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How to start your own clothing line

Starting a clothing line can be a daunting but very exciting prospect. If you are wondering how to start a small clothing line then this blog will give you a great overview of some of the things you need to take into consideration before you begin including business planning, designing, manufacturing, branding and packaging.

Concept and target audience

It's likely that you've spotted a gap in the market where you feel a new clothing brand could fit in. Make sure you can identify exactly who your target market are and what your unique selling point is, this will help you focus the marketing and brand identity of any fashion brand and create a good business model to work from.

Work out your finances

Financial planning for clothing line business using laptop and tablet.

Finances can be overlooked amidst the excitement of a new business idea, but be sure to make a clothing line business plan that includes a full financial plan!

Make sure you know the cost of your starting a clothing line before you begin, how much you need to spend on design software or designers, manufacturing, relabelling, website design, branding, marketing, adverts (online, radio, billboards etc). Make sure you have secured funding (perhaps you want to look into getting a Government start up loan), know whether you want to sell at markets, online or even open up a physical shop and perhaps speak to an independent financial advisor about whether you should operate as a limited company or a sole trader.

Be prepared, the fashion industry is difficult to predict and starting a clothing line can take more time and money that initially imagined, so plan extra time and money into your business plan, just in case, for complete peace of mind when starting your own clothing brand.

Do your research

Research other fashion brands within the fashion industry to make sure your ideas are unique and what competitors you may have to compete with. What is an established brand selling their pieces at? Would you be able to compete with that or can you offer a reason for consumers to pay more for your item?

To work this out you will need a good idea of costs from concept to shelf, so be sure to research accordingly.

Get the correct insurance

Make sure you are covered, especially if you are investing a lot of money into your own business. You may need stock cover, online retailer insurance, product liability insurance, business insurance or clothing shop insurance policies, depending on your set-up.

Create your designs

Product development is the phase that you are probably ahead with when it comes to starting a clothing brand and it's definitely one of the most exciting parts!

You may start with a paper sketch but will need to turn this into a digital sketch using software like Adobe Illustrator, which may take some work to be able to use efficiently. Alternatively you may wish to work with a fashion designer, rather than designing the clothes yourself.

You also need to create a "tech pack" with all the essential information to give to your clothing manufacturer (product details and specifications from design and measurements to materials and additional features).

Once complete you can then move on to designing, making and grading the patterns to give to a potential clothing manufacturer, such as us here at Hemming Birds.

Samples, Testing and product development

Do your garments meet your requirements? Is the material adequate for the job you want it to do? Should your logo be embroidered rather than screen printed?

Making samples and testing them gives you a great chance to see whether your garments are fit for purpose and look how you would like. The product development phase is key for making your clothing business a success. Having samples also allows you to get an idea of interest for your clothing brand and get ahead on your marketing.


Small production manufacturing runs

Small production runs for clothing

If you are selling unique pieces then you will need to find a clothing manufacturer to fulfil your stock levels. It may be best at the start to stick to one or two items that you are sure will work whilst building up brand awareness, before launching a lengthy product catalogue. This can help keep initial costs down too.

If you are a small clothing business just starting up, you may not want to order thousands of each item if you are not sure they will sell. A small production run may be the answer for you and any stock issues you may have. Here at Hemming Birds, we are clothing manufacturers and are happy to take on small production runs with our industrial sewing equipment.

Making the pieces yourself

You may have decided that you want to make the garments yourself when you start a clothing line to reduce manufacturing costs. In which case, you can skip this step of looking for a manufacturing partner, but may want to look into getting your garments properly labelled for a more professional flare.

Relabelling wholesale clothing

Relabelling black shirt

Instead of designing and making bespoke pieces, you may just want to resell branded wholesale clothing, particularly if you are just looking for apparel or workwear. Wondering how to brand clothing?

Relabelling is a common technique where the original neck labels are removed from a wholesale price garment before personalised clothing labels are put back in their place. A fantastic way to get any wholesale garments looking more professional and in line with your clothing brand is to get them relabelled. Relabelling wholesale clothing creates better brand awareness and visibility as well as giving a more professional look to your business.

At Hemming Birds we provide a clothing relabelling service and can use relabelling to immediately transform any garment from a stock item to a bespoke garment that looks professional and undertake runs with as few as 50 pieces. You can even order wholesale garments, printed or embroidered with your design from our sister company HB Promotions.


Once you have your clothing line made and branded you may need the items packaged up professionally. At Hemming Birds we can add branded swing tags and individually package your garments should you wish, to give the perfect professional finish as part of our garment relabelling service.

Testing and quality control

Another important step for a clothing company is quality control. Be picky and make sure your products meet your standards before allowing them to be sold.

Quality control of thousands of products can overwhelming. Quality control can be outsourced, but this will produce more expenses for your small business. You may just want to randomly sample five garments from every batch of each range to ensure they are true to size and inspect them for manufacturing faults.

You may also be doing market research on small production runs to get feedback from customers before you fully commit to launching your brand. Although market research is an ongoing job, it is important to get feedback on your clothes from other people early on when you start a clothing line.


Woman creating content for digital marketing campaign image

As soon as you have your clothes made, branded and packaged up you need to get them sold! In order to do this you will need to create awareness of your new clothing brand through marketing.

Many people seriously underestimate the power of a good marketing strategy. People won't know you exist without some kind of marketing so be sure to finance your marketing strategy well. Social media is a fantastic marketing tool but a website makes your business appear more professional, plus you can have an online shop via which to sell your fantastic new clothing line.

Brand identity

You need a logo for your clothing business as well as a complete brand identity, this concept can be created with the help of a high quality graphic designer who will help you target your market and give your brand recognition.


Although they can be expensive, good quality marketing photographs by a professional photographer can make social media marketing much more effective for your new clothing line business, make your website look professional and have a huge impact on engagement in a competitive market.

Web presence

As the world is moving to a more digital existence you need to have a good web presence if you want your brand to flourish. An integrated ecommerce platform (online store) can make it simple for people across the UK to order clothing items from you and instantly increase your target market.

As a successful clothing line you will want your website to look good and too so make sure you look into finding a good local web designer to help you. Finding a web designer with expertise in search engine optimisation, so that your potential clients find you in their web searches can be even more beneficial to a new start up.

Social media channels

Being accessible to consumers via social media channels can be important, it also gives you another platform through which to share your clothing line to your target market, advertise to new potential customers, give ideas of how to wear your products and increase brand awareness of your clothing line.

Printed marketing campaigns

Some people still prefer printed marketing to online marketing. Although leaflets and flyers are becoming less popular, it may be something you want to factor into your costs and add to your marketing tactics in order to gain traction as a new fashion brand.

Happy selling!

Woman wrapping up clothes she is selling

Once you have your garments priced up and in stock (or ready to be made) and a marketing strategy, get selling! Keep check of which are your best sellers and which pieces of your clothing range maybe aren't working so you are not wasting money producing items that aren't selling well and don't get as good feedback through your market research.

With every new business, especially when you start a clothing line, there is a learning curve so be resilient and keep sight of your target market and what you want your brand to achieve to keep your customers coming back for more.

As a business owner, your final task is to plan for the future - how are you going to scale up your new clothing business or streamline your manufacturing process? Continue to adapt your business model to suit your needs and your production scale to have a truly successful business.

Here at Hemming Birds we are happy to help you with your industrial clothing manufacturing with capacity for small production runs as well as our garment relabelling service, so do not hesitate to contact us if you would like more information.


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