If you're thinking of starting your clothing line, you need a professional factory to take the pressure off your back.
But, before choosing a clothing factory, there are 10 tips you need to follow in order for your to build and grow your clothing line faster.
Here are 10 awesome tips to fasten the growth and success of your clothing line:
STEP 1. Market Research
Conducting market research is crucial to the success of your line. For example, you need to determine what trends are popular, what styles are selling, what category your concept fits into, what demographic age group the line appeals to, what price point(s) are similar lines being sold at, etc.
The best way to answer these questions is to go...shopping! Shop the local malls, online, and specialty stores for where you think your clothes might be sold. Look at what's on the rack, the prices, and what items are selling.
Talk to sales reps, managers, store owners and ask customers to feel what's out there, selling, and what customers are asking for. The answers will be priceless!
Here is a great tip to help you save time and do your market research in one single afternoon:
You can go to SpyFu to do a very detailed and easy-to-understand market research.
THIS PROCESS IS ONGOING AND CONTINUES THROUGHOUT THE YEAR EVERY SELLING SEASON.
STEP 2. Branding your clothing line
Decide what type of clothing you want to make. What is the appeal of your clothes? Is your new line conservative or fashion-forward?
In other words, when people think of your clothing line, what do you want them to think? Define your style and set a theme for the line you plan to create.
You will refine and continue to develop your Brand as much as possible as your business grows.
STEP 3. Name, Trademark & domain registration
Choose a name for your clothing line and trademark it. Next, you should do a trademark search for the name you have chosen to ensure no other businesses or companies are already using that name.
If the name is available, register it with the United States Patent office.
You should buy the Web domain name for your clothing line as well.
Domain names on the Internet are being sold quickly, so make sure you buy one with the name of your clothing line right away.
You should develop a website to show prospective buyers your line as it will be the first place they will look to familiarize themselves with your clothing and wholesale price points.
Furthermore, register your business as a D.B.A. or LLC with your city clerk, and then get a bank account under your new business's name.
These are all important steps to take before you begin actually to design and produce clothes.
STEP 4. Create concept sketches
Based on your market research and brand identity findings, you are now ready to come up with clothing styles and graphic artwork to bring that concept to life.
Be fun, creative, and original. This is fashion! Your design sketches should reflect the images of your target consumer, age group, price points, and current trends in styles.
It would be best to create an inspiration board of images, fabrics, anything that inspires you. Then, once you have the designs, fabrics, and trims, organize everything onto large artboards so you can see the entire line at once.
A. Design 4 color concept sketches
B. Choose fabrics and trims to match w/ each style
C. Create Apparel line storyboards - organized presentation of all styles, F.A.T. choices
STEP 5. Source Materials
After creating sketches of the clothing line, you should begin thinking about the materials you will use to make your product come to life.
You'll have to find everything from fabric to buttons to zippers and linings. But, of course, everything you choose must be available in mass quantities and the right colors.
STEP 6. Edit styles for sample development
The next step is to edit your concept line. Not every style you create will make it to sample development.
Edit the sketches to the best styles, potential hot sellers, and looks that capture what you are trying to say with your clothing brand. Then, ask yourself," Do the chosen styles reflect your original concept?
NOTE: Keep in mind budget constraints, time, and availability of raw materials.
Part of your decision of what styles to send to sample development will be what the selected styles cost to develop garment samples and send to production. You only have so much money.
It would help if you also considered the time available.
How long will it take to get the garment samples done in time to market for the upcoming season?
In general, apparel markets open 6 months ahead. For example, for Fall delivery in September - markets open in early February.
For Spring delivery in March - markets open in early September. What season are you working on? Do you have enough time?
In addition, any raw materials needed to make your clothing line must be available in mass quantities to fulfill the production orders at the time of production.
Unless you have the money to pre-order your raw materials and the warehouse space to store them, try to avoid limited quantity fabrics and trims.
Add, subtract and continue editing your concept sketches until you have selected the appropriate number of designs to enter sample development.
WARNING: DON'T CREATE A SKELETON LINE!
Put enough samples into development to merchandise your line (I'll get into this in more detail later). But, for now, know that Buyers want to see options when they look at your line.
STEP 7. Sample Garment Development
After you determine what styles best represent the concept of your clothing line according to the theme, budget, time, and available raw materials, the next step is to create "Sample" garments of each style to test the look, fit, and wearability in real life.
Developing "prototype" sample garments of your clothing line is a process involving corrections, changes, and alterations. Here is an outline of that process:
1. Translate concept sketches into flat technical design drawings w/ specs.
a. Tech drawings are blueprints of each garment in line
b. More factories now require a tech. Drawing instead of a sketch
c. You can eliminate many design mistakes in this stage
2. Create 1st patterns - generic pattern only; usually, fitting issues will cause corrections.
a. Based on the corrected technical design drawing
b. Based on supplied fit sample - a garment found from shopping to base the first pattern off of
3. Sew sample garments in mock fabric - conduct a sample garment fitting test, indicate corrections in fit, style and send back samples with corrections marked
a. First round testing of clothing line for fit, pattern accurately
b. Test garments on a real person, not a mannequin
c. Cheap mock fabrics used that behaves like final fabrics
d. Upon observation, style changes to the garment may be made
4. Make corrections to 1st pattern, sew another sample or cut the final sample garment, and send it back to evaluate proper fit - make any final corrections to the pattern.
OPTION: CUT TO FINAL GARMENT OR CUT ANOTHER SAMPLE?
The first round of pattern corrections from the first garment fittest will take care of most, if not all, the problems during sample development.
Depending upon the number of corrections needed from the first fit test, you may decide to make another fit sample or go ahead and cut the "final" sample garments.
Keep in mind that fit is everything in this business. If a garment does not fit correctly, would you buy it?
Here is how POWER SWEET Clothing Factory team make a sample from scratch:
5. Get approval to "Cut to final" sample garments. Prep Tech. Pac. for a clothing factory.
6. Cut final Master patterns, grade sizes, and deliver full design tech. Package w/ sample garments to clothing factory ready for the sewing pre-production stage.
7. Clothing factory sends back "proto" samples based on tech. Pac. and samples sent over.
8. Clothing factory sews "final" showroom samples of the line for sales, marketing, and catalog.
STEP 8. Merchandise your Clothing line
Buyers want to see options when they look at your line. Coordinate items in the line so that they go together. Merchandising is all about increasing sales through a well-coordinated line so that it has maximum appeal to buyers.
Ideally, think of yourself when you go shopping. Find a shirt to go with a pair of pants, sweater, etc. Coordinate with fabrics, colors, trims, finishes, or other styles in the line to give several looks that might appeal to buyers.
The goal is to have the buyer place an order for as many items in the line as possible.
STEP 9. Pricing the line and Prepping for market
a. Pricing -- It is time to price your clothing line.
After you Add up all expenses, mark up clothes at least 50% over your costs to make a decent profit. Account for negotiation with buyers as they will want better pricing for ordering more. Make sure each style "looks" like the price you are asking for it. Look at what similar styles sell for.
b. PR -- Now that you have your clothing line appropriately priced, you are ready to start marketing and selling your line.
You can create catalogs of all your looks by hiring models, photographers, and stylists to do a photo shoot.
Second, prepare a press kit by creating a vision statement about your fashion line, include a Designer bio and photographs from the fashion shoot.
Create a line sheet(must-have for the buyers); this document includes pictures, descriptions, prices, and color(s) for every style in your clothing line.
STEP 10. Selling your clothing line at the market
a. It's time to make money! Rent out a booth at apparel trade shows, attend apparel market weeks to get your new line in front of thousands of buyers. Your goal is to get orders, be very flexible with buyers!