Starting your own apparel brand is an exciting way to blend your love of art with fashion. However, it can feel overwhelming if you don’t know where to start–you have dozens of ideas, but you need a way to hone them and make them become reality. We’re here to help.
Starting a successful clothing brand is all about beginning with a detailed plan. You know from just a scroll through social media or a walk through a mall that not everyone has the same clothing likes. Your job is to create a desirable collection that a small section of people will rave about.
With this in mind, read on for our step-by-step guide on how to create an LA custom apparel brand from scratch!
Write a Business Plan
When it comes to a successful business, a business plan is a must–a clothing brand is no exception. You can think of a business plan as your blueprint. Without a blueprint, contractors can’t build structurally sound houses, and the same is true for any business.
However, if the thought of writing a business plan seems overwhelming and you want to start your business as soon as possible, you can use the lean startup business plan. These plans are straightforward and quick to write, but they contain necessary details that can get your business started on the right path.
If you become stuck or lost, remember that you can also lookup lean startup business plan examples.
Structure Your Business
Next, you’ll want to decide on the structure of your business. It’s important to do your research on every type in order to make the most informed decision. However, entrepreneurs often start off as small sole proprietors.
As your business grows, you’ll find that it may become necessary to create an LLC or corporation. This is because while doing business as a sole proprietor doesn’t require as much paperwork, it doesn’t separate your personal assets from your business’s. If you’re ever involved in a lawsuit, your personal assets will become at risk if you don’t have the protection of an LLC or corporation.
Know Your Market
Knowing your market and target audience is one of the most important aspects of creating a successful business. The reason for this is because marketing for everyone just doesn’t make sense–it’s impossible to manufacture custom clothing that will please everyone! Instead, you want to have a specific subset of people in mind who will love your clothes and become loyal customers.
All of your design, marketing, and business decisions should be based on what your target audience would want. This is also the time to conduct extensive market research.
Where do your customers normally shop, and how much do they spend? How will you be able to stand out from competitors? Will you compete on price or quality?
Design Your Collection
Once you have a good understanding of your target audience as well as your market, you can begin designing your first collection. These first pieces of clothing need to make a statement and show customers what they can expect from your brand moving forward. Focus on differentiating yourself as much as you can from competitors and making a loud brand statement.
Knowing your target audience at this point also comes in handy because you’ll want to decide on your niche. For instance, if your target audience is athletes, you’ll know that you want to focus on creating sportswear. On the other hand, busy college students may be more interested in leisure clothes and sleepwear.
Remind yourself that you can’t be everything to everyone. Finding your niche is the best way to get your foot in the door when it comes to LA custom clothing!
Partner With a Manufacturer
With your first collection complete, your next job is to find a manufacturer that can make your sketches a reality. It’s important that you partner with a manufacturer that’s able to provide versatile services in order to match your vision.
Here are a few more details you should know about the manufacturer you’re considering:
- Minimum quantity they can print
- Maximum size they can print
- Pricing structure
- Whether you can put a rush on orders
Some manufacturers even offer graphic design services that can help you hone your vision. You’ll also want to consider what their customer service is like and whether you feel confident that they’ll be on your side if shipping or printing issues arise.
Choose Your Service
Choosing a manufacturer that offers flexibility means that a variety of manufacturing processes will be available for you. Here are a few you can choose from:
This is a method that allows you to prink ink through a mesh stencil. One color is printed at a time, giving you the ability to create multi-colored designs of different shapes and sizes. T-shirts mainly use the screen printing method.
Embroidery is the process of applying a needle and thread to fabric in order to stitch intricate but small designs. You usually find embroidery on polo shirts or hats, but it can also be used on jeans, blankets, coats, and more.
Direct to Garment (DTG)
This is a new, state-of-the-art technology that allows you to print designs directly onto fabric through a specialized inkjet printer. This allows you to create complex and intricate designs fast and efficiently.
Build an Online Presence
You can start building an online presence at any point in the process, though it’s recommended to at least wait until you’re sure of your business plan and target audience. When it comes to digital marketing, you’ll want to build a website as well as a social media profile–choose the platform that your audience uses the most.
The key to successful digital marketing is consistency. You’ll want your imagery and copy to be on-brand on your website as well as your social media profiles. You’ll also want to update them with entertaining, informative content that your audience is interested in.
Focus on building your website first, as it’s the hub of everything you do as well as the place where people can purchase your apparel!
Creating a Successful Apparel Brand
Although creating an apparel brand from nothing may seem daunting if you start off with a plan in mind you’ll find that each step falls into place. Start by creating a detailed business plan and focus on finding a niche and target audience. Next, design clothing that your audience will fall in love with as well as serve a practical purpose for them.
Of course, you can’t make your vision into reality with a reputable manufacturer. Contact us today about your LA apparel brand project to get started!