10
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How to start a Private Label Clothing business? A complete guide for beginners

Published on
October 20, 2023
Pants without a label alluding to a private label.
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Fashion Designer and Content Creator. Daniela leads the social media operations at GAT Fashion Lab

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How to start a Private Label Clothing business? A complete guide for beginners in 9 steps

 

Starting a clothing line from scratch is the dream of many aspiring entrepreneurs; however, this path is often more costly, time-consuming, and fraught with higher risks.

Creating a clothing brand more easily, in less time, and with lower expenses is possible through the Private Label Clothing business model.

In this blog, you will find how to begin, the requirements to consider, and some financial advice to start your brand in 10 steps.

1.Define the clothing products you will sell:

The first and one of the most crucial steps is to choose the types of garments you want to sell. In the fashion industry, there are various product types to choose from, offering many options.

Typically, individuals planning to start their own brand have a preconceived idea of what models they want to sell.

If you are entirely new to the fashion industry and are unsure about which products to sell, here are some recommendations:

-Blouses

-Shirts

-T-Shirts

-Formal pants

-Street pants

-Sweatshirts

-Lingerie/underwear

Etc.

It's important to note that selecting these products is not a decision to be taken lightly. You can choose multiple product types, but you'll refine your selection as you progress through the steps in this blog. This decision is also tied to the brand items and niche, which we will discuss later.

 

2. Choose a business model:

There are various directions you can take when it comes to the business model, each with its own level of difficulty, investment costs, and required time. Among the business models available are:

-Print on demand.

-Wholesale.

-Private Label.

-Custom clothing manufacturing.

-Full Package.

In this blog, we will focus solely on the Private Label model. If you want to learn more about other types of fashion business models, click here.

What is Private Label?

Private Label clothing is when a brand sells pre-manufactured garments without the original manufacturer's label or branding, allowing the end customer to customize them with their own branding.  

This business model offers advantages like exclusive design, lower initial investment, high scalability, high-quality garments, design modifications, and more.

With this option, you don't have to manufacture garments from scratch. The customer selects the pieces they like, customizes them, and the manufacturer delivers them ready for sale.  

Private Label requires purchasing a minimum quantity of items per reference/design, which depends on the manufacturer.

To learn more about Private Label and its benefits, don't miss our blog here.

 

3. Define brand elements:

TARGET AUDIENCE

After selecting the products you'll sell, it's time to determine your target audience. Product selection provides criteria for identifying potential customers based on age, gender, interests, and demographic location.

Defining the profile of people most likely to buy your product is crucial. Your brand is built around the target audience, so it's essential to know precisely who you're addressing (what they like, dislike, their interests, activities, etc.).

The more specific information you gather about this user, the better. For more information about the target audience, click here.

 

NICHE

After defining the target audience, you can further refine their user profile by categorizing them into a niche. Trying to address large, unspecified groups of people may not favor your brand because it may seem like a business that caters to no one.

Defining the niche allows you to target your market more effectively, reach your customers more easily, and provide added value through your brand.

It involves taking a general concept like "women's clothing" and defining it more specifically, such as "comfortable printed athletic wear for the gym."

The benefits of defining these categories include ease of marketing, affordability, reduced competition, and customer loyalty. To learn more about these benefits, click here.

DESIGN

The designs of the garments you sell should align with the preferences of your target audience. They should be visually appealing specifically to your customers.

If the designs do not resonate with potential customers, your sales will suffer. The designs should not be overly complex or extravagant; they should match the niche you are targeting.

The advantage of the Private Label model is that, after defining your niche and researching what garments your customers are consuming, selecting them will be much simpler.

QUALITY

Low-quality garments will ensure that your customers buy from you only once and never return. Today, both the company's and the product's quality are critical factors in the purchasing decision.

The quality and composition of the garments you choose must meet post-purchase quality standards to avoid shrinkage, fading, or unraveling.

Success lies in choosing garments with good quality standards from reputable manufacturers who guarantee that they meet these standards.

 

4. Brand differentiators:


DESIGN

In some cases, clothing brands have succeeded in the market due to their distinctive prints. Design not only relates to the structure of the garment but also includes visuals like prints, embroidery, appliques, hardware, lace, and more.

Playing with these elements allows you to add a unique design factor to your brand and gain recognition for it.

One example of brands with design differentiators is BlackMilk clothing. To learn more about this item, click here.

FIT

Another differentiating factor for your brand can be focusing on a specific fit or size within the market.

For some time, there was dissatisfaction on social media toward global clothing chains like H&M, Zara, and others for not offering sizes for curvy or plus-sized individuals.

This is where SHEIN became a global success by introducing extra-large sizes in their designs, addressing a market gap in the fashion industry.

When identifying your niche, it's crucial to understand the challenges or issues your customers face with clothing and incorporate them into your brand to create a differentiator.

While it's a good strategy, it's essential to acknowledge that not all niches have equally significant pain points, and despite being a useful differentiation strategy, it may not always be the most guaranteed path to success.

BRAND

A strong brand that addresses a problem and tells a story makes consumers feel connected to it. It doesn't always have to solve a problem; sometimes, it's the unique style alone that can build a community of customers around it.

An example of this could be Chanel, whose origins were based on creating elegant clothing with a distinctive style that still endures.

 

5. Develop a business plan:

The business plan is one of the most crucial steps in the entire process. It provides clarity on the financial landscape, allowing you to make informed decisions about purchasing, pricing, profit percentages, and more.

Without a business plan, it's not possible to build a stable clothing brand, and it could result in losses. For more in-depth information on creating a business plan for a fashion brand, click here.

6. Pricing strategies:

Budgeting for production costs (in some cases) and the primary product investment is essential before engaging with distribution companies or manufacturers.

While Private Label involves acquiring pre-manufactured garments, there are cases where design modifications occur, such as changing colors, fabric types, altering garment structure, etc.

When these customization modifications happen, initial investment costs change because the pre-manufactured garment undergoes a redesign and production process. In such cases, consider the following costs:

-Professional service costs (pattern modifications, technologies the company possesses, new ---design development, among others).

-Sample costs (physical or digital).

-Supply costs (fabrics, sewing supplies like zippers or buttons).

-Transportation costs for meetings with the manufacturer.

-Labor costs.

-Shipping costs for both products and supplies.

-Production costs.

To learn more about these additional costs, click here.

 

7. Find a manufacturer/distributor:

Out of all the steps, this is the most critical and crucial one. You can approach it in various ways, but we'll focus on Private Label.

Start by searching locally in your city or country. If you are not satisfied with local results, you can look for Private Label distributors in other countries.

After conducting your search, initiate a dialogue to discuss all the necessary topics, such as pricing, minimum order requirements, response times, design types or specialties, quality, scalability, and more. To learn more about Private Label and how to find a distributor, click here.

RECOMMENDED: How to Find Private Label Manufacturers

8. Define brand pillars:

MARKET

When creating a Private Label brand, it's crucial to analyze the market in which you'll sell and the competition in your industry, which is highly saturated.

To do this, you need to answer the following questions:

 Who or what type of person will buy my products?

What specific value or addition are people looking for when buying my products?

What will be my brand's differentiating value?

Who is my direct and indirect competition?

The more you segment your specific market using these questions, the easier it will be to know whom you'll sell to, how, when, and where. Avoid the mistake of trying to sell to broad, unspecified groups because it doesn't guarantee success.

 

PILLARS

Brand pillars help define and establish the brand's personality. They serve as the starting point to maintain consistency in the brand across all activities and platforms, such as e-commerce, social media, events, fairs, etc.

Consistently upholding the brand identity sets you apart and helps build brand recognition.

IMAGE

This includes all the elements people should associate with your brand whenever they see certain things. Define your brand's color palette, logo, fonts, style, design aesthetics, and more.

To determine this, it's recommended to create a moodboard to define the visual style you're aiming for. Create a collage of photographs, designs, colors, and more to serve as inspiration.  

Define your color palette and typefaces that will be used consistently for your brand, making sure they are easy to adapt and legible in different formats, from social media posts to packaging.

Last but not least, define your logo. It doesn't just represent your brand; it should also be appealing to your target audience.

You can create it with a specialist or explore more cost-effective alternatives like artificial intelligence. To learn more about these elements, click here.

 

9. Create a store:

Once you've found the ideal distributor or manufacturer, it's time to start selling. For this, you need a space, either physical or digital, to showcase your products.

You can create an online store on platforms like Shopify. This step requires some investment in both e-commerce and advertising.  

The ease of creating a store depends on your initial budget and the established business model to determine which additional costs you can afford in this phase. To learn more about this topic, click here.

At GAT fashion lab, we offer Private Label services with pre-designed garments that you can customize with your brand's details like labels, tags, colors, fabrics, or prints.  

With our Private label line, you can obtain products up to 50% faster and considerably more cost-effective than starting from scratch. To learn more about our services, click here.

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