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How to Start Your Own Clothing Line

Make clothing yourself

If you've ever struggled to find clothing that matches up with the idea of how you want to look, then maybe you've considered making such clothing yourself! And who knows? There might be other people out there who also want what you have in mind - maybe you can sell clothing to them. It seems fun, and it is, but it's also hard work! Here's an outline of the process.

1. Write a business plan. Use this as an outline, you can deviate from it a little, but keep this as your map. The important thing is to be as specific and as realistic as possible!

Funding - How much money will you need in order to launch your clothing line? Do you have money saved up for this? Or will you need bank loan? To get a loan, you might need to have collateral. Read through the rest of this article, then make a list of all of your anticipated costs (materials, manufacturing, supplies, equipment, advertisement, marketing, etc.).

Research - Who is your competition? Your target market? Get a retail job at a store that caters to your target market. See what they are buying. How much do you think you can sell your designs for at the retail and wholesale level? Ask around. Get feedback. Talk to store owners and potential customers alike. Find examples of clothing that is similar to what you're going to design - where and for how much do they sell?

Profitability - Do you want to do this full-time? How many years are you willing to wait before this company starts turning a profit, and then giving you a salary? Or do you want it to be a side thing, that if it makes you money, it's a bonus, but you value your expression more than profitability? You'll probably spend more money than you earn for the first four seasons (1 year) but once you're established, you might be able to expand with funding from Angel Investors, celebrities, and pre-orders with store accounts.

Legalities - Decide on your business structure (LLC? partnership? corporation?). In the US, you'll need a tax ID number, a business license, and you'll also want to fill out a DBA (doing business as) form at your local bank so that you can accept checks written out to your company's name.

2. Choose a name. Brainstorm a lot of different logos, but narrow it down to one and make sure you are completely sure about the one you choose. People are going to recognize you by your logo and it will confuse them if you keep changing it. Check to make sure the name you pick has an available domain name, and look into registering for a trademark if you're in the US.

Your brand name and company name can (and should) be different. Your company name, for example, can be your initials or a variation of your own name, while the name of the collection (the clothing line) can be something more creative and representative of the style you're going for.

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