Looking to start a clothing line in the United States? It is a great decision and the market is already there, so you shouldn’t rack your brain to find out what moves the needle in the industry.
According to Statista, the apparel/clothing industry in the United States returned revenue of $368 billion by the end of 2019. Both Mach and TJX, two of the leading apparel companies in the US brought about 7% of the revenue totaling a little over $20 billion.
What does this tell you? The market is not saturated and with a creative marketing angle, you can break into the market and make lots of impressions.
Want to know how? In this article, you will learn just the exact steps you must take to start your clothing brand in the United States.
1. Horn Your Cloth Design Skills
It doesn’t matter if you have been making your costumes or you have made some Halloween costumes when you were a kid. This time, you are looking to serve a broader market and that requires a lot of precision.
Consider taking professional clothing branding courses to help you be updated with the latest fashion trends. Reading fashion-related blogs and consulting experts in the field should also be on your to-do list.
2. Choose a Niche and Make It Your Dwelling
The truth is that you cannot serve the entire apparel industry in the United States. Going to a report from the National Council of Textile Organization (NCTO), the U.S. apparel market shipped apparel totaling over $64 billion in 2020. The report also mentioned that over 8,000 apparel, including textile products were supplied to the United States military within the year.
So, this is a vast industry and one of the major keys to success is to niche down. If you are not sure of how to choose an ideal niche in a market, click here to read a guide to put you through.
Here are some of the common brands that have towed that line:
- Adidas niched down to supplying athletic wear.
- We have Wrangler supplying casual clothing, while Ralph Lauren supplies the classics.
3. Understand the Target Market
Niching down is good, but it is best to be offering services that are in line with what your target market wants. Market understanding is very crucial here and that is why you must understand the needs of your target market.
This could be as simple as conducting a paid survey to find out the most common type of fabrics in the location. Take it further by sitting back and putting factors into focus. Here are some of the elements, when put together, can help you get the right audience or market for your clothing brand:
- Competitor Analysis: Spying on your competitor remains one of the solid business strategies for a startup. What are the existing solutions or clothing services offered by your competitors? Does the target market love those or is there room for improvement? You may also want to use review websites to check the feedback of existing customers for those brands to see the services they like and the ones they wished would be improved.
- Fabric Choices: What type of fabrics do the target market like the most? These can help you pick those fabrics and make unique designs, rather than coming up with a new concept that may not be appreciated, at least, at the time.
- Income: What is the average income of your prospective clients? Note that their income has a greater influence over their patronage. For example, a fashion enthusiast who earns more will be happy to spend more money to upgrade his or her wardrobe. Thus, the higher the income, the higher the spending habits of your target market.
4. Plan Your Business
A business plan must be drawn up to give your clothing brand the direction it needs. Among many other benefits, a business plan helps you to evaluate your competitors or existing brands effectively, and explore opportunities in the market so you can come up with unique services.
These tips will guide you when drawing up your clothing brand’s business plan:
Projections or forecasts about the U.S. apparel market can point you in the right direction in drawing up your business plan. What are the trends expected to play out in the market in the next 5 to 10 years? That should help you figure out how to create dynamic clothing solutions that align with those trends and keep your brand relevant all through those times.
Define Your Business Model
What type of clothing brand business model would you like to operate? Here are a couple of popular options to choose from:
- Print-on-Demand: This business model entails printing “cloths on-demand.” That is, when someone places an order, you print the cloths by using your printing equipment to make the inscriptions on the cloths. T-shirts are some of the custom printing solutions under this business model.
- Direct Sales: You can also consider making direct sales of your brand-specific designs to the customers. This way, you avoid the bureaucracies of using retailers to facilitate the transaction.
- Wholesales: If you want to serve more customers, consider becoming a wholesaler. This business model involves three (3) persons. Your role is to be the creator of the apparel designs. The role of the manufacturer is to produce these apparel, while the retailers see to marketing to the consumers.
5. Create a Brand Identity
How would you like your prospective clients to recognize or identify with your brand? It is by creating a unique brand identity. This includes:
- Choosing a business name that is short and easy to recall.
- Securing a domain name in the chosen brand name. This comes in handy when you are creating a web presence, especially if you want to open a website or an online store to sell your apparel.
- Top 5 Innovative Brand Awareness Campaign Ideas That Work
- How Can Promotional Products Help People Remember Your Brand?
- Branding For Beginners – Everything You Need to Know
6. Register Your Clothing Brand
Register your clothing brand with the relevant authorities. You can check the website of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for information on how to register the brand.
At this point, you must decide on the best business structure or entity to use. The popular formats are:
- Sole proprietorship
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
7. Get Your Marketing Right
Strategic and effective marketing can help your new clothing brand gain traction while targeting the core market in the U.S. We live in a “social media age,” so include social media marketing as part of your marketing strategies.
Conclusion: Start Your Clothing Brand in 7 Steps
You can kick off your new clothing brand in just 7 steps, without being too technical about it. The tips in this article are concise and form part of the working formula for some of the new clothing startups in the United States. As the business grows, consider following the latest fashion trends as the chances are that your ideal customers would be looking to get costumes that align with those. With excellent content marketing, continuous creation of offers, and quality service delivery, your clothing brand will have more patronage in a short while.