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Anyone with experience creating a clothing line from scratch?

Fightrepreneur

Contributor
May 5, 2018
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I have an idea for a custom niche apparel line. I won't go into the specific niche but I am very familiar with it and have heard from many people that the market isn't meeting the current demand.

I am looking to design (collaborate with an actual fashion designer), source quality fabric material, and order units of this custom clothes line.

Has anyone here had experience in the endeavor? I'm looking at a budget of around 10k, give or take, is this reasonable to get started if designing clothing from the ground up?
 
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Saf H

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Jun 28, 2018
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Preston, United Kingdom
With that budget I would suggest to initially setup a Shopify store and setup Print on Demand > e.g Viralstyle, Teelaunch plugin,

Concentrate on building a brand > find good unique designers on IG,behance etc... > build brand through IG influencers.

After you find sweet spot with audience, then go into holding inventory etc...
 

thore

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Feb 20, 2015
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Hi,
I had a brand designed for a specific niche.
I worked with print on demand and sold my products on my ecommerce.
I have found difficulty with the reliability of the suppliers of clothes.
My business failed because I couldn't guarantee delivery times, and because it wasn't profitable.
 

The Racing Driver

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Apr 20, 2015
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My Dad has built a clothing brand essentially from scratch. Yes, it seems like really hard work finding a reliable and trustworthy supplier.

Many orders he made went wrong and there was no way the supplier (in China) was ever going to refund him. So he had to either sell at a loss or give it away to charity.

After lots of trial and error, he's found a supplier who he's been producing with for many years now.

Yes you can make an order for 10K, depends on the supplier though. Generally speaking, it seems like bigger suppliers/factories are interested in big orders. Ideally you should go to China or wherever and meet them in person. Lots of these suppliers have their own designer and can source the fabric for you.
 
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Xeon

All Cars Kneel Before Pagani.
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Sep 3, 2017
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I have an idea for a custom niche apparel line. I won't go into the specific niche but I am very familiar with it and have heard from many people that the market isn't meeting the current demand.

I am looking to design (collaborate with an actual fashion designer), source quality fabric material, and order units of this custom clothes line.

Has anyone here had experience in the endeavor? I'm looking at a budget of around 10k, give or take, is this reasonable to get started if designing clothing from the ground up?

Below text are all meant for if you are gonna do decorated apparel (printing your designs on apparel). If you're gonna do completely custom fashion pieces like Lululemon where you source your own custom fabric and design the whole look, then ignore the below.

There's a thread here by a guy called TJPB who has 29+ pages where he underwent a similar journey like what you mentioned, you should check it out.

Personally, I would advise against going the "from the ground up/from scratch" approach. That's basically what they call cut-and-sew apparel, and it has high minimums and the resulting cost per piece is too high to make any profit. Honestly, I feel your 10k budget may barely, or not even enough, to cover the design and production costs if you go this route.

I could be wrong, but fashion seems to be mainly about branding, marketing and status rather than the actual product quality. Look at those overpriced $65 t-shirts lol. And no, it's not coated with platinum or imbued with the power of light.

The print-on-demand approach mentioned by Thore is good for testing customers' reception, but drawbacks are that customers have to wait longer (anywhere from 2 - 7 days for printing), and that's excluding the shipping. Also, in print-on-demand, they use direct to garment printing, which is not so good for designs with large flat blocks of color (the edges tend to look fuzzy and print tends to look less "solid"), and easier to fade off.

Those companies that offer print on demand services (they even do fulfilment for you) charge a high cost per tshirt, which results in a lot less profit for you per piece, and they seem to have issues with reliably fulfilling and printing orders. You have a lot less Control in this.

The other route would be to come up with something like 4 - 5 designs for a start, look for a screen printer, check the reviews and prices, then order about 12 - 24 pcs (most of them, their mins are 36 but there's a few who can do 12 pcs).
So let's say you order 24 pcs white unisex tshirt for Design #1, that would break down into about 8 M, 10 L and 6 2XL.

I can totally see the screen printing approach doable with 10k budget, with a lot left over for marketing/ads and website.
 
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