How to Start Your Clothing Business Online at a Low Cost

Starting a clothing business online is a smart business decision. However, the platform you choose for it matters a lot given the many different options you can utilize for this type of business. Sticking to the traditional setting which is to put up a physical store display and market your products is the old-school default format. These days, this is no longer the most viable option. Starting a business clothing online is the way to go since you can save a lot of money out of an online setting, not needing to pay rent and having to opportunity to engage with a lot more people.
Clothing business online
Fig: Clothing business online
Starting a business clothing online is the perfect go-to approach if you want to be in the clothing manufacturing industry. This platform is practical, cost-efficient and advisable if you are a startup clothing entrepreneur. Here are the basic steps on how to start a business clothing online most especially if you are in a tight budget.

Steps to Start a Business Clothing Online

1. Choose a Niche

When wanting to join the online clothing industry, you need to decide on a niche considering you are likely working with a low cost budget. You cannot manufacture clothing products which are totally irrelevant to each other. Simply by targeting a niche, you specify a target audience for your main product which will eventually become potential buyers of your related clothing products. The key in here is to group consumers and only market to people who are potential customers and at the same time limit competition from contemporaries.

2. Select Your Products
Once you have chosen a niche, choose to manufacture clothing you want in your catalog. Your first set of products will establish your identity as a brand. Since you want to achieve a clothing line at a low cost, choose to manufacture a very limited number of clothing products.It’s a mistake to assume that you should go for products that are generally cheap to produce instead of more sophisticated clothing which are complex and expensive. Clothing products such as shirts with attractive designs are the most common option when it comes to initial items on the production line. However, you should be creative and stick out, which is very difficult with standard shirts. Rather order less at the beginning than compromising on the design that you actually want to do.

3. Decide for an Online Clothing Business Model
There are generally four types of business models you can choose from for an online clothing line;

a. Print on Demand – also known as custom shirt printing is the easiest approach towards any clothing business model. You accept orders from clients and print clothing according to their preferences and designs. However, it’s also the most competitive and boring model.

b. Private Label Clothing –the concept is to purchase generic clothing items from OEM companies and add your own label or customize these products to your liking. Private label products are common out there and most of these can be seen in online marketplaces. You can get slightly better variety than for printing on demand this way.

c. Drop Shipping – this is another cost-effective method to sell clothes online but can be very risky given the business owners do not have the chance to check out items firsthand and they simply trust the suppliers from where they order from. There is no need for warehousing and clothing products are right away shipped from supplier to the customer. For truly custom clothing and cut-and-sew, it doesn’t work because the cost are too high and it takes too long to make always single units.

d. Custom Cut-and-Sew
– if you want to establish a brand for your online clothing store, then this is the route to go. You create clothing with original designs and hope the consumers will love your clothing products. The clear advantage in this approach is you are creating unique customized designs for a specific market. Mitigate your risk with ordering small quantities first. The expenses are not too high and you have full control.

4. Start an Online Clothing Store
You basically have three options on how to put up your clothing store: 1) launch a website 2) sell via social media 3) join eCommerce platforms.

If you choose to have your own website. You have to purchase a domain and hire a site developer to build your website (or do it yourself with easy page builders). There will be some work and the cost associated with this. The biggest advantage is you get to establish yourself as a major brand/store given the exclusivity of your website.

The next option is to use social media channels as your virtual store/s or branches. You can sign up on Facebook, Twitter or even Instagram and use your accounts in there to market and sell your clothing products. A lot of businesses take advantage of the social media platform since it is arguably the most visited sites/apps out there in the internet. You can just collect orders by email or contact forms. It’s the easiest but also least professional solution that might be good start.

Lastly, there are eCommerce platforms out there who are basically online marketplaces. Sites such as Amazon, Shopify, Ebay etc. are all homes to virtual stores and online merchants. At a small fee, you can put up an online clothing store and use a combination of social media and eCommerce platform to further boost your reach.

These are 4 simple ways on how to start your business clothing online in a cost-effective manner. The options mentioned above give you versatility on how to start your online clothing line depending on what your budget allows you to spend. It can be rest assured you can start your own online clothing line without needing to spend a fortune for it. If you are still looking for a good cut-and-sew manufacturer that can help you to produce your garments.
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Founder and Editor:

Mazharul Islam Kiron is a textile consultant, entrepreneur, blogger and researcher on online business promotion. He is working as a consultant in several local and international companies. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.

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