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How to Start a Successful Clothing Business

business clothing General how start to

Bruce from Printavo again (simplest way to manage your print shop).

So the other day a friend asked how to get his clothing line up and running and I thought I would post my response up here so everyone can see.

What kinda industry are you looking to start your line in? There's a lotta brands out there now but very few make it past the 1 year mark. When you start a lot of people are going to be like oh just another tshirt company or something but it's all about being consistent, longevity and and constantly improving.

Being consistent means that you gota keep releasing new stuff at least twice a year (Spring and Fall is what we starting doing). Work on selling to your friends and using free/low cost promotional tools such as stickers (123stickers.com) business cards (vistaprint.com) and a skate team or some kinda team if you're not in the skate industry that is hyped on your stuff and will help you promote it. When people see that you keep releasing things and getting better then you'll be seen as more legit. Remember though you're bottom line of a team is to promote so careful with giving out a ton of stuff to them. The first line or two will basically be duds and you'll prolly lose money unless you have super hot designs or something hot that people like.

Try to print the absolute minimum to avoid that too, don't be afraid to try embroidery or something small at first to get peoples feedback. ALWAYS ask your close friends what they think before you pay for anything, they're give you good critism to improve and that's what you want. We've made some designs that we were like "daaamn that's so sick" and then we ask our panel of people what they think and they're like "ehh," so we scrapped it. A secret of Kerosin was that at first to attract new customers we made crazy designs (you can see them at kerosinclothing.com and click on Collections then click on the the lines after the first Fall '07 one i believe). The wild designs were to attract people to the brand and now we print simpler things because they generally sell more and people know the brand.

Brings me to my next point, unless you know the owner of a shop, they probably won't carry you're gear. That's because when someone walks into a shop to buy clothing, they generally buy something because of the brand name attached to it. This means that if they see something in the shop and don't know the brand name of it, they prolly won't buy it. It took us prolly a year before we were able to have good brand recognition in central illinois and now more in chicago. That's where the longevity comes into play because once people keep hearing your name, they respect it more and random people start buying it.

Lastly, you want to keep improving the brand. The way we do this is now we have higher quality shirts that cost a bit more but it matters to have that better quality. We have cleaner more improved designs each time, print our logo and size inside the shirt as a tag, bag shirts in poly bags when we ship them, give stickers out, make videos of our team, after selling shirts then get into hats, hoodies, sweatshirts, hopefully jeans. You also want to keep loyal customers buy giving them a discount too.

If you have more tips on starting a clothing line, post them in the comments.
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