Fashion is one of the few business sectors that best withstand bad economic times or times of crisis. Starting a clothing business is a safe bet to have a profitable and successful venture.
Getting dressed is one of the most basic needs and essential needs of human beings regardless of their social status or financial situation.
If you asked a large part of society if they want to dress or buy food, they would tell you that they would rather go hungry than go naked.
That’s why fashion moves so many billions every year in all parts of the world, and it is an ideal venture to generate good income if you like this world and have a certain taste for clothes.
Here I will show you how to start a clothing business and what tips are key for success and start your own business profitably.
How to start your clothing business in 7 steps
Decide what type of business you are going to start
I know you want to start a clothing business, but here I mean, is your platform to start selling your clothes.
Would you like it to be an online clothing store, a physical store in a shopping center or street, or perhaps you prefer to start with a franchise?
This is a decision that you must make according to your possibilities or the type of business you want to manage. But do not worry: it is not a decision that you can later regret.
Many entrepreneurs have started their business with a physical store and then have expanded it with an online store. Many people started a business on the Internet to later establish a physical business.
But be that as it may, you must decide what type of business to start first.
An online clothing store is ideal if you have little capital at the beginning since you will not have to invest in a place and the expenses that it entails, or if you do not like too much dealing with customers face to face.
And a physical store or clothing franchise is the best option if you want to start generating income immediately and you like to deal with people and advise them on fashion.
Choose the type of clothing you will sell
Don’t hastily decide what type of clothing to sell based on what you like, because this is the main reason most fashion businesses fail.
Many stores fail because they do not offer the products that local customers want and need.
Imagine that you love dogs and fashion, and you decide to open a pet clothing store. But your place is in an area where there are hardly any dogs or cats. Who is going to buy your items then? NOBODY.
That is why you must do a small market study to find out who your customers are.
It may seem complicated, but it is not so complicated. Here are some tips for doing it:
- If you are going to create an online store, check what kind of clothes they sell on other pages in the same country or city; If it is a physical store, take a walk through the commercial area where you want to open your store and see what your potential competitors are selling.
- Enter forums, blogs, and websites dedicated to the fashion in your country to see what the latest trends are, and check people’s comments to find out what they like the most (Clothes? Footwear? Maybe accessories? such as bags and belts? Or is there a large market that exercises and wants sportswear?).
- Find out if there is a specific type of clothing that people want, but few or no stores offer those items (for example, vintage clothing, haute couture, clothing for skaters or skaters …).
- Also, see what the average purchasing power of consumers in your area is. If they have low wages, you will have to sell quality clothes but at affordable prices, and it will be impossible to sell haute couture clothes because of their high prices.
In addition to all this, the good idea is to take a small questionnaire and go out to a busy street to ask the people who pass by and write down their answers.
Don’t let embarrassment paralyze you! This method will cost you nothing and help you know what people want, what they need, and how much they will be willing to pay for what you sell.
Create a name and logo
When you know what kind of clothes you will sell, it is time to create a name and logo for your company.
It doesn’t matter whether your business is online or physical: your clothing store should have a beautiful name that attracts your customers and a logo so that they remember you better.
To know how to create a name, click here -> How to choose the best names for your business.
Choose a location or create your online store.
When you have the previous basic steps covered, it is time for you to choose a good location if you are going to create a physical store or create your website if you are going to start an online store.
For a physical store
The location in a physical store is perhaps the most important part and responsible for our business failure or success. That is why you should look for a place that attracts possible customers.
The best thing is that you rent it at first, don’t buy it; If you buy a place and, for whatever reason, your business does not work, it will be much more difficult to sell it later and get that money back.
These are the 5 tips that you should keep in mind to choose the best place:
- Make sure it’s in a good area for a lot of your potential customers to pass through.
- Check that it is easy to reach; that is, there are bus lines, subways, or good roads to get there by car.
- Take a look at the competitors around you. See what products they sell, if they are the same or very similar to yours, and if they can pose a “threat” to your business.
- Find out if there are restrictive ordinances in the area. Some streets have regulations such as a cut-off time in which trucks or vans can unload, and this can affect you when your clothes are served.
- See if there is parking near your premises for customers who want to arrive by car.
For an online store
If you are going to start an online store, you must take care of all the details you would when choosing a place for your business.
These are the 5 tips that you should keep in mind:
- Pick a good domain name. You can choose your store’s name or a name with a good keyword related to your business, such as “www.ropaparabebe.com” (if you sell children’s clothing).
- If you don’t have much computer knowledge, open your store on a platform like Wix Stores, since there it will be very easy for you to start uploading photos of your products and configure all the options.
- If you understand a little computer, you can make your website and install a platform to open your virtual store (the one that has worked best for me is WordPress with WooCommerce).
- Make sure your online store has a good design that looks professional (white with black details works best for this type of virtual business).
- Create profiles on various social networks to show your articles and place links that take your followers to your page. For a clothing store, I recommend that you use Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Look for suppliers for your business
Whether you have an online store or a physical store, you will need clothes to sell or send to your customers.
You have several options for your items: it can be clothes that you make, sell second-hand clothes, look for factories or brands that distribute their products, or you can import it at a low cost from places like China.
Second-hand or used clothing stores are very popular in some countries because they have very low costs, and you can find real bargains such as haute couture clothes for a price much lower than the original.
These items are usually clothes donated to solidarity organizations that sell the clothes to stores for very low prices to raise money for charity.
If you want to sell these products, contact NGOs in your country to find out, but remember that you must make it clear to your customers that what you are selling are second-hand items that are already used.
Clothes designed by you
Some of the most prestigious clothing designers now started creating their clothes at home to sell to other firms or in their stores. And if you also know how to do it and are passionate about this world, you can also do it.
If you want to start a clothing business created by you, it is best to make your designs and collaborate with a couturier or dressmaker who sews your clothes or send them to a factory where they give you a good price making your clothes.
You can also give your clients the option to create customized clothing and suit them, and in this case, I recommend that your prices be somewhat higher as they are unique garments made only for each buyer.
Clothing from a specific brand
In this category, I mean all kinds of garments that carry a specific logo and brand.
This is perhaps the simplest option to start your clothing business because you will only have to review the brand’s catalog and choose the garments you want and the units you need at all times.
Take a good look at which brands have garments that best suit your store, contact several of them, and ask all of them for quotes, asking if there is any advantage for you such as discounts for wholesale purchases.
Take a good look at all those budgets, the prices, and the quality of the designs and fabrics, and place a small first order with the supplier of your choice to see if their customer service is good.
Clothes imported from abroad
Small businesses that start buying cheap products outside their country are growing more every day in places like China, where they tend to sell clothes at very low prices.
And if you don’t have a lot of capital at the beginning, you can start with this method, although there are some things you should keep in mind.
For example, clothes made in China are usually somewhat smaller, so take a good look at the sizes and their measurements; Also, being very low-cost garments, the quality is usually somewhat low.
And don’t forget about customs: each country has different rules, and perhaps yours will charge you too much commission for introducing a package with imported clothes.
Legalize your business
It is very important that a business, of whatever type, is legalized and with all the papers in order.
First, you must register as a freelance or independent professional, register as the owner of that business to pay the mandatory taxes to your government, and take out insurance.
If your business is a physical store, you will need to request your premises’ opening license at your town hall, a building license if you will reform it, and check if you need other special permits for your company.
On the other hand, if your business is an online store, all this documentation is not necessary, but you will have to register as a freelancer and register your business in the same way.
Promote yourself to get customers
Once you have everything prepared for your inauguration, you must think of a way to promote yourself to get your first customers.
Make sure your business appears in your city’s yellow pages and talk to journalists and the media in your area to see if they can write a short notice announcing your opening (if it is a physical store).
It is also a good idea to promote yourself on social networks by giving your new customers some incentive, such as a discount, a promotion, or a small gift in exchange for buying something.
Or you can think of something more innovative and imaginative, like a small fashion show in your store asking your girlfriends and friends to wear your clothes to be your models.
A clothing business can be a very lucrative endeavor if you consider all the above steps, and it can certainly work very well for you.
And if you want to start your own business, go for it and don’t give up – you’ll have to work hard and push yourself to achieve it, but the satisfaction of being your boss and the income you generate will be worthwhile rewards.
And you, what kind of clothes would you sell in your business? Leave me a comment below and tell me what you think.