How To Start A Business In Clothing – Is a simple store management software. We help you streamline your business, keep jobs moving and your team on the same page.
Starting a clothing business is a dream for thousands of entrepreneurs. But how do you really do it?
How To Start A Business In Clothing
In this article, we’ll show you how small, medium, and large clothing brands have planned, marketed, built, and grown their businesses.
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We will draw on interviews with major players in the custom apparel industry, such as SanMar and Bella + Canvas. But we’ll also take the best of the PrintHustlers podcast, where we interview over a hundred printers.
A clothing business can be pretty much anything you want it to be. Entrepreneurs choose many different paths, from printing and making clothes to designing and selling them.
If you sell directly to consumers, you can choose who you want to work with at many stages of the clothing development process:
Clothing companies that sell directly to businesses may not have the luxury of choosing their customers (for example, printers often do contract printing where they simply print what other customers want). But even then, most custom clothing companies can choose to say no to clients they don’t want or jobs they can’t handle.
How To Start A Clothing Business?
Many clothing businesses began as a young entrepreneur’s first foray into making clothes for a brand they created themselves. Dominic Rosacci of Superior Ink started his own clothing business because he simply wanted to imitate the major snowboarding and skateboarding brands he loved.
Many of the top fashion designers thrive on seeing their ideas come to life. High fashion doesn’t have to be the only goal, as a variety of companies were founded by entrepreneurs simply looking to fill a niche:
The main point is that many clothing businesses start not out of a lofty dream, but out of a practical need for clothing and clothing for a specific niche.
If you’re not interested in designing your own clothing specifically, screen print shops take a biased approach to the fashion industry: they turn great works of art into beautiful prints.
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Thanks to the work of process screen printers in the 1980s and 1990s, it is possible to print photorealistic images.
Screen printers also work with a variety of companies and clients to meet their exact needs. “Each job is truly a one-of-a-kind custom work [in screen printing],” comments Golden Press Studio owner Jonathon Overmeyer.
Screen printing is exceptionally hands-on and process-oriented. If that sounds like something you’d like, then learn how to start a screen printing business.
Interested in working remotely? Do you want to run a business and not be tied to a desk in an office?
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Running a clothing business can be a reliable and profitable source of additional income, and others have gone a step further.
In the building most days, many clothing brands have outsourced virtually every step of their manufacturing, printing, sales, and shipping processes. They use email and social media for marketing and contract printing for most of their actual output. Believe it or not, this model can be more profitable than a traditional brick and mortar business!
Software like Shopify allows entrepreneurs to sell clothes anywhere and get paid quickly directly over the Internet.
You can sell your own brand or you can sell a racket to other people so they can start their own brands.
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Here’s what we mean by “selling a shovel”: Many clothing companies support other entrepreneurs in making their dreams come true, like Oakland, California-based Big Printing, which has amassed more than 150,000 Instagram followers and helped launch hundreds of of brands.
Most clothing businesses start in the garage of an entrepreneur’s home, or even in their bedroom. Printers don’t always start their own clothing brands. You can work in the opposite direction: develop your printing, manufacturing, and sourcing skills first.
It is daunting to start a business. You need to understand your state’s local laws on incorporation, carefully balance your finances, and develop a business model that leaves you with something in your pocket at the end of the day.
But the fundamental skills you need are the same ones you’ll need in any business role. Fortunately, none of these are “natural” talents. These are all abilities that you can learn, improve, and continue to research during your journey. The skills are simple:
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Too many people think that sales and marketing skills are something only certain kinds of people can do: the loud, brash, outgoing, super-fun guys who never slow down and always have something to say.
Your primary goal as a marketer, particularly early in your growth and development, is to increase the visibility of your business. People need to see your business multiple times before they realize you exist, so don’t be afraid to use retargeted advertising or be incredibly repetitive in your messaging and branding.
Sales go hand in hand with marketing. Your sales goal is to sell (of course), but the way to sell more is to make genuine connections.
How do you do that? Go where your target audience is and be active in your community.
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One of the biggest problems facing clothing startups is a lack of knowledge and experience with custom garments.
The screen printing process is complex and each step is highly dependent on the previous step. It is a process that can often require a company to
For example, you must absolutely understand the difference between DTG and screen printing. Know what it takes to embroider a garment. Find out about wholesalers. Learn the jargon the company uses. One of the easiest places to do this is at trade shows (once they start again after 2020-2021!).
Sales are the FIRST STEP in the production process, because they are a promise that you can do what you said you could do.
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Go for it if you have a firm understanding of the ins and outs of the actual processes involved in embroidery, DTG and screen printing!
The clothing business is first and foremost a technology industry. Businesses that embrace technology—whether it’s simple software to run their store, a way to communicate faster with customers, or investments in futuristic hybrid print—are significantly further along than businesses that don’t.
Clothing companies like Real Thread in Florida have told us bluntly that they consider themselves tech companies first and print companies second.
This is a huge and important idea: you need software to organize your store, a good website, and a basic understanding of SEO at the very least.
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There is a lot of great software out there that will make starting, growing, and maintaining a clothing business much easier. Read more about it here.
Creating a website for your print shop is essential, and will require a significant (though not overwhelming) time commitment on your part.
You’ll also want to have a basic understanding of SEO for print shops. As Jupmode’s John Amato points out, “A great website is nothing without discoverability.”
Social skills are NOT an innate tendency that certain types of people have. Social skills are something you can
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People skills are needed in the garment industry because every part of your business revolves around people: they buy the clothes, they make the clothes, they wear the clothes.
Remember how NIKE started because they wanted to make better shoes? They had the social skills to figure out that athletes needed better shoes, convinced athletes that their shoes were worth trying,
Because if you design a product, spend a lot of money making it, and then you can’t sell it, you haven’t been able to build a business.
Reverse the traditional thought process a bit: don’t start with the product and work backward from there. Start with the people you want to sell your product to.
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Who are they? What are they interested in? Where do they go and how can you reach them?
The world’s most influential clothing brands (think Supreme, NIKE, etc.) have created strong subcultures around their merchandise. Using their products tells other people that you are part of that brand’s subculture.
Long-term business planning is not in anyone’s first nature. But it’s a skill you can cultivate with some simple strategic planning.
So when you start planning your clothing brand, the easiest way to start is to think about the long-term goals you want to achieve.
Clothing Line Business Plan Powerpoint Presentation Slides
For each of these questions, you want to be able to think 1, 3, and 5 years into the future:
These are big, high-level goals with concrete answers. You can take small steps each day with this vision in mind, making every choice you face along the way simpler.
While many screen printers start businesses by purchasing equipment, refining their techniques, and then learning sales and marketing techniques, that’s not the only path to success. In fact, investing heavily in equipment to start a clothing business is probably not the most cost-effective or fastest way to get started.
So what should you focus on when starting your business? You really only need a computer connected to the Internet and a network of people to connect to.
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Your computer is the center of your business. We live in a digitally connected age where you may never touch a single item of clothing and still run a
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