Nowadays, it’s more affordable than ever to start a clothing business. When you start your clothing line, there are many things that need to be considered, and this article aims to give you some ideas about how to do it! If you are an entrepreneur with a sharp eye for fashion, there is a lot of room to join in on the action!

What Is The Budget I Need?

When it comes to the cost, things like creativity, manpower, passion, and sourced fabric probably pop into your head the first time. So, how much does it cost to start a clothing business? The answer is that, like any business of any size, it will depend on how large you want the business to start out. Costs can range from $500 to $5000 on average. This is more of a reference value than an absolute one—you can even spend nothing or more.

The budget needed to start an apparel business

If you decide to run a clothing business in the form of a brick-and-mortar store, you may need to consider some facets such as overhead, licenses and permits, business insurance, materials and suppliers, etc. As for selling clothes online, expenses may include hosting a website and software, registering a domain name, commissions charged by some platforms, purchasing plug-ins, and more.

No matter what, you will need to budget carefully and ensure your clothing business has a stable financial status. It’s never an easy task to start a clothing business because there are many factors to consider, not just the cost. However, when you finally take the major step of building your own fashion career, do not let these tricky-sounding matters deter you. With clear goals, clear planning, efficient execution, enduring patience, and visionary courage, you can get what you want. It’s not a problem at all to make your fashion dreams a reality.

Can I Have My Own Clothing Business With Little Experience?

The answer is definitely yes.

The easiest and fastest way is to cooperate with a one-stop apparel manufacturer if you have a certain budget. You can create every form of clothing and garment from scratch. They provide you with a full in-house solution that is able and reliable to meet and surpass your expectations for both general and customized requirements. Oftentimes, cut-and-sew manufacturers with expertise in fashion design are constantly available to help you make wise decisions, from the moment you come up with your design concepts to the final packaging and shipping.

Screen printing, embroidery, heat transfer, private labeling, marketing, and so on—these services are available for your blank, imprintable apparel in a professional one-stop shop. Whether you are a small business, startup, or future fashion label, from fundamental garments to exquisitely cut, stitched, and sewn clothing items, they will assist you in planning and carrying out your projects. Bolun Apparel is also a quality one-stop apparel manufacturer, if you want to know more, you can try to contact us !

One-stop apparel manufacturer

In addition, of course, you can take formal education through college or university to learn the business and skills of the fashion industry; however, that’s not absolutely necessary any more considering how much related information there is online. Check out YouTube videos, Masterclass, and so on, which can help you get trained. It’s not surprising that someone has a successful fashion business even though he or she doesn’t have any formal training in fashion. That is to say, your education will certainly help you, but it will not define the success of your business. Therefore, in this age of highly interconnected information, it is entirely possible and feasible to have your own clothing business even if you have no experience.

The Basics You Need To Figure Out To Start A Clothing Business

The three main factors of the apparel business market

At the beginning of entering a certain industry, you need to figure out what is essential and find your own position. After all, one can only fail in the end if one acts rashly and hastily, without careful consideration, and just out of passion.

  • Find your niche. Albeit it’s alluring to try to be everything to everyone, it’s important to identify your niche, insist on it, and build a solid brand because the fashion industry is vast, consisting of a myriad of different brands, all with different niches and styles.
  • Decide what to sell. What types of clothing items exactly are you going to sell? And this will affect sourcing and supply chain logistics down the line. Also, it’s better not to sell too many styles of clothes at first; start with a few.
fashion apparel Type
  • Figure out your audience. Know the right audience so that you can establish your brand strategically and sell your clothes to them more easily. You can find out who your audience is by asking these questions: “Who are they?”, “Where do they shop frequently?”, “What’s their favorite clothing brand?”, “What’s their price point?”, and so on.
  • Write a business plan. At the start of your venture, it’s helpful to create a business plan for your clothing brand. The business plan includes brand, sales channels, business model, and marketing strategies, as well as financial elements, acting as a roadmap outlining how you’ll reach goals over the next couple of years. Note: The business plan isn’t necessarily set in stone.
Apparel Business Plan Cover
  • Choose the brand name. It would be better if the name of your clothing brand was easy to pronounce and spell. With catchy or memorable features, it can leave a deep impression on consumers’ minds. If possible, take its foreign language version into consideration and check if it is available as a domain name.
  • Design the brand logo. You can choose a brand color and customize your logo by applying free online design tools, or you can get one professionally designed for some money. You can also think about the brand slogan if you like, conveying your concept about fashion and striking a chord with the audience.
canva's logo design template
  • Register your business. Done with the help of your local government or related agency, which typically involves filling out an application and paying a fee. In this way, it creates a legal entity for your clothing business and enables you to acquire a business license and permit, allowing you to operate legally and protect your personal assets.
  • Design and source your products. If you don’t have any ideas about that, you can buy products from wholesalers, or design them on your own, and have them manufactured, or sewn in your own in-house facility.
  • Find suppliers for materials. If you decide on a dropshipping or print-on-demand business model, then you don’t need to worry about the supply chain. But if you choose a handmade, cut and sew, or private label business model, it’s time for you to think about it. You’ll need to account for materials like fabric, buttons, zippers, patterns, branded tags, labels, and more.
Fabrics, buttons, zippers, patterns, brand labels, tags and other materials needed to make clothes
  • Price the products. You can consider these key elements, such as the cost of materials, marketing and advertising, time, packaging, shipping, etc. Whether stepping into the luxury brand world or focusing on high volume, the products should be priced accordingly.
  • Choose a sales channel. A number of distribution options are available, via website, third-party sites, local retailers, or national big box retailers. It’s generally best to sell products through multiple channels.
  • Make marketing channels and strategies. Always keep the clothing brand in mind and use multiple marketing channels for maximum exposure. If you are interested in that, keep reading the article, which will be described later.

What Are The Trending Clothing Products?

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by worrying that there is already too much competition and that it is hard to be successful selling clothes on the marketplace? If you haven’t decided what clothing products to sell, instead of worrying about the fierce competition, think about what will make your clothing business stand out. And that’s why here we’ve compiled some sought-after clothing products that you can use as references or add to your selling list.

Fashion apparel designed and manufactured by Bolun

Embroidered Apparel

When most apparel companies choose regular printing, embroidery can make your clothing products stand out. Embroidered apparel is a cost-effective alternative because its prints have better quality and rich colors, last longer, are great marketing materials, almost work for all industries, and show the sense of your brand. Embroidered elements elevate any garment in an instant in terms of the look, feel, and durability of the product. There are hundreds of products that you can embroider. If you want tried-and-true staples, think about combining embroidery with tees, shirts, hoodies, jackets, sweatshirts, sweatpants, socks, beanies, etc.

Speaking of which, did you remember that at the beginning of this article we talked about finding clothing manufacturers? Professional apparel manufacturers will offer basic embroidery services, such as 3D embroidery, regular embroidery, and embroidery patches. When you want more information about embroidery, don’t hesitate to ask.

Tip: If you want to know more about custom embroidery letter, you can read [Custom Embroidery] in detail.

bolun embroidery pattern

High-quality T-shirts

You can find T-shirts in everyone’s wardrobe, and for many years, they have always been a clothing staple. No matter whether they are young or old, men or women, people all wear T-shirts, which are unfailingly popular.

It’s not a surprise that the t-shirt market is intensely competitive. In order to have as many people know about your t-shirts as possible, you must figure out some new ways. Selling premium t-shirts and leaving a deep impression on your customers is a feasible method. For this reason, you have to pay more attention to the material of the T-shirts to fit into the “high-quality product” niche. What about the following methods? Applying embroidery to your premium-quality T-shirts, which makes people associate them with luxury and high-end clothes. Or you can try cutting-edge printing technologies like puff printing and sublimation printing.

For more information about printing technology, please refer to [Custom Apparel Printing].

Heat sublimation printed clothes

Oversized Apparel

As people have higher requirements for the comfort of clothing, oversized apparel is popular with more and more people. If you’ve been paying attention to the recent fashion weeks, you’ll notice that many supermodels and celebrities have their own oversized private outfits. Plus, with stunning prints and cuts, oversized apparel shows off personal style.

12-oversized apparel


Chances are you’re not a sports fan, but chances are you’ve heard of Lululemon, a multinational Canadian athletic apparel retailer that is favored by many sports lovers. Based on the growth of Google searches for sportswear, athleisure is not going anywhere except into people’s closets. The global athleisure market is estimated to reach over $500 billion by 2028. Hence, it is time for you to design your own sportswear collection and sell it in bundles.


Sleepwear And Underwear

Have you noticed? More and more people are working from home, which means that they spend more time at home, and there is a growing demand and expectation for comfortable, easy-care sleepwear. Pajamas, nightgowns, robes, and other sleeping accessories like socks, slippers, sleeping masks, etc. are worth considering. If you want to sell pajamas at a regular price, go for cotton or other similar materials. If you want to focus on the high-end sleepwear market, go for silk.

In terms of underwear, butt lift shapers, shapewear, waist trainers, and so on are currently trending underwear in the marketplace. As urbanites become more concerned about their health and figure, they have a high demand for these products, which may remain so over a long period of time.


Beach And Swimwear

Bikinis, surfwear, one-pieces, swim trunks, swimwear for moms-to-be, etc.—the swimwear market continues to gain traction as people’s lives gradually get back on track in the post-epidemic era and consumers are once again eager to travel. It seems that there is a list of new brands popping up each day, many of them offering special features such as sustainable fabrics and built-in sun protection. According to market research firm Euromonitor International, the swimwear market is expected to grow to about $21.4 billion by 2025; however, this number will be even bigger by then, as much as $29.1 billion, based on Statista’s predictions.

Beach And Swimwear

Denim Garments

As a fundamental component of the casual wardrobe, denim garments have become a staple textile within the global apparel market, owing to the fact that they can last for years or even decades. The denim fabric market value is expected to increase to over $35 billion by 2027. It is the fact that denim garments, especially denim jeans, offer great value for the price that makes people love them deeply. They have attractive, unique colors and a comfortable fit, looking fashionable and stylish, plus their prices tend to be more affordable, occupying an irreplaceable position in people’s minds.

Today, many apparel manufacturers provide denim garment manufacturing services due to increasingly developing technology. Just about the way jeans are washed and dyed is enough to dazzle you: stone wash, acid wash, rinse wash or mill wash, enzyme wash, bleach wash, and much more. If you choose to work with an apparel manufacturer, you have access to various types of custom services, which include but are not limited to irregular hems, laser etching, metal studs, embroidery, novelty patches, and printed labels. With a wide range of denim customization and decoration services, it’s much easier for you to kick off your clothing business.

Denim Garments

Hoodies, Jerseys, Sweatshirts, And Pullovers

Being one of the most popular clothing items in the world, hoodies are worn by men and women of all ages, in particular during the chilly winter months. According to Statista, the volume of the jerseys, sweatshirts, and pullovers segment is expected to amount to 6.82 billion pieces by 2027, and it is expected to show a volume growth of 0.6% in 2024. Thus, it would be nice for you to customize hoodies for your own clothing brand, as everyone loves wearing them to keep warm or flaunt their fashion and personality.

These garments are highly versatile and can be potential promotional tools or a good idea for selling gifts. At this moment, you might be thinking, “Can an apparel manufacturer fulfill my request for a custom-made sweatshirt, hoodie, or something like that?” Yes, of course. Through their qualified manufacturing services, you are allowed to develop cut-and-sew hoodies or sweatshirts in different designs, sizes, colors, fabrics, and decorations. During the customization process, you can choose many additional styles, such as ribbed cuffs, hem seals, split pockets, full zip-ups, pullovers, and more. Some cut-and-sew manufacturers also help you find the right solutions and provide you with blanks along with one-stop customization and decoration services. Bolun Apparel can provide you with a variety of custom hoodie services, and you can learn more about their custom hoodies from here.

ski sportswear


Whether you are a small startup or a large corporation, selling patches is a good choice to successfully spread your brand’s message and a sense of professionalism and unity. Patches can be a powerful marketing tool, and they are a very adaptable form of advertising that helps lots of companies distinguish themselves from the competition. Besides, you can create patches for bags, hats, and t-shirts, which are durable and versatile and can be made in a wide variety of sizes, styles, and shapes, making them an excellent choice for many applications. They can be used to create brand awareness, promote a new product or service, and, what’s more, reward loyal customers. It is true that a little custom patch can make a big difference, and it is eco-friendly—it transforms a ragged garment into a new, stylish one.

Our list of clothing styles above is intended to give you a sense of reference or inspiration, and it’s not an absolute. Success in the fashion business depends more on your own ideas and actions. And maybe, by this point, you’ve already thought of a great idea! Right? So, keep reading and see what’s going to happen.

Clothing Patches

How Many Styles Of Clothes Are Appropriate To Sell At The Beginning Of The Fashion Business?

It’s recommended to have around 10 to 12 styles in your clothing collection. You don’t need to launch with a whole mix of tops, pants, blazers, skirts, etc., as too many pieces or styles will likely drown you and disrupt your own tempo. When you first start, it would be better to keep your product assortment narrow. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with starting with only one type of product because you don’t need more than that. It’s never a problem to make a statement for one thing, and you can always add styles as you go.

Moreover, with fewer styles of clothes, for starters, you don’t have to face the risk of overstocking. Within a few product categories, you are able to focus on its segment and make it sophisticated, and your mind will get clearer and clearer. As the designs were being put down on paper, you would notice there needed to be a more cohesive collection. And you will alter designs; this forces you to cancel redundant types and helps bring the line into a tighter focus, which is beneficial to laying a solid foundation for your clothing business.

Excess apparel inventory

Besides, it depends on other factors as well, such as the target market, clothing manufacturers and their MOQs, and the selling methods. Honestly, it varies, and you’ll have to determine how many designs belong in your collection. It may sound complicated. A workable way is to find an apparel manufacturer. Through them, invaluable resources are in your corner. Usually, they have creative services, experienced designers and pattern makers, minimum order quantities that won’t break your budget, and more.

A Huge Investment Isn’t A Must-have; Step By Step, Build An Online Clothing Store

 Build An Online Clothing Store

Have you ever read articles about how you can own your own clothing store for free? In fact, it’s not impossible, but it requires market research, playing the cards right, and having a creative vision. Besides, analyzing the potential customer base, growth opportunities, and competition is also essential. You can dig deeper and approach it with a growth mindset. Below are some instructions or strategies on how to start a clothing business on a budget.

  • Start an online boutique. Lower your costs, and you can set up your business at home.
  • Sell products are inexpensive and in high demand, such as T-shirts, hoodies, or socks.
  • Identify and organize potential customers into different groups with centralized customer data.
  • Decide on a business model, including dropshipping from your website, selling private label products on Amazon FBA or your website, and selling wholesale products on your website.

Note: Dropshipping is an easy and low-cost way to start an online clothing store with little or even no money. With this model, you only pay for products when a customer places an order and don’t take the risk if the product doesn’t sell. Choose popular dropshipping providers like AliExpress or Amazon.

drop shipping process
  • Contact various suppliers and compare their prices. Find the best manufacturer for your store, or even create your own design for free. Think carefully about the pros and cons of each manufacturer, including quality, low MOQ, lead time, manufacturing capabilities, etc.
  • Make use of open-source tools. They allow you to have the source code, and you can customize it according to your requirements.
  • Write blogs. It’s a free and nice way to promote your new clothing products. Yet, you need search engine optimization, or SEO, that enables your article to be indexed well on Google.
  • Leverage and cooperate with small online influencers to go viral with your products. You can send them free samples or gifts, set up a marketing group, and send them a message with a coupon or discount code. Paying them an affiliate fee for every purchase works, too.

Remember, these methods above are more likely a reference, and you need to consider your own situation at any time and make some flexible adjustments because we are sure that you will do it better. As you can see, it is never a simple task, though it can be kicked off with no money. Along with the complexity and your adherence, the rewards are enormous.

Benefits Of Starting Your Own Clothing Business

Benefits Of Starting Your Own Clothing Business
  • Work with the one you want. You are your own boss, and you can choose whom you would like to work with—even only you if you like.
  • It is more convenient to convey your concepts and ideas, and it is easier to bring your design to life. You can enjoy and give full play to your design inspiration and make your favorite clothes.
  • A great way to make your interests your career. When individuals are passionate about their work, they often possess stronger motivation to achieve success in the clothing business. Besides, they will find personal fulfillment in seeing a new venture grow and succeed.
  • Sell and get paid at your convenient. Being your own boss allows you to have more flexible hours, work irregularly, and extend and shorten hours. It’s possible to sell clothes and get financial rewards in your free time.
  • Improve your business skills. Having and operating their own clothing business requires comprehensive quality and the ability to devise strategies and make overall plans. Regardless of what the future holds, your business abilities will be greatly improved. This is beyond doubt.

Risks That You Need To Know: There Is No Rose Without Thorns

If you don’t love the clothing industry, are not sure if you want to get into it, or just want to take the plunge, you need to be aware of some of the risks involved. After all, everything has two sides. Only when you look at the good and bad of something dialectically can you be wiser and more rational, make better decisions, and prepare well.

Some possible risks of the apparel business

It takes a lot of time. Do in-depth market research to figure out your target customer and see if there’s really a need and if they’re really willing to pay. Also, for wholesalers with high minimums, upwards of 1000 yards, sourcing takes time. Not only that, pattern development, factory hunting, planning and coordinating your shoot, and gaining all sorts of sales traction require time.

It’s very likely to take a ton of money. Customer research, design, patternmaking, technical design, sourcing, materials, sampling, cut and sew, trimming, packaging, photoshoot, website, and advertising all need money. The truth is, the list goes on, and there are numerous tiny expenses along the way.

It can be a mess. The bulk of your time will be spent on general communication, coordination, and selling. You also need to take into account the time difference for foreign clients and arrange your schedule to accommodate them. This can disrupt your daily life. Also, considering that everyone’s dressing habits and preferences are always different, there will be customer complaints, returns and exchanges. And these are things we don’t want to face.

It’s not very profitable. The clothing market is very competitive. If you sell expensively, it is difficult for anyone to buy; if you sell cheaply, someone sells more cheaply than you, and you can easily lose money. This means you have to be strategic about your clothing business.

Make Yourself Clear About This Question

If you already know the pros and cons of working in the fashion industry, consider the following question to help you get a clearer picture of what you want to achieve.

Brand value growth

Why Are You Starting This Brand? Your Brand Value?

People can buy clothes almost anywhere; why should they choose your brand? This is what is important about your clothing brand—the brand value or brand voice. If you want to own your own brand, you must really love the business and want to use the brand to communicate the values you follow, right? Think about what message you want to send to your customers or even the world through your product. You can believe this will make your brand more distinctive.

Bonus Tips For Your Clothing Business

How About Building Up Your Unique Selling Proposition For Your Clothing Business?

How About Building Up Your apparel Selling Proposition

According to top business thinkers, they would tell you that the way to build a following in today’s fiercely competitive clothing marketplace is to focus on winning 90% of a small pie rather than 10% of a big one. Let’s be more specific: you can make your unique selling proposition (USP): “Skin-friendly, UV-protective, antibacterial, sweat-absorbing, stylish men’s polo shirt.” This can attract the attention of men with relevant needs and, most importantly, a purchase. A good USP helps brands that command higher price points relative to similar competition because their target market feels the clothing is made just for them. For a USP, it should be done right, be attention-grabbing, sound memorable, and be laser-focused.

Develop Your Brand Identity

Succinctly defined, a brand identity refers to the visible elements of a brand, such as the design, logo, and color. Take Louis Vuitton, a luxury brand known for being high-end and high-quality, for example. Its consumers are more likely to want to symbolize that the luxury lifestyle is relatable to them and also want to show that they can afford the products. And when we see Nike, we know the brand and its values from its logo, the Nike swoosh: high-quality athleticism, fashion, fitness, and power.

how to build clothing brand identity

You might have heard that many apparel manufacturers provide private label services aimed at helping your clothing brand stand out in the market. You can design the hangtags and private labels to gain prominence among the targeted market. Any shape and size, private woven labels, private satin labels, and heat transfer labels are in your hands.

In addition, approach your design strategically to build a clothing brand identity that truly reflects your brand and, in the meantime, can support you as you grow. This job is not easy. Generally, it requires deep thinking, strong communication, design skills, and an intimate understanding of who you are, what you do, and how you want to show the world your clothing brand. The main steps are as follows:

  • Know your brand foundation
  • Understand your brand assessment
  • Make a competitor audit
  • Land on a shared vision for your brand identity
  • Write a branding brief
  • Design logos
  • Choose the color palette
  • Choose your typography
  • Design additional elements
  • Build your brand guidelines

How To Come Up With Creative Concepts And Ideas?

How To Come Up With Creative Concepts And Ideas
Come to think of it, finding inspiration is often challenging, and any creative profession is an ordeal. In particular, for fashion designers just like you, in order to stay on the cutting edge of the industry, it’s necessary for you to create new products or work season after season. Then, how can you get some inspiration? How can you come up with so many new ideas? How do you turn your concepts and ideas into a real product or a product line? Design sparks can come from anything
  • Nature. Animals, plants, water, landscapes, etc.
  • The streets. Try to walk along a busy modern street or an antique, time-forgotten lane.
  • Art. Draw inspiration from painting, artistic movements, and sculptures.
  • Start with people. Think about what they are wearing that makes you think they look nice, and what is it about them that appeals to you.
  • Traditional clothes. It’s a good idea to incorporate traditional elements into modern collections.
  • Nostalgia. Many artists, designers, and writers often rely on nostalgia to trigger the creative process. Most of us do love a trip down memory lane.
  • Search online. Search what you want with a search engine, like “men’s style”, “women’s style”, “boho style”, or you can add on “plus-size style”.
  • Architecture. Sometimes it offers elegant lines and airy silhouettes for clothing design.
  • Films and literature. These two have been deeply associated with fashion from the very beginning. The shaping of characters cannot be separated from the costumes.
  • Go window shopping. Many brand post lookbooks on their websites.
  • Culture. Learn about other countries’ unique cultures.
  • Emotions. Whether positive or negative, emotions can be your starting point.
  • Check out runway shows. It can help you find the fashion trends.

Don’t set limits on your imagination; try to go beyond fashion. A word, a poem, a petal, a fallen leaf, etc., can be your inspiration.

Domestic Or Overseas Clothing Manufacturers?

Do you want to work with domestic manufacturers in your country or source products from overseas like China, India, or Portugal? Yeah, of course, both of these methods have distinct merits and demerits. It’s up to you.

You are more likely to get higher-quality products with regulated labor standards. At the same time, it means the cost of each piece of the garment will be higher if you work with a domestic supplier. However, compared with overseas apparel manufacturers, shipping is going to be faster and cheaper. But there’s usually a much smaller choice of products when you are looking for something more niche. Certainly, this might not be a problem for you if you want to manufacture generic products.

Now that you have learned some benefits and drawbacks of domestic and overseas apparel manufacturers, you can find a reliable one for your clothing business—

  • Attend local events and trade shows.
  • Use well-known online directories like Maker’s Row, Sqetch, Kompass, etc.
  • Use search engine like Google.
  • Join some related Facebook groups.
  • Ask people in the industry for advice.
  • Take into account the following: price and quality, shipping times, and experience. If you like, you can visit the clothing manufacturer after both of you have agreed.
how to vet clothing manufacturers
About vetting clothing manufacturers:
  • Conduct thorough research on potential suppliers.
  • Verify the company information and certifications.
  • Request references from previous or current buyers from the supplier.
  • Follow clear payment terms to protect yourselves from a scam.
  • Confirm the legitimacy of your supplier using a third-party inspection agency.

Regardless of whether you choose a domestic or overseas clothing manufacturer, if you are just starting your clothing business, a middle-of-the-road factory would be the most suitable for you. You don’t want a huge player at once, and you also don’t want someone who is focused only on teeny-tiny orders. A medium-sized supplier with solid business meets your requirements well, and they hope you will grow and become one of their bigger clients, which is a double-win cooperation without doubt.

Final Thoughts

As consumers become more conscious of their choices, sustainable, on-demand clothing manufacturing and modern clothing manufacturing trends are becoming increasingly popular. When selecting your business strategy, except for deciding whether to produce small batches or go mass-market, there are more important factors that need to be considered.

If you have decided that you want to start your own clothing business, go ahead and do it without fear. You’re just about to start your clothing business, and it’s too early to talk about success or failure at this stage. Whether you are experienced or just starting out, it is always beneficial to gather as much useful information as you can, ask others for advice, and make a detailed business plan. And most importantly, the very process of focusing on such a thing is a valuable asset to you. This is the message we want to convey to you in this article, and we hope it will inspire you in one way or another.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *