Do you want to start a lingerie line? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a lingerie line business with NO money and no experience.
Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample lingerie line business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample lingerie line marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for lingerie line businesses. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a lingerie line business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.
Table of Content
Why Start a Lingerie Line?
Looking for a business to start without much stress? The lingerie trade would be just perfect for you. If you know you have got a flair for women stuff, then you should consider starting a lingerie business. Starting a lingerie business is not capital intensive, and it is highly profitable especially if your outlet is located in a commercial area and you know how to get cheaper supply.
The fact that the women can’t do without underwear makes lingerie a compulsory component of women’s fashion. So, if you are already running a fashion house or boutique, then it will be very much easier for you to add lingerie to what you sell.
But if you know that you have the financial capacity, you should look beyond just buying and selling of lingerie and start up your own lingerie line. No doubt this aspect of the business is capital intensive and will require creativity and a very good marketing strategy to be able to break into the market; simply because the competition in this line of business is definitely high. You can as well start your own lingerie business as a wholesale distributor if you know you have what it takes to do it. Whichever choice you make, this article will provide useful information to you.
Lingerie line business just like most businesses thrive on creativity, branding (media hype et al) and good business skills. Any aspiring entrepreneur can start a lingerie line as long as they are creative, can get people/celebrities to promote their brand and they have good business skills. The starting size of this type of business doesn’t really matter as long as the business is built on the right foundation and with the right combination of skills and talents.
One thing is certain, once you are creative, you will be able to come out with a unique style. In the lingerie line industry, you signature is your style. Another important factor that counts in this line of business is the brand name and perhaps the logo of the lingerie line.
If you look at the leaders in the lingerie line business you will realize that they deliberately choose a name and create a logo that best communicate how they want people to perceive them. Once you are able to secure a good name for your lingerie line business and then hire experts (graphic artists) to help you create a compelling logo, then you can follow the trend in the industry.
So, if you have the desire to start your own lingerie line, all you need to do is to read this article and you will be well equipped. You can start your lingerie line from a small town in the United States and if you are consistent and creative, it won’t be too long before your brand becomes an internationally recognized brand.
Starting a Lingerie Line – A Complete Guide
- Industry Overview
Beyond every reasonable doubt, the clothing line industry of which lingerie is a part of is indeed a money spinning industry just like the food industry and the real estate industry. It is simple; cloth cum lingerie is amongst the top three needs of human beings because it has to do with covering nakedness.
Because of favorable economic conditions in the United States, the Lingerie, Swimwear and Bridal line industry is projected to grow in the coming years. Over the last half a decade, as per capita disposable income increased, the lingerie line, swimwear and bridal line industry was buttressed by greater consumer spending power. Moreover, the demand for lingerie, swimwear and bridal clothes was also strengthened by growth in the industry’s largest market which is made up of adults between the ages of 20 and 65.
Statistics has it that in 2010, American households spent an average of $1,700 on apparel (lingerie inclusive), footwear, and related fashion products and services. In the 2010 alone, the global market for textiles made from organically grown cotton was worth well over $5 billion; that goes to show how big the industry is.
The bureau of statistics stated that employment in the U.S. apparel manufacturing industry has declined by more than 80 percent (from about 900,000 to 150,000 jobs) over the past twenty years. However, labor productivity in the U.S. manufacturing sector more than doubled from 1987 to 2010. Labor productivity also more than doubled over that period in U.S. textile mills and nearly doubled in the footwear manufacturing sector as well.
According to report released by IBIS World, the Lingerie, Swimwear and Bridal Line industry is moderately concentrated, with the four largest companies representing 43.1 percent of total industry market share. The report stated that while L Brands dominates the industry with 36.1 percent market share, the remaining companies are small to medium-sized players that offer specialized and niche products.
In fact, IBIS World also estimates that over 85.0 percent of all companies are non – employers, which are operators without hired employees. Industry concentration has increased over the past five years, largely due to Victoria’s Secret outperforming the industry thanks to its well-recognized brand name and expanding product line; the company’s market share has grown from 17.7 percent in 2011 to 18.4 percent in 2016.
Some of the leading labels in the lingerie line cum fashion industry are from the United States of America, even though some of these lingerie cum fashion labels outsource the production of their lingerie and clothings et al to other parts of the world; predominantly countries in Asia just in the bid to cut cost.
Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own lingerie line manufacturing company is that the business is a thriving business and the products can be sold not just in your country but all across the globe.
The lingerie line cum clothing line industry is growing and there are opportunities for entrepreneurs to launch their own lingerie line business from the scratch and still become a globally recognized lingerie brand. The advent of computer and computer software brought leverage in the lingerie line industry.
Designing lingerie can be conveniently done with the aid of software, and a designer can reach out to the world market by putting up his products (lingerie and similar apparels) for sale online; Instagram, YouTube et al are good platforms to promote this type of business.
Starting a Lingerie Line – Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who wear lingerie, swimwear and related apparel cut across women of all age groups, adults and children hence the demographic composition for lingerie line manufacturing business is all encompassing as it relates to the female gender.
So, if you are thinking of starting your own lingerie line manufacturing business, then you should look beyond producing and marketing your products to just people in your city, but also people across the United States of America and other parts of the world.
List of Niche ideas Within the Lingerie Line That You Can pecialize in
There is no niche area of specialization in the lingerie line manufacturing business since lingerie line is a niche area in the clothing line manufacturing industry. Those who are into the manufacturing of lingerie manufacture lingerie, bridal gowns, costumes, uniforms and swimwear in different sizes and for different age groups to meet the trend in the industry. Branding and packaging is a major factor that can help you increase your sales and gain market prominence in the lingerie line manufacturing business.
The Level of Competition in the Lingerie Line Manufacturing Industry
The competition that exists in the lingerie line manufacturing business goes beyond competitions in your city or country; it is both national and international. This is so because, major lingerie lines/brands in China, Germany, France, Italy, United Kingdom and parts of the world can be found in boutiques, bridal shops and clothing shops all across the United States of America. So, it will be right to say the competition in the lingerie line manufacturing business is tough.
The truth is that, no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done your due diligence and you brand and promote your products or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure you have what it takes to churn out quality products (including bridal gowns, costumes, lingerie, uniforms and swimwear) and you know how to reach out to your target market.
But over and above, there are several lingerie line manufacturing companies scattered all around the United States. So, if you choose to start your own lingerie line manufacturing company in the United States, you will definitely meet stiffer competition amongst lingerie line manufacturing companies in the United States. Besides, there are larger lingerie line manufacturing companies/brands that determine the trends in the industry and you should be ready to compete with them for customers.
List of Well Known Brands in the Lingerie Industry
These are some of the leading lingerie line manufacturing companies/brands in the United States of America and in the globe;
- L Brands
- Ashley Graham Lingerie Collection
- Calvin Klein Underwear
- Victoria’s Secret
- Stella McCartney
- XTG Extreme Game
- Boutique La Vie en Rose
- Adore Me
- Cherie Amie
- Fruit of the Loom
- Frederick’s of Hollywood
- Curvy Kate
- Jours Apres Lunes
- Iris Lingerie
- Kiss Me Deadly
- True & Co.
- Vedette Shapewear
- Warnaco Group
- Princesse Tam Tam
If you are looking towards successfully launching a business and maximizing profits, then you need to ensure that you get your economic analysis right and try as much as possible to adopt best practices in the industry you choose to build a business in.
Lingerie line business is not a green business, as a matter of fact, you will come across several brand names in your local boutique, bridal shop and clothing stores when you go shopping. So, if you are mapping out your economic analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey and costing of the required raw materials, branding and other equipment needed to successfully run the business.
Over and above, if you are considering starting a lingerie line company, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of setting up the business and churning out quality lingerie, bridal gowns, swimwear and related apparel but also on branding and on how to build a robust distribution network. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust distribution network, you are sure going to maximize profits in the business.
Starting Your Lingerie Line Company from the Scratch versus Buying a Franchise
Unfortunately, you can hardly find a franchise of a lingerie line company to purchase meaning that if you want to own a lingerie line business, then you must be ready to start from the scratch. This is so because the business is still pretty much thriving and there are loads of opportunities available to aspiring entrepreneurs that are interested in the industry.
The truth is that it will pay you to start your lingerie line company from the scratch. Starting from the scratch will afford you the opportunity to conduct thorough market survey and feasibility studies before choosing a location to launch the business.
Please note that most of the big and successful lingerie line companies around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success and of course you can build your own lingerie line brand to become a successful brand with your products distributed all across the length and breadth of the United States of America and other countries of the world.
Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting a Lingerie Line Business
If you decide to start your own lingerie line business today, one of the major challenges you are likely to face is the presence of well established lingerie line brands cum companies whose products can be found all across the United States and the global market. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.
So also, just like any other business, one of the major threats that you are likely to face is economic downturn and unfavorable government policies. It is a fact that economic downturn affects purchasing power. Another threat that may likely face also is the arrival of a new lingerie line or even clothing line manufacturing company that also manufacture lingerie, bridal gown, swimwear and similar apparel in same location where yours is located.
Starting a Lingerie Line – Legal Matters
- Best legal entity to use for a Lingerie business
When considering starting a lingerie line company, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow; some lingerie line companies design their business and products for regional market, some for national market, while others for international market.
Generally, you have the option of either choosing a general partnership, limited liability company which is commonly called an LLC, or a sole proprietorship for a business such as a lingerie line company. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale/customized lingerie line business especially if you are just starting out with a moderate start – up capital, but people prefer limited liability Company for obvious reasons.
As a matter of fact, if your intention is to grow the business and have your lingerie, bridal gowns, swimwear and related apparels distributed across the United States of America and other countries of the world, then choosing sole proprietor is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.
For example, setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. It is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholders meeting and other managerial formalities.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your lingerie line business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and of course taxes.
If you take your time to critically study the various legal entity to use for your lingerie line business, you will agree that limited liability company; an LLC is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.
Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will give you the opportunity to grow your lingerie line business so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company; you will enjoy flexibility in ownership and in your management structures.
Catchy Business Name Ideas Suitable for a Lingerie Line Company
When it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. Usually it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.
If you are considering starting your own lingerie line company, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Sarah Lingerie Label, Inc.
- Clarisse Vaughn Lingerie Line, Inc.
- Jill & Daughters Designs, Inc.
- Daughters of Zion Lingerie Line Company
- Sexy Lady Bee Brand, Inc.
- Isabella Lingerie Signature, Inc.
- Rebecca Liverpool Lingerie Production Company
- Debbie Cards Lingerie, LLC
- Shavonne & Sharon Lingerie, Inc.
- Beci Lamb Lingerie Line, Inc.
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your lingerie line business.
Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own lingerie line business in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Workers compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark
If at all there are any businesses that requires intellectual property protection (copyright ©), then lingerie line business should be one of them. The truth is that your label, design and your style need to be protected or else anybody can successfully fake or create similar products and go scot free making money off your brand name.
If you just want to protect your unique design, your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO. The final approval of your trademark is subjected to the review of attorneys as required by USPTO.
Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Lingerie Line?
Although you do not need any special professional certification before you can successfully start your own lingerie line business, but you will do yourself a whole lot of favor, if you study fashion designing or a related course before starting this this type of business. It will afford you the opportunity to truly maximize the business; you will be able to have full grasps of the business from start to finish especially as it relates to producing trendy lingerie, swimwear, bridal gowns and similar female underwear/apparel.
List of Legal Documents You Need to Run a Lingerie Line
The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hand of the law catches up with you.
These are some of the basic legal document that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own lingerie line company in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employee Handbook
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Consulting contract documents
- Apostille (for those who intend operating beyond the United States of America)
Financing Your Lingerie Line Business
Starting a Lingerie line production business can be cost effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale making customized lingerie, swimwear, bridal gowns and similar female underwear/apparel based on demand. Securing a standard and well – equipped production facility is part of what will consume a large chunk of your start – up capital, but if you choose to start the business on a large scale, you would need to go source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard large scale lingerie line production company.
No doubt when it comes to financing a business, one of the first things and perhaps the major factors that you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for start–up capital for your lingerie production business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for loan from your bank/banks
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.
Choosing a Suitable Location for your Lingerie Manufacturing Company
When it comes to choosing a location for your lingerie line production business, the rule of thumb is that, you should be guided by the demand for such product and easy access to labor and raw materials in the location you so desire to start the business.
Of course, if you are able to secure a central location for your lingerie line production business, it will enable you cut the cost of transporting your raw materials and finished products to and from your production facility and warehouse.
It cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to open your lingerie line production business is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people (female folks) with the required purchasing power and lifestyle.
Most importantly, before choosing a location for your lingerie line production company, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out. Which is why it is very important to gather as much facts and figures before choosing a location to set – up your own lingerie line production business.
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your lingerie line production company;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for lingerie in the location
- The purchasing power of the residents of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The numbers of lingerie line companies and shoes and footwear manufacturing companies in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community/state
- Traffic, parking and security et al
Starting a Lingerie Line – Technical & Manpower Details
If you are considering setting up a lingerie line production company, it means that you should be prepared to purchase equipment and machines such as industrial cloth sewing and stitching machines, and industrial cutting machines.
These are the basic machines needed to launch the business. If you don’t have enough cash, you can start with fairly used equipment/machines but if you are financially buoyant, then you should go for brand new ones since they usually have a longer life span.
As regard leasing or outright purchase of a production facility or warehouse facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standings, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short–term rent/lease while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you go on a long-term lease or outright purchase of the property, but if not, then move on and source for another ideal location/facility for such business.
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard lingerie line production company, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer (you can occupy this role), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Sales and Marketing Manager, Lingerie, Swimwear and Bridal Gown Designers, Quality Control Officer, Tailors, Accountant, Distribution/Delivery Van Drivers and Client Service Executive. These are some of the key employees that you can work with. On the average, you will need a minimum of 10 t0 15 key staff members to run a small-scale but standard lingerie line production business.
The Production Process Involved in the Production of Lingerie, Bridal Gowns, Swimwear and similar female Apparel
When it comes to the manufacturing of lingerie, bridal gowns, swimwear and similar apparel, the first step to take is to come up with a design and then have the design approved by the board. After then, the next step is to determine the quantity and types (colors and sizes et al) of the lingerie, bridal gowns, swimwear and other similar apparel to be produced.
Other steps involved in the entire process are cutting the materials, sewing the materials, and putting finishing touches. The next step is to pass them through the quality control department before properly packaging, labeling and branding the products (lingerie, bridal gowns, swimwear and other similar apparel) for sale.
Starting a Lingerie Line – The Marketing Plan
- Marketing ideas and strategies
Generally, running a business requires that you should be proactive when it comes to marketing your goods or services. If you choose to launch a lingerie line production business, then you must go all out to employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well – known brands determining the market direction for lingerie.
These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your lingerie production line business;
- Introduce your products by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to corporate organizations, businesses in the lingerie, bridal gowns, swimwear and other similar apparel retailer industries, boutiques and key stake holders throughout the United States and Canada.
- Advertise on the internet on fashion blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across, so that those on the social media or those who read blogs can know where to go when they need to purchase your lingerie, bridal gowns, swimwear and other similar apparel.
- Creating a basic website for your business, so as to give your business an online presence.
- Directly market your products (lingerie, bridal gowns, swimwear and other similar apparel).
- Engage in road show in targeted communities from time to time to sell your products (lingerie, bridal gowns, swimwear and other similar apparel).
- Join local lingerie cum bridal gowns associations for industry trends and tips.
- Provide discount days for your customers
- Advertise our business in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations.
- List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories).
- Encourage the use of word of mouth marketing (referrals).
Strategies to Boost Your Lingerie Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity
If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portray your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend fortunes year in and year out to boost their brand awareness and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them to be.
If your intention of starting a lingerie line production company is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Your corporate identity has a lot to do when it comes to building a business that is profitable and lasts long.
Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your lingerie line production company;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and fashion magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events/programs
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your business
- Install your Bill Boards on strategic locations all around your city or state
- Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to retail your lingerie, bridal gowns, swimwear and other similar apparel
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Contact businesses in the lingerie, bridal gowns, swimwear and other similar apparel retailer industries, boutiques and key stakeholders throughout the United States and Canada informing them about your lingerie brand
- List your lingerie line production company in local directories/yellow pages
- Advertise your lingerie line production company in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and distribution trucks/vans are well branded with your company logo et al.
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