From local market stalls to home-based stores, many well-known clothing lines have started from humble beginnings. With dedication, ambition and hard work some of these designers became burgeoning talents within the fashion world and have now come to be recognizable, if not household names, within the industry.
Every aspiring designer needs to start somewhere. Along with having a clear creative vision and a competitive spirit, there are some business fundamentals to consider to give your clothing line the best chance of success. To help guide you with your new business venture, this article has outlined some key steps to follow to ensure your label makes a name for itself.
Create a Business Plan
A business plan is essential to help you outline your strategy, the steps necessary to achieve your goals and to keep you on track. For instance, do you intend to become a top clothing and apparel brand with your clothes available in most department stores, or would you prefer to be sold exclusively to a select audience, perhaps in boutique outlets only?
Whether you want to market to the masses or sell to a niche customer base it’s important to define your business model from the beginning. Some of the key components of your business plan should be a competitor analysis, marketing strategy and and financial model for startup. A business plan outlines the vision for your business as well as its profitability making it one of the main documents potential investors will ask to see as well as other parties you work with.
Unique Selling Point
Your unique selling point (USP) is what helps to make your startup idea stand out from the crowd. Whether its meeting a need that no other brand is such as producing locally or in a more sustainable way, exquisite craftsmanship or finding a gap in the market as Dainty Jewells have with their modest fashion clothing, your USP is what your business aligns itself with and becomes its unique offering to the world. To help you get clear on your USP consider the following questions:
- What problem are you addressing?
- What are you offering that your competitors are not?
- Does your clothing look unique in some way?
- Have you identified a gap in the market?
Once you have defined your USP, you will have a clearer idea of how to market yourself and hone in on your target audience by creating a USP statement to represent your business.
Before launching your clothing line, it’s important to have a clear idea of your target audience by doing some research into your desired customer base. Do you wish to target a wealthier segment of the market with your luxury sportswear, or perhaps a more environmentally conscious audience who are looking to purchase ethically sourced and sustainable clothing?
No matter your specific demographic, once you know who you are targeting you are in a better position to define matters such as price point, suppliers and your marketing strategy. Without a clear understanding of your target audience your messaging may fall flat resulting in wasted expenditure on marketing campaigns.
Knowing your audience will not only enable you to market in a way that resonates with your potential customers but will also allow you to contact them for feedback on how to improve your offering and guidance when creating new products.
Partner With a Manufacturer
It is unlikely you will be able to source and stitch all of your clothes yourself especially as your business takes off. Partnering with the right manufacturer will require doing your homework and may involve traveling to see how your materials are sourced and your clothes produced.
With countries such as China, India and Bangladesh being home to some of the cheapest clothing manufacturers in the world it may be cost-effective to have your clothes made in these countries. However, your choice of manufacturing partner should align with your business values. A clothing line that prides itself on locally sourced clothing with a low carbon footprint and fair pay to its workers will be in conflict with a foreign factory that is offering the lowest prices, but fails to match your core values. It is also important to ask which other clothing companies they are working with as this could also have a bearing on your business.
Before partnering with a manufacturer, it’s advisable to get samples of your clothing made first. If you have a few in mind, this is a great way to compare the quality and turnaround times of each batch to help you make your decision.
By following the three steps in this article, your new clothing line is more likely to be successful and make the desired impact on the fashion world.