The UK is a hub of entrepreneurship. Around a third of British people are thinking of starting a business, be it as a full-time commitment or an income-boosting start-up.
If you’re looking to launch your own clothing line, you’re not alone!
But with a nation of up-and-coming entrepreneurs to compete with, you need to make sure you lay solid foundations for your brand to help it stand out and thrive in the long term.
To encourage, inspire, and motivate you to pursue your brand’s ambitions, we’ve put together our top tips for launching your own clothing line and ensuring its success.
Create a Detailed Business Plan
If you’re a lover of creativity, writing up a business plan might not be a task that’s high on your priority list. You want to crack on with designing, crafting, and creating a beautiful website. But slow down for a moment and take the time to work on a detailed plan of action.
Your clothing line’s business plan isn’t just going to clarify what your brand is to you, but to everybody else who needs to know. Lenders, investors, and potential business partners will all want to know what your ideas and objectives are before working with you, and a business plan makes it easy to show them.
When writing yours, be sure to include:
- A company description (including your clothing brand’s USP)
- Your goals (financial and otherwise)
- Market research
- Financial forecasts
- Guide to products development
- Details of key personnel
Be concise, be specific, and know your brand.
If you need help, take a look at the Prince’s Trust business plan templates for a great start.
Know Your Strengths and Combat Your Weaknesses
Every entrepreneur has strengths and weaknesses. Consider yours in relation to your clothing brand so that you can better define your role as founder.
For example, you may be a fabulous designer and sewist, but in terms of marketing, you don’t have a clue. In this case, outsourcing your social media management and SEO could be a smart move.
Consider your character, too. Perhaps you don’t enjoy social situations very much, in which case you’ll need a partner who can speak to suppliers on your behalf.
Maybe organisation isn’t your strong suit, in which case an experienced project manager is a must.
Your strengths and weaknesses tell you more about what you need from your team and where you may require additional help to get your collection off the ground.
Invest in the Right Technology Early On
There’s so much technology and software out there marketed to help start-ups that it’s overwhelming. But with a start-up budget, you have to be selective with what you choose.
Separate the essentials from the nice-to-haves by detailing your key processes and the technology you need to enable them. In other words, what’s going to be essential for your fashion label to get off to the best possible start?
Consider what’s essential for the design and manufacturing process, such as digital drawing tools. If you’re hiring employees, do you need payroll software?
Think about more long-term goals, too, such as making a sale. Do you have plans to open your own boutique clothing store in a nearby town with great foot traffic potential? If so, you’ll need a way for customers to make secure payments in store, most commonly using a PDQ machine using card, contactless or mobile payments.
Reports show that in 2021, nearly a third of all payments in the UK were contactless and there’s no sign of this slowing down for brick-and-mortar retail with fewer customers carrying cash and expecting a quicker checkout process. .
Build a list of the technology you need now. Remember, there’s no rush to become a digital-savvy start-up, and it’s better to be careful with your budget than go bankrupt.
Find a Clothing Manufacturer/Partner
Even the most talented designers and sewists use manufacturing partners. This could mean an entire third-party factory that creates your clothing or a couple of colleagues to help you sew.
You’ll also need suppliers of fabric and other clothing components you’ll be using, like zips and buttons.
Your manufacturers don’t always have to be massive factories overseas. Lots of smaller clothing brands thrive whilst shopping locally, sourcing fabrics and printing services from nearby shops.
Look into Marketing a Clothing Line
Without marketing, your clothing line is unlikely to grow. As an entrepreneur, we recommend doing at least some research into what marketing entails, even if you’re going to outsource to a professional company. A little bit of knowledge can help you play an active part in your brand’s strategy and ensure you’re always doing what’s best for your business.
For a fashion brand, there are a couple of techniques that are particularly crucial to your success. These include:
- Logo and brand message creation (detailing values etc.)
- Market research
- Website development
- Social media marketing
What’s a Soft Launch – and Is It Right for Your Brand?
Many fashion brands (and other start-ups) carry out a soft launch when first bringing their brand to the public. This is essentially a small peek into what your fashion label will become, offering a limited run of products to your audience.
A soft launch is fantastic if you want to test out your products and brand marketing on your target audience. For example, if you’ve created an innovative new line of sportswear and want to see what customers think, a soft launch can give you valuable feedback.
Work out if your price points are right, what sort of person your brand is attracting, and what they think of your products. Your audience may spot areas that you could improve or you (or your team) might realise that you need to tweak a part of your brand before the bigger launch.
For someone who’s never created a fashion brand before, soft launches give you a taste of what it’s like to be a brand out in the real world. With pre-launch experience, you’ll be better able to lay the foundations you need for a flourishing brand.
Launching a clothing line is undeniably exciting and the industry is always looking for fresh, innovative ideas to shake up the current scene! If you have an idea you’d like to bring to life, these tips should have given you a better idea of where to begin and the confidence to go out in the world and start. Who knows, maybe we’ll see your brand on our blog in the future.