How to Start a Clothing Brand in 2022 | 6 Step-by-Step Guide
Ah yes, starting a clothing brand is something many want to do nowadays. Only around 4% of clothing brands actually see success though. So, unless you have a massive following, know people in the industry, or already have validation of design ideas that would blow peoples minds. You might have an upper hand. However, there still is no guarantee.
So, the question is: "How do I make sure that I don't become like the other 96%?".
In this Six method Step-by-Step Guide. I am going to show you the process it takes to get your clothing brand noticed not only by other people, but also so you have 100% certainty in the direction you want to go. Maybe even before you even land your first sale.
I most certainly am
So, let's get started.
Step One: Having a Reason | That Why Factor
Having a why is what defines part of who you are, and shows what you aspire to change and go after in life. An amazing tip I learned from a video I watched of Simon Sinek defining "A quick way to find your why". Where he explains you should ask your friends this one question "Why our we friends?", and what you'll find out is that, since "why" is the number one word in the world that creates an emotional reaction. They need to give an actual reasoning as to "why" they are friends with you!
He also also explains you will probably have to ask your friends, time and time, & over and over again. That same question, until you exhaust them and then they eventually give you an answer you were looking for.
Having a reason/why also means having a vision or, as some people call it "A Dream". It's what you possibly daydream every ride to work in the car, or maybe it's a memory of what you have been wanting to do, but never pursued. Nevertheless, you are reading this for good reason. I believe you have envisioned something in life that you want for yourself.
Remember, in the clothing brand world. Yes, you are doing this for yourself, but mainly you should be doing this for your customers more than just you.
Ask yourself this question from a customer standpoint. "Why should I invest my money into you?". That factor alone weeds out the outstanding brands from the average brands that fail in the end.
Step Two: Having a "MMV" | Message, Mission, and Vision
First thing I want to say about this, is once you figure these three statements. Write them down.
- Message Statment: This should state these three components. This is what people will recongize the most about your brand
- Who you are
- What's your reason for making this.brand
- Who you are doing it for
- Mission Statement: Make this statement not very long, around 1-2 sentences.
- The impact you want your brand to create.
- Vision Statment: explain what you see in the future for this brand. | That constant motivating factor that drives you to get close to what you envision for yourself!
- Include where you want to go. People want to know the change you want to make in the world. Logicially, they're money is funding it after all.
This step can take some time, but as long as you can know one of them. You can work through these next steps while you are figuring these factors out at the same time.
Step Three: The Brand Name
Your brand name actually doesn't have to really make sense to your brand (take "Apple" or, take "Puma" for example). Many successful businesses not only in the clothing industry, but in general. Have made amazing communities and brand awareness based on step one and two. Those first two steps are CRUCIAL!
Now, having a brand name that does make sense with what your values mean in your brand does help. If you can find a way to come up with it so it's different.
An easy way to come up with a brand name is to remember why you are creating these clothes. What resonates with you personally for example.
I'll give mine for example.
- I created this brand because: I had personal pain in struggling to find out what difference I made in this world. It drove me to a real dark place I don't want to go back to, until I found out I wasn't alone. There are people everywhere just like me.
- Who am I trying to talk to through my clothing?: People that feel the same way I do. The ones who want to make a difference in this world, even if it's for themselves.
- In 1-2 words, how can I sum this up?: It can be as simple as your name, but for me. I always realzied in order to get things done. You have to start. Then it clicked in my head: "Stage One"
Personally, I was able to find out all these questions in less than 5 minutes. That was only because, I was motivated and I felt this pain each and everyday. I still do.
You can easily look at other websites like Lucid Press where they easily explain different processes in finding your brand name. My way of finding a brand name is not the only way.
What I will say is that a brand name that makes no sense with its audience, will be a failing brand before you even start. Keep it short, catchy, simple, and meaningful.
Step Four: Coming Up with a Logo | The Simpler The Better
Now above you'll see brands above that all have to do with clothing.
You may recognize all of the brands, maybe not. What you can see though is that they all are easily recognizable.
If you don't want to create a logo yourself, that is okay. Hire a designer to do it for you. You don't have to be good at designing to create an amazing brand, although again. It does help if you know a little about graphic designing or at least drawing.
I'll provide a list of places below to get amazing work done.
- Fiverr: Fiverr is great because you can choose your designer based on your needs and instincts. Rates range from $5-$4k+. So flexiblity is amazing on this platform
- BrandCrowd: This is a great place that is similar to fiverr, except it specializes in "branding". They're designers do logo deisgns, t-shirt designs, Brand Namess, and whole bunch more.
- Canva: Canva is a great place to learn how to come up with easy logo ideas that you for certain can learn to do. I use canva everyday and love there platform. However, I would not recommend using it for your REAL logo. As due it's simplicity. A lot of others can easily recreate what you have created.
Your logo can take time to come up with and as it should take time. Don't fast pace the process due to feeling rushed. My logo went through more than five different phases before I was happy with my finalized result!
Step Five: How Are You Going To Produce These Clothes?
First off, this is awesome! If you're at this step right now. That mean you should have these knocked these steps on your check-list!
- Your Reason/Why
- Having a Message, Mission, And Vision
- Creating a Brand Name
- Creating a Logo
There are many ways to get the production of clothing done. It's a lot easier nowadays too. How you get your clothes out there determines down to two main factors...
The type of clothing you are trying to produce
I'm not going to get into huge detail in the different processes of the different methods of producing clothes. If you want to get into a deeper insight you can check this page out a future post I will be making here in the upcoming weeks.
So, if love what you are reading so far - Join the list! I grow only if we grow haha.
- Cut & Sew
Obviously, you can make the clothes you want yourself. If you know how to create your own clothes. This method was used by Ben Francis, Creator of Gym Shark.
Cut and sewing is actually easier to learn than most think. It does require a lot of time and patience. However, if you like the creating part of the brand more than the business part. This may be for you.
This is also beneficial for this aspect alone. If you go to a manufacture to mass produce it. You know how to communicate with them so there is no error for once the shirts become produced
Manufactures range from locally to internationally. Using a manufacture comes ultimately down to two questions to ask yourself.
- What type of clothing am I going to need?
- How much clothes do I need to be produced?
If you are making apparel that has to do with sportswear and don't know where to get them. Go with a manufacture, and preferably an international one. That is due to being cost-effective, so it will save you A LOT more money. As well as better for sourcing materials that may be harder to produce or just import.
I'm not the only one who is going to say this, but using Alibaba.com is probably the #1 place to get any type of clothing done and produced. With over 10+ years of sourcing. They have gone a long way from where they use to stand when they started.
3. Print on Demand
This method is a method that requires very little to no money to get started. Basically, if you have a design that you just want to use on t-shirts, sweatshirts, pants, ect. This may be the method for you.
A lot of influencers, artists, and people with massive followings use this method. Especially, if they do not care about the material of the clothes. Just more of what they represent.
How do you get started with this? Well it's pretty simple. The easiest way I know of is go on Shopify.com and sign up.
Once you sign up, create a store and install the plug-in Printify. They make it very easy to upload a design and they do all the backend work for you. You just have to bring the customers!
You don't have to worry about handling the clothes, shipping the clothes, or have to worry about paying for any inventory. The con though, is that you have no control or say in how things are sent out. If you are wanting to start an actual clothing brand. I would not recommend going this route unless you have a certain following that likes YOU or what content you produce, not really the clothes.
There are other methods that I will be writing about into further detail in the future, but for now we will keep it at these main three. This is when the fun starts though.
Step Six: Having a Plan
This is either going to be very simple, or very complex. This also depends on the route you are going into. Regardless, You should have a plan on how you are going to sell your clothing and turn your vision into reality.
Your business plan is there for reference in case you diverge off your original plan in your head.
It took me 2 1/2 months to finalize my business plan, and I had to restart from scratch on three sections already into one month of creating it. I still tweak my own business plan depending on certain situations.
What should your business plan include?
- Executive Summary
- Business Description
- Market Analysis
- Competitor Analysis
- Sales & Marketing Plan
- Ownership & Management Plan
- Financial Plan
- Appendix & Exhibits
Now these are the details that are in my business plan and inside of each section there are even more parts to include. Some business plans have less, some have more. This is going to be subjective to what you are going to need.
A business plan creates structure. You need structure in any business. Without it, there is chaos.
If you want a further insight into how to create a business plan. I have created multiple business plans and I will be creating a template soon on a simple good structure for your brand.
So join the journey and stay tuned. I love helping y'all out with transparency.
Now lets go over the steps we covered so far
1. What is your reason/why
2. What is your message, mission, and vision
3. Create a brand name
4. Create a logo
5. Where are you going to produce these shirts
6. Making a business plan
Now I know someone is going to ask the question,
"What about a L.L.C or Trademark!?".
Personally, I believe you should only take these one of these steps or both steps, once you find out that what you are making and creating. Is something people ACTUALLY WANT. This does not include family or friends because they have emotions towards you and may not want to hurt your feelings. Ask people you don't know what they think of your clothing.
So, if you successfully have done these points and you believe that it's solid and ready to take action. Congratulations, you're already well on your way to the 4%.
Still, Strive to be in that 1% because those are where the visionaries are. They do what the other 99% don't do.
These are the steps to get STARTED creating your own apparel brand. Once these steps are done. You can move onto "where to go from there". Which is actually pretty simple to answer. Your vision guides you where. Now you have a structure and plan to get there.
and guess what.... That was all YOU!
If this Six Method Step-by-Step guide helped you gain guidance into where to start.
Comment, subscribe, keep following up, and ask questions! Everything I post is in real time and done with 100% transparency.