Last Updated on May 17, 2020 by Ross Yamashita
If you’ve wondered how to start a clothing business online, we’ll answer it here. First of all, this article is not for people in the fashion industry. If you’re looking to design, cut and sew your own clothes, this article is not for you. However, some of the marketing and general concepts will still help you. This is more for people looking to create designs for their own apparel line.
How To Start A Clothing Business Online: Your Brand
Above all, this will be the most important step for you. Everything you do will hinge on your brand’s name so don’t rush through this. Rather, take your time and come up with a name that means something to you. See how we came up with our custom tshirt printing company name Kojent Apparel. Or, figure out what your apparel line will represent and name it accordingly.
Furthermore, consider a name that is brandable, leaves ability to grow and evergreen. While Los Angeles Awesome Street Wear may be cool, you may limit your demographic. Will your brand go outside of LA? Maybe some brands have been successful but those are usually backed by major labels. Similarly, they may have distribution channels into online and retail shops. Unless you have those connections, consider a broader approach.
Another trap to avoid is locking something that’s not evergreen. Evergreen means it will be good for a long time. As a result, naming your line Graphic Tees 2020 may not be optimal. Seems like 2020 will be remembered by the COVID-19 crisis. Almost everyone going through Coronavirus will remember it. But, will people remember the year in 10 years. What about 20 years from now? Probably not. Obviously, if 2020 has special meaning to you then that’s okay. But, in 20 years, will people’s look at 2020 and think “old school”?
Clothing Brand Logo
After you have your name, you’ll need to start coming up with concepts and designs. First of all, this will be your next crucial step. You have the name of your brand, now comes the logo. Because the logo is so important, don’t skimp on this part either. So many people rush through and get a $5 logo from Fiverr. Don’t fall into that trap. Rather, get a good graphic designer to design your logo. Your logo should have meaning. However, that doesn’t mean it needs to be too intricate. Some logos are rather simple. My point is be sure your logo is original. For the reason that so many “stock” logos are reused and you don’t want that. It could be as simple as manipulating a font or vectorizing a simple hand sketch.
Above all, make sure your logo is diversifiable. Avoid oddly shaped logos that may not fit on a business card or banner. Also, if your logo has gradients (half tones), you should have a solid version as well. This is important because you never know who will use your logo. Seems like we’ve had numerous times we’ve had trouble fitting a logo on a shirt. Or, the logo didn’t look good because it was too intricate for the space we had.
How To Start A Clothing Business Online: Your Designs
This is where the fun begins for most people. It’s time to start creating and designing shirts to sell. This is where you can start letting your creative juices flow more freely. Similarly, become familiar with trends, whether locally, industry or socially. Find out what phrases and design concepts are “hot” right now.
Need inspiration? Search online and see what’s out there. Certainly do NOT copy anybody else’s designs. But, you can use them to find inspiration to create your own, unique design. Likewise, take a trip to the store and see what’s on the shelves. Another good place to visit is the mall where there are lots of stores and kiosks to visit.
Finding A Printing Partner
This is an important step as well. Most noteworthy, you’ll need to find a reliable printer and fulfillment partner. Fulfillment means the printer will print, package and ship the order directly to the customer. So your customer will never know it came from a Print On Demand (POD) printer. As a result, who you choose as your printer is important.
We definitely hope you’ll choose Kojent Apparel as your Print On Demand printing partner. But, our main goal is to teach you how to start a clothing business online.
For that reason, do your homework and due diligence. Talk to your potential fulfillment company several times. Certainly more than once. Check for things like how long it takes for them to answer you. Also, ask them these questions:
- What are your prices?
- How do you handle customer service (returned orders)?
- What is your turn around time to print and ship?
- Do you offer same day shipping?
- Do I get an Account Executive (1 person) to handle my account?
- Who else do you do fulfillment for?
Start Online With Your Website
The next thing you’ll need is your online store. Seems like there are dozens of e-commerce platforms online today. You’ll need to consider what level of technical ability you have. Hence, do you want to host your own sites? Or, do you want a company to handle everything for you?
As with anything, the more you do on your own, the better the cost for you. While hosting your own websites seems daunting, it really isn’t. We cover a lot of this on the Kojent Apparel YouTube page. Consequently, you can host your own sites and run WooCommerce for your store. This will be the most cost-effective way to get started. However, if you don’t feel comfortable, there are several hosted solutions available.
The bottom line is, find what’s most comfortable for you and get started. Most noteworthy, don’t get caught up in the planning phase. Stop doing endless research and playing out scenarios in your head. You just have to get started and you’ll learn along the way.
Finally, once everything is built, you have to let people know about it. The loved movie phrase, if you build it they will come, is not true. First of all, start with your immediate circle, your family, friends and acquaintances. Next, create social media profiles for your brand and start posting on them. Don’t get discouraged if your posts don’t go viral. While it can happen, it most likely won’t. Keep putting out quality content on a consistent schedule. That’s the best way to grow an engaged audience. Work on growing organically but if you want to speed up the process, buy ads.
In contrast, it’s not always about online marketing. Don’t overlook offline marketing opportunities. Oftentimes, it can be as simple as donating a few items to be listed as a sponsor. Likewise, there are several low-cost, or free, opportunities out there in your community. Get creative to find them and you’ll build your network as well.
Finding how to start a clothing business online can be daunting. Certainly, we’ve only scratched the surface and gave you a summary on each topic. Look at our blog to find more articles where we go more in-depth. Finally, we hope you found this article helpful. We’re always here to help so contact us if you have any questions.