’ll need to get started on pattern making and grading, ahead of sourcing materials and manufacturer.
5. Test You Product
Once you have samples, do professional photo shooting and take your products to the market.Taking them to market can be a great way to test your product without committing to the full product run. Market trading spaces, school fairs and online platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Instagram, can be great places to start, taking notes and asking your customers all the time for their feedback on the product, and anything else they’re looking for.
6. Take It To the Market
You’ve tested out your product, it’s selling and you’re ready to order your first full production run.
Take the time seriously to consider how you’ll:
Price your products
Market your brand
Create an online clothing store, if this is your plan
Organise any deals or promotions
Package up your products
Ship your products (if working on an order basis)
Deal with any returns or customer issues
Plan ahead with your manufacturer for new seasons and busy periods
You’ve done it. Your clothing company is launched. Scaling may well be on your mind as an ambitious business owner, with plans for new products or bigger orders. Always look on how you can improve your business!
When you are ready starting a business it's risky to hire full-time designer, pattern maker tailor, marketer, rent an office space, not to mention that you have to invest a big amount of money to launch production. Sounds like tones of money to be spent? Doesn’t it?
Usually, the first amount to invest in creating a business comes from you and your family. All decisions needs to be deeply considered. The amount you are planning to invest, also, needs to be spent properly.
As a result of following struggles, I created the virtual helper - KUZ Fashion Design Agency. In this case, you can avoid hiring 3-5 full-time members or being stuck with one project/task. Additionally, we are giving the guidance, explanation, consultancy, and assistance in design developing and manufacturing processes, and daily tasks. You can be sure - you’re not alone starting the journey.
The advantage of it, you hire us as long as you need or as many projects or lines as you have. No memberships, subscription fees, no minimums.
After all, it’s a business and we all looking for the best solutions.
Hope you've enjoyed reading it! Leave the comment below if you've found it interesting!