Starting a clothing line is a popular aspiration for creative individuals with a passion for fashion. Watching your custom designs come to life and seeing others wearing them is a thrilling experience for budding fashion entrepreneurs.
Entripy has helped many individuals launch their own custom apparel brands. One of our most successful clients is The Kind Company.
Kristen Lawrence, an elementary school teacher in Mississauga, ON, launched The Kind Company in January 2016 with the goal of inspiring others to spread kindness. She sells her kind apparel on an Etsy shop and on her website. The Kind Company’s success is proof that with a few good designs and a solid marketing strategy, you don’t have to be a fashion designer to start a successful custom clothing line.
With some help from The Kind Company, here are Entripy’s top 5 tips to make your own custom clothing line a success:
Let your creative juices flow
Start your business by brainstorming ideas for your custom apparel line. “When I started The Kind Company the first thing I did was make a list of kindness-themed quotes that I liked,” says Lawrence. Armed with a few ideas, Lawrence created a few different designs, changing up the fonts. She then selected her top three picks and send a survey to friends, family and coworkers asking which design they liked best.
Know your market
Before starting your clothing line, do some research into your target market. Will you sell to men, women, children? Be as specific as possible: women between the ages of 18-35. The more you know about your target market, the easier it will be to come up with marketing plans to target them.
Offer something unique
With so many apparel companies in the marketplace, creating a successful custom apparel business means offering items that are unique enough to make people want to purchase from you. Lawrence diversified her offerings by creating three different designs to appeal to different markets. The unisex “Be Kind” t-shirt appeals to both men and women. She also created a t-shirt for youth that says “Kindness Ninja” and a women’s tank top that reads “More Summer; More Kindness”.
Have a marketing plan
Now that you have your designs, you need a plan for selling them! Decide whether you will set up your own e-commerce website, or sell through a third party site like Etsy. Will you sell your custom shirts at local events or flea markets or wholesale through local boutiques or even large retail chain stores? If you’re selling online, be sure to invest in good photography to accurately portray the quality of your apparel. When calculating the price you will charge, be sure to include the cost of the custom shirt, screen-printing, shipping, marketing and warehousing/storage if you have a lot of inventory.
Find a quality printing company
Once you have your designs and a marketing plan, the next step is to find a reliable printer. “When I first started looking for printing companies, I was interested in finding a good quality t-shirt for a reasonable price,” says Lawrence. “There’s a fine line for customers – if a shirt isn’t good quality customers won’t buy it, but they also won’t buy a high quality shirt if it is too pricey.” Entripy’s wide variety of custom t-shirts suited Lawrence’s needs, plus our economy shipping option meant Lawrence could save a little more on her order. This is something that was very important to Lawrence, who donates 10% of all profit from The Kind Company to the Kind Campaign, a non-profit organization that raises awareness around girl-on-girl bullying.