While the decision to start a clothing business is a great opportunity, particularly if you have an interest in fashion, it is a market full of competition. If you are thinking of moving into this retail sector then you need to consider the potential challenges, as well as the rewards, which come from starting a clothing business.
Before you begin, you will need to decide which type of clothing business to set up. If you choose to open a retail store, the setting up costs may be prohibitive in the beginning. If you opt for the online or mail order route, you will be able to work from home, as long as you have plenty of room for stock, and your set up costs will be minimal.
A retail store will require plenty of capital. Getting funding for your business may be more difficult than you think. Unless you have a unique selling point, a clothing retail business may be hard to get off the ground. Online and mail order is much easier to get started. With mail order you will need to have stock, a photographer and a brochure made up. You will then need to find a customer base, which may take some time. If you go down the online route, then setting up a website shouldn’t cost much more than a few hundred pounds and you will be up and running. You could also easily work from home. The hard part is getting traffic to your website from prospective buyers!
Once this decision has been made, you need to decide which clothing lines you will stock. You may be able to track down a wholesale supplier which will provide clothing that is fairly generic; but there is little to set you apart from other larger retailers if you choose this option. It is likely you will not be able to sell your goods at a competitive rate due to your smaller buying power.
The best thing to do is to sell clothes that set you apart from the competition, comply with the latest fashions, and if at all possible, to be the only one selling these items. In this case you need to find a designer in need of an outlet for their designs. Getting exclusivity from a designer can be very expensive, so approaching new designers perhaps that have just left colleges and design schools, are a great place to start. They will be more likely to accept an exclusive deal, at least for the first year or two. However, you will have to work hard at promoting them as they will not have a customer base and will rely on you to make them a success.
Another option for finding good quality, cheap and original stock is to find overseas suppliers. Examples of this may be goods made in Africa, South America or India that are different to look at and well made. It is best to work with your local fair trade organisation to ensure that you are buying ethically.
It may be some time before you are attending Paris runway shows and providing clothes for celebrities, but with the right designers and plenty of good marketing, you can achieve the full potential of your clothing business and make a good living.
Naz Daud – CityLocal Business GuideFranchise BusinessClothing Business