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7 Things to Know Before Starting a Clothing Line

Things to know before starting a clothing line

Today, there are more options than ever to start your own clothing line. Whether it’s in-person at a local street fair or online, the opportunities for you to showcase your designs are immense.

However, simply having the talent to create isn’t all you need to generate income in this business. The fashion industry is a nearly $1.5 trillion sector, and there is still substantial growth potential in the world of fashion. Therefore, the decision to dive into the fashion industry by launching a clothing line should not be taken lightly. Any aspiring clothing business entrepreneur should approach it with careful planning and understanding.

To profit from a clothing line, there are a few more things you need to consider. In this article, we will examine a few things you should know before taking the leap and launching your clothing line.

Know What Makes Your Brand Different

One of the first things to understand before launching your clothing line is what makes your business different. That difference is called a Unique Selling Proposition. Understanding your clothing company’s USP is essential. It differentiates your brand from competitors, establishes a clear market position, and guides your business strategy. With the apparel market being highly saturated, a well-defined USP allows your brand to stand out and attract your target audience effectively.

Think of it as the reason customers should choose your clothing over others. Is it your innovative designs? Do you produce superior quality? Or maybe you can boast about your sustainable practices. Is there any other aspect that sets you apart?

By identifying your USP, you send a clear message to potential customers about what makes your brand special. This clarity helps to increase your market share, customer loyalty, and repeat purchases.

A clear USP also aids in marketing and advertising efforts. It provides a foundation for your messaging, guiding the development of marketing campaigns that resonate with your target audience. It ensures that your promotional efforts are coherent, consistent, and impactful, leading to increased brand recognition and a strong market presence.

Your USP is the backbone of your brand. It allows you to carve out a distinctive niche in the fashion industry and guide every business decision you make.

Know Your Audience

Have you designed clothing that you want to share with the world? It’s a beautiful vision. While your clothing may be amazing, chances are, there will still be people not interested.

This is why it’s important to know the target audience for your clothing line. This isn’t just a bunch of business mumbo-jumbo. Especially if you’re creative and you love the design process, you might be tempted to skip this important step.

But it’s critical to imagine who is most likely to buy what you’ve designed. Think about the traits of the people most likely to love your clothes. Envision your typical customers as best as you can. Think about:

  • Are your customers male or female?
  • How old are your customers?
  • Do they have kids, and if so, how many?
  • What is a typical day like for them?
  • Where do your customers live? How does the weather influence their wardrobe?
  • Are there any religious or cultural aspects that influence their clothing choices?

Thinking through these various aspects will allow you to identify your target customer. This will allow you to more effectively reach those most likely to be interested in your clothing line.


Understand There Is a Lot of Competition

The fashion industry is one of the biggest in the world. In fact, if it were ranked alongside individual countries’ GDP the global fashion industry would represent the seventh-largest economy in the world. Because of this, the competition is fierce. Although it is not impossible to carve out a niche for yourself, you need to keep in mind that there are possibly millions of other fashion entrepreneurs that are trying to do the same thing.

This is why it is important to understand your industry and prepare yourself to compete before you start your clothing line. This means setting clear goals for your clothing business and setting out a plan to reach those goals. You should also learn more about the brands that have succeeded with your target audience as those that failed.


Know How to Market on Instagram

If you’re in the early phases of launching your clothing brand, you might not be considering marketing. However, knowing how to market your clothing line on Instagram is an absolute must. In fact, starting an entire clothing business on Instagram is becoming more of the norm.

Instagram is a crowded space for clothing brands but you can still find success there. To do so, you must leverage Instagram by cultivating a visually compelling and consistent aesthetic that resonates with its target audience.

Post captivating photos and videos showcasing the clothing line are essential. The posts should not just exhibit the clothes but also convey the brand story and lifestyle associated with the brand.

Be sure to mix it up. Publish a mix of product shots, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and user-generated content. This can bring variety and authenticity to the feed.

Also, use Instagram’s features such as Stories, Reels, and IGTV to engage followers and show off the clothing in dynamic, interactive ways. Make full use of shoppable posts and tags to seamlessly integrate ecommerce into the browsing experience.

Finally, remember to interact with followers by replying to comments and messages, and consider partnering with influencers who can reach potential customers within your target demographic. Running contests and giveaways, or offering special discounts to followers can incentivize engagement and help to grow your audience.


Know If People Like Your Creations Enough to Buy

New entrepreneurs often mistake having a good product or idea for having something people will actually pay for. This is why you need to validate your clothing products to see if your target audience is willing to pay for them at the price you’re asking. This step in your process is called validation.

Validating your product is one of the most important things you can do for your clothing line. Although you may receive many likes, compliments, views, and praise for your creations, if people aren’t willing to pay for them, you don’t have a real business. Undertaking this step before launching the product line will save you time and money. You’ll be able to see if your clothing line has income potential before you invest in materials and spend money marketing something that people might not be interested in buying.

The first way to validate your idea is to create a few prototype designs. Design and produce items that may be included in your line. Then, use social media or online surveys to gather feedback from potential customers. But don’t stop there. Give them the option to purchase one of the prototypes.

Another method of validation is by launching a crowdfunding campaign or a limited edition pre-sale. This strategy will not only gauge interest but also provide early funding.


Know that Profit Margins Can Vary Greatly

While it’s always important to know your audience and to market to them, the profits for each clothing business won’t always be the same percentage of sales. The profit margins for clothing lines and brands vary greatly.

Several things will cause variations in the net profit for every new clothing line. Where you choose to do business will influence your other costs, such as rent or other recurring fees. If your business is online, you may have varying costs based on your marketing spend. If you have a dropshipping clothing company, your profits will certainly depend on the royalties you earn. Recurring costs will consistently be deducted from potential profits, and they include:

  • Labor Costs
  • Materials Costs
  • Marketing Costs

 As a startup clothing line, you may find that your profit margins are low at first. However, as time goes by, and sales increase, you may be able to negotiate with suppliers and manufacturers to lower the cost of materials and production.


Know What to Do if Your Business Takes Off

Most new entrepreneurs think that when their business finally breaks through, they can sit back and watch the money flow. This is usually the exact opposite of what happens. When a business grows rapidly, more issues arise that you will need to be able to handle. That is why it is important that you have a plan in place for rapid growth.

Rapid growth often means that you need to scale up production. Without careful planning, this may compromise product quality. This may alienate your existing customer base and tarnish your brand’s reputation. A contingency plan ensures you have measures in place to maintain your product quality standards even in the face of rapid demand increases.

Also, as your company grows, so will its organizational complexity. This means you may hire people to do the work you once did. A plan helps you anticipate necessary changes in roles, responsibilities, and potentially new hiring needs to manage the increased workload effectively. 

Lastly, financial management becomes increasingly complex with growth. Your plan should incorporate strategies for managing increased revenue, expenses, and potential investments. This way, you can maintain financial health and capitalize on growth for further expansion or diversification.



Starting a fashion line can be a rewarding endeavor. Customers eagerly embrace new ideas from designers that take a fresh approach to unsolved problems. With talent, luck, and the right research, designers can find that their profits will often fall right in line.

Erin Shelby on TwitterErin Shelby on Wordpress
Erin Shelby
Team Writer: Erin Shelby is a writer and blogger based in Ohio. Follow her on Twitter @ByErinShelby

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Team Writer: Erin Shelby is a writer and blogger based in Ohio. Follow her on Twitter @ByErinShelby

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