It is every business owners dream to be successful in whatever business they decide to do. Starting a clothing line can prove to be a very challenging business undertaking and a lot of people have failed due to inadequate planning and lack of the right information before stepping into the business. You would agree with me that there are hundreds, if not thousands of brands out there but how many are actually successful? How many clothing brands are popular and well known across the world?
N.B-: This article was culled from: “The Complete Guide to Starting a Clothing Line from Scratch.”
You should not only plan to start a clothing line, you should plan to start a successful clothing line; one that would be known all over the world and a brand that would continue to grow and prosper and even outlive you. So what are the tips you could use to run a successful clothing line?
20 Sure Tips for Starting & Running a Successful Clothing Line
1. Conduct extensive research-: I understand that you are already conducting a research, at least that’s why you are reading this article. I would encourage you to conduct more research before you go ahead to start your business.
You need to learn as much as you can about the clothing industry and how things work over there. Every industry has its secrets and if you are not privy to these secrets, you may end up failing in the business and wondering why. Try to talk to ‘veterans’ in the industry and learn why and how their clothing businesses became successful.
2. Write a business plan-: Many people ignore this aspect of the business.“Why do I need a business plan when I’m not looking for investors or bank financing” they say. Well, your business plan is not only for when you need loans. Here is a sample clothing line business plan template to help you get started.
A business plan can open your eyes to a lot of things you didn’t even know or expect. Make sure you clearly plan out your goals and visions for your brand and also plan out your niche, target market as well as your marketing and pricing strategies.
3. Competition-: You cannot afford to close your eyes to the competition when running your clothing business. You have to stalk them, watch them and always be a step ahead of them. Look at what they are doing to make them successful; what promotional strategies are they using? How do they price their goods? What methods are they using to cut costs? These are some of the things you need to find out about your competitors.
4. Quality of products-: I understand that you would want to cut costs, and as much as possible, increase your profits but please, not at the expense of quality. You see, people don’t really mind paying high prices for quality clothes.
Check out the popular designer brands, they could charge thousands of dollars just for a piece of skirt but people still go ahead to buy them, why? Because of the quality. So, you must ensure that you produce only good quality products to keep your brand on top.
5. Finances-: You also have to get a grip on the financial aspect of your business. You need to know just how much it would cost you to set up and maintain your business before you start. The financial aspect of your business is not a one-time thing. It is a continuous process and you have to ensure that you have a budget to guide you.
There are capital expenditures that you only incur at the start-up stage and of course, there are recurrent expenditures that would continue to crop up. The recurrent expenditures are what you must keep your eyes on to avoid losses. Such costs include shipping costs, storage costs as well as packaging costs.
6. Promotional strategy-: To be successful, you need to find a way to reach out to your customers by employing effective promotional strategies. Think of sponsoring events, press releases, using social networking tools and also giving out freebies and discounts.
7. Partnerships-: As a beginner, it might help to look out for people that you can partner with to give you a soft landing when you start. You could partner with celebrities as your designers, partner with NGO’s and other humanitarian organizations that would give you the necessary exposure and brand awareness.
8. Set achievable goals-: Another strategy that works is to set achievable goals and work hard to achieve them. You could set monthly goals for your brand, for instance, you could say that in a particular month, your goal is to sell 500 pieces of clothing and work very hard to achieve that goal. But ensure that your goals are realistic so that you don’t get discouraged.
9. Patience and Perseverance-: The truth is that starting a clothing line is not a bed of roses. There are ups and downs. Sometimes, you might even feel like giving up because things are not working as planned but you need to be patient and persevere because things might not always work as planned especially in the first few years of starting.
10. Create an identity for your brand-: You should also create a good identity for your brand. Let your brand be known for something unique and different from what other people are doing.
11. Know what your customers want-: Your customer’s tastes and preferences are also very important. You should study your customers to know what they want and what they can afford.
12. Create varieties-: Don’t be a one-way traffic. Create enough varieties and different designs that your customers can choose from.
13. Marketing plan-: You should also use as many means as possible to market your clothing products. You could make use of distributors to help you achieve more sales, have your own boutique, have an online store and make use of affiliate marketing strategies.
14. Create a catchy brand name-: Most people think this isn’t important but it is. Try to create a very attractive name for your brand; something that customers can relate to and identify with.
15. Product photography-: Of course, you would need to send out product catalogues regularly to buyers. Make sure you engage the services of professional photographers and models to help you present your designs in a very attractive way.
16. Measurements-: I once ordered some clothes from a designer and the sizes were very different from what I saw on the website. This really put me off and I felt like I was cheated. Things like this are bad for business. Make sure your cloths are always true to size.
17. Be an entrepreneur-: Don’t be caught up in the glamorous side of things. A lot of investors in the fashion industry make this mistake. They are too engaged with being a celebrity and being in the spotlight that they often forget that the main reason they are in business is to make money and not get free tickets to A-list events.
18. Have a strong web presence-: These days, everyone is on the internet and the fastest way to build a fan base is through the internet. You have to ensure that you use the internet very well to your advantage by having a very strong web and social media presence.
19. Continue to improve-: There is no chance to hit a plateau in this business. You need to continue to find ways to grow and improve your business.
20. Engage a superb team-: Your brand is only as good as the people you surround yourself with professionally. Ensure that you only engage the services of people that are passionate about success whether they are subcontractors or full time employees.