How to Start a Clothing Line Company

 Every day I get asked,  “How I can start my own fashion line business”? 

Many factors go into starting a successful fashion apparel company. You need to do all the regular entrepreneurial tasks for startups, such as naming your business, registering your business and securing financing. Recommended resource How to Guide Start Clothing Line.

Want to Become A Fashion Startup Entrepreneur?

Have you dreamed of starting your garment line?
Do you get lots of compliments on the creative outfits you wear?

books-fashion-businessIf so, keep reading because here is the information you will need to know about how to start your own apparel line. Begin by getting expert knowledge about the fashion business from garment industry leaders in the form of written material. This knowledge will be essential in helping guide your decisions about becoming a fashion entrepreneur. It is the cheapest and easiest way to learn of this career before you invest your time, money and emotions into your startup retail store or brand.
Some people might suggest that you begin your exploration of becoming a fashion designer by working at a garment manufacturing company. This suggestion does have some merit, but you will not gain knowledge of the entire industry nor about confidential financial information of the company as an employee. Additionally, if you do decide to venture out start an apparel business, this former employer may see you as competition and also as one who has acted in bad faith, creating bad relationships.
Famous fashion designers have written fascinating memoirs such as Diane von Furstenberg’s book The Woman I Wanted to Be and Coco Chanel, Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life. Entertaining to read, they are not real business publications because they do not go into depth about marketing principles nor success tips for the fashion business. They are antidotal and celebrity exposé type book. Nor are fashion blogs your best source of industry information. You may gather tips and snippets of information. Nobody of any note in the garment business will share their real business secrets online.

How to Business Guide – Starting a Clothing Business

A how-to guide on starting your design line is your best bet for getting the most up to date information. It is the least bias information which is organized properly for research and study. Like this business guide How to Become a Fashion Designer.  Any book is only as good as its author’s expertise. This substantial volume is written by a group of leading industry experts, including the former president of Council of Fashion Designers of America,  an award-winning designer from the British Fashion Council, a successful manufacturer of women’s fashions sold in hundreds of retail stores plus an additional team of apparel industry professionals. The publication is organized and contains these topics and chapters listed below.
It would be impossible to get time with these busy fashion executives to ask these type of questions. has done the work for you. For less than the one night at the movies, you will be privy to this inside clothing business information. It is far better to spend a little money now and learn if this is the right business venture for you or not. Instead of spending thousands of dollars, years of your life and your emotions into something that was not the best fit your personality. Since we are talking about fashion, think about reading this book as “trying on” the idea of becoming a fashion designer.
Starting your business research by reading a book is like conducting a trial run of your business. As you read, keep in mind your business fashion ideas, to measure its feasibility against industry knowledge. Also, you will see if you are right for this type of business. Learn to separate your dreams from the reality of the apparel business.

Chapter Titles of Business Guide

How to Become a Fashion Designer
• What you need to know about the fashion design industry, including:
• Why people buy fashion apparel
• Where the leading fashion centers are
• Who’s who in the fashion design world
• The fashion categories including haute couture, ready-to-wear, and five others you should know
• When designs are sold (the fashion seasons)
• What a fashion designer does
• A step-by-step overview of how to design a garment, including:
• Refining your idea (including identifying the style and who will wear it)
• Sketching the design
• Pattern making
• Steps for draping
• Choosing the fabric, color, trims, etc.
• Making samples
• Manufacturing garments
• How to develop your fashion design skills, including:
• Knowledge of textiles
• Sewing for the fashion industry
• Sketching by hand and CAD (computer design)
• Developing your eye for fashion
• How to identify trends
• Ways to enhance your creativity
• What to look for if you want to attend a fashion design school (includes links to the best online resources listing design schools and colleges)
• Other ways to educate yourself about fashion design without getting a degree or diploma
How to Get Hired as a Fashion Designer
• Types of employers including the top ready-to-wear designers and haute couture houses with the following information where available:
• Company name
• Mailing address
• Phone number
• Fax number
• Email address
• Website
• Information about types of positions including assistant designer, accessories designer, design adapter, design director, etc.
• Entry-level positions in the apparel industry including patternmaker, sketcher, and sample maker
• How to find job openings
• The best online job boards for the fashion design industry
• Employment agencies for fashion designers
• Fashion industry publications
• Unadvertised Positions
• How to prepare a portfolio
• Items to include in your portfolio
• Getting pictures of your designs
• How to create a theme board
• Preparing a CD-ROM portfolio
• Preparing a resume and cover letter (includes samples)
• How to get great references
• Interview tips including what to wear and how to make a fabulous impression (includes a list of questions you should not ask)
How to Start a Fashion Design Business
• How to create a business plan for your fashion design business
• Determining your start-up costs (plus a list of expenses new fashion designers often forget to include)
• Where to get start-up financing (plus a little-known source of funding especially for fashion design businesses)
• Choosing a name for your fashion design business
• Trademarking your label
• What else you need to know to start a fashion design business (with tips and links to resources on business insurance, taxes on product sales, incorporating, etc.)
• How to set up your workspace whether you work at home or rent a showroom (includes information on how to find a showroom)
• A checklist of supplies and equipment you’ll need for designing and manufacturing (includes information on how to find suppliers)
• How to minimize your expenses
• How to hire a design assistant
• Finding a manufacturer (plus what to beware of when choosing a manufacturer)
Selling Your Fashions
• Defining your market (type of garment, who will wear it, price range)
• Identifying your unique selling point
• Setting your article prices
• Sales tools for fashion designers (including garment samples and line sheets)
• Finding private clients
• How to sell to boutiques
• How to sell to department stores and large retailers
• Getting publicity for your fashion design business
• Creating a traveling showroom
• Hiring a sales representative for your fashion design business
• Selling through catalogs and online
• The three types of shows you should know about:
• Trunk shows
• Trade shows
• Runway shows
• Processing customer orders
• What you should know about returns
Plus you will find even more resources and advice, including:
• Links to the best fashion industry resources including websites, trade publications, professional associations, and fashion internship opportunities
• Valuable samples and checklists to help you start a fashion design business, including:
• business plan samples
• startup budget checklist
• operating budget checklist
• supply and equipment checklist
• sample spec sheet for manufacturing
• sample client order form
• sample wholesale order form
• sample invoice
• sample boutique consignment agreement
• sample line sheet
• sample press release
• And more!

Success Steps: Creating Fashion Garment Line

True, in every industry can be difficult to start a new business. However, the fashion apparel industry is amongst the hardest. SBA (Small Business Administration) reports state that half of all startup firms will fail within four years. The clothing business has an even higher rate of failure. Get prepared for success from the start by taking advice from successful apparel companies.

Competition is one of the greatest threats to your new line. Fashion is fickle. Today’s must-have trend is tomorrows has been. You need to be far ahead of today’s trends by developing the future of clothing design.

Another formidable challenge is running the business end of your new fashion collection. Fashion designers are creative peoople who often are new to sound business practices. As such, the steps for success in your apparel venture:

Know Time and Money Commitment Needed

It is fun to design great new looks, be aware of ALL of the aspects required to succeed in the garment industry. Your estimates of time, focus, energy, and capital are probably too small by double. You will need twice as much time and money as you think. Tons of hard work are required in this business as in any other industry. Know this fact first and accept it before you begin so you are not caught off guard.

Plan for Success

Remember the saying that not planning is like planning to fail. Don’t get trapped in that trap – as many fashion designers have.  Your business plan does not need to be complicated nor lengthy.  It is a road map to your final destination of successful fashion business owner. A few pages will suffice if it contains the following information; company overview of lines, products list, personnel chart and job descriptions for the major employees.

Organize Business Entity

Your company must be set up as a legal type such as sole proprietorship, corporation or partnership. This is expected to open bank accounts and accept customer payments. Consult your lawyer and accountant for expert advice. Consideration of taxes, copyrights will be considered.

Manufacturing Basics

Now that you have created your collection, it is time to get it mass produced to fulfill buyer orders.  You will need to learn how to manufacture garments. Some companies make clothing line themselves. However, most firms outsource, hiring a specialized sewing factory, to make their garments. Take time to thoroughly research these sewing subcontractors. First impressions of your garments quality is important to for reputation building and repeat orders.

Pricing Strategies

Profit is critical to the future of your business. Without profit,  no business will survive. Your apparel prices will be a sum of your costs in manufacturing, overhead, and marketing. Study your competition prices and aim for similar pricing. It is better to have a higher list price and offer discounts for larger orders for special retailers.

Marketing Your Clothes Designs

Begin by knowing your customer. Who are you designing for? Young girls, teen boys, children or Working women? Once you identify your ideal customer you now can begin to target them with your marketing tactics. Where do they live? What types of publications and websites do they read? Find these place that you can get in front of them to show them your new dress line.

Online presence is vital in today’s internet fueled society. Start a website that you can sell your apparel to consumers called an e-commerce site. Today it is easier, and cheaper than ever to start a website.  with Website builders we recommend.

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Hi - I am a serial entrepreneur, after doing "time" in corporate America, who has learned about what products and services work well for entrepreneurs who want to start a business. You can learn from my experience and my associates as we shop from the internet for tools, supplies, and information to build our businesses and improve the lives of our family and ourselves. Read more ...