Docs & Guides

How to Start a Clothing Line

The step-by-step guide to launching an independent fashion brand in the age of Instagram

Published on Apr 27, 2021


There are many articles on starting an online business selling apparel.

Often they offer advice that is useless (“join local entrepreneur groups!”), unspecific (“use influencers to promote your items”) or overly optimistic (“get millions in sales without putting in the money and effort”).

Instead, we decided to detail the process that works for real brands based on our data and experience.

We specifically cover only brands creating unique items and not dropshipping, as the core is to create a high brand value, which is impossible without product differentiation.

The guide is split into two parts:

Part I discusses topics from product considerations to launching a store to about $10,000 in monthly sales.

Part II (upcoming) will detail how to scale a clothing business that achieved traction, using analytics, conversion rate optimization, scaling the product line, and marketing approaches viable for larger brands.

Topics Covered

Product. What to focus on. Steps of clothing production. Manufacturing options. How to start on a tight budget.

Visuals. Producing captivating catalog and Instagram/campaign photos and videos. Contemporary visual styles and what can be done on a small budget.

Branding. Brand name, domain name, logo, labels, and packaging.

Online store. Design, typography, necessary elements for each page. Conversion rate optimization.

Instagram. Jumpstarting your account, getting early followers and traction. Paid promotions.

Email marketing. Automated flows that increase sales by up to 50%. Email campaigns.

Ads. Configuring analytics. Instagram, Facebook, Google, Pinterest ads. Selecting among channels, running experiments.

Launch. Pre-launch campaigns. Launch checklist.

What to expect

Launching a clothing business today is more accessible than ever.

Instagram turned out to be an open platform for visual content very well suited for fashion. It doesn’t have the traditional gatekeepers of fashion magazines and expensive retail. Accepting payments online is easy, and there are economical options for express shipping across the world. There are many factories across the world that offer manufacturing outsourcing of different degrees.

But you will still need some combination of money, expertise, connections, and hustling prowess to manufacture the first batch, produce visual content and put your brand in from others.

If you are an influencer with an active following, you may have the marketing part covered. Maybe you can also be a model for visual content. Or you are skilled and can cut and sew the first batches.

Have reasonable timeframe expectations. Unless you can create a lot of high-quality content and bring in many influencers, expect up to a year until your audience grows and you feel that you gained traction.

The hardest part in building a brand is not quitting, and being aware of what’s possible and reasonable from the beginning will be very helpful.

Try finding joy in the process, and it will be a rewarding journey.

Let’s start.

2. Product →

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