How to Start a Clothing Business

Everything you need to know about starting a clothing business – in one place!

If you are a driven entrepreneur who dreams of making your clothing business idea a reality, this article is for you. You might be filled with questions on how to start, and we are here to give you answers. From polishing your business idea, promoting your store, strategizing finances, and understanding the legalities of having your own business—we are going to cover everything.

Research & refine your business idea

Every successful venture starts with good and refined research. Focus on learning about every factor needed for your business to flourish.

Define your niche

Let’s start with your niche — your narrowed target market of fashion consumers. Imagine buying from a shop that offers a wide variety of apparel, selling clothes for cold weather, costume parties, and the beach, all at the same time. It would be difficult to choose an item. If, on the other hand, you focus on one category of clothing, you will attract a specific set of potential buyers that can turn into loyal customers.

Determining your niche is crucial, so how do you do it the right way? First, you may simplify it by deciding on the type of clothing you will sell. For example, are you going for children’s clothes? Are you more into women’s or men’s apparel? Would you like to stock a few related categories? Then, you can trim it further by going for an exact style. You can go for casual, grunge, vintage, trendy, sporty, or other fashion styles that you want to showcase.

Pick a good store location

Choosing where to put your business heavily depends on your budget. Opening a clothing stall or store on a busy commercial downtown street sounds promising, but expect the rent to be expensive. If you’re on a tight budget, you have to start looking for areas with potential growth, but that haven’t yet gentrified.

Do your competitive analysis

Another important factor to take into consideration is your competition. Be sure to study similar businesses near your chosen location. For example, do you see any clothing stores that might rival your products? What are these clothing stores’ niches? Are they thriving or not? Find the answers to these questions and figure out your competitors’ strong points and weak spots. This way, you can construct a more detailed — and effective! — business plan.

Go for a unique and simple business name

Deciding on a name for your business can be as tricky as it is exciting. Have a look at our business name generator to give you some excellent inspiration. This is an online tool that simplifies your naming process by suggesting business name ideas that stand out, all related to the keywords you enter. Navigate through the website and get ideas and inspiration for the right name for your brand or store.

Get online

In a world where almost everything is done online, you have to keep pace. Establishing a strong online presence for your store is essential for running a booming business. A very large percentage of shoppers do their browsing online, and whether they go to a physical shop often depends on how successful (or unsuccessful) their online shopping session was. You can use this information to include your shopfront in their window-shopping trip. If you decide to sell online, this is perfect. Even if you simply have your inventory on show for internet browsers, many shoppers like to know what you have in-store before they come in to buy. Either way, your website is critical. For helping in choosing the most useful software tool for your online shop, check out our curated list of the best online store builders.

As with finding the right name for your business, a unique and memorable web address is indispensable. Use our domain name generator to help you, and make sure you choose one that is as close as possible to your store’s name.

Opening a digital shopfront isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. In fact, there are a lot of hosting providers that offer tailored services for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who are not proficient in modern technology. An excellent example is Bluehost. Visit them for their exclusive offer of domain and hosting. One of their key features is the simple, one-click WordPress installation. You can even get a 60% discount from your site’s hosting and a domain name for free when you go here.

Flesh out your site

Your landing page is the first thing people see whenever they visit your website. This means it has to be presentable and visually appealing. One way to make it eye-catching is to feature special offers or discounts in banners or headers. You can also have a dynamic theme compatible with the changing of seasons, which will allow you to show off your seasonal collections.

Consider putting blogs on your website. A frequently updated blog will naturally rank higher in search engines, as well as providing advice to customers and helping develop your brand identity.

Don’t forget to include your location. You can link a Google map to your website, so potential clients can easily locate your shop’s address in just a few clicks. Lastly, take advantage of Google tools. Learn about Google Analytics and how you can use it to track your site’s traffic to get the insights and preferences of people who visit your shop online.

If all of this sounds like more than you bargained for, don’t worry! There are many website builders available online, and some of them offer free templates for you to get started. For an unbiased review of the best ones for you to try, check our website builder review list.

Promote your business

Successfully running a physical and online clothing store requires knowledge and skills in fashion and styling, but also in marketing and promotions. To get your business the best exposure, there are a lot of approaches you can take.

Try traditional advertisements

Your online shopfront is only going to be the digital version of your actual store, which is yours to decorate as you like! Clothing stores have always been leaders in designing gorgeous window displays, particularly around holiday times. But you can change your display for the season, for the week, or whenever you have a new collection. Keeping a fresh display means people will know your inventory is on-trend.

You may also want to consider printed marketing collateral such as brochures or flyers. Putting flyers up on coffee shops, business establishments, or bookstores may be another method of attracting potential customers. Make sure that the writing is in an active voice, and that there is a call-to-action phrase. Finally, don’t forget to include all the important details of your business — your shop’s name, contact number, address, and website.

Give your customers what they love

Everyone loves discounts and deals. Take advantage of that by offering exclusive promotions and discount coupons to boost your business, especially during off-peak seasons. For example, you can offer customers drinks or snacks, or partner with other local businesses for symbiotic marketing deals. Liquidate your leftover items and put them on sale or bundle them into deals, such as buy one, get one 50% off.

Take advantage of social media

Remember that you can leverage all of your exposure on social media. Create accounts for your clothing store across all social networking platforms and try to post a complete catalog of your items online. Aside from product-centered posts, create other engaging content that will make your audience like and follow your business page.

Promote your page to a diverse set of audiences, apart from people nearby your location. If you are going to sell online and ship, this is the best way to reach a large audience. Spending on online advertisements is an excellent start. Learn about social media algorithms to ensure that your ads will only target potential buyers to make your ad spending worth it.

Set realistic goals and KPIs

Familiarize yourself with key performance indicators (KPIs). These are easily trackable measurements of how a company is doing. For example, sales and shrinkage are two very easily tracked KPIs. Tracking these metrics will enable you to determine your business’ strengths and weaknesses and from there, you can set new objectives and goals. Here are some common KPIs for clothing businesses:

  • Sales per square foot
  • Sales per employee
  • Conversion rate (store visits vs. the number of shoppers who made a purchase)
  • Gross and net profit
  • Online sales compared to physical store sales
  • Inventory turnovers
  • Shrinkage
  • Average value per transaction
  • Yearly sales growth

Strategize your finances

In reality, starting a business requires extreme financial preparedness and responsibility. The list of expenses that you will have before you even open your doors can seem astronomical. We recommend that you sit down and identify your expenses through the following categories:

  • Startup costs — expenses incurred during the process of creating a new business
  • Pre-opening costs — business plans, research expenses, technology expenses, stock, etc.
  • Post-opening costs — advertising, promotion, employees, utilities, and rental fees.

Financial options

If you are having difficulty figuring out where to get funds for your business capital, you can try financial aid from banks. Some common financial support system from banks are the following:

Fixed-rate loan — your loaned amount has a fixed interest rate and fixed payment schedule for the entirety of the borrowing period.

Variable loan — enables you to borrow money with changing interest rates over time.

Whichever financial aid you prefer, make sure your budget is comprehensive and lists all loans, all loan payments, late fees, and interest rates, down to the smallest transaction.

Have the mindset of a true entrepreneur

Setbacks may occur, some months may be bleak, and sales will not always be booming. But if you can accept these things and learn to evaluate over the long-term, you will find managing a business much easier than people who take every month as the ultimate indicator of their success.

Anticipate! If you want to grow your business, put efforts into expanding your knowledge and learning new skills. You can learn marketing, accounting, or even fashion design to boost your credibility and bring some new looks to your customers.

New business nuts and bolts

Legal documents

One of the things you should consider carefully is your business structure. There are five basic structures: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, small corporation, and limited liability company (LLC).

Each structure offers different levels of fiscal independence from the success or failure of your business, and each has its pros and cons. It’s recommended that you get professional advice before registering your company.

If you decide to go the LLC route, our LLC services review page will help guide you in finding the best service to get you up and running legally and properly.

Hiring the right people

When looking for the right help, you have to start by deciding what kind of company culture you want to foster. This will help you as you search for staff because it allows you to prepare a detailed job description and ask the appropriate questions. Give extra points to applicants who are amiable, organized, have a positive attitude, and like the fashion industry.

Conclusion

There you have it—the basics of starting a clothing business. It might feel like more than you bargained for, but we hope that this comprehensive guide will make it easier for you to get started. Starting a new company from scratch is never easy, but it is possible — and rewarding!

With some stock, some racks, a few helping hands, and enough people telling their friends about you, your business will be off and running in no time. Get out as soon as you can and start scoping potential neighborhoods, or sit down and get a jump start on designing some promotional schemes. However you decide to start, after the first few steps, you’ll find it gets easier as you go along. And remember, the sooner you lock down your domain name, the better the chance that you’ll find the exact one you want.

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