Do you run a clothing line and you want to grow it through private label? If YES, here is how to private label your clothing line successfully in 7 steps.

Starting the clothing line has always held a special allure for some entrepreneurs that are creatively minded. There are different types of clothing lines someone can create and as such the steps that are involved in their creation differ considerably.

If you want to source for your clothing or produce them yourself, then you will need to put in a lot more time, funds, and additional effort. However, if you want to setup a clothing line quickly, easily and with little expenses, that is very possible too.

Here are steps involved in creating your very own private label clothing line.

How to Private Label Clothing Line Successfully in 7 Steps

1. Decide the type of clothing you would like to sell in your line: the first step you will have to surmount when you want to start your private label clothing line will be to decide the type of clothing that you want to sell. There are a plethora of apparel and fashion products to choose from.

However, most people who have harbored the thought of starting their own clothing line already have a well-defined idea of what they would like to sell. For some other people however, creating a clothing brand may represent a unique and interesting opportunity to design a product that represents their personal style and personality, but they may be unsure of which products to sell.

Irrespective of which end of the spectrum you fall into, it is very imperative that you should first consider the various option at your disposal before you arrive at a final choice. Some of these option you may want to choose from include;

  • Short Sleeve Shirts
  • Long Sleeve Shirts
  • Hoodies
  • Pants/Leggings
  • Dresses
  • Lingerie/Underwear/Socks
  • Corporate wears such as suits, ties, bow ties et al.

Each and every one of the aforementioned clothing material presents it unique pros and cons for building a clothing business and brand around them.

2. Choose a Clothing Line Business Model: the next step would be for you to decide what type of business model you will like to fashion your clothing line as. There are various directions you can steer your business model towards and each of them comes with it own unique difficulty, cost and time implication. But for the purpose of this article, we will be restricted to private label clothing line.

A Wholesale or a Private Label Clothing Line gives you more options for personalization and higher margins, while costing more and taking slightly longer to get started.

A private label clothing line involves purchasing blank clothing products and then customizing them by way of adding print, tags, labels, et al. Due to the fact that this type of business model involves bulk purchase of material, it goes without saying that you will need to factor in warehousing and shipping of products into the equation.

In order to ensure that you make the best profit from this line of business, it only makes sense that you have to purchase your blank clothing upfront and in bulk.

This will help to not only ensure that you will get your apparels for a lower price and ultimately lead to better profit but will also give you a greater control over the final product by allowing you to add as much tags and custom labels as you wish because you are not printing or shipping directly from the printer. Thanks to this, you will be able to increase the perceived value of your brand and ultimately increase your margins.

Finally, purchasing inventory upfront allows for more cost effective and equally high-quality printing processes like screen printing (as opposed to digital direct-to-garment printing).

Screen printing is a method that has been around for a very long time and it’s not going away any time soon. Screen printing is one of the most popular ways of printing onto clothing and other types of apparels due to the fact that it is durable and also lasts for a very long time

However, on the downside, screen printing is time and labor consuming therefore in order to ensure that the process is cost effective, it is most advisable to print it in bulk.

3. Develop a Business Plan for Your Clothing Line: Your business plan should contain what your business is about or what it has to offer, goals you aim to achieve, how you intend to achieve the said goals, who your potential customers are and strategies to entice them among others.

A business plan serves as a road map on how you will start and ultimately improve on your business. Furthermore, a concrete business plan will assure potential investors or partners whom you may approach that you are serious, therefore giving them a reason to support you.

4. Craft a Brand for Your Clothing Line: The next step is to develop a brand persona for your new line. It is very important that you should craft a brand for your new private label clothing line. There are a lot of clothing lines out there and if you want to be noticed, then your brand has to stand out from the rest. Every business should have a brand. Crafting your brand upfront gives you the chance to better define and communicate your message and story.

For a private label brand, where your investment and budget is much smaller, developing your own brand can be a worthwhile and low cost option. At this stage you need to identify who your market is and what brand would speak best to this market.

Defining Your Market: a clearly defined market is not only important for private label clothing lines but for all brands as well. By broadly targeting large groups of people, you’re setting yourself up for failure right from the beginning. What you want to do is niche down and create segments.

Some important questions to ask yourself at this stage are:

  • What type of clothing and apparel products do you want to make?
  • Who is going to purchase your product?
  • What specific value will your product or brand bring these people?
  • What will be unique about your product?
  • Who is your competition?

The Elements of a Successful Clothing Brand

Great clothing brands do not come about by chance. More often than not, there is something they are doing really well. Here are some factors that you should consider if you want your private label to succeed. They are;

a. Clothing Niche: selecting the right niche is very important and at times can go a long way to determine the success and failure of your private label clothing line. For instance, if you try to blindly target large groups of people, it will leave you with a brand that speaks to no one. You should focus on a specific niche that has benefits such as Easier to Market to, More Affordable, does not have a lot of Competition, Greater Customer Loyalty et al.

Usually, clothing and apparels with humorous slogans, or hoodies for men are too broad to attack due to the fact that the market for those products are quite developed. Niche-ing down will help you better target your market, allow you to reach them more easily and be able to create more value for them.

For instance, instead of focusing on clothing with funny slogans, you might cater to a specific and passionate market like clothing with slogans for nurses or firefighters. Or, instead of hoodies for men, you could focus on manufacturing ultra-thick or warm hoodies for people in cold climates.

b. Clothing Design: the design you use for your clothing, be it printed, embroidered, or the design of the actual garment itself- are very important. It needs to look great specifically in the eyes of your target market.

If your clothing does not look pleasing or relatable to your potential buyers, then they will definitely not buy what you are selling. The design that you may choose does not necessarily have to be complicated, as a matter of fact, a lot of the popular clothing brands are very simple, and they need to connect with your specific audience or niche.

c. Clothing Quality: even if you are able to convince someone to buy from you, an inferior apparel will ensure that that will be the first and the last time they will do so. A pattern that fades and cracks or comes apart at the seams after one wash will not have your customers coming back for more.

All clothing are not made the same. Some have more quality than others. The quality and composition of the materials you choose will affect how the clothing wears, how it washes, how it fades, shrinks and ultimately how long it lasts. In order to succeed, you will have to make sure that quality is always associated with your brand and as such you should educate yourself and choose your materials carefully.

The temptation may arise to sacrifice quality for a higher profit margin, but you should bear in mind that the quality of your clothing item will affect your customers decision which it comes to telling others about your clothing materials and making another purchase themselves.

d. Clothing Brand: Many clothing brands are built on a strong brand. Beyond the clothes themselves, a strong brand encourages and reinforces your target market to purchase, represent, share and repurchase your clothing line. Your brand extends way beyond the product itself and encompasses what the brand stands for and the lifestyle associated with it.

Differentiating Your Clothing Line

Truth be told, the clothing design and apparel industry is quite saturated. If you would like to break into the market, then you will need to bring something fresh and unique to the table.

There are a lot of ways by which you can stay relevant and unique; they include;

  • Design: if you intend to have pictures and images on your clothing materials, then you should make sure that the design (the style of designs and quality of designs) can help set you apart from others.
  • Fit/Style: If you plan to create your own clothing from the ground up, the actual fit and style of the clothes can be an important point of differentiation.
  • Brand: there are a lot of brands out there, but people are more likely to buy from brands whose story they can relate to. In addition, if your brand is able to connect with your customers, then you will be able to command a higher price for your wears even though the quality of your apparels are the same as other common and less expensive brands.
  • Niche: the niche you choose to go for can serve as a point of differentiation from your competitors if well-defined enough and if it is underserved. For instance, See Ya Never specializes in making apparels for digital nomads that work via the internet and travel the world. Even though there are a lot of private label clothing lines out there, there are very few that are specialized in catering for the needs of this particular group of people.

Also, 80’s Tees sells exclusive designs from 80’s movies and TV shows. Not only are the designs appealing and nostalgic, but many of the designs are licensed making them exclusive and nearly impossible to find elsewhere.

  • Performance/Material/Quality: the type of material you use for your clothing line can also serve as a means to differentiate yourself from your competitors by way of how they perform for the wearer (are they comfortable, itchy, restricting, warm, light, airy, do they wrinkle easily, et al.) and their overall quality including any seams, buttons, the weight of the fabric et al., will all go a long way in satisfying your customers.

For instance, Unbound Merino ran a successful crowd funding campaign raising $300,000 and was able to build their brand based on the performance of their clothing. Casual wear made from 100% super soft merino wool which has superior breathability and odor blocking abilities, allowing this line of travel clothes to be worn many times without washing.

Strategies for Pricing Your Clothing Products

Budgeting out product development and production costs is something you need to determine prior to contacting factories in order to be able to understand all aspects of production such as what fabric you’ll be able to use and whether producing overseas or in your home country is your best option.

Costs to consider in your budget include:

  • The price of professional product development services such as pattern making, tech packs, design development, et al.
  • The cost that is involved in making samples, bearing in mind that more than one sample is usually made
  • The cost of materials such as fabric, buttons, zippers, hardware and any other pieces used in the construction of your garments
  • The cost of transportation between you and the factory for meetings/visiting the factory
  • The cost of labor (determine the difference in labor cost between your home country and overseas labor cost requirements)
  • The cost of shipping between you and the factory and the cost of shipping the necessary materials to the factory
  • The cost of production and actually creating the clothing items themselves

When you have put the aforementioned parameters into consideration, you will be able to communicate your budget to your future factory and find one that fits your requirements.

Pricing out all of these factors is also very useful in deciding whether or not you should produce in an overseas factory, because, even though cost of labor may be cheaper, you still have to consider the increased cost that will be involved in shipping between you and the factory and also the turnaround time. Nonetheless, understanding the cost of product development and production helps you and your future manufacturer make the best choices for your business.

Ajaero Tony Martins