How to Start Your Own Clothing Business in 10 Steps

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In 2021, the global apparel business was estimated to be worth $1.5 trillion. That’s how profitable the clothing business is. So, if you’re considering stepping into the scene and starting an apparel business, you’re making a good decision. However, starting any business at all is not an easy feat. That’s why you must learn the steps before venturing into this vibrant industry, lest you make avoidable errors. Read on to find out how to start a thriving attire business. 

  1. Spot a need in the market 

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Before starting an apparel business, you must identify a market need. It is not advisable to just rush into any niche you perceive to be booming. The niche may look attractive and profitable, but you might not have what it takes to succeed in it. Many people have ventured into the attire business only to find out that it is saturated. There’s little or no demand for the products they’re making or selling. 

To avoid this mistake, you must do your market research and discover what people really need. Market research is the process of determining if your business idea is viable or feasible. There are two types of market research; primary and secondary. Primary research is when you collect the data on your own by interviewing users or carrying out surveys. On the other hand, secondary research is when you use data from reputable sources who have already carried out the research. 

The main reason for doing market research is to understand how the market works to determine if your idea will be well-received. This research will let you know whether your product or service will be needed. This is the first and most important aspect of starting any business at all. If you skip this step, you’re setting yourself up for failure. It’s not fun investing so much effort and money into a business only to discover that it’s not viable. Therefore, do your homework properly before you start.

The benefits of market research are numerous. Here are a few:

  • It keeps you adequately informed about how the market works so that you can plan and strategize accordingly
  • It helps you gain insight into what customers really need
  • It helps you forecast what sales would be like
  • It gives you a competitive edge 
  1. Carve a niche for yourself

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Creating a niche for yourself is another essential step in starting a clothing business. We’ve all heard the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” If you try to do everything, you won’t be the best at any of them. Carving a niche in business involves identifying and catering to a market segment defined by its identity, preferences and unique needs. 

Market research, which is the first step, will help a lot in carving a business niche for yourself. The research would have opened your eyes to what customers need, letting you know where to pitch your tent. The clothing industry is so vast that an attempt to do everything would be an exercise in futility. 

While creating a niche market is vital, it does not mean you should do this blindly. There are two factors to consider before choosing one. First, look for niches that relate to your passion and hobbies. This is very crucial as you will be frustrated in business from time to time. Doing what you love keeps you going in these challenging times. Therefore, pick a niche that aligns with what you love.

Next, research the potential competition in that field. These are people who are already playing in the field you intend to enter. How are they faring? Are they successful or struggling? If they’re successful, is there room for you to penetrate the market? If they’re struggling, what are they not doing well that you can do better? How can you stand out from the competition and win the heart of customers? Answering these questions and others will help you create a niche.

  1. Identify and understand your audience (especially if you’re opening a boutique)

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Defining and understanding your potential customers is vital when starting a clothing business, especially if you’re opening a boutique. Who is your ideal customer? What are their favorite designers? How often do they shop? Where do they shop? Are they crazy about trends or are they conservative? How much are they willing to pay for clothing items? Do they have fashion icons? What and who influences their buying decisions? All these and more are questions you should ask about your potential customers. The answers will help you identify, define and understand your audience.

  1. Create a business plan

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The next step in starting your clothing business is to write a business plan. A lot of people skip this part but they always end up paying dearly for it down the line. So that you don’t make this mistake, put together your business plan before starting out. With the first few steps, you already have some information to put into your business plan. This plan is very essential as it guides you through starting and managing your business

Your business plan is a roadmap for your business. It is not only beneficial for starting, but it is also a valuable document you can refer to from time to time. A business plan helps you to structure your business, think through the key elements and run your business efficiently. There’s more! You can get funding and even take on business partners with a business plan. No serious investor will put money in a business without first seeing the business plan. This is how important this document is.

There are many business plan formats. Choose the one that suits your needs. However, certain elements are necessary for every business plan. They are the following:

  1. Executive summary: this is where you tell your audience what your business is about and why it will thrive. Talk about your products or services, mission statement and other information about the management.
  2. Company description: here, talk about the need your business is meeting and the customers you plan to serve.
  3. Market analysis: the market research you did earlier will come in handy here. Describe your understanding of the industry and target market.
  4. Management and organization: let your audience know the structure of your business and how it will be run.
  5. Marketing strategy: describe how you plan to market and sell your products here.

There are no hard and fast rules about business plans. To commence with this step, get a good template and edit it as you deem fit.

5. Work on branding

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This is the right time to come up with a brand name if you don’t already have one. Make sure the name is appealing, memorable, and easy to call and spell. Decide on your brand color, logo and slogan. Be as creative as possible and ensure your brand reflects your passion and personality. This will make your brand more appealing to customers.

6. Register your business

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It’s time to make your business legal. Many factors affect business registration. They include the following:

  • Location
  • Type of business
  • Size of business 

You also need to determine the type of business structure you want, whether sole proprietorship, partnership or limited liability corporation. Next, find a location for your business, even if it is an online business. This is important as you will need an address to put in the registration forms. 

7. Start producing or sourcing for products

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Once you’ve taken care of the steps above, commence with production or product sourcing. By now, you have already researched suppliers and wholesalers where you can get products and materials at a bargain. If you decide to do dropshipping, get in touch with partners and be ready when you start getting orders.

8. Invest in technology

When starting your own clothing store, one of the first things you need to do is invest in a quality POS system. This will help you keep track of your inventory, sales, and customers. There are many different POS systems on the market, so it is important to do your research and find one that fits your needs. Once you have a POS system in place, you will be able to run your business more efficiently and effectively. 

Read Wise Small Business‘ guide to choose the best POS system for your clothing store.

9. Put a price on your products

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Pricing is a vital part of starting a business. This is the time to start putting a price on your products. Factors to consider while pricing your goods are:

  • Business goals
  • Target market
  • Cost of production
  • Positioning 
  • Competitors’ prices

These factors will help you determine the perfect price for your products.

10. Market your business

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The final step in starting your clothing business is marketing. Without marketing, no business can thrive, as potential customers won’t be aware of your products. The world is changing and traditional marketing methods are becoming obsolete. Adopt modern and popular marketing strategies like social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, influencer marketing and sponsorships. A few trial and error attempts will help you find the suitable one for your business.

Take the bold step and start your own clothing business

The attire industry is exciting and profitable if you take the right steps. Failure to follow the proper procedure in starting a clothing business can lead to a loss of capital and zeal. To ensure this doesn’t happen, take the steps listed here carefully. Know that you will make some mistakes along the way but learn from them and keep moving. 

Moyofade Ipadeola is a Content Strategist, UX Writer and Editor. Witty, she loves personal development and helping people grow. Mo, as she’s fondly called, is fascinated by all things tech.

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