how to start a clothing line

The complete guide: how to start a clothing line free in 2023

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I think we can all agree, we have thought of how to start a clothing line free before and it is pretty exciting. So, bite the bullet and do it! Does creating an online brand and launching a digital store that sells your clothing fill you with excitement?

If the answer is yes, then make it happen; It’s so simple. There are tons of success stories of people who create an online store and make their first $1,000 in just a few weeks! It’s reasonable to think if they can do it, so you can start a clothing line in 2023 too.


What is a clothing line?

clothing line is a collection of garments on a theme, or for a particular season. It is done for a limited time, and will change subsequently. It is mostly a subsidiary of a parent company.

Luckily for you, we’re here to help. Immerse yourself in this handy complete guide on how to start a clothing guide in 2023


These are steps on how to start a clothing line in 2023

  • Choose a winning product
  • Choose business model
  • Start Clothing Line Branding
  • Make Budget
  • Know your business

Step 1. choose a winning product

First, you need to decide which products you want to sell. Chances are if you’re finally living your dream and launching a fashion line in 2023; you’ll have a vague idea of what you’d like to create.

However, if you haven’t yet adapted to a particular product, never fear because the fashion industry opens up a whole world of opportunities.

You may want to consider selling one of the following items of clothing:
•Formal shirts

Just to name a few!

No matter what product you want to launch; you have to choose an initial piece to build your business. You can be sure that each article poses a new set of challenges and opportunities for your online clothing business.

Homework: Take some time and think about the type of clothes you want to design, create and sell. Consider the style and atmosphere you want your brand to emancila. How will your products reflect this?

Step 2. Which business model is best for starting a clothing line in 2023?

Now, you have a product in mind; you need a business model. There are four main options (as listed below) the expenses and convenience of each of them vary massively; so you’ll need to carefully consider your options to start a clothing line in 2023.

1.Clothing Print-On-Demand

Of all four possibilities, this is by far the simplest. On-demand printing occurs when a company prints your design on an empty version of your product using a digital inkjet printer.

This allows them to print directly on the garments with impressive precision. This business model might be ideal for you, if:

•You’re on a tight budget. There are no startup costs, so it is convenient to meet small orders. In theory, you could arrive at your destination within a few hours, for less than $60!
•You value automation in your business.
•You want to quickly produce printed garments (a few days).
•You don’t want to be limited by your choice of colors.
•You want room for expansion. You can design a plethora of clothes; from T-shirts to leggings and everything in between.

However, there are some drawbacks to note:
•Lower profit margins than the other two business models.
• You won’t have much to say when it comes to it; material quality, seams, sizing, etc., because you’re using standard wholesale clothing,
•It’s not convenient to fulfill larger orders
•You don’t usually benefit from volume discounts
•You’ll have limited finishing options

The best on-demand printing tips for starting a clothing line

If you’re not sure which e-commerce platform to use to start your clothing line, then check out this article.  you will find a short review of six of the best platforms on the market. You won’t go too far with any of these!

If you like the sound of this business model, look for both Printful (read our Print Review)and Shopify (read our Shopify Review). They are both perfect platforms to lay the foundation for your online store.

When you receive an order, the print job starts automatically; they also manage the shipment for you.

You should note, Printful integrates seamlessly with your Shopify store, which allows you to get the best out of both of these services.

2. Dropshipping Clothes

If you want to try your hand at drop shipping, check out this guide on how to make your dropshipping business work quickly. It’s worth reading!

Dropshipping is a popular choice of business model. It allows you to fulfill orders while you completely remove yourself from the process: how great is it?!

This is how it works:
1. A customer orders something from your online boutique.
2. Your delivery shipper manages, packages and ships the customer’s order directly to them.

As you probably guessed, the products you advertise and sell online are stored in your supplier’s warehouse.

Even if you’ll be responsible for customer service issues, your shipper usually handles return. It means you have one less thing to worry about!

Dropshipping ideal if you’re on a budget. Many of us don’t have the capital to rent or stock a warehouse, and this business model offers an excellent solution.

Also, if you want to market a new product, there is less financial risk. You don’t have to waste money to store products to test them. Instead, you can go ashore by running with a wide range of clothing at your fingertips.

However, there are some drawbacks from which to lose the shipment you should be aware of:
•You lack control over order fulfillment and shipping times: if your courier can’t ship your products on time, your customers will have little experience. This can lead to complaints, poor reviews and decreases the likelihood of repeating customs and referrals.

•Low profit margins: Dropshipping is more likely to pay more per item than storing a large inventory of products; making less room for profit.

Dropshipping tips:

It is of paramount importance to find and use a high-quality shipper.

During your search, check online reviews and see if their customers are satisfied with the service they’re receiving. If they’re not, run for the hills!

Learn more about setting up your business dropshipping.

3. Private Label Clothing Line

Creating a private label clothing line is very similar to printing on demand.

However, you need to buy empty clothes in bulk. Then add your design using screen printing and inserting elements such as labels, labels, etc. So, it takes more time and attention than printing on demand.

However, a private label clothing line offers the following advantages:
•A greater variety of customizations on things like labeling, packaging, labels, etc.
•The potential for higher profit margins. Because you buy items in bulk and in advance, you usually receive a discount on volume. You can also add unique details that increase the perceived value of your product.
•Screen printing produces high-quality results
•This is convenient if you need to create higher volumes of the product because there is no minimum order.

However, you will have to challenge the negatives below to reap the rewards:
•Initial costs are expensive. Although screen printing offers a better quality finish, it requires a lot of work. You’ll need budgets of about .500 pounds to be up and running.
•You can only print simple drawings.
•You’ll need to organize your warehouse to store and ship your products.
•It takes longer to launch (weeks rather than days).
•If you have a lot of designs, colors and sizes, in your clothing line, this is not a cheap option.
•Smaller orders cannot be executed (typically ten units or less)

Our tip for the launch of a Private Label clothing line

Create an account with both ThreadBird or Just as the Hero. ThreadBird provides blank products, printing and a ton of finishing options. Typically, you need a minimum order of 25 pieces to start the process.

Just Like Hero also offers empty dresses, but for what they lack in variety, they are of quality. However, unlike Threadbird, you’ll need to get a printer.

how to start a clothing line

4. Custom clothing line for cutting and sewing

Last but not least, there is the business model of the custom-cut and sewn clothing line. That requires you to do everything.

From initial sketches to sourcing manufacturers and everything in between. In a nutshell; it’s a hard graft. So there are some drawbacks to consider:
•It could be months before you’re ready for launch.
•Finding a manufacturer that accepts smaller orders can be difficult.
•Sourcing and working with a modeler can be a hassle.
•You’ll need to find and test potential tissues
•You’ll need to budget for thousands of dollars to get started
•You’ll need to figure out a warehouse and shipping strategy

Despite all the disadvantages, you will enjoy the following advantages:
•You’re able to fully customize your product, which is great if you have a specific vision in mind.
•There is a lot of potential to increase the perceived value of your product and therefore your profit margins.

Homework: Search for these four business models and find the one that best suits your needs.

Step 3. How to choose a unique selling point for your clothing line

Now you need to choose a single store (USP).

This has a twofold advantage:
1.Your clothes will be easier to market online.
2.It will help you stand out in a very crowded market.

It’s very rare for entrepreneurs to be able to sell to large groups of people, which is why a USP is essential to defining your brand.

For example, if you want to sell hoodies, think about how to specialize them to satisfy a specific audience. For example, very thick sweatshirts for people who love camping. Or light sweatshirts for guys who spend their time at the beach.

You get the idea!

Ask yourself; who is my ideal customer and how can I create a brand that speaks to them? This process starts by selecting a unique niche.

If you’re struggling to figure out who your audience is, ponder the following questions:
•What kind of clothes do I want to make?
•Who buys these types of products?
•How will I provide value to my customers?
•What is my competition doing and how will I fight them?

Once you’ve surveyed your target audience, you can adapt your brand to meet their precise needs; that leads us excellently to the fourth step …

Step 4. Clothing Line Branding 101

Branding is the key to your success. It’s the only way to separate you from the competition. Every part of the branding process should focus on communicating your company’s values, message, and history.

So how do you do that?

Sit down. Take a notepad and write a few words that come to mind when you plan your clothing line. In other words, what do you want them to embody your brand?

Then, pin these words around your workspace to ensure that every part of your personal brand reflects these attributes. This will remind you to create a consistent brand when starting a clothing line. From website design to customer service, your brand should embody your brand’s personality.

About visual line clothing?

By visual brand, we mean things that people see and associate with your brand. For example, your logo, choice of fonts, colors, etc. Before you settle on something, do some research.

Scour Pinterest and save ideas that inspire you. Look through magazines, catalogs, newspapers, etc. and cut out the branding elements you like. Once you’re done, refer to them as you start creating your own images.

Now, choose a color scheme and follow the steps. As we said, consistency is key when it comes to branding. See all the inspirations you’ve collected and decipher which colors appear the most. Use these as the basis for the color palette.

Once you have a color scheme in mind, you can create a logo. Remember, simple is always more effective. If you’re on a tight budget, use software like Canva to create a professional-looking logo.

Step 5. Make Budget

Before you consider the product development process, you need to get your budget in order. If costs bind you, this will support your choice of fabrics, extra branding features, manufacturer quality, etc.

To help you, we’ve compiled a list of things to include on your budget card (if you’ve opted for an on-demand print, a private-branded clothing line, or a drop shipping business model, some of these aren’t relevant to you).
•Product development professionals
•Materials (tissues, hinges, hook and eyes, diamonti, etc.)
•Fuel to get to factory meetings

Once you’ve thought about this, you’ll have a better idea of your budget and what you’ll need to evaluate your products to make a profit.

Step 6. The Nitty Gritty by Clothing Line Product Development

Please note, if you are following the business model of on-demand printing, this is not relevant to you.

If you’re brand new in the fashion industry, this is often the most complicated step. In order to start a clothing line in 2023 You might want to consider working with people who have experience in the following areas:
•Creating the technical package

You get the idea!

When you get help from a professional, you’ll find the whole product development process easier and your manufacturer will breathe a sigh of relief!

Where do I find this kind of help?

Start by researching potential manufacturers.

Some manufacturers offer a convenient product development service. Not only is it useful, but sometimes they don’t work with you unless you’ve used their specific process.

However, not all manufacturers offer this, but they usually have a list of preferred partners, so be sure to ask some questions.

What is the product line development process?

Here’s a quick overview of the product development process from start to finish.

#1. Design

To kick it all in, you’ll need an initial project created using software like Illustrator.

Tip: As you draw your first ideas on paper, start writing down your unique features.

#2. Technical package

A technology package is an elaborate term for the design of your product. This provides the manufacturer with all the technical specifications of the product. Be sure to include:
•Your design and artwork
•Choosing fabric
•About accessories
•to cut
•Label and tag information
•Packing instructions

#3. Creating templates

This is the stage where you turn your technical drawings into production schemes.

This also includes evaluation, where you take a standard design and use it as a template for different sizes.

#4. Choose a manufacturer

This involves searching, researching and sampling multiple manufacturers.

Get a small set of samples from each potential manufacturer to identify which one provides the best product. It will also highlight any problems with your line; win-win!

There are a few things you need to know about a potential manufacturer:
•Their location (this is important for effective communication, if your manufacturer is the other side of the world, you’ll need to keep that in mind when sending emails and shipping budgets).
•Their reputation
•What other companies have worked with
•What are they capable of producing

Tip:Not all manufacturers offer the same services or have the same values. Perform due diligence and thoroughly research each potential manufacturer. It’s the only way to get the best in quality, ethics and practicality.

Any tips for contacting the producers?

At this point you should have a shorter list of potential manufacturers. Before sending an email message, there are a few things to keep in mind:

ALWAYS show serious interest in their services. Otherwise, they probably won’t answer you. After all, time is money; they just want to work with people who are serious about using them. In your email, be clear about what you need by informing them about the services required and the times you have in mind.

ALWAYS Be Courteous. If you decide to go with them, you will want to establish a lasting business relationship. Be respectful in your email and familiarize yourself with their processes. This will help you realistically manage your expectations.

Be ready to follow. If after a week or so, you do not hear coming back to them, follow your initial email. In this industry, there’s nothing wrong with proving how serious you are about your business.

DON’T give too far. Always introduce your brand and the types of products you want to produce, but don’t fall into the trap of overcomplicating your demand.

#5. A full product run

Last but not least, your product will be ready for mass production. This usually involves the creation of hundreds, if not thousands of pieces.

Why do so many clothing lines fail?

This last section may seem a little daunting.

Yes, creating a clothing line takes a lot of time and potentially money (depending on the business model you choose). So, of course, you don’t want your business to fall to the surface.

As cynical as it may sound, we can learn a lot from why previous clothing lines have failed:

#1. Get reviews on your brand

Before you start printing, you always get feedback about your projects; and no, family and friends don’t count. Their opinion will be, of course, partial.

Instead, if you follow a social media or mailing list, why not ask their opinions? You could offer them a gift to encourage people to provide their thoughts.

#2. Attempt  to crack in traditional stores

This may seem like the goal, but trust us, it’s not the most profitable way to manage a clothing line.

Usually, most profits go to cutting prices to offer retailers a wholesale price. So even if you move more units, you won’t even get any closer to selling your products.

#3. Failing to listen to the facts

It’s not enough to go with you ‘think’, he’s right. You need to know.

You have to do a lot of market research before launching your line. It’s the only way to know what their hard-earned money will spend.

#4. Lack of quality priority

Even if you get a higher profit by opting for lower quality blanks and cheap screenprinting, your end product will suffer.

When you compromise on quality, you give your customers a miserable experience that will affect your sales in the long run.

Step 7. Pack your clothes like a pro

Packaging is something we’ve often forgotten about, but in order to start a clothing line in 2023, it’s a vital component to strengthen your brand in your customers’ minds.

If done right, the packaging can add perceived value to your product; so it’s essential that you’re right.

What are my options?

You have a few choices:

Boxes: They’re a great option because they’re sturdy, making them great if you need to carry bulky clothing or delicate goods that need additional protection.

Although they increase the weight and size of the package, which increases the shipping price, it is usually worth it. This generally reduces the likelihood of customer returns and a bad experience.

Tip: You can create custom boxes to reflect your brand and produce a more professional aesthetic.

Poly Mailers: AKA Shipping Bags. These are fabulous because they hardly add any weight to your package. Therefore, they are a cheaper option than boxes. However, they are not so robust, so they are only useful for garments that are not prone to damage.

Just like shipping boxes, you can customize poly mailers to make them attractive.

Bubble Mailers: If you’re looking for something between a poly mailer and a shipping box, bubble mailers are a perfect choice. They are very similar to poly mailers, but boast an additional layer of bubble wrap inside the envelope. This provides additional protection to whatever you’re shipping.

Velin paper: This is wonderful if you are looking for something that improves your customer’s overall experience. Adds perceived value to your product; making it look more like a gift than a delivery. Perspectives love this! You can also customize the velin card with your logo and your brand’s colors.

Packing tape: If it integrates your brand, opt for a ribbon that reflects your brand’s color palette or has your logo printed on it. This is a fabulous way to decorate your package by adding an extra layer of security.

Stickers: They are ideal if you do not require a robust packing tape. You can use labels to seal your closed mailers while promoting your brand with your logo and tagline. They are incredibly versatile, making them the perfect accessory to enhance your customers’ unboxing experience.

Our recommendation- check out this summary of independent fashion stores and get an idea of what they’re doing well! However, do NOT copy them. Simply, allow their work to inspire you.

Bonus section: how to start your clothing line in 2023 with digital marketing tips 6

how to start a clothing line

#1. Use Shopify

As we mentioned, Shopify (read our Shopify Review)is a fantastic platform for launching your online store.

With the click of a button, you can insert all your branded images. This works wonders to strengthen your brand.

You can also create an interesting ‘About Page,’ this is a great place to tell buyers who you are and what your business stands for. Be completely transparent with your story; this is a really effective way to build trust with potential customers.

With the click of a button, you can insert all your branded images. This works wonders to strengthen your brand.

You can also create an engaging “Information Page” this is a great place to tell buyers who you are and what your business stands for. Be completely transparent with your story; this is a really effective way to build trust with potential customers.

Last but not least, you can also optimize your SEO store to position yourself higher on Google. Do some keyword searches and fix your store so that potential customers find you as they browse the web.

#2. Connect with Influencer

If you want an online and fast following, connect with influencers, who are already established in the fashion industry is an absolute must.

Depending on their level of influence, only one post could send an influx of traffic to your site. This is amazing to increase your following.

Homework: Make a list of potential influencers you would like to work with and send them a friendly but professional email. Always offer to send them a sample of your product for free, this usually sweetens the deal!

#3. Bring to Instagram

If you’re new to digital marketing, Instagram is one of the most accessible platforms to begin with.

Typically, Instagram users are more engaged with brands and therefore more responsive to what you post. In addition, you can insert a ‘buy now’ button in your posts, which is ideal for promoting your clothing line.

Post high-quality images of your clothing and interact with your followers and other people in the fashion industry. This is a winning combination to generate an audience on Instagram.

#4. Prioritize email marketing

If done right, email marketing is incredibly useful. This is a fabulous method to get custom repetitions. The people on your list are some of your most dedicated customers, so they are much more likely to buy back from you.

Homework: Sign up with a marketing platform like Mailchimp so you can start collecting customers’ names and email addresses when they buy something. You can also enter a registration form on your site to capture details of those who might be interested in buying later.

#5. The content

Start a blog with your online store. This is amazing to engage and build a relationship with new customers by providing them with valuable information.

For example; Fashion tips, fashion hacks, trending trends, etc. You found the idea!

Homework: Start writing to weekly blogs. Product reviews and price lists are popular and easy to consume, so try drawing these kinds of items. See how your audience responds to them and continue to change and improve your content marketing strategy.

#6 Start a Facebook ad

In addition to the influencer’s marketing, all of the above methods require some time to take off.

However, with Facebook Ads,you can see the results in a few days and, in some cases, hours. Facebook’s algorithm allows you to target niche audiences (which is one of the reasons why choosing a unique store is so important).

You can target people based on their:

This is honestly one of the most powerful ways to find the ideal audience and marketing directly on them.

However, be experienced and invest only a small amount of money, to begin with. Try several ads and compare to see which converts the best. Once you get a winning ad, you’ll be in a safer position to increase your budget.

Are you still thinking about starting a clothing line in 2023?

If this blog post gave you the boost you need to start a clothing line in 2023, then we’re over the moon to hear it! Contact us today and see how we can help you make the most of this feat.

PS you might also find this guide to run a successful online business. Enjoy!