The apparel industry’s barrier to entry is lower than ever, which is great for aspiring entrepreneurs with great ideas. There are so many approaches and business models that you can apply, but the easiest way to get into the apparel business is with an online store. You should know, however, that while democratization has made it easier to get into the apparel business, it has also made it more competitive. So, unless you have a solid plan and are prepared for the road ahead, you have a very slim chance of succeeding. Here’s how you can start an online apparel business.
Start with a Business Plan
The first thing you should do is build a solid business plan. It should include things like the business model, your target demographic, your plan for the next few years, and what separates your brand from the others. You should also start fleshing out your marketing plan.
You now have to come up with designs. If you are an actual designer, create a simple line that will be easily manufacturable. Think about costs specifically. If you aren’t a designer, you should gather pictures of what you want your clothes to look like and send them over to a freelance designer. You can also create some rough sketches that will help them figure out what you’re looking for. If you don’t know where you can find freelance fashion designers, you can find them on sites like Fiverr or Upwork.
Choose a Supply Method
You need to decide what method you’re going to use for sourcing and manufacturing. You can decide to have all of your inventory made in advance with your branding or you could use manufacturing on demand.
With manufacturing on-demand, you will use images of your design and put them on your website, and have a third party make them and ship them directly to your client when they place an order. It’s like dropshipping, but with your original design. This is the best option for those who don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on inventory.
Build a Home Office
Treat this as a real business and build a solid office from home. It should have a VoIP phone, fax, and a state-of-the-art computer. Go either for a desktop or a top laptop if you want more freedom of movement.
Build a Site
Now comes the time to build your site. You will first need to decide which platform you want to host it on. You can use a service like Shopify or WIX if you have zero coding experience as they have tons of templates specifically for the apparel industry. You won’t have to worry about hosting either.
If you want something you’ll be able to scale, however, then you should check out WordPress and consider hiring someone to build your site. A good site will cost you at least $1500, so be ready for the costs.
This is all you need to know to start your very own online clothing business. Everything else is about marketing your business and building a reputation for stellar service and quality.