Checklist to Start an Apparel Brand

Imagining your dream outfits, criticizing the fashion trends, making the prom dress from scratch, and of course sketching some of the different outfit designs on the last page of your notebook- if these aren’t the signs, then what are? First of all, happy realization that you were born to create new fashion and make trillions out of those trends.How to start an apparel brand is probably what your search bar says right now. But you should know that building a fashion brand is as competitive as selling handmade gift items. Just remember that upgrading your products with new styles and showcasing the realness of your brand can never go wrong. And you know who can be your guiding light here? T-shirt design software. You can use it for creating new collections and can even provide your customers with the option of personalizing.

Whether you have experience starting your own business or not, prepare yourself to roll over some long curves. Starting a clothing line from scratch isn’t always a cakewalk. It involves different challenges than other businesses. Dedication and consistency are the keys to overcome those challenges.

Here, we have a whole checklist ready to help you with building your apparel brand:

Come up with your business plan

If you want to make your mark in any industry, then you need to either sell something unique or something that solves your audience’s issues. And when it comes to the fashion industry, your products surely have to fill a need in the market.

You can start your clothing business by selling a single product that is in huge demand in the market, or can fulfill the needs of the market. You know, even Diane von Furstenberg started with just wrap dresses which are now trending.

So, plan your business and find your niche wisely.

Use T-shirt Design Software for Customization

When it comes to giving something unique, providing customization is the best solution of all. 

Imagine getting your favorite anime character printed on your desired colored t-shirt, in the same alignment you wanted and in the exact way you wanted it to be. Or getting the same shirts for your team with your logo and a few motivational quotes in the desired fonts and colors. Doesn’t this sound exciting to give a try to? Your customer too, will feel the same way. 

You can use T-shirt design software to give your customers the freedom to design their own t-shirt. This software consists of many features that allows your customer to select any apparel from the given option:

  • Design it the way they want by using clip-arts, images, fonts and what not
  • Then you can get that designed t-shirt printed, ship it and wait for awesome reviews

Market Research and know your audience

Once you have your clothing line idea, you need to test it to make sure it will sell. This is where market research comes to help. In order to save your time, money and unnecessary efforts, research the market of your niche to the core. This way you will not end up making products that no one wants to buy.

Market research is the best way to test and refine your idea before investing in your clothing line. Part of this research should also involve competitor research. Like studying the companies whose product, marketing, and branding strategies you or the audience admires.
Also, ask your potential customers to give feedback on your idea and your product samples. This will give you a brief idea about what your audience expects.

Set Up Your business

Aftermarket research, now it’s time to set up a business! This step can make you feel miserable, but it is not complicated if you know what and how you need to set it up.

Here’s what you need to do to set up your clothing line business:

  • Start by registering your trade name through the Secretary of State
  • Set up an LLC or Corporation (whatever your state rules says)
  • Get an EIN. By this, you don’t have to use your social security number anymore)
  • Buy your URL. One of the popular suggestions would be
  • Have your business bank account. Make sure it’s free with no minimum balance. Credit unions and local banks can be liberal than national banks. Look out for an option where you don’t have to pay fees
  • In case you wish to sell online then, set up a PayPal business account
  • Sign in to different social media handles

Design with T-shirt Design Tool and Source the materials for clothes of your line

Designing and sourcing the fabrics and different materials for your clothes line can be a bit challenging, especially for those who haven’t worked in the fashion industry before.
So, you can start with having a clear idea of what kinds of materials you want to create your products with. Research, explore and experiment before you come to a conclusion for your designs and materials.

To start your clothing line right, you can source wholesale fabrics and trims. But, you also probably don’t need to buy 100s of yards! There are many places you can source low-minimum fabrics too.
For designing you can use t-shirt design software to create your own designs or collections by using different features such as clip-arts, fonts, colors,etc. You can upoad your images and graphics too.


Once you’ve found your materials and manufacturer, you will be able to calculate the cost precisely. 

Keep balance between making a profit and setting a price that customers are willing to pay. Here, market research will help you to know your audience’s

  • Spending habits
  • How much they’d be willing to spend on your items

Of course you can always change your prices according to the popularity or demand.

Depending on your particular goals for your clothing line, you may find that it’s worth sacrificing your target price-point to provide quality materials. Because, giving the best quality product is the key to win customer’s loyalty. Add your material and manufacturing costing, don’t forget the packaging costing. 

However, the total costing depends entirely on the individual’s budget.

Find your manufacture

Create blueprints for your clothing line, just like you do for any other huge work. Make professional tech sketches and tech packs to approach factories and suppliers. Factories get a number of requests for cloth manufacturing, and if you want to get your request approved, try making tech packs and tech sketches professionally and presentable.

Here are a few tips to help you find reliable factory:

  • Good at communication is the most reliable factor
  • If given permission, visit the factory to check on things that matter to you. For example: work environment, how they care about the products,etc. If not then ask for a video call tour
  • Before agreeing to production, get a sample made to check the quality if it is good to go
  • Keep every record of the entire process. Many factories won’t agree to contracts, so track details in email. If you discuss things on the phone, keep taking follow-ups via email with the agreement
  • Always pay 50% down and 50% at shipment. It is a standard and fair payment method
  • If something feels fishy or your guts cannot trust, then don’t

Get samples made with t-shirt design tool

Coordinate sampling with your factory based on your launch plan. Talk to them about possible timelines for bulk production, too so you can let your customer know about the same. Once you get your samples ready, it’s time to use them for marketing. You can print your designs straight from the t-shirt design tool itself.

Conduct pre-launch marketing

While products are underway at the factory, you can market and engage with your audience before your clothing line is actually available for sale. This will build hype which will make people excited for your products. 

If you plan to sell your clothing line online, there are a lot of different ways to do this. Social media marketing, building an email list, or hosting events are great ways to start with.

If you plan to sell wholesale, then make appointments with retailers to get pre-orders.

While selling your clothing line, two things are really important:

  • Get good and professional photos
  • Get pre-orders before ordering bulk production

Beyond marketing on social media, there are many free marketing ideas you can implement. The key here is consistency and cohesion. Ensure that every piece of marketing material or campaign aligns with your brand’s goals. Otherwise, it will result in confusing your customer base. The best way would be marketing using the ‘customization trend’. Approach your audience to create their own designer outfits. All you need to do is install t-shirt design software.

The Launch

How will you pack and ship your orders? What is your return policy? What about logistics? You need to sort out these processes for delivering your clothes to your customers.

You can go for customized packaging or biodegradable or organic boxes for packaging. Get done with preparing your policy before anything. You should contact an expert for this as setting policies is a crucial and the most important thing. For logistics, you need to sort it out according to the facilities in your location.

The major mistake people make is- they either stop or are irregular in marketing their clothes after the launch. Don’t do that! It is important to continue marketing your clothing line even after your inventory arrives or even after you have set your customer base. This will help in reflecting the upgrades and will even raise the trust and traffic.

Make sure you keep your apparel store or website design according to your brand’s motto and aesthetics. This will define your brand’s value. Double-checking the quality is always advisable to play safe. Just don’t forget to still live in the imagination of your dream clothes and sketching them because that’s how you will stand unique with your ideas. But this time, include the selling option too.


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