Step 4. Create your first clothing line.
Diane von Furstenberg created her brand with the now ubiquitous wrap dress. Tory Burch had the Reva flats. What will yours be?
As you design and create your first line, think outside the box. The fashion industry is bursting at the seams with many second-rate designers and a lot of copycat designs. If you want your brand to stand out, then create a unique clothing line to launch with. It might help to take inspiration from your environment as you will be marketing to those around you first.
Creating apparels for women and babies is the niche that most designers choose first. This is because women’s clothes and baby apparel sets are among the highest sold fashion items in the industry. You should take into consideration the fashion trends when designing your line. You don’t want to create a line with styles that are from last season. It is a good idea to start off with simple and timeless designs. That way, your line will still be fashionable even if you launch later than you originally planned. The same rule applies to baby clothes. Rompers and sleep suits are basic wear that’s influenced by their prints and patterns. So keep it simple to make sure your line is fashionable.
You don’t need a degree from Parsons to create your designs. Simply sketch your thoughts on paper or get an artistic friend to draw your idea. Not every fashion entrepreneur is a great seamstress, so it is vital that your vision is interpreted by your manufacturer.
When production starts, you must ensure that you only accept quality items. The reputation of your brand is at stake, and your buyers will expect consistent quality to become repeat buyers and spread the word. If your clothing is not of high quality, your buyers will not return.
Step 5. Sell online
Once your line is ready, you need people to see it. To access a wider market share, you have several options:
A. You could build a website.
The easiest way to start a clothing line is to create a website and sell your items online. If you have a huge budget, then hire a professional to create a website that reflects the quality of your brand. You can also create one if you are by building with a CMS like Magento or even Woocommerce.
Shopify is another excellent choice for people who want an easy-to-launch website. The key here is to ensure that the site is professional and easy to add and remove products as they become available or sold out.
B. Use social media.
Selling your clothes on social media is the simplest option and will enable you to sell to your friends and family first. Even when you build a website, you will still need social media for word of mouth publicity. Social media communities can make or break any business in this age, so even before you launch your brand, start to talk about your line and gather as many followers as possible before your official launch. Give your clothing label a human face and take suggestions directly from prospective buyers.
C. Join an online marketplace.
With a website, a lot of people will learn about your brand, but on a marketplace, your targeted audience will buy from your line. The easiest way to convert your products to cash is to sell them on a marketplace. There are some great options such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy. Riding the coattails of established marketplaces is not all you should do, you must create your own website, to grow your brand.
D. Sell offline.
The choice to sell offline is one that most people dread these days. The overhead can be huge, and it limits your market share. You might want to consider this when your clothing line has gained some traction. However, a brick-and-mortar is necessary to show that you are a serious fashion designer. If you can afford this from the start, then you will be targeting and grabbing a local market share from the onset. You can also sell at trade fairs, markets, and at any other event that will help promote your brand and business.
Step 6. Marketing your clothing line
Congratulations! You now own a clothing label! You must think of innovative ways to market your brand, and your clothing line must be firmly defined. As you market online to get buyers for your products, you should also present your line to clothing retailers. It is important that you give vendors and store owners a reason to adopt your line. This is one of the goals of every clothing line. Imagine major brands like Macy’s, Walmart, etc. carrying your clothing line.
To get your brand into retail stores, you will need to show that you are reliable and can meet up with high demands. This simply means that your track record selling online or offline will greatly sway the minds of vendors. Getting your line in local stores is a good way to learn how things work before you move your sights to national distribution.
Get influencers to talk about your brand, attend exhibitions and much more. There is a lot that you can do to promote your brand and the more people that patronise you, the more popular your brand will get.
Marketing is an indispensable step on this list because people must know you exist before they can buy your clothes. Word of mouth is the best way to get buyers talking about your line. This organic hyping is cheaper than spending thousands of dollars on advertising. So be strategic in your marketing efforts.
All great fashion brands started somewhere. Ralph Lauren sold ties before he became a fashion legend. His ability to adapt and think big is probably what got him far. You must think big and see the larger picture. Creating a fashion label is not a walk in the park. You will need to work hard to stay relevant in the industry.
Money management should also be one of your key skills. When your business starts to grow, it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of your orders, stock levels, delivery and everything else that concerns your ordering process. An excel spread sheet will not cut it, and you will need to use an advanced accounting and stock tracking system to manage production, inventory, costing, orders, and more.
One of the important things you should do is to develop a solid strategy to grow your fashion line and create new apparel with an emphasis on trends. Forecasting trends will ensure that you are not behind the times and can keep you ahead of the competition and fashionistas.
Starting a clothing label requires a lot of passion for fashion. You will sleep, eat and breathe fashion. It may be hard at first, but when you see others wearing your creations, you will finally feel that satisfaction and self-fulfillment that only a few have felt before you. Making money off these creations will feel even better!
Are you now ready to launch your own clothing label?
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