Fashion Forward: How to Start Your Own Clothing Business

There are over 2 million “e-tailers” (e-retailers) in the US, according to Yet, there are still gaps in the clothing market that your new business can close. For example? Plus-size women are begging for more stores that cater to them, without making them look like grandmas.

If you have an idea for a clothing business that can close that gap (or another one) then we encourage you to take the first step! We’ve gone ahead and laid out some of the basic starting points on how to start a clothing line, below. 

1. Decide on Your Target Audience

Everyone in the world needs clothes, but you’re not Walmart. You can’t expect to go from zero to major retailers right when you start. Instead, you need to start thinking about who you want to sell clothes to, which will, in turn, tell you what kind of clothes you need to sell.

For example, stay-at-home moms need a different wardrobe than working moms. College-aged boys wear different types of clothes than men in their thirties (at least they should). We could go on and on, but you get the idea.

2. Find Wholesalers You Like

Before you go through the process of setting up the actual boutique, you need to think about what you’re going to stock. If you’re going to resell wholesale designs that you find at fashion markets, what’s your price range? What range of sizes will you sell? Are there any types of vendors you won’t work with?

If you’re designing your items, then you’ll need to not only find a wholesale fabric distributor you like, but also a place/staff/factory who will create the designs for you.

Sewing everything by hand? You’ll still need a fabric source, packaging materials, and nitty-gritty details, like thread and supplies for your sewing machine.

3. Find a Platform You Like and Set Up Your Shop

When it comes to online shopping, there are hundreds of options. But if you’re just starting, you’ll likely have more success with pre-designed sites that have Shopify capabilities – sites that take care of the money-making process for you.

Many popular domain creators have this option, so take a minute to figure out what payment platform the sites you visit use, and find what you like. Then it comes down to finding a domain that is partnered with the shopping platform and signing up for yourself!

4. Take Product Photos and Create Listings

If you’re using a drop-shipping method for your shop, then it’s ok to use the manufacturer’s photos for your product photos. But if you have the products on hand, consider taking your product photos. The ones you get from manufacturers won’t be consistent across sources, and you want your site to have a cohesive look.

Next, decide on your pricing. You want to profit at least 20% on each item, but your wholesale price will depend on where you’re able to start. Look at other clothing stores that cater to your same audience and what their prices are.

Starting Your Own Clothing Business: Now It’s Time to Launch

Once you’ve gone through the steps above, you’re ready to make your boutique live. Whether you’re opening an in-person clothing business or keeping everything online, don’t forget to leave room in your budget for marketing. Otherwise, all that work will be for nothing!

For ideas on how to market your clothing store, check out the marketing section of our site!