DO I NEED A COLLEGE DEGREE TO START MY OWN CLOTHING LINE?
NO. Anyone with drive and motivation can start their own clothing line, but no one says it will be easy. There’s alot involved in starting your line. But with the right information it will be much easier!
DOES IT MATTER IF YOU KNOW HOW TO SEW OR MAKE CLOTHES AT ALL?
NO. Knowing how to sew is not required, but would be a great advantage, due to cutting cost and overhead on samples and for some production costs. BUT, when you’re making a T-shirt line most of us use blanks anyways, so no sewing is required unless you want to sew in your own neck labels.
HOW DO YOU MAKE GRAPHICS AND DESIGNS USED ON YOUR GARMENTS?
Everyone uses Adobe Photoshop (Bitmap art) and Adobe Illustrator (Vector art) which can be purchased online or at bookstores and Staples. Hopefully you know someone that has a copy that you can use, because these programs are between $500-$600 each. Which is kind of steep in these economic times. You can also download a 30 day trial from Adobe.com to try them out.
HOW MANY STYLES OR COLORS SHOULD I START OFF WITH?
It really depends on the amount of money you begin with. (i.e. How many styles/colors can you afford to make?….and what kind of line are you developing? Streetwear? Contemporary? Mens? Womens? Juniors? Kids? Tops? Bottoms?) Who will be manufacturing your line and what are their minimums? What stores may be willing to carry your line? How many products can you sell?
HOW MANY SEASONS OF CLOTHING SHOULD I CREATE IN THE BEGINNING?
In the beginning you should start with 2 seasons a year (Spring/Summer – Fall/Winter) This could also depend on what category of clothing you are producing. (Designer? Street? Childrens? etc)
HOW SHOULD I FINANCE MY CLOTHING COMPANY?
There are many answers to this question, but in my case, I worked a full time job, and saved my extra money on the side to invest in my line. It didn’t happen overnite. It took time to save, but it was worth it. The other ways to finance like, credit cards, borrowing money from friends and family, to pre-order financing.
HOW MUCH CAPITAL WOULD I NEED TO START A CLOTHING LINE?
It depends on market you’re in. I started my line with about $9,000+, but you can start with as little as $1,000 and build it up from there. But, that’s one of the reasons why most lines fail, because of lack of cash to properly fund their new venture.
WHERE WOULD I FIND A CLOTHING MANUFACTURER?
There are plenty of manufacturers domestically and abroad. You can google them or search our site for a few manufacturers that provide blanks and custom apparel manufacturing. I would recommend doing business with a manufacturer in your local area, so that you can oversee the progress and development of your printing or apparel being made. This practice is best to avoid mistakes before they begin to get big and costly. You can google apparel manufacture as a search term with your local area included.
HOW TO GET CUSTOM LABELS AND TAGS FOR YOUR SHIRTS? HOW MUCH DO THEY COST?
You can find label makers anywhere on the internet. I have put a lot of manufacturer information in our manufacturer link. Cost depends on the type of label you want made for you, and how many colors. There are plenty quality levels from taffeta to damask, satin, twill or even a paper like quality, that tears off the shirt. The best thing you could do is check out the manufacturers website and ask them for price quote. Remember the higher quantity you order the lower your price per unit will be.
WHAT ARE DIFFERENT WAYS TO PROMOTE A CLOTHING LINE?
In the day and age, the internet is the way to go, but it’s not the only way. You can hit the streets and put flyers, stickers, posters, you can do a fashion show, but the best way is word-of-mouth, free publicity, ( a write up or product placement in a magazine that caters to your demographic) and also trade shows that have lines also catering to your demographic. But, most importantly, a good website can convey the look and lifestyle of your brand to your consumer. Brand loyalty is key.
HOW DO YOU PROFIT FROM YOUR LINE?
Some clothing lines don’t see a profit for years, but most of the time that is due to lack of start up capital. That forces you to start with a smaller amount of garments, which in turn you receive a lower profit margin, due to high production costs.
WHAT KIND OF PAYMENTS SHOULD I ACCEPT STARTING OFF?
COD. (Cash on Delivery). But there are other terms such a net 10, net 30, or even net 60. Most start up companies do not offer these terms due to less cash-flow to extend retailer payments.
HOW MANY ACCOUNTS SHOULD I START WITH?
How many can you handle? I think you should start off by talking to retailers and see who is interested. Once you have stores willing to carry your line, then you can decided which ones you really want to work with. Start off with 2-3 and see how your products move. If you can handle that amount, then pick up 2-3 more stores and grow from there. When beginning this is probably not a problem for most of us, but you will probably find more of a problem getting retailers to carry your line and paying for it up front. (Non-Consignment)
HOW DO YOU DETERMINE THE PRICE OF YOUR PRODUCTS?
The wholesale price of your shirts usually determines what price they are available at retail. Your wholesale value is determined by your manufacturing cost per garment, and then you decide what you would like your profit margin to be. Your markup per shirt could be anywhere from double your investment to 2 and half times the amount that you invested for each product. Then the retailer will double whatever your wholesale price is, and sometimes more then double. It depends on the mark up of the garment, and the store price points. You might pay $5 for each garment. The mark up for your company is 2.5 times the cost, which would make it a wholesale price of $12.50. In return the retailer would be selling the garment for anywhere between $24-$32.
SHOULD I GO FOR ONLINE VS. STORE ACCOUNTS FIRST?
Online stores/websites can give you a lot of exposure consumer wise on a larger scale but I think actual store fronts build the foundation for a line and gives you a chance to build a relationship with a store buyer and get direct feedback from the demographic that the store sells too. It also gives the consumer a firsthand look at your brand rather than just a picture and description.
WHO PAYS FOR SHIPPING?
Most of the time the retailers pay for shipping which will be included in th e invoice shipped with the purchased garments, unless of course your company has some special incentive. For instance, increasing the chance of retailers to buy from you by offering free shipping or going half on it.
DO I NEED A TAX ID?
Yes/No. This is not necessary up front, because your business might be over before it starts, due to the nature of this industry. Therefore you will be operating under the radar to begin with and Uncle Sam wont take notice until your company begins making some big bucks. I would recommend it though because it’s useful (some wholesalers require it) and it cost next to nothing.
DO I NEED A BUSINESS LICENSE?
Your business is only as serious as it looks. If you sell your shirts out the back of your car, it will most likely look like a brand that is sold out the trunk. So, I would say apply for one. It’s not hard or expensive at all. It would bring certain level of professionalism to your business, and make stores take your brand more seriously.
DO I NEED TO REGISTER MY TRADEMARK (LOGO) BEFORE STARTING MY BUSINESS?
I would say no because most cases a clothing line will die within the first year of operation. Being realistic. And you would have wasted your time and money. So, Until your brand is something to talk about don’t worry about bootleggers or fakes, because they never heard of you. Once your consider sticking the business out for the long run, this is a definite must.