There is a ton of competition in the clothing industry. In such a competitive market, you really need to find your specific niche. Here are a few things to consider when narrowing in on your niche when starting your own online clothing store.
Who will you be selling to?
Who is the target audience for your clothing line? While we all hope that every single person on the planet will wear the clothing we worked so hard to bring into fruition, we need to ask ourselves who our most likely customer is.
Will you be selling women’s fashion, men’s, kid’s, seniors or unisex?
What is the age range of your target market? Are they younger teens who bop around the mall every chance they get? Are they male skateboarders between the ages of 14 and 25 who fancy oversized tees and long, shaggy hair?
When starting a clothing line, it’s also important to think about your ideal customer’s interests. What do they do on the weekends? Do they go to wine and paint nights with their girlfriends? Do they go to cigar lounges and drink scotch on the rocks? Or do they stay in and research business trends and stock market changes?
With all the preparation for your market research, keep in mind that all this can change after you actually launch your own clothing store.
You can always figure out ways to rebrand in a way that fits your current customer demographic or you can add in additional products or marketing strategies to attract the customers you want to target later on.
What style clothes are you looking to sell?
If you decided that your target demographic is a 25- to 35-year-old female who is a pro Instagramer and attends music festivals like Coachella, the style of clothing that best suits your demographic might be bohemian. From there, you can decide what makes up a good chunk of your clothing brand’s inventory according to the likes of your consumers.
What makes your brand unique?
n any industry and no matter what you do, there is always going to be someone doing something similar to you who is selling for higher or lower than you. Higher prices evoke a sense of exclusivity and premium quality, while lower prices appeal to a more general mass of people because of its affordability and convenience factor.
When determining your unique selling proposition, especially in the clothing world, there are a few factors to consider.
Do you do something different or better than other brands on the market? Do you have premium fabric that makes your clothing feel like they were taken directly from the gowns of gods? Or do you donate a portion of your proceeds to various charities?
Think about all the ways that make your clothing line more valuable than others to a customer and use it as a foundation for your selling proposition.
Name your clothing business
Naming your business can be one of the most fun, but sometimes one of the most stressful parts, of starting a clothing line.
Your clothing brand’s name will be used everywhere, in logos, clothing designs, shirt tags, website graphics, social media, thank you cards, and more.
There is no “right” way to come up with a business name, but there are several techniques and tips you can use to steer yourself in the right direction.
Have your funds in order
Starting a clothing store requires quite a bit of overhead cost simply because of the money you need to invest for product production.
Because of that, one crucial step you need to consider is how you will fund your clothing brand. Do you have money saved to safely self-fund for the time being?
Or will you look for other sources of funding such as applying for a business loan, getting an investor, or opting for crowdfunding? These are just a few funding options for a new business owner.
Crowdfunding is essentially where you have people invest in your idea.
Some of the most well-known crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo, Kickstarter and GoFundMe allow you to make an account, create a “pitch” that explains your idea and how people can invest, and start receiving funding.
Some crowdfunding sites ask you to set a goal of how much you’d like to receive. If you meet or exceed your goal, you are able to keep the money, but if you don’t reach your goal, the money is returned to the people who invested in your idea.
Be sure to thoroughly read the rules of each platform to see which crowdfunding site works best for your intentions.
A business loan is when a company or bank lends you money on the terms that you are able to pay them back.
Be on the lookout for small niche business loans or other non traditional financing options that work heavily in your favour.
While it’s easy to get carried away with the fun parts of starting a clothing store, it will significantly help you in the long run if you set aside time to sit and create a business plan.
This includes everything from taking care of the legal paperwork, getting your finances in order and the vision of your branding and sales goals when the time comes.
What initial starting costs do you need to plan for when starting your clothing line? Do you need any equipment or software? If you’re planning on creating your own designs, purchase a design software like Adobe Illustrator to turn your designs into vectors for easy printing.
Will you outsource to a screen printer or are you planning on printing yourself?
If you go the DIY route, you will need to look into screen printing presses and everything else you need to take into account like buying screens and an array of ink colors. There is more information on costs below.
What about inventory for your clothing store? Where are you going to find wholesale clothing? Are you going to find somewhere online?
Are you planning on printing custom tees, storing them in your house, and selling your inventory as you get sales or are you thinking about printing on demand with companies?
There are pros and cons to consider for each option as you consider how to start your own clothing line.
While having pre printed inventory is helpful because you can ship as you please and can sell at local festivals and markets in an instant, you are also responsible for storing your inventory, which can take up significant room in your house.
If something goes wrong, you might be left trying to get rid of unwanted inventory and salvage a minimal profit in comparison to the amount of money you put in. On the other hand, using an on demand printing service can save you from having excess inventory.
When starting your own clothing store, you also need to figure out where you are going to sell your clothing.
You also need to decide if you’ll be solely selling on your App and website or on a marketplace site like Etsy or Amazon to rake in more potential shoppers.
Build an App
If technology intimidates you, it’s time to face that fear head on and immerse yourself in the world of Apps. Even if you don’t get your hands dirty and pass the job to someone more skilled, as a business owner, it’s important to have enough basic knowledge of the functionality and design aspects you want in order to communicate your ideas thoroughly to someone else.
There are a few ways to go about building a successful retail App for your clothing line, one of which is by hiring an App designer to build you a fully functional and modern App. If you’re looking for a wholly unique design, hiring a professional App builder will get you the custom, one of a kind functionality and designs qualities you’re looking for.
Although there isn’t a right answer when it comes to building your own App, we highly recommend taking a stab at creating your own online store with the help of Appily App Builder.
With Appily App Builder you have access to easy do it yourself Apps. You can select what type of App you are looking to create.
This is a more cost effective App solution than outsourcing your App to a designer. In addition, you will get a better understanding of how your App works in case you need to change anything in the future, which will absolutely happen. You’ll also get the monumental satisfaction of having created your own App.
Get in front of buyers:
Unless you have a strong foundation of followers that flock towards everything you talk about, getting potential consumers to your online store when you’re starting from scratch can sometimes be very tough.
When you connect your online store to Appily App Builder, the changes you make on your online store (like prices and product descriptions) and App are automatically synced to your separate Android and iOS Apps. This means you aren’t spending all your free time changing one number on five individual tasks.
Promote your clothing store
While it’s tempting to sit back and sleep for a week after hitting "publish", this is when promotion really begins. In order to get people to your App and website, you’ve got to use a variety of tools and techniques to get your products in front of your ideal customers.
Some of these techniques include:
Email marketing: Every email you send should have a specific call to action in order to get consumers to visit your online store.
Social media: Create a business Instagram account, use sponsored ads for more awareness and create engaging Instagram content.
Collaborations and partnerships: What brands align with and complement your own clothing line? Fostering partnerships or collaborations is a great way to make connections in the community, validate your brand, and get in front of a new audience of potential buyers.
Branded packaging: Every part of your online store process is essential to the customer’s experience. This includes your product packaging. Find ways to insert character and connect with your retail customers through product packaging like adding thank you cards or using custom branded poly mailers or boxes.
Make sure to clear out unsold inventory to keep your ideas fresh and current.
Don’t be afraid to venture off the digital scene to enter the physical world in the form of retail booths at markets and festivals.
Take it one step at a time and remember to take a deep breath if you feel overwhelmed.