What do Gucci, Quicksilver, SUPREME, and Nike all have in common? All of these clothing lines started with an idea that has developed into one of the most recognizable brands in the world today. So first off, let’s say congratulations on taking your first step to wanting to create your own clothing line. While launching your own fashion brand is challenging, thanks to ecommerce and digital marketing, it’s easier than ever to officially launch a brand into the world than ever before.
How To Come Up With a Clothing Brand Name
Without a brand, people will not recognize your clothing line and may mistake it with one of your competitors. And while it may seem like all of the “good names” are taken, it’s essential to trust your instincts when coming up with a brand name. Whoever would have thought that Gymshark or Adidas would have been some of the most recognizable names in the sporting industry. While we love names that don’t have any real meanings, oftentimes when starting out, clothing line entrepreneurs tend to choose names with style, modern, and trend in the names. It’s important to follow the theme your clothes will be associated with. And while it’s not always essential today, we do recommend looking at available domain names that match up with your brand name.
How To Start a Clothing Line
Now that you have decided to start a clothing line and have thought of your brand name, it’s important to realize that this is a marathon ahead of you, not a sprint. Starting a clothing line takes sweat equity, passion, and focus. Follow these steps in order to start your own clothing line.
- Identify a need in the fashion market. It wasn’t long ago that leisurewear became popular and many brands decided to hop on the wagon. As this staple continues into not only yoga studios, but the office, there’s still a need for more leisurewear brands today. Make sure you continue to identify different needs whether it is for formal wear, sports, leisure, beach, etc…
- Start your business plan. What is your goal for your clothing line? In your business plan, it’s important to set out what you want to accomplish with your clothing line.
- Figure out who your target audience is. Creating a clothing line for teenagers is going to be different for creating a clothing line for your grandparents. Be sure to figure out just who is your demographics before starting your clothing line.
- Create a SWOT analysis. In addition to figuring out who your target audience is and creating your business plan, make a chart of your Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats, and Opportunities with your brand. For example you may have great designers on your team (Strength), but you may be going into a market with a lot of competitors in your niche (Threat).
- Start designing your clothing line. The first collection you release to the market will say everything about your clothing line. Be sure to put your heart into your collection, think practically, and make sure you calculate the costs associated with your first collection.
- Find your clothing manufacturer. Unless you plan to sew and source all of your materials by yourself, it’s important to find a manufacturing partner for your clothing line. Be sure to ask for references from friends and colleagues. For years now, most clothing manufacturers are located in Vietnam, China, Bangladesh, or Sri Lanka. Because of the distance between you and these manufacturers, many entrepreneurs have wanted to go vet out the different factories in person.
- Determine your pricing. Now that you know who your target audience is, it’s important to determine your pricing. Whether you want to go for low cost goods or top of the line, now is the time to figure out what price your clothing items will sell for.
- Setup your marketing channels and launch your website. Sign up for social media marketing platforms as your brand name. Make sure to sign up and create business pages on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, YouTube, and any other relevant channels you can think of. It’s also time to either setup a store on Shopify or any other ecommerce platform. You can select one of the many available website templates to use, or hire a designer to craft-fully create your website theme.
- Start with a soft launch for your clothing line. While everyone’s goal is to launch with a runway show and champagne flowing, it’s best to keep your costs down in the beginning phase of starting your clothing line. Start with a proof of concept and sell those in limited quantities. As demand grows, you can approach investors and business partners for more capital for your inventory. There’s no shame in bootstrapping your company though and funding everything yourself while keeping 100% of your entire company.
- Set distribution goals. Seek different distribution for your clothing items and seek ones that can help you get into desirable stores of your choosing.
How To Market a Clothing Brand
Marketing for your clothing brand can make or break you. In this section, we’ll cover some of the best ideas to help you with marketing.
- Launch your website. We mentioned earlier in this guide that an ecommerce website is essential for your brand. This is the location you get to build your brand image. While many people want to just sell on Etsy or Amazon FBA, it’s essential that you control the narrative of your brand while also not being able to control any future changes the platform may enroll.
- Be active on social media platforms. Just like what we said about controlling your narrative with your website, we highly recommend to not only narrow in on one social media platform. While Instagram may be the best platform for your brand today, TikTok has proven to be revolutionary for many new startups as well. While Instagram may change their algorithm, it’s important to not be left in the dust and solely focused on only one channel.
- Have a brand personality. Whether you want your brand to be known as eco-friendly or as a brand for army veterans, it’s important to target your brand’s personality that is fit for your target audience. Use witty copywriting and custom packaging to entice your target audience.
- Use quality photography. As photography and technology continue to get better over time, it’s essential to have great photography of your clothing line as well as the personality that is featured in every piece of your clothing.
- Influencer marketing. Today, clothing brands are marketing their fashion lines with influencers in their target market. If you’re selling men’s shorts, Kim Kardashian may not be your ideal target audience, but Kelly Slater, the famous surfer, may be. Reach out to up and coming influencers and “micro-influencers” to try and negotiate better and cheaper deals.
- Email marketing. Email marketing has remained one of the best marketing channels for clothing brands. While social media may change their algorithm, email marketing is one of the best channels that will always put you in front of your customers. We highly recommend using a service like Mailchimp or Hubspot for your email marketing provider.
- Press and PR. Press and PR are still essential tactics for getting in front of your ideal customers. Figure out what blogs and magazines your audience reads and pitch your Unique Selling Point (USP) to these blogs and magazines.
- Paid Social Media Marketing. While a lot of the previously mentioned marketing tactics are “free”, we highly recommend using paid social media marketing as well to reach your audience. Here you can get directly in front of your audience by paying for keywords on Adwords or for Instagram and Facebook ads.
How To Trademark a Clothing Brand
When it comes to clothing brands, everyone can distinguish the Nike Swoosh. In fact, the Nike Swoosh is one of the most recognizable trademarks in the entire world. A trademark can be either a word, phrase, symbol, design, or logo that identifies your goods or services. Here are some steps to trademark a clothing brand.
- Be sure to have your name and logo designed.
- Identify which goods and services you want to protect.
- Search the USPTO database to see if your trademarked name has already been registered.
- File your application using a service or by using the Trademark Electronic Application System.