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Start-up clothing brands are popping up more than ever these days, with many seeing an opportunity in starting a clothing business. But if you’ve ever wanted to start a fashion brand from nothing, then you may find this blog of use to make sure you understand every one of our ten critical steps in launching a clothing label.
Here at Rag Sourcing we have seen first-hand the success of Sik Silk, 11 Degrees, Judas Sinned and many more here at Rag Sourcing. And we can share with you the key to success for starting up your own clothing brand. From the initial sample run to that first sale, every step is tough but exhilarating. Here is our ten-step blueprint plan to success in starting your clothing business.
Start your clothing business in 10 stages
Bring these ten steps to life with our guide to starting a clothing business below.
1. Pick your niche
Starting a clothing business is a big move which needs time and money so you have to be fully committed to success. You need to be creative, driven and have trend direction to stay ahead in such a competitive and fast-moving industry. If you have seen a gap in the market or have some killer designs in mind, then it might be time to count the pennies and plan out your growth. It’s essential to know your niche from the beginning. Who is your target audience? Who is your competition? Do you have something that people will want to buy? Are you going to start with one specific item like the simple cotton tee? Or begin with shirts like Father and Sons? Or make your name with headwear like Fresh Ego Kid? Are you targetting the fitness sector or the casual streetwear market?
Your niche could be sustainable and ethical sourcing which is very current with the furore at the fast fashion industry. Know your niche, and work to this ideal. You can’t keep chopping and changing until you’ve got a presence and loyal fanbase. Sure you can bring out Menswear or Womenswear collections in the future, but staying true to who you are is essential.
2. Set your budget and create a business plan
Create a budget by separating your starter capital into realistic budgets for production (and transport costs), website, marketing and operational infrastructure. Look at all sourcing options, and contact us if you want to talk these through. You can buy stock items and brand these up, or go directly to the factories for lower unit cost but higher minimum quantities. You usually have to pay deposits to start sampling and pay the balance on shipping. There are very few ways to start a clothing brand for free in the current economical climate. Even if your starting small scale with a few designs, you still need a website to sell these. You will likely need to contact a website design company or build it yourself. You may be tempted by Shopify so be aware there are monthly charges to keep it active which should be factored in.
The fashion industry is notoriously tough. On getting your stock you have a limited seasonal window to sell it in, then it’s old news and will likely be put on sale. You are also in competition with other brands who are offering end of season clearance sale prices to generate funds and clear space for the new season. Styles and trends change quickly so you can be left with a lot of old stock if not careful.
Stick to your budget. There is no point over-spending on production if you have no money to advertise or have a website running. Feel free to create multiple designs and Pantone colourways, but equally be prepared to cut some out of your range plans based on unit cost and feedback. Your first designs will be your entry to the fashion industry and the creation of your clothing line, but also crucially your easy route to market. You will know the unit price to manufacture, retail price and the demand for the product. Sometimes wild designs catch attention but simple sells. Either way, start small and grow with the demand.
If cashflow is dry and you need a business plan to secure funding, it’s essential to start off by nailing the basics. You’ll need to give a breakdown of your business including price points, route to market, competitor analysis and a strategy for growth and scale. You should also be clear on who is involved with the business, their skill sets, who you will outsource any gaps too, and of course marketing and branding strategy. It’s also crucial to have clear operational plans including warehouse and postage.
Finally, the crucial financials. What will their investment do and how will it scale your growth?
3. Get organised
You will need somewhere to store the stock, to pick and pack and post. You will need to register with HRMC for tax purposes as all items carry VAT. You need to either have a website or a physical place to sell your clothing. Who is going to design the items? Who is going to pick and pack when they sell? Who is going to manage customer services, social media, marketing, etc? Do you need an accountant? Do you need to register the company with Companies House? Are you importing the stock and is VAT payable on arrival? Do you need insurance? If you have big plans it might be time to contact us for a free consultation to find out the key requirements.
All this needs to be mapped out or outsourced to a specialised e-commerce company.
4. Set a timeframe.
Make sure you know how long the process takes to be ready for launch. Are you planning on a summer range? Do you need to have your samples in January or February and your stock by April/May? Choose your season and work backwards. Demand for swimwear in Winter is low. Give yourself some margin for unexpected delays and getting the samples right. This can take months which can be frustrating but means a better end product.
5. Get Designing
For any start-up clothing business, this is the key stage, there is nothing like seeing your sketched design come to life on a CAD image and tech pack giving the manufacturer all the crucial technical information to make the item. If you cannot do this yourself on illustrator then our expert design team can assist. Try setting up a range plan and looking at the collection as a whole. Does it go well together? Are there enough signature pieces?
6. Create your brand
People don’t just buy clothes, they buy a brand. Do you want to be a big logo brand like Scar Tissue or be subtle branding? Branding is the key to success of any business, particularly in the fashion world. You will be able to instantly know many of your favourites by name. It’s not just the logo, it’s how you act, speak, and look. It’s your website, your packaging, your swing ticket and is the story you want to tell. You can’t fake a great brand, it takes time and has to be in everything you do. How you are perceived is crucial to success. Your brand includes customer services and quality of the product. Be consistent and deliver on your promises.
7. Start the manufacturing process
Now it gets real. You need product so can either make the clothes yourself or stock buy and get it branded up. But if you are working with factories, you have your CAD designs and tech packs, and it’s time to start the sampling process. Shop around and get quotes and look at international options like Portugal, Turkey, China, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. If possible, get samples from multiple factories and compare price vs quality.
Make sure you understand the details and how much it will cost to import the goods. What are the minimum order quantities and what size breaks do you need? How much will it cost for the full size break and is this within your budget if you include import duty and transport? How much does the sample cost and if you are doing the fashion shoot in the sample what size is needed?
If you are working directly with a clothing factory check the samples match your tech pack. Is the sizing consistent? Does the Pantone colour match the set and the jogger match the hoodie? Try things on and check the fit. Get others too as well, preferably of different body shapes.
8. Test your product with Market Research
Feedback is a gift. There is no point in having a fashion brand where you are the only person to like it. Use social media to showcase new designs and test reaction to design and price points, building a buzz at the same time. Sell your samples through Facebook Marketplace. Build relationships with customers and talk to them about what they like about your product. Understanding why a style is selling and what isn’t is crucial to success and that customer lifetime value.
User experience for websites is crucial. It has to be user-friendly and remove all obstacles. If you plan on social advertising, consider that 90% of the traffic will be on mobile, so make such you have a responsive website.
9. Start Selling
After months of planning, it’s now time to take the plunge and place that first order. Double-check your business plan and your price points. Make sure your sales platform is at least on schedule to be ready for launch. It’s time to start marketing and building that brand buzz. Get that product in and turn it around fast. The quicker it sells, the less chance of the clothing needing a clearance sale. Smell what sells and make sure you have the product to meet demand. Be prepared to order more, taking into account production and delivery timeframes.
Focus on your sales platform and make sure your users aren’t abandoning the site before purchase.
10. Scale and Grow
Your clothing line is launched, and sales are flowing. Perhaps you are already planning new products or bigger quantity orders?
It’s crucial to reflect on how your business is going before committing further. Sounds simple but don’t spend money you don’t have. It can take years to see profit and return on investment so scalable growth is crucial.
Our philosophy is simple – to look at the world around us, to keep our eyes open, quite simply to love the world of fashion. We’re proud to put our name to every style we produce.
” The inspiration for each range comes from an eclectic mix of sources. It can be a sharp piece of tailoring to an underground street-wear movement, from the high street to a cult brand, from the here and now or a place in time. Our design philosophy is always about innovation – refreshing and updating – but most importantly, always meeting the client’s brief. We’re proud to put our name to every style we produce and present.
We’re always looking at who, what and where is influencing and directing today’s trends. That can be vintage, designer, icon, high street or chain store. Only individual mixes and styles can truly represent the current culture.
Throughout our day-to-day lives, whether at work or not, we’re constantly taking in what’s new through the places we visit and the people we meet. The team and I are forever jotting notes and taking photographs – so we never miss that next inspirational idea.
The skill as a designer is taking these multiple and myriad influences and moulding them into relevant commercial collections for each season and client.” – Matthew, Fashion Designer
You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that understands t-shirt product as we do. Quick Fact: it currently makes up nearly 60% of our production business. That’s why our jersey and sweat product is everything you want it to be. From high-end couture to fast fashion production – we’re second to none.
From promotional garments to highest quality fashion t-shirts and sweatshirts, use Rag Sourcing and your jersey & sweat samples can be turned around within 2-3 weeks. Bulk production will take us just 4 weeks from approved sample to shipment. With a covetable 3 short weeks for repeats, we’re here to make sure you get product in-store and online to meet demand.
Minimum order quantities may apply depending on product type & requirements
With everything from lightweight 14-gauge to chunky 4-gauge, our specialised Fair Isle and Intarsia machines are at your disposal to create any knitwear look. Catch a price point and use acrylic or acrylic mix yarns, or invest in the highest quality angora or cashmere, we’re here to make knit a reality.
Lead times for Rag-Sourcing wovens will vary depending on the time of year and availability of booked machines. With a sample turn around of 3-4 weeks, bulk production will be turned around in only 6 weeks from the approved sample – with just 4 weeks for repeats.
Minimum order quantities may apply depending on product type & requirements.
From formal wear to the finest couture-led casual wear styles, we produce shirts that fit every tailored look. With a vast selection of stock fabric bases and patterns to chose from, our clients trust in our reliable and flexible production capabilities.
With a sample turn around of 2-3 weeks and bulk production in only 6 weeks from an approved sample, you’ll have repeated orders in just 4 weeks.
Minimum order quantities apply depending on product type & requirements.
A product category unlike any other, it’s all about development rather than design. Tailoring the right fit, selecting the right fabric base, playing with the latest in-wash and dye techniques, Rag-Sourcing has your wovens, pants and denim covered.
With a product manager who has worked with the best in the business, our denim experience is second to none. Our sample turn around of 2-3 weeks and bulk production in only 6 weeks from approved sample, you’ll have repeats in just 4 weeks.
Minimum order quantities apply depending on product type & requirements.
We have our dedicated Merchandise & roaming QC team. Our QC staff are on-hand to monitor your production to ensure only the highest 1st quality goods are shipped. With stringent QC checks in addition to our factories own QC procedures, quality control is our top priority.
– All fabric/yarn entering the production facility is checked, evaluated then graded on a 4.0 system. 100% inspections are also carried out if required
– In-line QC’s are present at every stage of production who sign off the first part of each process to ensure continuity
– There are also separate AQL QC’s who sign off the final inspection separately to the in line QC’s
– A full final inspection will be completed if needed for any reason
– A special team of ‘audit section’ inspectors work directly under the supervision of senior management and control the entire production area. The team performs random checks and keeps daily records. Goods are only forwarded for packing if they pass their approval.
– Daily records are handed to the quality control manager; this manager, in turn, compiles the records and reports daily to senior management
– 2.5 AQL (SGS or ITS)
– 100% QC if required
– QC accredited to BS6001
Work with Rag Sourcing to develop labels and trims, or let us work alongside your nominated labels & trims supplier, whichever you choose we make it our business to work how you need us to. From simple woven labels to complex swing tickets, branded buttons to the whole POS kit and caboodle, we have it covered.
– All labels & trims are stored in a locked room.
– Labels and trims are counted in and out (reports on stock levels can be requested at any time)
– To avoid any possibility of your labels & trims falling into the wrong hands and being used for black market products.
– We use a separate labels & trims supplier to our factories.
– This gives us more control over the development process and to reduce unit costs per item.
– It also allows for multi-product, multi-supplier sourcing where we provide the labels & trims for your brand to avoid any subtle differences between labels and trims between each supplier.
– Stocks can be stored with us for call-off if you have multiple supply bases or shipped directly to you or your own distribution.
Welcome to Rag Sourcing! We are a privately owned fashion design, sourcing and manufacturing company and this is our new blog. Dedicated to all things fashion, we want it to be the go-to news site for fashion trends, business solutions and insider info on how we help get brands moving, putting gorgeous fashion first.
With years of industry experience, Rag Creative specialises in the whole fashion supply chain process. For those of you who have just discovered us, here’s a quick intro: we help start-up fashion brands right the way through to household names turn design and manufacturing visions into reality.
Have a look at our new, improved website www.rag-sourcing.com. We hope it’s easier to navigate and gets you all the information you need on our work to help your business grow.
If you encounter any issues or simply have some thoughts to share on how we could improve our user experience, then we’d love to hear from you. Post a comment below, call us or email to get in touch.
Loads more information on what we offer can be found throughout the site. As you navigate through the site, discover snapshots of the products we create, collections we’ve worked on, as well as our design & sourcing capabilities. Read our commitment to ethical trading and how we can help turn your ideas into fashion reality.
As if that’s not enough, why not subscribe to our free newsletter for regular updates on what we’re up to.
With years of expertise behind us, Rag Sourcing just keeps on growing. We’ve been doing a lot of new things, we’ve welcomed in a lot of new clients and we’ve got fashion led information to share in spades.
Most importantly we want to say a big thank you to both our existing & new clients. We’ve had a great start to the first half of the year running with some exciting projects and new techniques.
Have you seen our new website yet? www.rag-sourcing.com So many changes mean we’ve given the Rag Sourcing site a major new overhaul.
Make sure you bookmark it for all the latest information on our work and services. Check out the new meet the team section on the improved site, discover who’s who and how we can help you further with your fashion business.
We got some advice from Fast Fashion News on the perfect pair of jeans. For many men, jeans are the most important part of your wardrobe. You wear these when you hit the town with friends. You wear these to work (sometimes, at least). You wear these when you are just hanging out around the house.
While jeans may not be the most expensive piece of clothing in your closet, there is no denying the fact that you get your use out of these, time and time again. With all this in mind, you know one thing to be true: your favourite pair of jeans is not going to last forever. When it comes time to make a purchase, you need to know what goes into doing so.
If you have ever shopped for jeans in the past, you know that finding the perfect fitting pair can be a challenge. No matter how hard you try, it seems like there is a roadblock around every corner. It is easy to believe that as long as you buy the right size that you will feel comfortable each time you put the jeans on. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There are many details to focus on along the way, ensuring that you are getting exactly what you need for your shape.
Price may always be a determining factor, but you don’t want to focus solely on the cost when making a buying decision. Here are several additional things you can do to ensure that you get the perfect fitting pair of jeans for your shape:
1. Classic fits are best for most men. In today’s day and age, there are more jean styles available than ever before. While you may be tempted to try out one of the new styles, most men find that this is nothing more than a waste of time and money. To protect against making a mistake, do yourself a favour and opt for a classic fit such as: straight, slim/straight, slim, relaxed, relaxed/straight, or standard. Sounds confusing, doesn’t it? There are many choices, but it doesn’t mean you have to be confused when making a decision.
In addition to getting the help of a sales associate, don’t shy away from trying on many different styles. This is often times the best way to find out what works best for your shape. Start with a straight leg or boot cut and go from there. Once you have tried on every pair imaginable, it will be easy to see which one fits you best.
2. Know your shape and purchase your jeans accordingly. For example, if you are on the heavy side you probably don’t want to opt for jeans that are too tight. This is going to show off your weight, not to mention the fact that you are not going to be very uncomfortable.On the other side of things, if you have skinnier legs, you can probably get away with a pair of straight leg, skinny jeans. If this is not your style, opt for something a bit baggier. Just make sure you don’t go too baggy, as this will not match your body shape.
3. Focus on three key areas. When shopping for jeans, you want to get something that looks and feels good in an overall sense. You can do this by focusing on three key areas: waist, legs, and crotch. In short, your goal is to ensure that the jeans are not too tight in any of these areas. Do you look good both from the front and back? Remember to check yourself in the mirror. This may sound like the “girly” thing to do, but guys need to realise the importance as well.
Also, never forget that jeans are likely to shrink over time, even if you never put them in the dryer. For this reason, you may want to purchase a pair that is slightly longer than what you need. Not only does this allow you to account for shrinkage, but if you need to make any alterations in the future you can do so.
Regardless of your shape, you know that jeans are a big part of your wardrobe. The more pairs you have the better. Sure, you may have your favourite but you want to know that you can pull out a good looking pair at any time.
When you let the three tips above act as your guide, you should be able to purchase the perfect fitting jeans for your shape. This is not something you want to rush, but instead spend as much time as necessary to make a purchase you are going to be happy with. This way, every time you put your jeans on you are comfortable and knowing that you look your best.
If you are the type of guy who enjoys drinking a cold beer from time to time, you have to consider what this means to your belly. Is your beer belly growing by the day? Are you worried that this will continue to be a problem well into the future?
While there is nothing better than exercising to get the weight off, for the meantime you may be looking into ways to disguise this. After all, you don’t want people to see just how big your beer belly has become.
The first rule of thumb is simple: don’t take off your shirt. If you do this, all bets are off. At this point, it is not difficult for anybody to see that your belly has grown out of control.
Now that we have all the basics out of the way, including the fact that you should keep your shirt on at all times, let’s take a closer look at five tricks of the trade. By using one or more of the tips below, there is a good chance that you will be able to disguise your beer belly until you are able to get rid of it through exercise and a healthier diet:
1. Avoid tight clothing. Let’s face it: the tighter the shirt the more your beer belly is going to show. Why not opt for loose clothing to ensure that this never becomes a problem? This does not mean you have to by a shirt that is noticeably too big. What it does mean is that you should step up a size, just enough to ensure that your belly does not protrude through your shirt.
2. Wear dark colours. Did you know that dark colours have a slimming effect? For this reason alone, you should consider adding a variety of dark coloured shirts to your wardrobe. Some of the best colours to consider include black, charcoal, grey, and navy blue. For many years, this one trick has been helping heavier guys hide their stomach. Women use this trick as well, and that alone should be enough for you to realise that it is beneficial.
Note: just because you are wearing dark colours does not mean you should revert back to smaller, tighter shirts.
3. Tailor your suit. As tempting as it may be to throw on your old suit or buy one off the rack, you want to avoid this if you are attempting to disguise a beer belly. Instead, you should find an experienced tailor in your local area. Tell this person what you are trying to accomplish, and let him or her tailor your suit to make you look your best. Don’t be embarrassed, as this is something that many guys do. You want to look your best when you put on a suit, and one of the best ways of doing so is through a visit with a qualified tailor.
4. Tuck in your shirt. It is easy to believe that leaving your shirt untucked is the best way to hide a beer belly, but nothing could be further from the truth. When you do this, your entire look is going to appear messy. Is that what you want? When you choose the right size shirt, you can easily tuck it in to ensure that you look “put together.” Furthermore, you never have to worry about your beer belly looking like it is going to pop out.
5. Wear a jacket. This is one of the best ways to disguise a beer belly, however, it is something that many men overlook time and time again. When you wear a stylish jacket you are adding another layer on top of your belly. You can throw this on over a button down or T-shirt, ensuring that you look good while keeping your belly in check.
Tip: if you are going to wear a jacket, make sure it matches everything else, including your shirt and your pants. The last thing you want to do is kill your sense of style.
Many men have a bear belly and believe that there is nothing they can do to hide it from others. While you may not be able to get rid of this excess fat in a hurry, there are things you can do to disguise it. The five tricks of the trade detailed above are a great place to start. If you implement just one of these tips, you will find yourself not only hiding your belly but also looking better along the way. By combining a couple of these tips, you may soon realise that your problem is gone for good. In fact, this may work out so well for you that you forget your diet and exercise, knowing that you can always hide your belly!