Estimated reading time: 13 minutes, 51 seconds
Don’t know how to start a clothing line in the UK? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We will tell you everything you need to know about establishing your own clothing brand in an easy and hassle-free way!
Table of Content
- Starting a Clothing Business in The UK
- How to Start a Clothing Line in the UK
- Decide Your Business Model
- Narrow Down Your Clothing Niche
- Plan Your Budget
- Think of A Unique and Catchy Brand Name
- Set Up Your eCommerce Store
- Build a Clothing Brand, Not Just a Business
- Get Done With Legal Formalities
- Don't Forget the Insurance
- Find a Right Manufacturer
- Test Your Products & Collect Feedback
- Time To Hit The Market
- Grow and Expand
Starting a Clothing Business in The UK
If you're sceptical about whether or not to start a clothing business in the UK, then no need to dwell in the doubts anymore. Establishing a clothing line is one of the most lucrative ways to make money in the UK. No surprise why the garment industry is one of the most successful multi-billion industries in the nation.
However, starting an online business is a lot more than just buying a domain and setting up a website. It takes proper planning, passion, and a lot of hard work, of course. To make things a bit easier for you, we have compiled this guide with all the steps you'll need to perform in order to start your own clothing brand in the UK. So, without any further ado, let's begin!
How to Start a Clothing Line in the UK?
Whether you're starting an online business or setting up a brick-and-mortar store, both require the same level of diligence. It involves making informed financial decisions and going through a series of legal activities. Keep scrolling further to learn how to start a clothing line in the UK.
1. Decide Your Business Model
First things first, before you move on to the other steps, take your time and decide your business model. It will decide how you will monetize your clothing business. Usually, there are three popular business models you can choose from:
On-demand / Self-designed Printing
The basic idea behind this type of business is buying blank /plain clothes such as t-shirts and shirts and having your logo or designs printed on them. You can even offer customised clothing services. This is an easy and cost-effective way to start your own clothing business.
This type of business model involves purchasing plain clothing items in bulk and having them customised using your own designs, prints and logos, with the help of high-quality printing methods. Although this business model requires a significant investment, it holds great potential for higher margins.
Designing From Scratch
In this business plan, you need to do everything from scratch. This includes sourcing raw materials, creating unique designs, and producing garments either on your own or by a manufacturer. This plan will take both your time and money, higher than the previous two models. However, the profit margins in this type of plan are considerably high. What's more? You'll have a brand that is 100% your own.
2. Narrow Down Your Clothing Niche
How to start a clothing line in the UK? Start with niche research!
Starting a clothing business in the UK is like preparing yourself for fierce competition. You can't simply jump into the market with some random and generalised clothing items to sell. Remember, you are going to compete against some of the well-established clothing brands and businesses. Therefore, you need to take a very fine-tuned approach in order to make yourself stand out in the competition. A good idea is to start with a niche selection.
Clothing industry is vast and has numerous segments such as kids clothing, men's clothing, fitness wear, and so on. All you need to do is select any one niche that you find interesting and profitable. It will help you target a specific set of audiences and make the whole process simplified and easy. By having a niche of your choice, you can focus on your business in a much better way than starting a broad niche clothing line.
3. Plan Your Budget
If you think that starting a clothing brand in the UK will require a huge budget, then you're wrong. You can start your business with as low as £5000. That's true!
You can start off on a small scale and later when you have a sufficient budget, you can expand your business. However, if you're all set to start a full-fledged clothing line without having any budget constraints, then try to keep it flexible.
See, the UK fashion industry is very unpredictable. You can't really think of running your business as per a blueprint. So, keep your budget flexible and try not to compromise on the quality for the sake of saving yourself some money.
Now, the question is how to create a flexible budget along with a business plan? Here is your answer…
For the first couple of months, it's much better to take baby steps i.e keeping things simple and sorted. Starting with one or maybe two designs or product ranges is much easier than diving in with a lengthy catalogue. In this way, you'll have a fixed figure in your mind, and decide how you will manage that fund, and invest evenly.
Generally, the budget to start a clothing business in the UK depends on a number of factors such as the niche, the platform, size, target locations and so on. For instance, the cost of setting up a website is way too different from building a brick-and-mortar store. So, consider all these factors to build a flexible budget.
Remember, having room for flexibility, you can make better decisions and drive sales in a better way.
4. Think of A Unique and Catchy Brand Name
You're reading this article, this means you've already come up with a list of brand names to choose from. But if you haven't given it a thought yet, then it's the right time to do so.
While this tip sounds basic, it is one of the most tricky yet fun parts of starting a business. Having a unique and catchy brand name is very important. After all, it will represent your business for a lifetime. More than that, it is the first thing your customers will hear when learning about your business offerings. So, it is extremely important to get this part right in order to make a lasting impression in the market.
Below are a few tips that will help you decide on a great name for your clothing business:
- Make a list of all the words that come to your mind when thinking about your business and try to mix and match them in different ways.
- Take inspiration from your personal favourite clothing brand names. Try to find out the story behind those names and what makes them unique?
- Find out words that match your business concept, purpose and ethos.
- Try to personalise your name. See whether you can fit your first or last name into your brand's name.
Whatever name you choose, just make sure it matches the following criteria:
- Easy to pronounce and spell
- Easy to memorize
- Unique, never copy or replace other brand's name
- Appealing to your audience
Once you've decided on a nice name, the next step is to register it officially. Check out with the government copyright agency in your area to get your business name registered as soon as possible.
5. Set Up Your eCommerce Store
Understand one thing, you're not the only one who is searching for "how to start a clothing line in the UK", there are many others who are planning to do the same, all thanks to the glory of the fashion industry!
With increasing internet and smartphone penetration, customers of today prefer shopping online rather than dealing with the hassle of walking to the physical stores. If we go by stats, around 51% of shoppers in the UK prefer online shopping — which is huge!
This is the reason why almost every business is going online and maintaining their well-functional websites. So, if you want to stay ahead in the competition, then build your website. And don't worry, setting up an eCommerce website is not as complicated as it sounds. You just need to choose the best eCommerce platform and the right eCommerce development agency that can help you set up your online clothing store.
Platforms like BigCommerce, Shopify, Magento, etc. are great for starting an online clothing line. They are easy to maintain, secure, and come with plenty of eCommerce features that will help you boost your sales and conversions.
6. Build a Clothing Brand, Not Just a Business
Ever wondered why people go crazy after a Nike t-shirt when they can get the same piece locally at a fraction of Nike's price? This is the power of a brand!
In the fashion industry, selling clothes and selling branded clothes are two different stories. Customers prefer purchasing from the brands they're familiar with. No matter how expensive a piece is, they always root for a known brand because they have full faith in it. So, if you want to make your clothing business a hit, then think big, be ambitious, and build a brand.
But again, a brand isn't built overnight. You have to work hard to garner a loyal customer base, which is only possible by providing the best quality at the best price. Besides ensuring great quality clothing items, you should start working on your branding strategies from the initial stage itself. The best idea is to work with a reliable branding agency that will plan and devise bespoke branding strategies for your clothing business.
And while you're searching for the right branding agency, here is a quick list of ingredients that goes into a well-established BRAND:
What is the concept of your business? Is it a particular style? Is it for a specific purpose? Is it the materials and the way your clothes are manufactured?
An Interesting Story
What made you start a clothing business in the UK? Who is your inspiration? What is the aim of your business?
What are your brand values and ethics? How are you willing to help the customers? Why should your customers keep their faith in you?
Your brand should speak on behalf of your business. It should be original, authentic, and unique in its own way.
By combining all these ingredients with a unique name, logo and tagline, you'll be able to take your first step towards building a brand.
7. Get Done With Legal Formalities
To start a clothing business in the UK, it is very important to adhere to the relevant obligations, regulations, and quality standards.
Here, in the UK, you don't require any particular type of license to start an online clothing line, unless you're planning to hit a market (in this case, you'll require a market stall license).
Nonetheless, you will need to make sure that your garments comply with the Supply of Goods and Services Act, the Sale of Goods Act, and the Sale and Supply of Goods Act. These regulations imply that the products you're selling are exactly the same as you've described them.
Always remember, it's the seller's and not the manufacturer's responsibility to meet all these contracts. Therefore, make sure that the clothes you're selling are of excellent quality and design, just like how you've advertised them.
8. Don't Forget the Insurance
Better safe than sorry. It is always better to protect your business with the right insurance coverage. The reason is simple, you never know what may happen next.
Basically, you'll need public liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance, and products liability insurance to make sure you stay safe if a consumer or any other stakeholder files a legal complaint against your business or your products.
Further, the insurance coverage will vary depending on whether you're selling online or in the local markets. So, choose your insurance policies very carefully considering all these factors.
9. Find a Right Manufacturer
Whether your business grows with time and you start receiving more demands, or you want to outsource the production from the very beginning, at some or another, you'll need to find a reliable factory to produce your clothes in bulk.
In general, you can choose a factory on the basis of two common factors:
CMT (cut-measure-trim) — Here, you supply the design as well as raw material to the manufacturer who puts them together and delivers finished goods to your business.
FFP (full package production) — Here, the factory takes complete responsibility for sourcing materials for your order.
Although the latter option is slightly more expensive than the former one, it saves a lot of time and effort.
The key to select the right factory or manufacture is ample research. Start by requesting referrals and recommendations from your colleagues operating in the fashion industry. They will share with you a first-hand experience of working with a particular factory.
Another point to keep in mind is, try to select a local factory so that you can easily keep an eye on the production process. Selecting a locally available factory will also provide you with a great USP — the "Made in the UK" tag!
10. Test Your Products & Collect Feedback
Now that you're done with the designing and manufacturing part and all set to take your clothing business to the market, don't rush, here is an important thing to take care of.
To make sure whether or not your products are up to the expectations of your targeted customers, run testing and feedback programs. Fairs, market trading spaces, and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, etc. are great places to start with.
You can even send a few pieces to your fashion industry peers, or even friends and ask them to provide an honest review.
11. Time To Hit The Market
Once you've tested your products, it's time to launch your business in the market and run your first sales campaign. Before boxing up your first order, there are a few important decisions to make.
Take your time to decide the following things:
- Decide the Prices of Your Garments
- Set up an Online Clothing Store
- Invest in Marketing Your Brand
- Run ad campaigns
- Plan social media marketing strategies
- Make use of influencer marketing
- Plan and Execute Promotional Offers and Campaigns
- Package Your Products
- Ship Them Safely to Your Customers
While all these steps are included in your business plan itself, it is important to take care of each step at the time of final launch. All the steps are simple to follow, but setting up an online store requires expertise and skills that can be provided by professionals. Hire the right website development agency that can help you build a website and set up your online clothing store in a frictionless way.
And when you have your website built, make sure to integrate it with the best payment gateway to collect and process payments from your customers in a secure and easy way.
12. Grow and Expand
Congratulations! You've successfully started a clothing business in the UK. By following all the above-mentioned tips, you'll be able to drive sales and earn your first profits.
Once you've got a firm hold in the industry, garnered a significant customer base, and started to generate a stabilised revenue, then you can start thinking of growing your business by adding more products and receiving large orders.
But don't rush into this matter. Take your time and thoroughly analyse the performance of your business. And don't worry if things aren't going as they're supposed to be. Businesses don't become a hit instantly, they start bearing sweet fruits when you nurture them properly. So, don't give up and keep working hard. And don't plan on scaling up your business until it becomes stable and risk-free.
We have discussed everything you need to know about how to start a clothing line in the UK. From creating a business plan to marketing the products, this guide has it all. Now, it's your turn to take your first step towards becoming a known clothing brand in the UK. And not to mention, if you need any kind of assistance in this journey, RVS Media is here to help you. Whether it is setting up an online clothing store, marketing your business or helping with branding — we got your back. Feel free to contact us, anytime!