7 Tips for Starting a Successful Clothing Line
The ability to create your own clothing line is now easier than ever. You can set up your online shop in minutes and have access to more tools than ever before. However, clothing brands are being launched by more people than ever. What can you do to stand out in a sea of competition and make your brand stand out in this market?
We’ve had the opportunity to meet with many successful clothing companies that sell custom-made t-shirts. Here are the top 7 things to do when you’re starting your own clothing line.
Make your identity and choose a direction
Although it is essential to have a name and brand for your clothing line, many people ignore the importance of positioning your brand in a specific market. It is crucial to understand who your target audience is and keep your focus on that direction. It would be absurd to sell 10 t-rex shirts with a kitten on them if your clothing line is all about dinosaurs.
Sometimes, it is not uncommon for clothing lines to have some offbeat designs. This happens because customers like certain animals, bikes, creatures, etc. You want people to know your brand. You must be consistent throughout your marketing, showing your talent with style and staying iconic in your chosen field.
Comfort Colors’ article on Comfort Colours demonstrates how their brand and high quality products drive them forward. A strong identity will make it easier to network, which is vital for growth.
Know your audience
First, determine what purpose you are designing for. Do you want to help a cause? Is it an activity? Is it an organization? What about a hobby? You should make it something you love and are committed to for the long term. You must then decide who your design is for.
It is important to identify the buyers of your brand’s clothing. This will make it easier to market it. I cannot tell you how many people have clothing brands and don’t know their target market. The first thing you should ask if you aren’t sure which direction you want to go with your product/design is “Who is my target market?” Someone who wants to fish might prefer a more fitted or comfortable shirt than someone who is into high-fashion.
You should consider their age, gender, hobbies and interests. Also, think about how they adapt to changing styles. Are they willing to spend more or less? Where do they shop? It’s often about identity that people purchase custom t-shirts or other printed clothes.
These are crucial questions to answer when building and growing your brand. You don’t have to start with one market. This may change as your line matures. Ask questions to discover what shirt your audience prefers. If you invest in the right people, they will always invest.
The right shirt is what you need
Wearing your shirt doesn’t make you happy. It is important to find something that delights with its feel and looks.
There are many styles and fabrics available for T-shirts. Some even come with tear-away tags. You’ll be overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available if you’re just starting out with custom t-shirts.
Once your line is in the air for a while, sales data will be available to you. If you sold five times as many heavyweights than you did lightweights last year, that’s a strong indication that heavyweight is where your money should go this year. You don’t have this data if you’re just starting. How can you make these decisions?
A few rules of thumb should make things simpler.
Be sure to know your budget. This will allow you to maintain a healthy margin of profit and offer your customer great quality shirts.
Second, don’t be too style-conscious. It doesn’t make sense to have your design on every crew-cut, tank, long-sleeve and jacket out there. Make sure you only choose 1-2 styles, and that your design has a strong appeal before you place all your eggs into the same basket.
It’s usually better to offer more design options than just one style. Remember to keep in mind the seasons. Winter is probably not the best season to launch your custom tank line.
Research, research, and more research
Research, research and more research! Do not just sell your product, know it! There are so many options on the tee-shirt printing side that you don’t want your product to be overlooked.
It is worth taking the time to understand the screen sizes/print options, the difference between plastisol ink and water-based, the different shirts and their fabric compositions. You can also learn about specialty add-ons such as custom printed tags, or hem tags. Every aspect of the product, from its design and feel, to how it is delivered, will matter to your client.
It is important to partner with the right printer. Printers are not all created equal.
This is your company, your clothing line, your brand. It is important to ensure that the printer you choose will be there for you every step of the way. It’s your reputation that they don’t care about quality or aren’t committed to excellence. The printer that you have a good relationship with, who you can turn to as a resource hub and who you can count on to help you celebrate your successes is the one you choose.
Know your numbers
The initial investment
Although designing high-quality, retail-quality shirts can be very expensive (with all the add-ons that will take your brand to new heights) there are smart ways to lower costs. The best way to save money on your clothing is to be knowledgeable. It is possible to not choose the most expensive, but still great value blank garments if you are on a strict budget.
It doesn’t matter if you start at the bottom. Start at the top and work your way down! However, you also want to make a quality product. So don’t settle for a cheaper shirt. The chances of it being worn are slim, so no one will wear it. Your brand will not grow if nobody is wearing it. Research (and partnering the right printer) are crucial to the success of your brand.
You may be thinking about quitting your job and starting your own clothing company. However, most businesses don’t allow their founder to draw a salary during the first year. Consider your living costs, including insurance, medical bills and other expenses. Make sure you are able to pay for them before you leap. Another option is to run on credit. But be aware that it can be difficult to get a business loan for your new business and that you are under tremendous pressure. There is no denying that you will have less pressure if you start your own clothing company as a side business. However, you will need to be very disciplined with your time and where it goes when you are able to devote less time to your business.
Selling your shirts
Also, you’ll need to decide how much to sell your shirts. Keep these things in mind:
- Which one was your most expensive?
- Are you looking to make a profit?
- How can you order more shirts when you’re making less than what you charged?
- Make sure you know your audience, their budget and research similar clothing lines before making a decision.
Your shirts should be marketed
So, you have received your shirts. What next? Now it’s time to market them. Did you plan your marketing strategy properly?
Marketing strategy considerations
Before you sell your shirts online, think carefully about the answers to questions such as:
- Are you using social networks to promote your business?
- How do you grow your social network?
- Are you a pre-sales person?
- How will people find out that the shirts have been ordered?
- Are you planning to run ads in the future?
- Are you planning on selling your merchandise at events
- How will you set the price?
- Are you planning to sell online
- Did you ever set up stores to sell your shirts at?
- How are you going package your shirts
- What impression would you like to leave when someone receives it from you?
This list may seem daunting. It is important to create a marketing strategy that you can afford and that will convert. This will help your business avoid stalling on its runway.
Decide where to sell
There are many options for selling your shirt. Our clients sell in stores, online or both. It’s easy to start an online store, as we said earlier. Consider showcasing your product at events. Events, regardless of whether they are at a local pop-up store or a larger conference offer a great opportunity to show your product and get in front a lot of people.
You can create options and then see which ones sell.
The key to starting a successful clothing company is more than just selling one shirt. You will need to sell many shirts. It is important to offer different styles and designs so that people can choose from. This will allow you to track over time which shirts sell better and which ones don’t.
We know that it can be expensive to produce a full line. So, if you don’t have the budget for a large number of designs, start with two or three. By doing this, you can see what works and which don’t. You can then replace the underperforming tshirts with something better. It’s important to experiment with new ideas and techniques in order to be successful over the long-term.
Your own business operations will provide you with the most valuable information. When you understand which designs are the most successful, you can use that information to increase your profits.
Reprint the most popular designs, throw out the ones that didn’t sell, then add something new. Most likely, there will be a few designs that become big hits.
Keep printing! Keep printing them! You don’t have to reduce your profits. Market saturation is causing “everything” to be sold. Do yourself a favor by preserving the product’s value. Also, consumers may perceive a lower price as a devalued product. You can save a sale to make something special.