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How To Start My Own Clothing Business
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Meet Tyler Eason
After earning a degree in fashion design, Sarah Donofrio entered the real world with the same question that has long plagued creatives of all kinds: Now what?
Fashion school taught Sarah about pattern marking, sewing, and drawing. He could leave the French middle seam. He can tell you all about the fit. However, his upbringing did not teach him how to establish his own style.
Taking your dream from a business idea to a startup and turning it into the fierce world of fashion requires a certain skill set, a lot of creativity and a little business acumen.
Today, Sarah is a successful designer and owns her own clothing line. What he’s learned over the last two decades is that it takes a certain skill set, a lot of creativity, and a bit of business savvy to turn your dream from an idea into reality and make it happen. into the world of fashion.
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In this guide, we’ll explore the basics of starting a clothing line from scratch—from education and design to production and marketing—with clothing business tips from an expert. seasoned experience.
Sarah has lived and worked in two countries, her experience covering everything from design and manufacturing to education and retail. He’s struggled and grown over the years working in the industry, sometimes simultaneously.
Season 15 of Since, he launched his eponymous brand as an online store, won numerous awards, and his work has appeared in numerous publications and retail outlets.
Designers like Vivienne Westwood and Dapper Dan have enjoyed great success in the fashion world, even though they are self-taught. And they started their careers before the internet. We live in an age of accessibility, where rebuilding an engine or making a t-shirt can be learned by watching videos on YouTube.
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You can drop out of school and still start your own clothing business, but formal education, whether classroom or online, has its value: learn the latest industry standards, access documents and devices, connect to the network, and get feedback from experts. do it
While Sarah derives much of her success from learning academic skills in the classroom, much of her knowledge has been gained on the job, working in the retail industry. “I want to work for myself,” he said, “but I think it’s important to gain experience.”
It took me a long time to believe that I could fill the store with my clothes. Sarah Donofrio
Sarah is a big advocate of spending a few years learning from other brands and designers. “It took me a long time to make sure my clothes could fill the store,” she says. “I think I need time to mature and get advice and experience.”
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In this video, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of the fashion industry and everything you need to know to start a clothing brand from scratch.
Many organizations offer design styles and plans for small businesses in different formats. Schools like Parsons in New York and Central Saint Martins in the UK are world-renowned for their fashion programs.
If you have more money or time, an increasing number of accelerated courses and online courses are available for fashion industry prospects. Check out your local community colleges for part-time or online design courses that work for your schedule and budget, or great classes (there’s a fashion design course offered by you). taught by Marc Jacobs himself), Maker’s Row Academy or Udemy. Consider learning through a website.
As Sarah finds out, the worlds of fashion and the world of business overlap more than she expected.
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Starting a clothing line requires the same consideration as starting any business. How much does it cost to get started? When should you seek capital for your startup? What outside help will you need to navigate the legal, financial, production and distribution aspects of your business? Where and how will you produce your clothes? Let’s dig inside.
This guide is for those who want to design and grow their brand and clothing collection. If you’re interested in the world of fashion but don’t have the desire or design skills, consider reselling by buying wholesale or trying to downsize.
For those creating a clothing line from scratch, this is where you decide what kind of business you want to run. This will help you decide how much time, effort and funding you will need.
Once you have a small business idea for your clothing line, you can fund it yourself and invest in it yourself. Designing and sewing clothes by hand means you don’t have to carry tons of inventory. However, you will need to invest in equipment and a large amount of fabric up front to save costs. Other costs include shipping materials, your website launch fees, and marketing budgets.
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If you plan to work with manufacturers during production, it will cost you more to cover the lower costs. A solid business plan and budgeting exercise will help you figure out how much money you need.
In any case, expect to need thousands of dollars upfront. “For fashion, it’s not just about paying for fabric, buttons, and work,” says Sarah. “You pay for transportation, you pay for heating and rent.”
However, there are low-budget entry points in the fashion world, including shipping, dropshipping, and print-on-demand.
Sarah follows trends but ultimately incorporates what makes sense for her brand.
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Over the years Sarah has developed her brand as a side business, she’s learned that while spotting trends is important, it’s equally important to shine. Focus on your strengths and stay true to your design sense.
Fashion school will teach you the basics of making everything from lingerie to evening wear. “The trick is to find what you can do and focus on it,” says Sarah.
While her line is consistent year after year—the design choices in her products are clearly hers—Sarah is always on the lookout for trends. The key, he says, is to tailor those trends to your brand, personalize it, and make it relevant to your customers.
Sarah says: “I always have a positive attitude. “But that’s all the explanation.” Sarah has worked on plus size collections during her time in the corporate world, and says that translating styles means Plus customers’ needs are taken into account as well. as.
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While staying true to her abilities, Sarah considers fashion—and what is happening in the world around her—in her growing up. “Be sporty,” he said. “I don’t make tights, I don’t make sports bras, but this cool knit top would look great with tights, so I’m going with this style.”
Keeping her manufacturing operations efficient and maintaining design control, Sarah was able to act quickly in response to the global pandemic, adding masks to her brands. He sold 1,100 masks within two months and turned those sales into regular customers.
For inspiration for your own ideas, read fashion publications, follow fashion influencers and subscribe to fashion magazines and podcasts to stay up to date and keep up with previous trends. when they appear.
In the buzzing world of fashion, consider finding niches or filling gaps in the industry like these inspirational pioneers:
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Remember that “brand” does not mean your logo (it is a brand). Creating your fashion brand is an exercise in writing down your values, your mission, what you stand for, your story, and more.
Creating brand guidelines will help inform all of your business and brand decisions as you grow. They will define visual direction, website design and marketing campaigns. They should define what you are looking for in a new retail partner or employee.
Use social media to create a lifestyle around your brand: share your inspirations and processes, express your own personality, tell your story, and be intentional about everything. post.
“The key to social media is consistency,” says Sarah. “I think you should post every day, but it also has to be interesting.” He combines his content with travel, inspiration, work-in-progress overviews, and even cool stats from his dashboard.
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Sarah is an advocate of the sketchbook as one of the most important tools for a designer. “I carry my sketchbook everywhere,” he said. “When I draw, I always think, ‘Oh, this little sketch can turn into a very good repeating pattern.’
, are not allowed to bring their own sketchbooks due to competition rules. “It really took me out of my game,” he said.
Fabric search is a lot about what you know, says Sarah. Industry networking can help you access fabric dealer contacts,
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