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How to Start a Clothing Business

If you have a passion for fashion and want to make money doing what you love there are several ways you can start a clothing business. Whether you are a fashion designer and want to start a line of clothing, love hunting for vintage finds to sell online or dream of having your very own clothing store, we share with you what to consider for success.

What Kind of Clothing Business

Having a clothing business can be rewarding and fun but you need passion, skills and drive to set yourself apart from your competition and make a mark in the busy world of fashion. There are several career paths to consider depending on if you want to make fashion a full-time career or a side-hustle. In this article, we will address how to successfully start a clothing line or brand with your own designs and the different options you have for a start-up business.

How to Start a Clothing Business

If you want your fashion business to be a success, you first need to create a solid business plan. If you want to get serious about creating a fashion brand and make a decent income from it, here are a few things to consider before jumping in. All the items below will be inside your business plan. Make sure you spend all the time you need in the planning phase as this will prevent hardships later in the execution phase.

  • What is your brand name? You want your brand name to be memorable. Choose a name that isn’t already taken and one that you can get the website URL and social media handles with the same name. This makes your brand more cohesive and easily recognisable.
  • What are your unique selling points (USPs) and design niche? Do you have a product that people want to buy? Is it something new to the market? The clothing industry is huge so you want your brand and style to be different or serve a need.
  • Who is your customer? When creating your business plan, come up with a couple of target customers. Create a profile of each that says their age range, education, occupation, hobbies, shopping habits and the like so you can build your brand, website and marketing materials to appeal to those target customers. Is your customer only in the UK or do you plan to ship to more places?
  • What is the design look for your brand? This is your brand identity or the story you tell with your brand. You want a brand that will stick in peoples’ minds and stand out. Create a brand identity and brand guidelines that express who you are, your mission and passions with colours, a memorable logo and marketing materials that all flow together.
  • What are the start-up costs and expenses? Building a fashion line can have many upfront costs so you’ll need to consider these and how you will get the financing. Also, create a financial cushion because you may not make a lot of sales when you first start your business.
  • Who is your manufacturer? This is important if you plan to create a clothing line to sell to stores. You’ll need to take time to research this and decide if you want your line "Made in the UK" or by an overseas company. Get a sample line with the manufacturer to examine the quality before you place a large order.
  • What are your business model and legal structure? The business stuff is not usually artists or designers forte but it’s important to the success of your clothing business. So hire a professional to help get your business in the right legal status. You’ll want a good accountant to handle your books and taxes too.
  • Are there regulations you must follow? Clothing for sale must meet the guidelines of the Sale of Goods Act along with labelling and flammability requirements. Make sure your clothing line covers all the legal bases.
  • Do you need employees? Depending on the scale of your business and whether you choose to manufacture goods in-house, you may need to hire employees. Research what this involves and put it in your business plan even if you don’t plan to hire anyone right away.
  • What is your marketing plan and how will you build your online presence? Having active social media accounts is crucial to any fashion brand.

Having a clothing business can only be successful if you put in the time to plan out all these details so nothing sneaks up on you later. With millions of fashion brands already on the market, you have to set yourself apart and be a step ahead of your competitors.

Where Will You Sell Your Fashion Line?

  1. Sell Online — This is the easiest way to get started with a clothing business. It has the added benefit of having less start-up costs and overhead.
    • A. Sell on established websites — The fastest way to get started selling your fashions is to sign up for an account on the more popular e-commerce sites like Etsy, Amazon and eBay.
    • B. Build your own e-commerce site — You want to have a website for your clothing brand anyways, so you can also sell your goods from your website directly to the people. This requires more effort to maintain but you could make more money from in-house website sales.
  2. Rent a Space in a Market — If you want to have a retail space where you sell to the public but don’t want the overhead costs of a brick and mortar store, you can rent a stall at a market or get a booth at different events like festivals and conferences.
  3. Sell to Stores — If you don’t want to have a store or do any retail work yourself, you can sell your line to already established stores on a wholesale basis. This is the best option for those fashion businesses that have their clothing lines manufactured.

What Skills Do You Need to Have a Clothing Business?

You need to have the artistic and creative skills to make a desirable clothing line, but do people want to buy your clothes? That’s the big question. Is your clothing line unique? Does it fill a need? Before creating your clothing line, research what other brands are doing well and see who is your competition. Can you create something better?

Other skills you may need are related to the business side of having a clothing business — marketing your brand across social media, website maintenance, having many business meetings and conference calls, packaging and shipping products, creating new lines with the seasons, boosting seasonal sales and discounts to incentivise shoppers, and taking care of administrative tasks.

How to Form a Clothing Business

The good news is that if you have the passion and the skills to create a worthy clothing line, you can get the funding you need through many schemes in the UK. Do you want to register as a sole trader or a limited company ? We can help you decide which formation is best for your clothing business.

Are you ready to start a clothing business? At Mint Formations , we help you form your limited company and take away all the stress that comes with starting a business. We’ll secure your brand name and get your company registered fast so you can start doing what you love.

Want to register your UK limited company today?

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