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5 MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT STARTING A CLOTHING BRAND

Who will make my clothing?

Clothing can be produced in various places. A local printing company from around the corner or a specialized clothing company are just two of the many options. When choosing your manufacturer there are a few things you really need to keep into account.

First of all, quality should be your main concern. As a new brand, you can’t afford to sell low quality products. You can only sell a customer a bad product once.

Secondly, once your brand becomes bigger, your supplier should be able to keep up with your increasing demand. You will be forced to change suppliers when they can’t. Which implies that you are going to have to go through the entire set-up process with your new supplier. Which will cost you a lot of time and money.

Respecting delivery dates is a third and equally important point. If you base your launch campaign dates on your delivery dates, then you better hope the clothing will make it in time. There can always be a small delay. But get yourself a supplier that can deliver on the agreed upon date or close to it. Not weeks or months later. Trust me, I’ve been there.

Industry knowledge. Something which a lot of suppliers lack. Making the actual clothes is one thing. But making sure a size medium is an actual size medium is something else. A lot of suppliers struggle with this. So make sure you test their knowledge on sizing for different pieces of clothing before you place any kind of order.

Psst, have you thought about us?

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How much will it cost me?

Starting a company costs money. So does starting a clothing brand.

There are three kinds of costs you need to cover. Production costs, operational costs and marketing costs.

The biggest cost you’ll have to make, especially in the beginning, are your production costs. These costs include everything from designing your clothes to actually manufacturing them.

Operational costs can be described as everything ranging from building your own webshop, to the costs of keeping stock and shipping your products. These are costs that you need to make in order for your business to get started and keep going.

Another cost is the money you’ll need to invest in marketing. These costs are needed to reach your audience. Your brand may be the hottest new brand out there but without spending any money on marketing, you won’t get the sales you hoped for. That’s why you need to invest in marketing. Organize a photoshoot, launch a marketing campaign, boost it on social media and see those sales coming in.

Pro tip: 1/4 of your total budget needs to be reserved for your marketing.

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How to make a fashion business plan?

It’s important that your business plan reflects a clear picture on questions like how, what, where, when and why. A business plan is necessary when requesting a loan from the bank. You can also use your business plan as a tool to see how close your expectations are in line with reality. A good business plan includes a number of things.

First of all, it’s important that you clearly describe what your company is and what it stands for. Your mission and vision are two key words in this part. Your story should be crystal clear when people read your business plan.

A market research is also needed in your business plan. Study the market in which you will be active. Take a closer look at your competitors, both direct as indirect competitors. An estimation of your sales, turnover, profit, costs, etc is required as well. Try to make a best and worst case scenario. By doing this you will see the possibilities of your company, but you will also understand that starting your own business holds some (financial) risks.

Reading tip

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How many items do I need and what price will I sell them at?

For a lot of people, this is probably the most difficult question out there. Guessing which products will sell and which won’t isn’t easy. It’s important that you think about what you’re going to sell and to whom. 50 pieces per design is the ideal quantity to get good data and yet achieve some sales. When you buy 50 pieces your purchase price will also be slightly lower compared to starting out with 10 or 25 pieces per design.

The second most difficult question would be at which price to sell. Right? Well, here’s a general guideline on how to calculate your retail price.

Start with your purchase price (ex vat)
Take that number and multiply it by 3.5. and include VAT on the result = you now have a good retail price.

Reading tip:

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How will I ship my orders?

Before we can answer this question, you need to determine which sales channel you are going to use. Will you work purely through e-commerce or is selling your product in retail stores something you always dreamed about?

When choosing e-commerce, you’re probably going to send your packages by mail. It is important to consider whether you will send the packages yourself or if you’re going to outsource that task to an external partner. In the beginning, when sales aren’t too huge, you could still manage to do it yourself. But when your brand grows and sales increase, sending those packages will take a lot of your valuable time. So it’s important that you value your time. Time you put into preparing and shipping orders could be put to better use on things like marketing and sales. So find yourself a reliable partner that can ship your orders and track your inventory for you.

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Quick summary

  • Find a trustworthy partner like Merchandise Essentials.
  • Keep in mind that starting a clothing brand costs money.
  • Don’t start before you have a decent business plan
  • 50 pieces per design is enough to start.
  • Value your own time and know when to outsource certain things.

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