Starting any business is a daunting task, but starting a fashion business and starting a clothing line is a different beast altogether. As a startup expert for the past two decades, I have created the top 10 tips for starting a successful fashion business.
It can be overwhelming to any prospective fashion designer when you’re trying to get your business off the ground. People are trying to start a successful clothing line left and right and with conflicting advice around every turn, you’ll wonder who you should be listening to and how to actually get started. However, you’ve found yourself in the right place. I’m going to give you 10 tips for getting your clothing business off the ground.
1. Study successful people
There are commonalities among successful entrepreneurs. Read their books, listen to their podcasts, learn from them to figure out how to start a successful fashion design business. There is a reason they are successful in the fashion industry. Take the time to understand their mindset and create that mindset for yourself. Having a successful mindset, believing you’re going to succeed is imperative to getting your head together, developing a plan, and creating good habits that will set you on the path to success.
Want to hear a bit more on how I started in the Fashion Industry, listen here.
2. Develop a sales plan
There are so many ways to sell things nowadays that is incredibly important to have a plan
before you get started. If you get started in the fashion industry selling clothing without knowing where and how to focus,
then you’ll end up wasting money, product, and connections. Where and how you sell will affect
your design, the amount of product you create, and your overall game plan when you start a clothing line. To determine if you want to sell wholesale, retail, online, in house, trade shows, trunk shows, or anywhere else in the fashion business. Make a
decision and don’t start promoting your product until you do. If you are thinking of going to a trade show, here is a list of shows in 2019.
3. Figure out your target market
The fashion industry is vast and difficult, and it can be very hard to figure out who to focus on
designing. The good news is that everyone needs clothes and accessories. There are a
number of specifics that you can narrow down in order to help you determine your target market
and therefore better design and market your product as you navigate how to start a fashion design business.
Consider age, gender, cost, demographics, hobbies, education, lifestyle, you name it. When you
choose a certain market, you will have a better idea of what, where, and how to do things. Once
you know your target market, you can learn about them and their usual preferences in order to
best serve them. If you have not downloaded your Free Designer Starter Kit yet, make sure to grab it here.
4. Design Product to Meet Your Target Market’s Needs
Once you know who your target market is, you can figure out what their needs and preferences
are. Knowing this will help you to design the product that best suits them. Oftentimes designers
go about this in the opposite way by designing a product that they think their target market
needs or would like and then thrusting it on them, only to have it backfire and barely sell at all.
Instead, listen to your target market. Learn what they are looking for. What clothes do they buy and from who? Do certain brands speak to them? How much are they willing to spend? What sort of marketing best reaches them? Make decisions with your target market in mind and you will find
much greater success. These are all questions that we got you thinking about in our blog about creating a brand identity.
5. Don’t Offer Too Much at Once
Especially in the beginning. Design something that matters to you, something defining that you
want to put out there as your unique offering to the world of a startup fashion brand. This will help to keep your
overhead costs lower, as well as helping you to not run yourself ragged trying to put out an
entire line of clothing. Create that one thing that has your unique name all over it and put it out
there for your target market. However, as you begin to sell your product, the time will come for you to design more. But for now, just make a name for yourself with a product that speaks for you.
6. Make Sure the Cost is Right for Your Target Market
You need to take two things into consideration when setting the price. For instance, the first is your costs for
design and production and the second is the price that your target market can and will pay. You
need to make a profit, so make sure the price is high enough that you are reimbursed for your
labor and materials and then have some extra. But you also need to make sure that your target
market will buy it, so don’t set the price over the maximum amount that your target is willing to
7. Keep Your Product Relevant by Knowing Your Competition
There are so many fashion designers out there, so make sure that you are aware of what they
are designing, where they are selling, and how much they are charging. It’s important to be
competitive and not left behind, especially when it comes to designers who have the same
target market as you. In other words, you will learn how to start a successful fashion design business
8. Have a Good Online Presence
A business’s visibility online is one of the top indicators of success these days. With influencers,
social media, SEO, blogs, websites, and email, your presence, or lack thereof, can either make
or break you. If you have a great product, are successfully reaching your target market, and
offering relevant and oft-shared content online, then you have the key to fashion design success
in your hands.
9. Make Sure to Create Your Brand Identity
Brand identity doesn’t just mean that you give your startup business a name, it literally is the feeling you
inspire in your customers. Therefore, what do you want people to think of when they see your clothes?
How do you want to inspire in the people who buy your designs? What is your vision? Your
goal? What is the personality of your brand? All of these questions should be answered when starting a clothing line.
Make sure that when you are considering the logistics of building a brand, you ask yourself
these questions. It’s not just a good design that keeps people coming back. It’s the company itself. Your brand identity will build customer loyalty. To create the identity you want to promote to the world. Check out this post about how to design your brand identity.
10. Keep Going Despite All the Challenges You May Face
There will be a lot of challenges, discouragements, setbacks when you are learning how to start a successful fashion design business. You’ll spend so much time on the
tedious work of cutting, trimming, and sewing, and not receive a profit. You’ll create something
and end up hating it. You’ll receive negative reviews. You’ll spend more on production than you
earn on sales. The list goes on and on. But if you keep going, you will find success. After all, failure
only comes when you quit.
In conclusion, no one ever said starting a clothing line would be easy. But if this is the work you love, it will be worth it.
I offer 1:1 coaching and strategy sessions to help take your dreams to reality. Click here to find out more.
And, whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you grow your fashion or product-based business:
1. Grab our Free Designer Starter Kit
It’s the road map to ensure you are taking the right steps when starting your business. — Click Here
2. Join the Start-Up Group Coaching Program
I’m putting together a group coaching program at Designer Consulting Co-Op for any and all PRODUCT BASED BUSINESSES (including starting a clothing line)… stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with me on your startup business … grab a spot on our waitlist. — Click Here
3. Work with me privately
If you’d like to work directly with me to guide you step-by-step … just fill out this contact form… tell me a little about your business and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!