Starting a Clothing Company with a High, Medium or Low budget.
Many people flirt with the idea of starting a clothing company. They toy with the idea until something else comes along. Cost and time are the two things that are always stopping people from pursuing this idea. There are so many angles to approach launching a clothing range. These range from spending loads of money and want things done in a short amount of time all the way to (and this is the way I have centred my brand) spending a little amount of money but spending a lot of time developing the brand. Both of these methods and every method in between all have many advantages and disadvantages and we will go through this later in the post.
Starting with a high budget is always the fastest and easiest way to start a brand. This is the riskiest way to do so but building a successful business is supposed to be risky. Having a high budget doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do any of the things in the medium and low budget sections.
A brick and mortar store is a dream of many small indie brand owners although that being said, you need to have a large audience and a really good online presence for people to want to buy your stuff from a physical shop or even just want to visit your store. If a brick and mortar flagship store is what you are really aiming for then a pop up shop is another good option to build yourself up. You can use a pop up shop in two ways; either put some of your stock into a well known store in the area you are looking to set up in. This would be good because you can ‘steal’ the loyal customers that come to the shop with intentions to purchase other brands of goods. Another way to grow your brand by using a pop up shop is to rent a space for a certain period of time and get the feel of what it would be like just running your own store. I personally think that if your brand isn’t starting to make it online and you aren’t starting to establish some good relationships with customers then I think renting some space in an existing shop is the best idea.
If you decide to keep stock then there are two options to be made. Either you purchase a large amount of stock from a large company that prints many thousands of garments daily or purchase your own printing equipment that gives you the added option of print-on-demand fulfilment. It’s extremely hard to decide upon which of these is better as it completely relies on your type of company.
As this is the high budget section I will talk as through the high budget printing methods. To print the garments yourself a DTG (Direct to Garment) printer is the most expensive and comprehensive technique and can cost upwards of £10,000. A direct to garment printer will give you the most detailed and colourful prints but the setup cost is substantially more than other methods. Another downside is that it can become quite complicated to store the ink and use the printer properly.
Screen-printing is probably the most popular at-home method of t-shirt printing and can be done cheaply or expensively although the money you spend on set-up definitely correlates to the quality, precision, price and speed you can make garments. Also by spending more on a screen-printing setup it means you’ll be able to print multiple colours much easier.
By purchasing a printing machine you can get your cost per shirt as low as around £2 or £3 which is good although you will have to pay off that substantial set-up cost. On the contrary if you want to purchase printed clothing online then it may take longer and the company may not be able to replicate exactly what you want if your design is intricate and in a weird place but if you are wanting to order many hundreds or even thousands of garments then you can get the singular price down in the pennies which is great but then you have to be able to sell them all and store them.
Once you’ve established your store then the work really begins. Creating new ideas and products is essential to keeping your brand alive. Updating your content is essential to keep your customers engaged and also to maintain a prominent position on google search rankings and this brings us on to another important point of the setup of a clothing brand. Advertising is a tough process. You can either do it organically which takes time and a lot of effort or you can pay for it through many advertising outlets. A very popular way to advertise at the moment is social media. Whether you’re promoting your content on facebook, twitter, linkedIn or even now instagram; it’s all has the same techniques. Many people use social media advertising for hugely different things; whether it’s driving users to your new app, getting people to like your page or go to your website.
Having a good little advertising campaign is a good idea every time you make a relatively big launch in your brand. This can get people to see your product that wouldn’t normally come across it organically.
A medium budget start up has a few options to use to speed up the process of getting your brand off the ground. If you aren’t a confident web designer and also can’t afford to pay the high prices that some web design firms cost then a good option may be to use an online service to create the site yourself. The advantages of these are that they are extremely simple to and there’s no need to download any applications. Also there are many extremely clever features that take a lot of the cheaper web design companies a long time and inevitably more money to complete. Some of the top sites are listed below:
Unfortunately many of these online website builders require monthly payment methods and sometimes there are different levels increasing in price. So basically if you have quite a lot of products this may not be for you.
Secondly if you aren’t that artistically minded then there are many ways to acquire great clothing designs. Crowdsourcing graphic design is gaining in popularity and sites like Designcrowd or Crowdspring are two of the top sites.
Basically when you come to one of these sites and want a clothing design you create what is basically an advert saying what you’d like and how much you are willing to pay for it. After that then designers create some designs and upload them to your advert (Some projects gaining over 100 entries). You then have to decide on one, pay the person and you can go about using the design.
You may need a medium sized budget to do this as you should typically start with around 5 designs this can’t always be afforded. A cheaper place to go and buy designs is Mintees; you can go to this website and buy designs that have already been designed and uploaded. Since more than one person can buy this design it means it may not be very personal to your brand but it’s also usually a lot cheaper.
Low budget is basically where my brand Tresna started. This is much harder than starting a brand with a high budget and also takes a lot longer to get a good foothold. Presuming you have already got the general name, target market and aims and at this stage you are needing to start a good website and start getting your designs and stock.
To start with you need designs and a method to acquire printed garments. With a low budget it’s a good idea to start with dropshipping, definitely more expensive than holding stock but it has very minimal risk. This can be done through a local printing shop or there are many sites.
Learning to code and taking the time to make a website yourself can be very beneficial later on in the business and this can move you into other companies and make websites for customers. If you can’t make a website then it may be a good idea to make a comprehensive line sheet including all of your products and designs and then send it to local shops that could stock your products and then gain momentum from there and hopefully move up into the medium sized budget range. Be sure that your products are good enough for a store to want to sell because you don’t want to waste time and money if you haven’t spent the time to make sure people are going to like your stuff. Also if you haven’t got a method of fulfilment sorted before doing this then things are going to start going wrong very quickly.
Advertising can also be done on social media with no budget but everything has to be done organically through releasing good content and getting people engaged in your company. Email advertising using mailshots can be good too but you’ve got to try keeping it away from being spam and actually offer something when you send an email or newsletter.
Hopefully this was helpful. If you enjoyed it then you can share it or leave a comment somewhere.