How to start a clothing line: the 9-step plan

How to start your own clothing line

You’re at the beginning of your journey and the to-do’s can seem overwhelming. So whether you’re thinking of how to start a clothing line from home, 카지노사이트 or have your own workshop, here are our top nine bases to cover.

  • Decide on your niche
  • Build your budget or business plan
  • Organise your business
  • Create your designs
  • Create your brand
  • Start manufacturing
  • Test your product
  • Launch your product
  • Scale up

1. Decide on your niche

Starting a clothing business is a very personal journey. You’re probably a creative person, with something different to offer in a fast-moving industry. It’s likely that you’ve spotted a gap in the market, or have a unique design in mind for a specific customer group.

Whatever your inspiration for starting up, it’s important to define your niche from the out-set. Are you looking for information on how to start a fitness clothing brand or a sports clothing line, for example? Maybe you’re planning to build a fanbase for one specific item, like the world-famous Fred Perry shirt.

Or it could be a particular style that you have in mind for your clothing line – like the pared back, design-focused children’s products sold by lifestyle brand Scandiborn, or menswear that nods to your own unique heritage?

It could also be a clothing business that’s born out of a particular need or ethos, from cruelty-free clothing and sustainable fashion to premature baby accessories.

Know your niche, and bear it in mind. Even if you branch out and introduce lots of other designs as time goes by, your original idea gives you heritage, a guiding principle, and a reason to be remembered.

2. Build your budget or business plan

If this is really just a shoestring idea, and you’re testing your designs on a small scale, you might not need a full-on business plan to get started. Watch out though, if your idea takes off you’ll want to scale pretty quickly, so it makes sense to keep even a rough plan in the background.

A common question is ‘how much does it cost to start a clothing line?’, and while it may be possible to do it on just a few hundred pounds, it’s far more likely to cost thousands. According to Make it British, 50 per cent of startups spent over £15,000 launching their UK-made brands.바카라사이트

Bear in mind, the fashion industry is notoriously difficult to predict. Plans will need to be flexible and there are no guarantees, so you’ll need to be up for the challenge.

Creating a budget…

For the first few months at least, it pays to keep things simple. Starting with one design which you love, know how to manufacture (or buy) and have had great feedback on may be much easier than launching with a lengthy product catalogue.

It helps to have a fixed figure in mind, and decide how you’re going to spend your funding, along with what you want to achieve. Try to allow room for flexibility – you may not know the price of specific materials yet, for example, or manufacturing costs – but having that original budget in mind will help you make the decisions that drive your first sales.

Your budget will also depend on whether you plan to design and make the clothes yourself (or with a manufacturer), or buy clothes from designers at wholesale price. Either way, start small. Invest in smaller designers and/or basic equipment to start off with and as demand grows, you can review your key outgoings.

… and/or a clothing line business plan

If you need a business plan – perhaps to secure funding or other support – start off by nailing the basics. You’ll need to give an overview of your business, including an executive summary, and a clear outline of how your clothing line is going to start, grow and prepare to scale.

You’ll also need to include the analysis you’ve done, to understand your target market and any competitors. Remember, this does need to be data-oriented, concrete and preferably something you’ve done with external sources. It can’t just be your personal view of what’s wrong with the current market options (although there’s a place for this too!).온라인카지

Your plan should also outline who’s involved in your business and what they do, whether it’s just you, or you’re working with anyone else. You’ll need to leave room for the product(s), of course, and talk about any plans you have for branding, sales and marketing, as well as operations.

Finally, whoever’s reading your plan will be most concerned with one thing, and that’s the money. You’ll need to finish off with a solid section clearly outlining your business’ current financial position (even if this is very initial), priorities for growth, and how their investment will help things to fly.

3. Organise your business

Even if you’re not writing a full-on business plan, the same principles apply when organising your startup. You may be planning just to buy a sewing machine and get straight to work, but even this is a time and resource commitment.

If you’re investing effort and have goals for the future, put down in writing how your business will take shape, including plans and ideas for:

Your location(s)

Are you working from your bedroom but aiming to move into a small studio? Remember, certain rules apply for online businesses, or market stall traders.

How it works

Is it going to be you selling pieces on a stall for now? Or are you going to be an online retailer? Could Facebook Marketplace or Instagram be a good place to start? If so, check out our guide on how to sell on Facebook Marketplace and how to sell on Instagram before you get started.

Read more about online retailer insurance.

Maybe you’re even planning to open a bricks and mortar shop. Whatever option you go for, most businesses will need to get set up with HMRC for tax purposes, and factor in time to sort out any licenses or permits (especially if you’re planning to trade on the street or at a market).

You’ll also need to research the rules you must follow before selling clothes online, buying from or selling abroad, or storing personal details from your customers, fanbase or even your suppliers.

Who’s running things?

Even if it’s just you managing the business, are there any other key people involved who you’re going to rely on? For example, a designer, accountant, people to help you with setting up a stall, storage etc?

Your product catalogue

This might just be one hero product, or you could have a long list of items. Be aware of your product list and think about how you plan to manufacture, stock and store pieces, along with particular packaging needs.

Sales and marketing

We’ll cover this in more detail below, but it’s a good idea to think through your marketing plans and how you’re going to create some buzz around your clothes and designs.

You’ll want to think about how you might use social media and whether you need a business website, blog, or to print marketing materials.

And when it comes to sales, pricing your product properly is important. It’s not as simple as deciding how much profit you want to make.

If you want to be a luxury fashion brand, then you need a price point that reflects that ambition. If you’re going for simplicity, then the price should show your no-frills attitude.

Read our guide on how to price a product for more on pricing strategies.


You might just be planning to sell items online, straight from your sewing machine, but if you’re investing time and funds, it’s worth protecting your small business from the outset, ideally with a tailored business insurance or clothing/fashion shop insurance policy.

This can include things like online retailer insurance, product liability insurance, and stock cover.


You’ll need some idea of what money you already have, to get your business up and running, and where you can look for additional support. From government-backed Start Up Loans to crowdfunding, our small business finance guide is a great place to start.

When it comes to managing your finances, you might find it helpful to read our guide on the best business bank accounts and best accounting software for small businesses.

4. Create your designs

For any clothing business, one of the most exciting stages is product development. Even if you only have a design concept for one product in these early days, start getting it on paper or screen, as a sketch. Once you’re ready, turn rough ideas into nailed down digital sketches. Programmes like Adobe Illustrator can do a lot of the hard work for you.

Sketches done, you’ll need to think about your ‘tech pack’, which is the essential information you’ll give to your manufacturer. It’ll need to include your product’s details and technical specifications, from design and measurements to materials and any extra accessories or features.

From there, you’ll need to get started on pattern making and grading, ahead of sourcing your manufacturer.

5. Create your brand

As a fashion or clothing pro, you’re likely to be creative. And this will stand you in good stead for developing a brand for your startup clothing company.

Pick a brand name that appeals to your target audience. For instance, you might choose a brand name based on the age of your target audience, like Fish & Kids. And if your store features your own unique designs, you could always use your name as your brand’s name (just like Tommy Hilfiger and Hugo Boss).

Your logo will be an important part of your brand. You might end up incorporating it into your designs, or featuring it prominently on your social media channels.

For tips on making sure your logo is memorable, read our guide to developing a brand identity (from choosing colours to a typeface).

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