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How to start a clothing line

Wow, Saturday was a great day. I participated in a full day Workshop for startup fashion designers at Mood Fabrics NYC (you know the one, from Project Runway?). Since you couldn’t be there, I want to share the top 3 takeaways of the day.

Tip #1: Use a good cost sheet

The first tip is from  from Boaz David. Boaz explained how you do not want to wait until the end of the design and sampling process to cost out your pieces. He also described how to design with production in mind. For instance, consider when you make a style that can be done ONCE and looks great. However, when it comes time to produce 100 pieces of this style will it be feasible? Will it be cost effective? How will you make a profit from that?

Tip #2: Start using Instagram NOW

Tip from Lori Riviere. Lori made it very clear to us that Instagram is working – and working well – for her PR clients. Lori’s job is to get publicity for fashion brands and, depending on your target audience, nothing can beat Instagram for exposure. According to Pew Research Center and this article, Instagram is especially appealing to “adults ages 18 – 29, African Americans, Latinos, women, and urban residents”. But remember, Instagram is growing every day and its reach is growing too. While the bulk of Instagram people are young right now, that doesn’t mean it will be like that 12 months from now – or even next month.

Tip #3: Start with a small collection

Tip from Jane Hamill. My tip is based on a major mistake I see many emerging designers making in the beginning. I made it with my line when I started! If you make apparel, consider doing just one product category rather than an entire collection with jackets, pants, skirts, dresses, blouses, etc. You can start with blouses and add other products as you go. Same advice goes for jewelry and accessories lines. If you make handbags, you can do a line of totes your first season. Just because you start with one product category doesn’t mean you cannot add on and ultimately become known for something else. Consider this; 5 or 6 styles in a few colors is already a rack of 15 pieces to show a buyer. That’s plenty!

Bonus tip: Learn the steps to starting a fashion company before you start

All 3 experts agree on the need for research before you jump in and start spending money. Research your competition, understand the costs involved, and learn the steps you need to take to get your business started on a solid foundation. Treat it like a business. Many of the designers attending Saturday’s Workshop had already taken my New Designer Program so they have a pretty good idea of what they’re getting into. They’re going into the fashion business with their eyes wide open! The New Designer Program gives you an idea of the size and scope of the project you are getting into – and it explains the steps in a clear, simple way that makes sense. You can take a look here: https://fashionbrainacademy.com/blog/e-learning/new-designer-program/

P.S. NDP includes a good cost sheet (see Tip #1) but for training on Instagram, you can go here for info on how to use Instagram (tip #2)

Have a great day and thanks for reading!

Jane

 

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