Quick Start – The Basics of Starting a Clothing Line – From Design to Runway

 

Where Do I Start? 10 Steps to Launching Your Own Fashion Label

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Step 1 – Do You Have The Passion to Start A Line
 
Starting your own fashion label is serious business. So we present to you 10 steps to how to start a clothing line successfully. Before you begin journeying down this road you should be sure that you are ready to put in your heart in to it and your time. Ask yourself are you committed to your fashion dream. Realize that starting your line isn’t something that is done overnight. It is a building process where you make small steps every day to becoming the clothing brand you envision. So you sleep on it and decide that you are indeed ready to start a line and that you are ready to fully commit. Once you are ready to proceed you should think about what type of clothing line you are interested in starting. 
 
 
Do you want to start a t-shirt line, denim line, men’s line, women’s line or even a line of clothing for kids or teens? Basically think about whatever aspect of fashion is the most appealing to you that you feel you will be good at. This will serve as your preliminary goal. Your goal may change as you get deeper into getting your line going. Another thing is you want to surround yourself with positive people. When you share your vision with others there may be negative people that try to say you can’t make it because they couldn’t make it. If it is your dream to become a fashion designer and have your own line then you should give it a go. The only failure in life is not trying.
 
 
 
Step 2 – Researching How to Start A Clothing Line
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When starting any business endeavor researching that industry should be the first thing you do. This is a critical step towards making sure you have a solid foundation. Ask any business expert and you will hear the same – Research is King! With that being said, you are on the right site for researching how to start a clothing line. Since 2004, we have been helping aspiring fashion designers such as you with resources to help start a line, design your line, get it made and in stores. The best resource that you can get today is the one and only – Official Step by Step Guide to Starting a Clothing Line Course. This book will walk you inch by inch through starting your own line. We highly recommend it! You can also check out our How To Start a Clothing Line Blog Post.
 
 
 
Step 3 – Your Name, Your Domain Name, Your Trademark, Your Legal Company Status
 
The next important thing in starting your line is choosing a brand name that represents your design aesthetic and who you are as a designer. Your brand name should reflect that type of clothing you design. You want to think long and hard about your name because you don’t want to have to change it later. You remember those possible people we talked about in step 1? Let them know your brand name to hear their thoughts on it. If you have a team already – you guys should equally discuss your name and give great though to it.
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Then you will want to register your domain name – today you can get one for .99 cent with Godaddy. Your domain name being available is a nice indication that your name will be available for trademarking. Doesn’t mean that it is but it is a step in the right direction. If you want you could also do a trademark search first to make sure the name you want is available in your category. Once you have locked down the name you want and it is available – you should begin formally registering your business with your local government. You will want to set up your clothing line as an LLC in most cases. For information on trademarking your clothing line, setting it up as a L.L.C. etc. please get the Official Step by Step Guide to Starting a Clothing Line. The website to check to see if your name is available in the USA would be US Trademark Office.
 
 
 
Step 4 – Set Up Your Fashion Team As You Start A Line
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Starting a clothing line will keep you busy. It is extra challenging when you are doing everything on your own. Find some others that are as passionate and committed to creating a fashion line. Getting friends or family to help you officially or unofficially can also be a source for filling your team positions. However, you want to make sure your team members are committed to your vision. If you have business partner(s) they are also a part of your team. Delegate the day to day duties among your team utilizing the strengths of each member. A true team working together on a common goal can render beautiful results. It also can help you out in areas where you may be weak.
 
 
 
Step 5 – Start A Line: Designing Your Clothing Line 
Designing your clothing line is the most exciting part of the process as you start a line. This is where you let your style shine through the garments you create. So how do you go about designing your line? You will want to have a computer program for designing clothing. Digital sketches are essential in the fashion design process. Manufacturers prefer clean digital sketches over hand sketches. If you can’t draw that is okay because you need to be able to produce professional digital sketches anyway. Now you could hire a fashion designer who can take your ideas and turn them into sketches.
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This would mean you would need them to be available to any changes you want made to your designs. It also means you have to work around their schedule if they aren’t directly on your team. There is nothing wrong with hiring a designer. However, you could choose to learn how to design yourself. Although is learning how to design clothing yourself hard? Yes and no. It depends on how you go about it. You could purchase a fashion design program like Digital Fashion Pro Fashion Design Software System. Digital Fashion Pro comes with training and allows you the ability to create professional fashion sketches, and it is easy to learn and use.
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FCS, CTE, Fashion Design Class
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You could also enroll in a fashion design or illustration class. In reality, there is not a right or wrong way. You could choose to do all of these things. After creating your fashion sketches and designing your collection you are ready to move to the next point in step 5. You should decide which designs you want to focus on. After you get a consensus of what your best designs are you will need to create technical sketches for them. You can do that with Digital Fashion Pro as well. Then you create spec sheets for each of your designs. Specification sheets contain your measurements for the style, regular sketch, technical sketch and other relevant information for your design.
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This document makes up your tech pack – it is needed to get your clothing made by a manufacturer. Spec sheet templates are available on the Fashion Business Center we offer on our site. By now, you are probably realizing how many of the important things you need to get your line started are on hand right here at StartMyLine.com. You can also begin visiting the fabric store to pick out potential fabrics. You could also get the Fabric Swatch Kit we have on our site as well. 
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Step 6 – Find a Clothing Manufacturer to Make Your Clothing Line
Finding a clothing manufacturer(s) for your line is the next phase in creating your clothing line. You want to evaluate your manufacturers based on price, product quantity requirements, garment quality, lead time and location. You want to make sure you, and your manufacturers are a good fit for each other. One thing that is important for new clothing lines is finding a manufacturer that can make small quantities. They are out there. However, you need to know how to approach them to get to make small quantities.
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This is a technique that is taught in The Official Step by Step Guide to Starting a Clothing Line Course. Once you find manufacturers that you are interested in – you want them to sign a confidentially agreement before you begin transmitting your designs to them. In order for them to make your clothing samples and even your clothing line, they will need your tech pack as discussed in Step 5. Overall understanding how to work with manufacturers is one of the most important elements of getting your design going. Refer to the Official Course for the reality of how to work with clothing manufacturers to make sure your line excel.
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So how do you locate apparel manufacturers? One easy way is to get the Ultimate Fashion Contact List E-book featured here at StartMyLine.com. This list features over 400 clothing manufacturers from around the world that you can contact in order to get your line made. It is an excellent resource to have. Learn more about Apparel Manufacturers and how to work with them here.
 
 
 
Step 7 – Financing Your Line – How Much Does It Cost to Start a Clothing Line
Financing your line is probably the most critical issue you will face when starting your company. Banks typically do not loan money to businesses that aren’t buying physical assets such as machinery and buildings. If they do, they will want some form of collateral. However, there are other ways to finance your clothing line such as investors, home equity, friends, manufacturer financing, etc… Nevertheless the one thing you need to be able to convince any investor to fund your clothing line, is they have to believe in your vision. How do you get them to believe you may ask? The answer is to present your line to them in a manner that shows you are ready to succeed. How do you do that?
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You have to have all of your ducks in a row. Such as a website, a business plan and clothing samples to show them. In addition, present them with artwork and sketches that display your fashion vision. You must also be able to talk about your manufacturer(s) in detail (location, prices, quantities and lead-time). Inform them that you have retailers who have agreed to carry your line in their stores, and that you have signed purchase orders on hand. Tell them about your social media presence and the number of follower you have on the various social-networking sites. Show them your advertising and marketing plan, sample ads or photo shoots you have done. In addition, give them the background on your team and all of your accomplishments thus far, etc. Basically you want to present them with overwhelming details as to why they should invest in your vision. The Official Step by Step Guide can help you in those areas. Also check out the Secret to Finding Investors for Your Clothing Line Here.
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The cost of starting a fashion line will vary per clothing company. There is not a one size fit all answer. The cost depends upon many variables such as where your line is being manufactured, minimums, piece-price, how large your collection is and your marketing cost, etc.; use our resources to help you come up with a valid estimate of how much it will cost to launch your clothing line. If you are a new company, sometimes it’s best to start small by only doing one or two styles; for example, if you started out with T-shirts first you could introduce two different designs to the market. The nice thing about T-shirts is they serve a dual purpose one in the area finances and two in the promotion area. From a financial standpoint, your company can start selling to customers immediately and in turn those paying customers will eventually become walking billboards that promote your brand. Additionally, you should also be prepared to order and pay for a small production run to test things out.
 
 
 
Step 8 – Selling Your Line / Tradeshows
 
Before you begin putting your line into production, you need to determine which styles will work the best for you. You don’t want to order lots of different styles only to find out that stores aren’t interested in them. You want to shop your designs to local retailers to start off with. Get their feedback and tweak your designs to match the consensus. Yes, you may end up changing something you really love about your design to please the buying public, but that may be a compromise you have to make. You can also attend apparel trade shows to market your designs and get pre-orders. You can use The Official Step by Step Guide as a resource to guide you through that process. Additionally, set up e-commerce website so that you can sell your clothing from there. You also want to be active on social media like with utilizing Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.
 
 
 
Step 9 – Order Production Run / Shipping It to Customers and Retailers / Direct Customers
 
You have done steps 1 through 8, and now you are ready to place an order for your first sample production run. You first have to have your clothing manufacturer send you your production samples then once you approve them go ahead with the full production. There are many important detailed steps in this undertaking. Please see The Official Guide Course for this comprehensive information that will walk you through the entire process. Prepare for your order that is coming in by deciding where you will warehouse the clothing. Determine what shipping company you are going to use to ship your orders out. Begin shipping your orders to retailers, direct customers and family and friends who are going to support you by buying your apparel offerings.
 
 
 
Step 10 – Marketing, Marketing, Marketing!
 
While we have saved marketing as Step 10, in reality, it should be started the moment you think about starting a line. You want to decide how you will go about marketing your line to each channel of end customers. These customers include the general public plus retailers. Utilize social media, paid advertising, publicity campaigns, etc. to reach your customers. Formulating a solid marketing plan is essential to making your line a success. Be sure to include a marketing budget in your business plan. Now there are companies that have become successful without spending huge amounts on marketing and have relied on social media and word of mouth. It is possible to do.
 
* Want a total solution with all of the steps – a complete detailed walk thru of starting your line, tools to design it, manufacturers to make it and more – Check out our Fashion Mogul Package.
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how to start your own clothing line
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