HOW TO START & RUN A SUCCESSFUL
CLOTHING LABEL FROM SCRATCH

+
10 ULTIMATE MONEY SAVING TIPS

Manufacturer's eBook for Start-Up and Emerging Clothing Label Owners

IS THIS eBOOK FOR ME?

THIS IS VERY SPECIALIZED eBOOK AND USEFUL ONLY IF YOU'RE FALLING ANY OF THE FOLLOWINGS :

START-UP CLOTHING LABEL OWNERS
 

You may be at the stage where you dream to start your own clothing label from scratch and you have no prior experience. You're not sure where to start from and what to do.

EMERGING CLOTHING OWNER

You might be an emerging clothing label and looking to scale up as well as organize your clothing label. You're not sure how can you save money and streamline your manufacturing

ACADEMICIANS / FASHION SCHOOL
 

Many times academicians from Fashion Schools takes tips / views / ideas and include that in their teaching content for their students. This eBook is going to help you for sure.

eBOOK SELLER RELATED TO FASHION

 

In case you're an eBook seller related to fashion, clothing and business, this is going to big time helpful.

Read Ahead Only If You're In Between Any of Above Four Situation!

THE STEPS & APPROACH

01/04

PRE PRODUCTION

  1. Understand the business model

  2. Decide your niche and target group

  3. Understand the marketplace and competition

  4. Develop the product concept ideas. Organise the requirement details - designs, fabric, quantity, packaging, courier accounts

  5. Label name, domain, website, email ID, social media presence

03/04

POST PRODUCTION

  1. Cataloging on own website + marketplace

  2. Creating buzz on social media

  3. Understanding order processing method, logistic partner

02/04

PRODUCTION

  1. Finding the right manufacturing partner

  2. Feasibility check, quotation and logistics

  3. Order of sampling

  4. Production order, size set and final bulk

  5. Photo shoot

04/04

LAUNCH, REVIEW & SCALE UP

  1. Go LIVE

  2. Start social media campaign

  3. Speak to customer and understand why're they have bought, what they like and what not (if returned)

  4. Scaling up by increasing number of styles, foraying into different category, increasing number of marketplace

+ Do's and Don't Do's
+ 10 Money Saving Tips
+ 20 FREE Tools for Your Business

01/04 - PRE PRODUCTION

01. Understanding the business model

There're different model of clothing business and you need to understand which one suits you. Each model needs different approach to be successful. Well, so what're those models :​

Trading / Retailer / Whole-selling - Here you don't need manufacturer. You need to have a supplier 

 

Dropship Business / POD (Print on Demand) - Here you don't own any product. You simply have  

Custom made-to-measure business - 

Private Label / Own Brand - 

Cut and Sew - 

02. Deciding your niche & target group

You need to decide your niche by understanding what specific line of clothing you will begin with. Niche means a specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product. Please note, this is the most crucial step and most of start up clothing label land in big trouble due to incorrect decision at this step. Your decision of clothing line will hugely impact on almost everything you will be doing from here onward and one wrong decision will simply kill everything.

What is clothing line category and target group?

Screenshot 2021-07-31 at 1.40.02 AM.png

Above is just one line grid to understand the clothing lines. You need to choose only one cell at the beginning and develop your collection around. Many of start ups go with more than one cell and makes their line complicated. 

Other than above, there are other lines based on use-cases such as - loungewear, yogawear, lingeries, sleepwear, and so on. If you contact us, we can give you a detailed line grid to understand it precisely and you can choose one to go ahead.

As a manufacturer, we come across the start up clients who provides their collection which consists - one style of skirt, another style of lingeries, few sweaters, some hoodie and so on. This is absolutely wrong approach. 

You essentially need to go with one at the beginning and develop your collection accordingly. Never go with two cell.

Once you have decided the clothing line, now this is the time to understand the target group and develop the buyer persona. What does it mean? This sounds simple and you might be thinking that you know whom you have to target. 

Let me tell you, this is something 99% of start ups think that they're very well prepared. But this is wrong. You need to do lot of discussion with unknown people (possible customer to catch the insight) based on which your marketing campaign, brand story and product story will be developed. 

Your ideal target group should answer the followings :

Gender - 

Location - 

Age group - 

Economic condition - 

What they like (in relevance of the product you're going to launch) - 

What they do not like (in relevance of the product you're going to launch) - 

Where they buy from (marketplace name, website etc) - 

What problem they face while they buy - 

What they do not get or expect from the brand they purchase - 

The most unpleasant buying experience they have - 

A detailed profiling sheet is with us and we can share it with you if you need it. Please make at least 50 profiling. 

03. Understanding the marketplace and competition

Where will you sell your products? Through your own website or through marketplaces? 

 

At the beginning of clothing label, customers usually do not prefer to buy from a newbies website. Hence despite your plan to have your own e-commerce website, the role of marketplace can not be overlooked.

 

Marketplaces are of two kinds - online and offline. In every country there are leading marketplaces and I do not know your country hence it is difficult to share the list for your country. Upon asking, we can provide you a detailed list for sure. 

Basically you're always advised to have a good mix of own website as well as marketplace. Due to COVID-19 offline stores and marketplaces are not performing good, this is good if you look at the opportunity of on-boarding your brand with online marketplaces like ASOS, Amazon, Etsy, eBay etc. 

This is the stage to understand where the competitors are selling. You can check all those marketplaces where the competitor is selling. At what price competitor is selling and which marketplace they sell most. How the competitor's product photos, description and specifications are mentioned.

04. Organise the Requirement Details / Outfit Design Ideas

This is the stage you need to organise your collection idea in the form of tech pack. A tech pack is a document containing all the technical information about your product. It's an essential document for both designers and production teams when producing new collections, as it helps clearly communicate every little detail about what you are making, to your manufacturer.

Many of the manufacturing problems start just because having no tech pack or a bad tech pack. Your tech pack must include the following information:

The placement and look of each component (neckline, pockets, frills, ruffle, sleeve etc) of your dream garment. Basically you need to direct your manufacturer how you want your design to look like after making.

The measurement 

The fabric material you want to use for your garment. In case you're not sure, you can leave it and discuss with your manufacturing partner which are the best fabric options.

Specify the color / print / embroidery / smocking etc

A tech pack may look like as below :

Screen Shot 2020-07-16 at 8.59.28 PM.png

Garment factories usually do not provide the tech pack developing services. Hence do not insist or expect your manufacturer to develop tech pack for your concept. Tech pack is altogether a different service and skill. Ideally you need to hire someone who is specialised in tech pack making. 

In case due to any reason, if you do not have tech pack then what to do?

 

  • Download the internet image which is near to your design concept. Take the print out and using a pen describe the each component.

  • Or, buy a physical sample and send it to your manufacturer and schedule a video call to describe what changes do you want in the sample.

  • Or, you can simply draw a sketch of your dream design and describe the each component and send your manufacturer

Basically there are multiple ways to describe your requirement but all manufacturer are not able to begin the sampling process based on any kind of input. But please make sure you describe your requirement as detail as possible.

Kindly also note few points while you are at the designing stage :

  • At the beginning stage, keep your designs in single solid colors. Because for single solid colors the minimums are always low than the print.

  • If you're incorporating print or embroidery in your design, please specify the size of design. For example you want a flower or a logo as embroidered or printed, then the size of your logo and flower should be specified well in advance. Don't simply say your manufacturer that you want a flower or logo (printed or embroidered) on the outfit. Rather specify the size of your flower and logo and also specify where exactly it should be placed on the outfit.

  • In case you're incorporating smocking or embellishment then this too should be will defined.

  • Make your mind in which all sizes (for new born / kids / toddler age-wise and adults size-wise) you want your styles to be made. 

  • Make sure at least one size measurement you have. However it is good if you provide all size measurement. But in case you do not have all size measurements then do not worry. Your manufacturer can grade rest of the sizes.

  • Give a name (or code) of each style / design so that both you and your manufacturer can talk about same thing. This is important when you have multiple designs.

Concluding this, you basically need to have :
 

  • Tech pack for each style (or design). In absence of tech pack you can have drawing, or sample image (showing every aspect of design) or reference image (downloaded from internet) or a physical sample.

  • Measurement of one size at least. 

  • Specify the fabric if you're sure. If not sure, leave it for your manufacturer to recommend you.

  • Quantity idea. To start, keep minimum 25 pcs per style (mix sizes) for single solid color and 100 pcs per style (mix sizes) for printed / embroidery / denim styles. 

In case any trouble, feel free to hit us up.

05. Label Name, Domain, Website, Email ID, Social Media Presence

Your label name is not the business name. You can have multiple label within one business name. Please do not get confused. Bear in mind that over the years your label name could be the most valuable asset, but only if you choose well.

Well, so how to coin the label name? 

Here are some takeaways while you formulate your label name :

  • Coin a name which is short and unique (Not Abstract). If it’s long, make sure an abbreviation is available (e.g. LCC for Little Cotton Clothes, WDW for Well Dressed Wolf, DKNY for Donna Karan New York, P&G for Procter & Gamble, AA for American Airlines, Mitsubishi for Mitsubishi Motors Corporation). However, we personally recommend try to avoid using acronyms. Many big companies use acronyms of their name, like IBM and KFC. But at the start of your business, when your goal is to establish your brand, acronyms will only confuse your potential customers. Also, there’s a great possibility that your business acronym will match with someone else, making it very difficult for you to rank in search engines.

  • It must have some sort of co-relation with your niche so that people can easily associate your label name with your product category. 

  • It should be easily pronounced and easily spelled. 

  • Always check whether the domain name is available for your label name? In case exact domain name is not available, try to keep it putting some prefix or suffix with your label name.

  • It is not necessary to put a monogram / symbol with your label name text. 

  • Always check the availability of your proposed label name in trademark directory. Many often it happens that you launch your label but later you step in a lawsuit and you're bound to change your label name or stop doing business using your label name. If you're from USA, you can choose the availability of your label trademark here : https://www.uspto.gov/

  • For your label, always recommended to consider a word which is not available in dictionary. In such case, you will not get the domain name easily but also possible that you get the trademark easily.

  • Other than trademark, also do some desk research (googling) and make sure no similar name you choose which may create confusion in your customers mind.

  • Make sure your label name does not translate some slang / filthy meaning in other country or language. You may be starting your label in your own country but you never know you grow enough and start doing business in other country as well. In case your label name translates into a slang in other country / language, it will be difficult to do business in that country. Hence be sure from this aspect as well.

  • Scalability is another factor you must consider. For example, if you're starting as kidswear label and in future you have to scale it for womenswear or menswear then your label name must not be found irrelevant. It can grow with the company and maintain relevance—and be adapted for different products and brand extensions if require. 

  • Unless you are an established brand, avoid using your own name. Your name doesn’t communicate anything about your business and won’t mean much to potential customers. This may even cause problems if you ever want to sell your business in future or even if you wish to expand.

Once you have finalised your label name, then you need to do the followings :

  • Get your logo creative and branding artworks 

    • Logo which will come on website​

    • Adaptation of your master logo for Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp

    • Banner for social media profile

    • Adaptation of same logo as Favicon 

    • Stationary and Packaging (not recommended at the beginning)

  • You need to book a domain and build a website. For domain booking, please read our secret tips.

  • Build a website, we strongly recommend Shopify due to a large number of application (paid and free) and its compatibility factor with most of marketing tools. I know it is costly, but Shopify is the best ever due to several reasons. By the way, at this stage you only need to put "coming soon" page as the main page of your website. 

  • Also create an email ID (info@yourlabelname.com) and always communicate with your supplier / marketplace / retailers using your official email ID only. Please do not use gmail / hotmail / yahoo etc for business related communication. Refer our tool kit for creating email ID.

02/04 - PRODUCTION

01. Find A Right Manufacturing Partner

Country like China, India, Bangladesh etc are full of clothing manufacturers and every manufacturer claims to be good for you. In such a scenario where you have plenty of option then how will you choose the right clothing manufacturer.

 

Let us simplify this. All you need to check 3 basic things and once you have positive answer then your search is over.

 

01. TAT (Turn Around Time) / Lead-time

 

Every clothing manufacturer has different lead-time for sampling or production. The general opinion is - shorter is better! But this is absolutely wrong way to make an opinion about a clothing manufacturer. Never judge a manufacturer based on lead-time. The one who remains transparent and says actual time is much better than the other who initially commits shorter lead-time and after taking the order delivers in delay.

 

Hence the best is that, you should be having your own understanding.

 

Hint : Please note, 2 to 3 weeks of time is good for sampling and 8 to 12 weeks of time is good for production. Now you have a standard timeline. You can start an assessment.

 

02. Minimums / MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity)

 

Minimums are decided on two basics - One is factory minimum and another is design.

No matter whether a private label apparel manufacturer produces 25 pcs of garment or 2500000 pcs of garments - the process remains same. Now it's upto the clothing manufacturer how much minimum they prefer for their garment factory.

 

Secondly, there are certain styles (designs) which can not be manufactured in lower quantity. For example, if your style requires screen printing then your private label clothing manufacturer can not do it in lesser quantity. That minimum has to be followed because in less that 100 meters fabric, screen printing is not recommended. (However if you choose digital printing then it is possible but digital printing is costly and not all artwork and fabric is digital printing friendly).

 

Hence again, do not judge based on minimums you come to know. Please do check whether its factory specific or style specific.

 

Hint : At Billoomi Fashion Pvt. Ltd. we do accept as low as 25 pcs per style (mix sizes) if your style is in single solid color. If your style require custom screen printing or embroidery then 100 per per style (mix sizes) is the minimum.

 

03. QUALITY ORIENTATION AND KNOW-HOW

 

Not all manufacturer is good in all kinds of styles. Hence do speak your manufacturer whether they do carry the required know how for manufacturing your styles? For example, at Billoomi Fashion Pvt. Ltd. we do not manufacture lingeries, any outfit where leather is used a base fabric, socks, cap, belt, bag, footwear etc.

 

Our expertise is manufacturing printed / embroidered styles, single solid color styles (dyed fabrics), Styles in sustainable & natural organic fabrics, smocked clothing, all kinds of denim outfits etc.

In case not able to find any, feel free to hit us up today!

02. Feasibility Check & Working Out the Costings

At this stage both you and your manufacturer will check the feasibility. You will check whether the given manufacturer do carry the necessary skill to produce your design or not. And if yes, whether the costing is doable for you or not. On the other hand the manufacturer will also check whether your design is doable in that factory or not, whether the quantity you're asking to manufacturer is doable for that factory or not, whether your expected target price is feasible or not.

So basically at this stage the match needs to be fixed. But how will you do that?

By now you must have shortlisted some of possible manufacturer. May be through internet (google search) or some directory or by some reference. You need to send following three things to your possible manufacturer and ask the quotation.

  • Design details - Tech Pack or Sample Image or Sketch or Physical Sample for each style

  • Specification - The fabric you wish to use for each style. Specify the print / embroidery / smocking etc. Your logo in case you want it to be printed or embroidered. Dyeing (Pantone Color) or Washing Effect (Denim or Drill Outfit) etc.

  • Quantity - The minimum quantity for each style. Leave it in case you're not sure. In that case the manufacturer will tell you their minimum and will work out the prices based on their minimum only.

Once your possible manufacturer receives all above three details, the manufacturer will check the feasibility whether they can do it or not. If yes, then the manufacturer will work out the costing for you.

 

Please remember, the manufacturer will give you the costing for bulk production. If that costing suits you, you can keep it for record.

 

Now it is your turn to check the feasibility whether the manufacturer is good to go for you or not. Hence before placing the bulk order directly, you need to ask your manufacturer to provide you the sample for your design. You can ask the sample for each design or any one.

 

Sampling cost varies manufacturer to manufacturer. You need to pay for the sampling and get the sampling done. Once the sample is received to you, physically examine the sample. You check three check three aspects of sample :

 

Aesthetic - whether it looks like your dream design

Fitment - whether your manufacturer has follows your given measurement

Workmanship - overall finish, stitching quality etc.

If you find everything good, you can go ahead with the manufacturer. In case anything is not as per your original brief you can give your "comment" to your manufacture for either re-do your incorporate that comment in production. 

Now since you know the skill set of your possible manufacturer, 

 

03. Order of Sampling

Now you first need to order a sampling for one style or all your styles. 

Almost every manufacturer do charge for the sampling and possibly you can get the sampling charges waived off at the time of production if your production order quantity is good (more than 100 pcs per style at least). 

In order to proceed for sampling you probably may need to pay upfront. Usually manufacturer will take 2-3 weeks of time to finish the sampling. Once the samples are ready, take the photos of your samples and once you find all good. You can ask your manufacturer to send the physical sample for review.

After receiving the samples - there are two possibilities. One that you find the sample all good to go for production. Or you may not like it or you find some discrepancies and you notice that your manufacturer has not met your instruction.

In case you find the discrepancy and noticed that your manufacturer has not followed your instruction then you can ask your manufacturer to re-do the sampling incorporating all your or left over instruction. And for this cases, manufacturer must not do charge you again because that is manufacturer's fault that they have not followed / missed your instruction. 

On the other hand if your unhappiness with sample is pertaining to the fact that you want some tweak in design because you are not happy with your own design, then too you need to speak to your manufacture and you can request them to re-make a new sample incorporating new changes (tweaks) you want in your design.

If tweaks are small enough you can save the time and go ahead for production stage with a condition that manufacturer will show you new sample and will take approval on sample before cutting the bulk. However, if you want major change in your sample then you must ask for new sample first before moving at next stage. For such cases manufacture may ask you to pay little more if your new changes are pertaining to pattern correction.

After receiving the samples, we recommend to get it shot on model (or any human body) at your end. This will help you to make a decision whether do you need to make any change or not. If any change is necessary, you must talk to your manufacturer and if not, you can go ahead to order for production (final quantity).

Please refer to our Money Saving Tips section and know how should be your approach.

03. Production Order, Size Set and Photoshoot

By now you have seen the samples, physically examined it and make a decision for production. Now make a production order list and send it to your manufacturer. Based on your PO (production order) sheet, your manufacturer will send you PI (proforma invoice) and will seek some portion of advance deposit. 

Your production order should look like as follows :

Screenshot 2021-08-14 at 2.45.30 AM.png

Above is an example if you're starting or running a womenswear label. For kidswear the size name will change for example 0-6M, 6-12M 1-2Y and so on. 

Most of manufacturer will give you FOB or Ex-factory price. FOB stands for (Freight on Board). In layman language, it means that shipping / freight price is not included. Shipping / freight price can be calculated at the time of shipping. Manufacturers do not include shipping prices because of two reasons :

  1. At the beginning it is premature to confirm the weight of shipment and weight plays a pivotal role to decide the shipping charge. Hence if a manufacturer calculate the shipping charge right at the initial stage when actual product is not ready, there are the chances that either that manufacturer will charge higher than the actual or lower than the actual shipping charges. Hence as a solution it is always advisable to calculate the shipping charges once the consignment is ready to go.

  2. Fuel surcharges keep going up and down very frequently. Hence if the manufacturer calculate the shipping charges at the initial stage they will either take access or short amount money from you in the name of shipping. Hence the best practice is followed that keep the shipping charges separate and calculate once production is ready.

Well, so based on PO (production order) your manufacturer will send you the PI asking advance deposit. Most of the manufacturer follow similar payment terms and they take the payments in two parts - AD (Advance Deposit) and BD (Balance Deposit). Depending upon invoice value your manufacturer may ask you to pay some 50 to 70% as AD and balance at the time of shipping. Once you make the advance deposit, the manufacturer starts the process. 

After receiving the AD, your manufacturer first deliver you size set samples. Size set samples are very important for you as well as your manufacturer. With the help of size set sample you and your manufacture can fix the size issues. At the stage of sampling you have get the sampling done in one size only. Hence at this stage you can understand whether all sizes are upto the mark or not and also the production quality you're going to receive. 

Once you approve the size set samples, at one hand sizes are locked. Size set sample also lock the production quality. What you will approve as the size set sample, the same will be followed as entire production because manufacturers blindly follow your size set sample. After approving size set sample, no changes can be accepted.  

After receiving the "size set samples" you not only have to give the approval but also at your end you can start the photoshoot of samples so that you can start cataloging at your end.

Next to your approval on size set sample, the manufacturers starts bulk production. Once bulk production (whatever the agreed quantity) is ready, the manufacturer will send you PI (proforma invoice) asking balance deposit. BD (Balance Deposit) PI usually contains shipping charges as well because by this time manufacturer is aware about the actual weight. You should double check the shipping charges at your end and if you think you have better shipping price, you can tell your manufacturer to send you the BD (balance deposit) PI (proforma invoice) without adding the shipping charges. 

Depending upon the situation whether you want the shipping to be arranged by the manufacturer or by yourself, the final payable amount is decided and that you need to pay. After receiving the BD (balance deposit) from you, the manufacturer will hand-over the shipment to nominated shipping company for the export of shipment to your country.

Your shipment gets cleared by the custom of origin country's custom and then the destination country's custom. For origin country custom clearance, your exporter (manufacturer) is responsible and that gets cleared based on the documents provided by exporter. During the destination country's custom clearance your shipment gets accessed and depending upon shipment weight and total invoice value custom import duty is get calculated. The shipping company will approach to you for the payment of import duty. In 99% cases the shipping company pays the import duty on your behalf and they will bill to you which you will be required to pay at the time of delivery or in advance. After clearing the duty payment, your shipment reaches to you.

Depending upon your shipment weight and time availability you can decide whether you want your shipment to be exported by airways or sea ways. We recommend if the shipment weight is below 300KG then go with air ways shipment only. Sea Shipment is little cheaper but it takes lot of time.

Here ends the production stage!

03/04 - POST PRODUCTION

03. Enrich Your Website, Start Cataloging on Own Website as Well As on Marketplace

This is the time you need to start working on your website (webstore / e-store). The ultimate aim of any brand is that they're able to sell their products through its own website. This gives you more control, command and coin. Hence the website needs to be technically advance and user friendly.

 

We have already suggested you that, go with only one - Shopify when it comes to sell your collection. Please read our tips and trick to understand how can you start a traffic loaded website and can get huge traffic from day one.

While shipment is on the way, and size set samples are reached to you - you must start cataloging. Cataloging is basically a master sheet containing all your product details, price details, product name, article number, SKU Number etc. 

Screenshot 2021-08-16 at 3.40.50 AM.png

Once your catalogs sheet is ready with you, you can start the listing of your products on own website as well as marketplace. This is also a possibility that you can start taking pre-orders on your upcoming production.

Altogether, this is the time to create a buzz on social media (mainly facebook, Instagram & YouTube) about your coming-up collection. 

04. Creating Buzz on Social Media

There are several ways to create buzz on social media but for anything as such you need content - video or static. The best that you create one video and post it. It is very simple, make a mobile video and speak yourself about your coming up collection, where you're getting manufactured, how your collection is unique, from where your potential customer can buy your collection, some story about why you started your venture etc.

People love real stories. This will help you to connect with your potential customers. You can collaborate with opinion leader / influencer and start a conversation. You can ask your manufacturer to provide you some making video or picture and post the same on your official social media pages. You can tag your manufacturer if you wish.

Original Post by Manufacturer

Same Post by Clothing Label Official Page

You can see the number of likes on manufacturer's post and number of likes (and comments) of same image on the brand's official page. Basically, this is just an example how you can take put making video and post on your page and create a buzz.

04. UNDERSTANDING OF ORDER PROCESSING & LOGISTICS

This is the time to learn how you will handle most of the things after receiving the order. You can have a dry run to check how payment is being received, how you create the invoice, how you ship the product and how it reaches to the destination. 

Since you're going to use Shopify, it already have the relevant set of app for almost everything you need to run your business. But the problem is that there are hell lot of app for the same thing and top of that you also need to learn how exactly it works.

A big part of starting your store is thinking about how you want to deliver your product. If you are shipping products yourself, you need to think about how you want to package and deliver your products. When your customer receives their package, do you want them to be bored or excited? Probably the latter!

Utilizing customized packaging is a great way to do this. It can be as simple as stamping your logo on the box, so customers know that the package is from your fashion brand. You could explore other options such as boxes or packaging with designs on them as well, but they will be more expensive.

You can instead spend the money on what's inside the box. Packaging the clothing neatly in tissue paper is a great start. But, you can take it one step further and do things like wrapping the clothes in branded paper or sticking it together with branded tape or stickers. This will show your customers that you care and thought about every aspect of their package.

Some brands also include little goodies inside their packages. This could range from something as simple as a sheet of stickers, or maybe a small gift if they ordered a lot. You may also include a note in your packages if you have time to handwrite or type something for them. If not, you could include a coupon for their next order to hopefully encourage them to become a repeat customer.

If you have business cards (and you should), you could include one in the box as well and encourage your customers to pass it on if they loved their order. There are plenty of ways to customize your packaging that will really show customers that you care.

With regards to shipping, you will also need to consider how much you want to charge before completing your online store. A high cost of shipping that customers were not expecting can lead them to abandon their order before finishing the checkout process. Being transparent and honest with your customers from the start so that there are no surprises is the best idea. Do this by advertising the price of shipping at the top of your store, so customers are aware.

Many fashion lines will offer free shipping if a customer purchases a certain amount, such as free shipping for orders over $50. The shipping fee will technically still come from their purchase, just specifically from your profit margins instead. This way, the customer will likely buy more items to get free shipping, so you both win in the end.

You will also need to pick a shipping company. There are plenty available, and many offer a business account that may have discounts when you ship in large quantities. Just as you shopped around for manufacturers and factories, look for a shipping company that suits your needs and can meet your demand.

Once your store is loaded with all your products and all your shipping options have been considered and decided, you're ready to launch!

04/04 - LAUNCH, REVIEW & SCALE UP

Your store is finally up or is ready to launch, and the last step is one of the biggest ones: marketing! Marketing is when you promote or advertise your products to garner customers. Not many fashion designers have experience in marketing, so hiring someone who does may be a good start. If that is not within your budget just yet, you can still market on your own.

Using social media is one of the best ways to market your brand in today's day and age. Most people have some form of social media, whether it's Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Creating a page for your brand on each platform and updating it consistently is a great way to build up an audience and advertise your product. You can also easily engage with your customers to help build relationships with them, making them more likely to want to invest in your brand.

If you didn't create a tagline when you created your brand, creating one to market your fashion line is a great idea. Let's think of Nike again. Most people know their tagline, "Just do it!" and can recognize it anywhere. Using a tagline is a great form of marketing as it helps customers remember your brand. They will likely not remember every piece of clothing you sell, but a short tagline is memorable and will help customers think of your brand when they read your tagline.

Another great marketing technique for a new fashion brand is to launch your brand with a giveaway campaign. Gaining exposure for your new brand is important, especially when you first launch. You don't want to launch your brand and have no sales for months. Hosting a giveaway campaign to celebrate your opening is thus a great idea as it will garner attention and bring in potential customers.

One way to do this is by asking followers to repost your Instagram or Facebook post to be entered to win a free piece of clothing. This will help advertise your brand for free and get you followers that may decide to purchase something even if they don't win your giveaway. Those who do win will likely be happy with the experience and can leave you good reviews or tell their friends and family about your brand. Word of mouth is still one of the best marketing techniques, so don't underestimate it!

In today's day and age, social media influencers garner tons of attention and are increasingly being utilized for advertising brands.

Try looking for influencers that you believe reflect your brand's values to hire to become a brand ambassador. As an ambassador, they will help advertise your brand, typically in a subtle way. If they have a big following, this will help bring more exposure to you. Being a startups clothing brand, you may not have big budget so collaborate with possible influencers on barter basis (you will give product and in return they will post about your product); instead of giving money.

Marketing is one of the most critical parts of getting your new clothing line started. If you don't market, people will not know that your brand exists, which would be a shame! You don't have to spend thousands of dollars on a marketing campaign to gain exposure, just be consistent in your efforts and post as much as you can (1 or 2 post daily). Customers can tell when a brand is being genuine or not, so just express your passion through everything you put out, and the exposure will follow.

11 steps later, you should now have your question ''how to start a clothing line'' answered and be ready to start your own clothing line!

COLLECT THE FEEDBACK & REVIEWS

Every business have happy and unhappy customers. We too have. You will also come across. But remember that every feedback matters be it positive or negative. Unhappy customers quite often write / speak many untrue / false things and happy customers may not even respond. Being a business, you need to personally call at least first 100 customers and collect the feedback and suggestions. Do the necessary changes in business / design / delivery process if required. Keep customers first always!

SCALE UP

If any of your style is sold well, then try to understand why that particular style is sold well. Is it because of its fabric quality or measurement or color or style? Now you need to develop new sampling (for production) as expansion of your best sold styles. For example A dress sold well, now in same style (A), you can scale up and add more colors or different print pattern or in different fabrics. That's how you can scale up your clothing line. 

This is a huge deal, and it can be scary taking the first step, but reading this article is a step in the right direction. If you are based in the United States and are looking for a manufacturer to launch your line, we could be the manufacturer for you!

We Would be Happy to Help you.