orldwide, the clothing business is a $1.5 trillion industry. Some of the largest companies in the world sell apparel, including Lulemon, Nike, and TJX. With stats like this, you might be interested in starting your own clothing business. However, maybe you feel like you don’t have the money you need to get started.
However, nowadays, anybody can start a clothing business — even if you don’t have any money. To do so, you just need to follow the right game plan.
If you want to start a clothing business with no money, you should begin by setting up an account with a print-on-demand service. Then, use a free fashion designer service to design your products and begin marketing them to the world through social media. After that, you can build a low-cost website and begin selling your clothing with minimal upfront costs.
Starting a clothing business with no money can be tough. But we’re here to make it a bit easier on you. Keep reading to get a step-by-step look at everything you need to do to start a clothing business with no money.
1.Sign Up With a Print to Order Manufacturing Company like Printify
In the past, people who wanted to start a clothing business had a ton of upfront expenses. They had to design products themselves, manufacture the merchandise, and set up a storefront before they could make any profits. However, that’s not the case anymore.
Nowadays, someone who wants to start a clothing company can do so with a dropshipping business model. All that you need to do is create an account with a company like Printify. Then, once you have your designs, you upload them to the website.
After that, you won’t have to pay a thing for manufacturing your products until they sell. That means no wasted merchandise and a serious reduction in your upfront costs. It’s why the first step in your process should be to set up an account with Printify or one of its competitors.
2.Design Your Products With a Free Fashion Designer Service
You don’t need to purchase fancy clothing design software to start a clothing business. Nowadays, there are lots of free options online that are just as good as their paid counterparts.
One option that you might consider using is Tailornova. This tool allows designers to make 3D fashion models at no cost. The service provides a ton of useful ways to customize what you make so that you can bring the truest form of your vision to life.
Tailornova also has a ton of online lessons that are really helpful. These teach you about some of the basics of clothing design and show you how to use the platform. Getting started is as easy as visiting the website and clicking “Design Now”.
3.Market Your Designs With Social Media
A big key to making it in the clothing industry is getting people hyped about your products. And the only way to do that is to advertise your designs. There are lots of different ways to do this. But if you’re looking for an effective low-cost method, then you won’t beat social media advertising. Here’s how to do that.
Determine Your Target Audience
First, you need to figure out who you’re trying to reach with your clothing. This will inform how you go about advertising it and the brand image that you develop. For example, you might be targeting young adults, tweens, older women, or anything in between.
Ultimately, you just need to think about who’s the most likely to buy your clothing. Once you understand that, you have the basic outline of your target audience.
Develop a Brand Identity
Now that you have a target audience, you need to develop an identity for your brand that will appeal to them. For example, if you make professional wear, then you would likely want to market your brand professionally to appeal to that segment of the market.
Or maybe your designs aren’t intended for professionals. If you make streetwear, for example, you would probably want to develop a brand image with an edge.
Share Targeted Content On Social Media Platforms
Now that you understand what your brand is trying to be, you’re ready to become advertising your designs. You should be doing so on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other social media platforms that your target audience frequents.
The goal will be to share content that your target audience cares about. Then you can use that as an opportunity to market your products. For example, you might share a blog post on fashion do’s and don’ts. Then, at the end of that post, you could put a link to one of your designs.
4. Build a Low-Cost Website with Wix
Next, you need somewhere to direct the customers that want to purchase clothing from you. That’s why you’ll want to begin building your website at this stage of the process. You could shell out hundreds or even thousands for a custom-made website. But the benefits of doing this probably won’t outweigh the costs for you.
A better strategy is to just use a free website creation platform like Wix. You can put together a site that can accomplish everything you need it to in just a few hours. All that you’ll really need to do is choose between a few premade designs.
Sites like Wix also have eCommerce integrations available. So you can add all of the functionality that you need to allow customers to buy from you with ease.
5.Write a Business Plan
Next, you should take the time to write up a business plan. You may feel like you don’t need one for a dropshipping company. However, creating a business plan now will save you a ton of time in the future. It will outline everything that you need to do in order to grow your clothing business into a formidable one.
When writing your business plan, you’ll want to include the following information:
- Financial projects for the year
- An overview of your company and what it does
- A description of the products you’ll offer
- Your analysis of the clothing industry and where you fit into it
You may need to spend some time researching your competitors here if you haven’t already. Doing so will help you figure out how you can stand out from them with superior offerings. Your research will also help you complete the clothing industry analysis that you should have in your business plan.
6.Sign Up for Dropshipping Business Insurance
If you’re going to be operating a dropshipping clothing business, you need to keep yourself protected from potential sources of liability. So you’ll want to look into purchasing some insurance coverage.
There are lots of different options available to choose from. One of the easiest is to simply pick out a business insurance plan that’s tailor-made for dropshipping companies. This will include every type of insurance that you need to keep yourself protected.
But you can pick from different types of insurance a-la-carte as well. If so, you’ll want to look into getting the following types of coverage:
- General liability
- Property insurance (only if you plan on opening up a store)
- Cyber risk and privacy liability
- Business income insurance
7.Purchase Business Management Software
Managing a business can be pretty tough. You’ll find that doing so becomes increasingly challenging as you grow. That’s why it may be a good idea for you to invest in business management software now.
Here are some of the best business management software options for small dropshipping companies:
Accounting software is a must for your clothing business as well. It’s what you’ll use to manage your finances and make sure that your company remains financially stable. There are lots of good options to choose from here. So take some time to consider which is right for you.
That being said, here’s our favorite accounting software for small companies:
- QuickBooks Online
- Sage 50
9.Decide Which Payments You’re Going to Take
Now you’re ready to start thinking about how your customers are going to pay you for the clothing that you’ve created. The easiest way to do this is to direct them to your website. You can use Wix to set up an online shopping cart that just lets the customer complete their purchase online.
One thing to keep in mind is that you will need to partner with a company that can process credit card payments. Wix has some integrated options available. But you may also want to look into other choices to make sure you get the best deal.
10.Secure Financing to Grow Your Company
Dropshipping gives you the ability to build up a niche for your clothing business with minimal upfront money. But eventually, you may want to open up your own retail locations. To do that, you’ll likely need financing.
The good news is that it’s easier to get a business loan if you’re already operating a successful business. But you’ll likely still need to have decent personal credit to get approved.
That being said, there are lots of different ways that you can secure financing for a new clothing company. Here’s what you should look into:
- Crowdsource funds through a platform like Kickstarter
- Ask friends and family for contributions
- SBA loans
- Business lines of credit
- Short-term business loans
If you do decide to open up a retail location, you’re going to need to hire employees to run it. Doing this isn’t super complex. You just need to know where to look for qualified applicants who can represent your brand well.
Often, you can find what you need by using online job boards like Monster and Indeed. But you may also want to look on platforms with a more local focus, such as Craigslist.
When conducting your interviews, you’ll want to look for people with prior experience in the clothing industry. On top of that, try to hire candidates that have demonstrated a high level of trustworthiness in the past. That way, you can feel confident leaving your store in their hands when you need to do so.
12.Decide on a Payroll Service
After you hire employees, you’ll need to choose a payroll service to automate the way that you pay them. If you’re looking for a well-rounded option, Gusto Payroll is a great choice. It comes with everything that you need to manage your payroll and will even scale with you as you grow.
Other options that you may want to look into include:
- QuickBooks Payroll
- Square Payroll
The Bottom Line: Is Starting a Clothing Business With No Money Worth It?
Starting a clothing business with no money can absolutely be worth it. Research has shown that online apparel sales are a $90 billion-a-year industry. That’s a ton of money up for grabs, which could go towards your company.
In the past, it was super expensive to start a clothing business. This made it very difficult to do so for people who didn’t already have a good financial situation. However, dropshipping has made it possible for almost anyone to get started with a new clothing company.
There are really very few risks to trying this out. You don’t have to spend a ton of money upfront. You can just design some clothes that you think are cool and try to market them online. If nobody ends up wanting to purchase your products, you’re only really out of the time that it took you to design them.
On the other hand, you could quickly build an audience for yourself if you make cool designs that people love. Dropshipping will allow you to earn income on this without having to pay any money upfront. Then, as your audience grows, you can leverage it into opening up retail locations that give your customers new ways to buy your creations.
Ruben has been doing online marketing for the last 4 years. Prior to that, he spent 15 years managing different brick-and-mortar businesses, in the home improvement and logistics industries. Overall, he has 20 years of business experience under his belt. Recently, he added SEO, affiliate marketing, and link building to his business skills.