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Guide to Launching Your Clothing Brand in 2024: Steps and Strategies

By
Rosie Greaves

Are you a fashion influencer looking to monetize your passion? Or are you considering launching a dropshipping store and have always been interested in fashion?

Whatever your reason for starting a clothing company, this step-by-step guide aims to help you hit the ground running with this venture. 

Sound good? Grab a cup of coffee, and let's answer the question: 

'How to start a clothing brand?'

Step 1. Pick a Fulfillment Model

When building a clothing brand, you could adopt several fulfillment models. 

For example, creating and selling clothes you've made yourself or sourcing, warehousing, and shipping products from a wholesaler or manufacturer, or, of course, dropshipping. 

For the purposes of this guide, we'll be focusing on the latter. 

So, first, let's clarify what we mean by dropshipping:

Dropshipping is a fulfillment method where you market items produced by a third party on your preferred sales channel. Then, when you make a sale, you purchase the item from your third-party supplier, and they ship it directly to your customer. As such, you don't have to handle inventory directly. Instead, you act as a middle person between your shoppers and suppliers. 

With that said, here are just a few reasons why dropshipping presents a viable option for creating a fashion brand:

As you only buy inventory once a customer makes a purchase, there's no need to invest in products or warehousing, meaning you can launch your clothing brand with minimal capital investment. 

Not only does this make dropshipping an accessible option, but you don't have to worry about unsold inventory. This allows you to test different clothing designs and styles to your heart's content, giving you the space to get a sense of what shoppers want without much financial risk. However, it's important to remember that product quality is vital for the success of your clothing brand. We'll discuss how to ensure the quality of your products later in the guide.

Similarly, since you don't manage your own inventory, adding and removing items from your online store is as easy as a few clicks, empowering your brand to quickly adapt to changing fashion trends. This flexibility is a key advantage of dropshipping, giving you the control to shape your brand's offerings based on market demand.

Lastly, fashion is a thriving market. In fact, the fashion sector is forecast to have one of the highest compound annual growth rates in the dropshipping market at 24.8% from 2023 to 2030. This means that with the right strategy and niche selection, your fashion brand could be part of this exciting growth.

Step 2. Define Your Fashion Niche

Now that you have a better understanding of why dropshipping could be the most convenient option for managing your fashion brand's fulfillment, it's time to pick a fashion niche. 

For the uninitiated, a 'fashion niche' refers to a specialized segment within the broader fashion industry. Your niche will be characterized by particular styles, themes, lifestyles, and/or target demographics. 

For example, sustainable fashion, streetwear, vintage fashion, activewear, etc., are all examples of fashion niches.

But why is niching down imperative for launching your own fashion brand?

Firstly, you're better positioned to pinpoint your target market. For example, let's say you're focusing on sustainable women's fashion; your target market might be eco-conscious, vegan women aged 21-40. 

Then, with your target market in mind, it's much easier to tailor your marketing efforts and product selection to meet your customers' needs. 

It's also worth mentioning that niching down in a crowded industry (like fashion) goes a long way toward setting you apart from competitors. This allows you to carve out a unique position for your brand, which increases the likelihood of establishing yourself as an authority in your fashion niche and builds customer trust with those who identify with your brand.

So, how do you select a profitable fashion niche?

In short, this requires market analysis, trend forecasting, and a decent understanding of your target audience's purchasing behaviors. 

With that said, here are some tips for identifying a lucrative fashion niche:

  • Conduct thorough market research: This involves studying existing fashion trends and market reports to identify gaps, emerging opportunities, and potential industry trends. It's also worth analyzing your competitors and fashion influencers to better understand what niches they're operating in and how they're marketing themselves. For starters, check out their socials and websites, and use a social listening tool like Google Alerts to stay ahead of the curve. 

We've also listed a few other resources/tools to help you kickstart your market research:

  1. Google Trends
  2. Statistica
  3. McKinsey’s State of Fashion Annual Report
  4. The Business of Fashion
Google Trends
  • Evaluate profitability: While conducting your market research, consider factors like the market size of your potential niche, the fierceness of the competition, pricing dynamics, and your target audience's willingness to pay. When combined, these facets provide a good indicator of a niche's potential profitability.
  • Identify your passion: Based on the data gleaned above, do any of the potential fashion niches that have arisen align with your interests? When you're passionate about your niche, you'll find it much easier to get creative and work through obstacles if and when they arise. 

Step 3: Set Up Your Online Fashion Store

If you don't already have an eCommerce store, now's the time to launch one using an eCommerce platform like BigCommerce, Shopify, Wix, or WooCommerce. 

The beauty of these platforms is that they all offer themes explicitly designed for the fashion sector. So, if web design isn't your strong suit, don't worry; developing a beautiful website optimized for the fashion industry is pretty straightforward.

Please note: Many of these themes come with a price tag, so you'll need to do some research and factor this into your budget accordingly. 

Shopify Themes

Fortunately, launching a dropshipping fashion store using any of the aforementioned platforms is a breeze; they all have excellent customer support teams and self-help resources you can refer to.

But, as a general rule, online store creation involves the following steps:

  1. Register and connect a custom web domain
  2. Design your website
  3. Integrate your eCommerce store with your dropshipping supplier platform
  4. Create and publish your product listings

Simple, right?

Pro Tip: If you're looking for tips for optimizing your e-store for conversions, check out this blog post we recently wrote: 7 Tips to Improve Your Conversion Rates

Branding and Design

As you design your online store, you'll need to carefully consider your online brand. 

This is paramount for ensuring your fashion brand distinguishes itself from its competitors and communicates your brand's identity and image. After all, a well-crafted brand creates a perception of value, empowering you to position your brand as luxury, budget, cutting-edge, trendy (or whatever else you want your fashion brand to be). 

So, consider your brand's values, aesthetics, and personality and how you'll convey that via your online store. 

To achieve this, here are a few pointers to help steer you in the right direction:

  • Know your target demographics inside and out: Conduct thorough research into their preferences, lifestyles, needs, and issues. Then, use this information to construct a brand identity that resonates with them. 
  • Develop a strong brand visual: This includes creating a distinctive logo, color palette, typography, and imagery. These visuals must be consistent across all customer touchpoints and reflect your brand's personality and aesthetics.
  • Be authentic: Once you've established brand values, stay true to them and remain transparent with your audience. After all, authenticity is crucial for building trust and loyalty.

Step 4: Source Dropshipping Suppliers and Products

You can source high-quality dropshipping products from reliable suppliers in a few ways. 

For example, you could manually vet individual dropshipping suppliers from online directories like Alibaba. 

Alternatively, you could utilize a dropshipping platform like Spocket. Spocket rigorously vets all its suppliers before they go live on the platform, ensuring users only access decent products from reputable suppliers offering fast shipping.

Spocket for Dropshipping Products

On top of that, Spocket demands the following standards from its vendors:

  • Spocket suppliers can't plaster watermarks on their product images. Users can, therefore, use these product photos for their own marketing.
  • Consistent pricing (i.e., pricing won't increase once the item is published on Spocket's network, providing merchants with stability).
  • Suppliers can't include promotional materials in their packaging. Orders must also be shipped in neutral packages without the supplier's company logo or information. This makes it much easier for merchants to build their own fashion brands.
  • Suppliers must maintain an order success rate of 95% (or more) so that users know their orders are in safe hands. You can also check a Spocket supplier's order success rate (out of five stars) on their supplier page within your Spocket dashboard. 

Where product selection is concerned, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Quality: Choose products made from high-quality materials. One of the easiest ways to assess product quality is to carefully read the product descriptions. This should give you an understanding of how the garment is manufactured. 
    1. Ordering a product sample is also wise. That way, you can test the quality for yourself - i.e., the quality of the materials, manufacturing, and whether the item is true to size. 
    2. You could also do a reverse image search of the product to see who else is selling it. Then, see whether customers have left reviews. This should give you a sense of the garment's durability. 
  2. Trendiness: In tandem with the market research you've already conducted, use Spocket's 'best-selling' filter to see which of its products are in high demand. 
Dropshipping Products on Spocket
  1. Price competitiveness: When viewing Spocket products, you'll see two prices. The listing price and the retail price. The former is the price you pay the supplier for the product. In contrast, the retail cost is the suggested price for selling the item on your online store. This should give you an idea of how much profit you could generate from the product. Please note: Neither of these prices includes shipping costs, so you'll need to consider these expenses when making these calculations.  
 Dropshipping Fashion Items on Spocket
  1. Shipping and delivery times: If quick shipping times are non-negotiable, filter Spocket's fashion products to only show suppliers that can deliver within 1-3 days. 
Spocket Delivery Times

Step 5. Market Your Fashion Brand

Now you have your dropshipping fashion brand up and running, you need to market it. This is essential for boosting brand awareness and driving sales.

An entire post could be dedicated to marketing your fashion store, so unfortunately, we can't go into lots of detail here. 

However, below, we've listed a few budget-friendly marketing tactics to help get the ball rolling:

  • Content marketing: Create a fashion blog on your eCommerce store offering style tips, outfit ideas, and shoppable lookbooks. Not only is this great for SEO, but this kind of content is excellent for establishing your store as an authority. 
  • Social media: Leverage platforms where fashion content is prevalent, such as Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok. Showcase your products and use popular hashtags and well-written captions to engage social media users. 
  • Influencer marketing: If you're on a budget, you won't be able to collaborate with colossal fashion influencers. However, you can do some digging to find micro-influencers who align with your brand. You could offer them free products in exchange for promoting your fashion store to their followers, making this form of influencer marketing a cost-effective way to reach a relevant and engaged following.

How to Start Your Own Clothing Line: Our Final Thoughts

Having read this guide to starting a clothing brand, we hope this gives you a better idea of how to start your own apparel business. 

If you still have questions about how to start a clothing business, please feel free to contact Spocket. We'll happily help you lay the foundations for your clothing brand startup.

That's all from us. Don't forget to let us know how you get on in the comments box below!

How to Start a Clothing Line: Frequently Asked Questions

We hope this guide has provided insight into the best way to start a clothing brand. However, to ensure we've covered all our bases, we'll quickly answer some of the most frequently asked questions on the subject:

How to Start Your Own Clothing Brand?

In addition to all of the above advice, we suggest creating a business plan that outlines your:

  • Business goals
  • Mission statement
  • Target market
  • Marketing strategies
  • Financial projections

...etc. 

This plan will serve as a roadmap for your business strategy and may be useful for securing investors' funding.

How to Start a Clothing Company?

You need to register your clothing brand as a business. However, this process will look slightly different depending on where you operate.

Pro Tip: Head to your government's website for advice on registering your clothing company.

How to Start Designing Clothes?

Print-on-demand is worth considering if you want to add your own designs to clothes. 

Fortunately, a couple of Spocket's suppliers (Orange Apollo and Azure Juniper) offer this service for fashion and jewelry items. I.e., these suppliers will print/customize their products with your designs.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Clothesline?

How much it will cost to start a clothesline depends on several factors, such as your chosen eCommerce platform, whether you opt to subscribe to a dropshipping supplier platform, whether you invest in marketing, and so on. 

However, theoretically, you could kickstart your venture with a meager budget. For instance, you could research free eCommerce platforms, manually vet suppliers, use free marketing methods, etc. 

How Many Pieces Should You Start a Clothing Line?

Ultimately, there's no hard and fast rule to this. 

Our best advice is to start with a quantity you can afford to purchase sample products for. Then, based on customer feedback, scale your clothing line.

Is Making a Clothing Brand Worth It?

Launching a clothing brand can be a rewarding endeavor. However, like any dropshipping venture, don't expect to make money overnight. You'll need to put in the work and invest in your business both financially and time-wise. However, there's no reason why, over time and with tenacity, your online fashion brand won't be a success.

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Rosie Greaves

Rosie Greaves is a professional content strategist specializing in all things digital marketing, B2B, and lifestyle. In addition to Spocket, you can find her published on Reader's Digest, E-commerce Platforms, and Judicious Inc. Check out her website Blog with Rosie for more information.


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