Do you want to start a clothing business but you want to go niche and be unique? If YES, here are 50 best clothing related business ideas & opportunities.
Where would we have been without clothing? Nowhere palatable I guess, and that is why clothing has been listed as one of the essentials of life. People deliberately spend a lot of money on their clothing, just like they spend on food because they not only need to be protected from the elements, but they also need to appear presentable.
Statistica predicts that the united states apparel market is the largest in the world. It showed that in 2016, store-based clothing retailing was valued at approximately 292 billion U.S. dollars, and that retail sales in clothing stores in the United States regularly exceed 15bn U.S. dollars on a monthly basis.
In December 2017, the U.S. apparel retail store sales amounted to 23.3 billion U.S. dollars, and their analysis shows a continuously growing trend.
This goes to show that the clothing industry is still a very viable and profitable industry despite the amount of competitors battling for space in the market. If you want to belong to this industry, here are 50 very viable and profitable businesses you can start checking out to see which one would suit you best based on your capital and location.
Best Clothing Business ideas
T-shirts are on clothing item that is always in fashion. The only modifier is that they keep getting stylish and trendy. This in fact is the truth because you would notice that celebrities do wear t-shirts but they would most probably rock ripped or distressed tees as against the normal ones.
T-shirts can go with anything from denim to smart evening blazers. Because of their versatility, they are almost a staple.
If you have great ideas for t-shirt designs, you can sell them online for a fee, and they are websites that enable you to that. If you do not have the ideas, you can start retailing t-shirts of a particular brand or a mixture of brands. You can even go wholesale at it.
If you love fashion, and you are very knowledgeable about it, one business you can create out of this love is your own clothing line. Most of the popular clothing brands we are used to started out of interest, not even profit per-se; and today they are multi-million dollar businesses.
Though this industry might be very competitive, but you can create an appreciable market for yourself by making your own unique designs.
You can start by showing yourself and your creations in your community fashion shows, and make sure you take advantage of any route that can give you publicity. Once you are true to your brand and stand on the side of quality and uniqueness, you would make a mark in the industry.
Start a maternity wear line
Women would always get pregnant, that’s a law of life. This makes starting a maternity wear line lucrative. You can latch onto the fact that most maternity wears in the market are boring to start making very trendy maternity wears that would have mothers snatching them off the lines.
You can start by going bespoke and letting your creations speak for you. You can charge quite less as you continue to build your brand.
Once you established reasonable skills and publicity, endeavor to get a pregnant celebrity to wear your maternity clothing and they sky would be your limit from there. If you cannot get a TV diva, you could try reaching an instagram or YouTube sensation to wear your dress.
Be a Fashion Designer
Fashion designing is one of the trendiest, if not profitable clothing related businesses. You get to create your own design and bring them to the market. A lot of fashion designers have made names and fame for themselves by doing what they love.
If you have any training as a fashion designer, you could start this business on whatever scale and start growing it from there. This job can take you places in the shortest time; just ensure you have great ideas.
Be a lingerie designer
Quite a lot of people are trying to become fashion designers because it provides a very easy publicity route, but there seem to be very few lingerie designers. People seem to shy away from designing lingerie and as such, there are very few such designers in any geographical area.
This may probably be because lingerie is worn under the clothes, and they are very awkward items to sell because of societal leanings. If you are a great designer, then this is a clothing niche that is just waiting to be grabbed. You can start creating and selling your own panties, bras, gathers, babydolls, bodice, you name it.
Be a swimsuit designer
Swimsuit is another clothing related business that is guaranteed to fetch a tidy sum if well handled. Depending on your forte, you can draw up great swimsuit images, you could sell your designs if you are not able to develop them yourself, but if you are a fashion designer, you would do well to develop your ideas yourself.
After sewing them, get models to model the articles for you and then proceed to market them. Because local swimsuit brands are not plentiful, you can make good profits by marketing your brand in your locality before you venture outside it.
This would enable you build your brand. Also endeavor to use your social media handles to your advantage while doing this business.
Become a model
Modeling is a clothing related business idea that does not directly involve clothe making but it is a necessity in the clothing business. Models wear clothes so that people can see their fittings in real time before deciding whether or not to purchase the clothing.
If you have the right height and a knockout figure, you can decide to be a model for designers. You get to walk runways at fashion and other shows.
You have to decide whether you would model clothes, nightwear, lingerie etc., or you can do all of them. To start off and build your portfolio, you can decide to pose for local designers who are looking for people to wear their clothing for a shot. This business may not pay you well, but it is only your building block to the future.
Start a Garment Wholesale Business
Another clothing related business an entrepreneur can start is a garment wholesale business. Because of how marketable clothes are, it is easy to sell them off. One of the advantages of this business is that you can do it in your spare time as a side business.
You just have to source the garments from manufacturing hubs and distribute them to shops in your area. As you purchase goods in bulk quantity and from manufacturing hubs, you will be given a lot of discounts which will give you good margin in this business.
Start a clothing export business
Fashion trends reach the world in a matter of minutes all thanks to technology and social media. With people all over the world seeing new fashion trends on their favorite celebrities, they too want to mimic them, thus they would be looking for similar fashion to wear.
As an entrepreneur that is in a fashion hub, you would make great profits by sourcing out these latest trends and exporting them to other countries, especially African countries. You can visit garment factories and negotiate with them to export their surplus wears, especially wears other retailers have rejected due to shipment delays or other issues.
Become a sportswear/fitness wear designer
Because of the current fitness rave, majority of people now take up one form of fitness exercise or the other, and they all need sports or fitness wear for their workouts. If you are a designer, you can start designing, making and selling workout wear.
This is indeed a very big industry and that is why many clothing designers are keying into it. Just ensure that your wears are very comfortable for sports and workout and you would be profitable. Another tip here is not to make your wears very expensive so it can appeal to most of the population; leave the expensive fitness line to Beyoncé.
Start a Textile Screen Printing business
Textile screen printing is the process of applying color to the fabric in definite patterns or designs. In properly printed fabrics the color bonds with the fiber so as to resist washing and friction. Textile screen printing produces designs of any kind that cannot be made by normal weaving/knitting techniques.
You can do textile screen printing on finished fabrics, curtain, clothes, ladies dress materials, bed sheets, bed covers, fabric for children’s garments, gents shirts etc. to improve its attractiveness, marketability etc. This is clothing related business you can start.
Socks are one very popular clothing item and it is used by men, women, kids and even infants for various purposes. Sometimes specialty socks are used by athletics and sportsman. You can start designing and producing unique socks that can be used by various people, for different occasions.
Lace is one very versatile fashion item. Laces can be used on different articles of clothing like lingerie, dresses, pants, table cloths etc. It is also increasingly used in fashion garments especially for people of African and Indian descent.
Lace making business can be initiated as a home based business with comparatively low startup capital and its market is wide. If you are knowledgeable about lace making, you can start this business and aim to export your products to the countries that value them.
Start a wool knitting business
Knitting is a method by which yarn is manipulated to create a textile or fabric that is used in many types of garments. Wool is the hair derived from animals including sheep, goats, and rabbits just to name some of the more popular types.
A wool knit is formulated when the hair is spun into yarn and then interlooped with other yarns creating a breathable and often lightweight fabric suitable for sweaters or cardigans. You can find several technically upgraded knitting machines in the market you can use to make your business more efficient. You can start using wool to knit various items like scarves, wraps and hats, sweaters etc.
Start a soft toy making business
A soft toy which is variously referred to as plush toy, stuffed animals, plushies, snuggies, stuffies, or snuggled animals, is a toy with an outer fabric sewn from a textile and then stuffed with a soft flexible material. These toys are made mostly for babies as they cannot hurt themselves with it. Making soft toys is comparably easy and the raw materials are also easily available.
Ensure that your fabric and stuffing materials are safe for children, then you won’t have problems marketing your product. Soft toys have a huge market globally and its sales increases hugely during the festive season. Having the proper skill about soft toys making, any individual can initiate this business as a home based business.
Sell safety clothing
Safety clothing can be said to be items of that are intended to keep the wearer safe from needless risk and damage. They are part of the general personal protective equipment (PPE). Personal protective equipment (PPE) refers to protective clothing, helmets, goggles, or other garments or equipment designed to protect the wearer’s body from injury or infection.
Safety clothing encompasses everything from high visibility clothing, disposable clothing, disposable boot covers, aprons, lab coats, smocks, vests, boots, spats, and sleeves to flame resistant and Arc-resistant apparel. Safety clothing is an essential item for several industries and companies. You can start stocking and supplying these items to these companies.
Sell organic clothing
Organic clothing is a clothing made from materials raised in or grown in compliance with organic agricultural standards. Organic clothing may be composed of Cotton, Jute, Silk, Ramie, or Wool.
These materials, because they are free from pesticides, herbicides or other chemicals, are suitable for babies, children and those who suffer allergies or skin diseases. You can start selling organic clothing, but you have to scope out your market so you know what to stock.
Start an online lingerie shop
Because most people do not have the time to visit brick and mortar shops for their lingerie needs, an online lingerie shop has become the most popular destination for women who want to purchase lingerie from the online marketplace and get them delivered at their doorsteps.
Having proper knowledge about the product, any individual can initiate this business with proper planning and marketing strategies.
Manufacture and sell Denim
Denim is a very popular apparel that serves as casual or informal dress among men, women and kids. To be successful in the denim manufacturing business, you have to always look out for current trends, or you can create the trends yourself.
People are most likely to buy what is new in the market and your uniqueness would give you that marketing edge. Same goes for a person that wants to distribute denim clothing items. If your stock is not trendy, you would be stuck with them.
With proper planning and substantial capital investment, denim manufacturing project can be initiated on a small-scale basis, though you ought to have the requisite experience.
Sell hand printed clothing
Hand printed fabric garments have a demand globally. People like to have dresses with hand printed fabric art. If you have skills in fabric art and drawing, you can initiate this business at home with low startup capital. You can also sell the items from an online marketplace directly by registering your business.
Start a fashion design institute
Fashion design institute business is perfect for entrepreneurs who have sufficient knowledge in the subject, an artistic mind and adequate experience in the various courses involved in fashion designing.
As people are becoming increasingly fashion conscious, apparel and accessory companies are taking it a notch higher by hiring people with various fashion and designing portfolio. If you want to make a mark in the fashion business, you can start an institute where you train up-comers on fashion and related courses.
Start an embroidery business
Embroidery is a value-added process and service in the garment decorating industry. It is a process of decorating fabric or other materials using a special sewing machine with multiple needles and thread or yarn.
If you have the special skills and embroidery making machines, you can start offering embroidery services to tailors and fashion designers. Ensure that you have a catalogue of unique and intricate designs that would be hard for others in the business to copy, and you would make a name for your business.
Open a Laundromat
Opening a Laundromat is another clothing related business an entrepreneur can go into and make profits from. A Laundromat is a self-service laundry facility with coin-operated washing machines, dryers, and sometimes ironing or pressing machines, open to the public for washing clothing and household cloth items.
If you may not prefer a Laundromat, you can start a dry cleaning business because all of them involve the cleaning of clothing.
Start a button making business
Button making is one good business in the clothing industry. It is a fact that many articles of clothing are not complete without buttons. This business can be initiated as a home-based business with low startup capital. People with creative minds can initiate this business as part time also.
Custom buttons made of colorful materials and modern art have a huge demand in the apparel industry. This is almost a silent but very profitable part of the clothing industry. You would have to learn the skill, acquire the equipment before you can start this business.
Crochet knitting business opportunity is ideal for passionate crochet knitters who want to turn their hobby into a profitable venture. Also, one can consider starting this business when he or she has other knitting businesses already. As aspiring crochet knitter having creative mind can start this business from a home location with low capital.
Start renting out costumes
Costume rental business is a self-rewarding profitable business that can be initiated on a small-scale basis. This business can be started from the home and can be operated on the part-time basis also. Many organizations like schools, colleges, theater groups, dance groups, acting groups look for costume rental services for their stage performances. You can equally rent out Christmas and Halloween costumes to suit the seasons.
Open a fabric shop
Are you a cynosure of fabrics? Then maybe you should start thinking of making a business out of it. A fabric shop that retails numerous styles and types of fabrics can be opened in a fixed storefront location and with little capital. Fabric shops have traditionally been very profitable specialty retail operations as the markups applied to fabrics for retail sales can exceed 100 percent or more.
You can also consider starting a supply business to cater to fashion designers and garment manufacturers as they need fabrics to make clothes.
Start an alteration and fabric restoration business
Sometimes people lose weight and their clothes loose fitting and vice versa, and sometimes you buy a dress and you feel like it is almost perfect but for one little reservation. This is what alteration services are for. They help to fix garment problems so you don’t have to throw out that very expensive dress you bought last month because it no longer fits your body.
Recycle used clothing
People clean out their closets all the time and you can certainly make money from collecting or buying unwanted clothes and processing them to be sold as second hand clothing or to be processed into other things like blankets and mats.
This is a very good business that can yield you profits if you know the ropes. You should be able to know how to acquire used clothing for your business. You can choose to go around to houses or clothing stores and ask to be given their unwanted clothing.
Thereafter, you should sort the clothing to those going as second hand and those going to be recycled. You need to have people you would supply the second hand clothing to, or you can export them to African countries where they are needed.
Sell secondhand clothing
A lot of people patronize second hand clothes dealers. These people testify to the durability of secondhand clothing products, and sometimes value them better than unused clothing. If you live in an area where great emphasis is placed on secondhand clothing, you can start a second hand clothing business and make your profits. Note that this business would only thrive in certain areas, so make sure you locate it in the right location.
Boutiques are stores that stock fashion clothing and accessories. You can rent a physical store and fill it with all kinds of weird and wonderful accessories and fashion items and enjoy selling your creations and having fashion banter with your customers.
This business would certainly be fun for someone who loves to meet and interact with people. Ensure you have the right marketing strategies that would bring customers your way.
Embark on a Clothing Franchise Opportunity
There’s a whole host of retail clothing business franchise opportunities to explore, offering business openings fashionistas can walk into and start earning money from straight away. You need to search them out and see how you can profit from the industry.
Start an Online Boutique
Retail has gone online big time and one way to start a profitable business is to launch it online. Ecommerce websites aren’t difficult to set up and are much cheaper to run than brick and mortar stores. If you have an eye for fashion, sell some goods on your own online store.
Ensure that you have your site SEO optimized so that you would get ample visibility on Google. Do not forget to use your social media handles to market your goods.
One way fashion gurus get to put their names out in public is to participate in fashion talk shows. If you fancy yourself as outgoing and witty, you can start hosting talk shows about fashion on radio and television. You have to first of all get a slot in your local radio or television station, and then you invite your guests who you would interview on the shows.
You can talk about different aspects of fashion and even about who wore it right or wrong. If your show becomes popular, you would make a lot of money through advert placements, and not to talk about the publicity factor.
Start a Fashion Podcast
Similar to hosting fashion shows on radio and television, is hosting a fashion podcast. A podcast is just an online radio where you have your own private channel where you can talk about anything you like. Running a podcast can equally give you good publicity but within a different societal niche. If you are unable to get slots on radio or TV or if they prove to be too expensive, you can start a fashion-focused podcast.
Make Baby Clothes
Babies as a niche is one very versatile market as far as clothing and fashion is concerned. Women would never stop being prolific, and as such there would always be babies that need new clothes in the various stages of growing up. This market is hardly saturated and can use more baby cloth manufacturers and retailers.
Start a Casual Wear Line
Casual clothing is a description for clothes that make a person look relaxed and at ease. Hello casual Fridays! You can actually start a clothing line where you stock casual wears.
You can actually target workplaces and stock things that would be appropriate for casual Fridays, then you send them flyers to visit your offline or online store. College students are one other people to market this clothing store to. People always want to wear problem free clothing from time to time, so you would no lack patronage.
Host Fashion Expos
Another fashion related business would be to organize and run fashion expos. A fashion expo is a unique event that explores and develops business opportunities for youth designers by introducing them to the latest developments in the fashion industry.
This event is perfect for fashionistas with great organizational skills who would have no problems gathering different fashion labels together to showcase their products and as well inspire upcoming designers.
Open a Fashion Flea Market Stall
Many successful entrepreneurs began their business from a flea stall. Enjoy the benefits of a low-cost selling platform by opening your own fashion stall at the local flea market. You can sell vintage clothing, secondhand clothing, and any clothing material that is considered rare or precious.
You can source your products from other flea markets or from garage sales (you never know what rubies lie in the rubble).
Upcycle Fashion Items
Upcycling involves using pre-existing clothing, accessories or other items and restructuring them into new garments. Upcycling reduces clothing and textile waste by reusing deadstock or gently used fabric to create new garments and products.
If you have an excellent creativity gene, you can become an expert upcycler. You can upcycle articles of clothing and post your results on instagram or Facebook. You may soon be noted as a fashion icon and then you would start getting endorsement deals.
Become a Fashion Marketer
Fashion is a multi-billion dollar industry, but it takes more than avant-garde designers and chic models to make it so. This is where fashion marketers come in. Fashion marketers are professionals who work in fashion marketing and merchandising to examine fashion trends, help retailers stock fashion lines, coordinate sales, and promote goods.
Although a fashion marketer is not a fashion designer, fashion marketers still influence the products and designs of a fashion brand.
Fashion marketing isn’t only about promoting the work of fashion designers, it can also influence design based on business performance and market trends. If you have a superb knowledge of the fashion industry, you can become a fashion marketer.
Rent out Designer outfits
Take a leaf out of ‘Rent the Runway’, a New York startup that rents expensive designer clothes to fashionistas, and start your own designer attire rental business.
Rent the Runway and other stores just like it have been making profits just by stocking and renting out designer outfits to people who need them for very special occasions. You can follow in their footsteps, you can start an online as well as offline store and you would sure build a sustainable business.
Rent out wedding gowns and reception dresses
It is a fact that a lot of brides now prefer to rent their wedding gowns, because, let’s face it, it is only going to be used for one day. You can start renting out wedding and reception dresses to brides and their maids. The wedding dress rental business is a relatively simple rental business to start.
You stock up on wedding dresses, and brides come to rent the dress for a certain period of time and pay a fee (often a daily fee). This can be both a full time business and a side business where you can see clients after work. Once a fee has been agreed upon, it is standard practice to ask for a returnable deposit to cover any damage to the dress.
Not only that but when someone has paid a deposit on something, they tend to look after it better. Also make up a basic contract document that would contain the name of person hiring the dress, time to return the dress (and if there is a late fee) as well as wording to make the person hiring responsible for any damage to the dress.
Be a personal/fashion stylist
A fashion stylist is one of the most popular emerging professions in the fashion world globally and is the job title of someone who selects the clothing and accessories for published editorial features, print or television advertising campaigns, music videos, concert performances, and any public appearances made by celebrities.
If you know how to combine fashion and its accessories to make something fabulous, then you should consider becoming a fashion stylist.
Become a fashion writer
A fashion writer is someone who writes journalism or copy relating to all aspects of fashion and style. Top professional fashion editors, as well as powerful freelance bloggers and writers, attend major fashion shows to identify and feature new trends each season.
Fashion magazine columnists write for both major and local periodicals, updating readers on new fashion trends and styles. If you are journalist, you can decide to specialize in fashion writing.
Sell vintage clothing
Fashion is something that revolves. There are some people who just love vintage pieces because they are unique and of good quality and apart from that, movie producers also use them as costumes for their movies. You would definitely make money from starting a vintage clothing shop, especially if you take it online.
A uniform is an essential item for educational institutions and other organizations also. However, you must have the right network in the industry. Uniform making is a very good home business opportunity. Additionally, the business demands very small startup investment initially.
Many organizations, schools, business houses regularly purchase uniform from uniform manufacturers. Any individual can initiate this business with moderate capital investment from his or her home location also.
Set up a garment factory
You can set up a small garment factory with your own tailoring or manufacturing experience. You have to hire few tailors, make garments and sale finished garments to retailers or wholesalers in your city. You may select products such as school uniforms, ladies wear, men’s shirt or make ladies blouses.
This business may be capital intensive, but you would recoup your startup capital if you are passionate about what you do.
Become a garment subcontractor
Subcontracting can be defined as doing the partial work of a contract that is originally received by another. The companies that do subcontracting jobs are called subcontractors. They are also known as job-workers. In the garment industry, a subcontracting unit is a factory that mainly does garment stitching work.
You can set up a small factory and do subcontracting work for export houses and domestic brands. In this business you don’t need to handle buyers, and you don’t need to purchase materials. You have to just collect cuttings from exporters and stitch the garments.
A fashion magazine is a magazine devoted to fashion, especially the latest styles of clothes, accessories, etc. Fashion magazines are an essential component of the fashion industry. They are the medium that conveys and promotes the design’s vision to the eventual purchaser.
Fashion magazines are the most popular publications; everyone loves them because they are usually the most subscribed magazine. With ladies and some gents always desiring to stay on top of the latest fashion trends, they usually grab each issue off the shelf.
If you are a fashion writer, editor, or someone who knows fashion in debt, you can start your own fashion magazine and make profits from adverts of the various clothing designers.