How to Start a Clothing Brand – A Step-by-Step Guide

The thought of starting a clothing brand might intimidate you initially. How to identify my target market? Where will I find the right suppliers/manufacturers? How to set my pricing while keeping the competitors in check and setting aside the profit margin?

Read along if the above questions stop you from starting your clothing brand. This step-by-step guide takes you from the planning to the execution stage to create a fashion brand, ensuring you set up a unique brand identity. Let’s start with the research process to understand the clothing industry. 

Conducting thorough research is the most crucial step in entering the fashion industry. Have in-depth market knowledge, conduct competitor research, and understand current and upcoming trends. We can break down the research and analysis process into the following:

Understanding your target market

Initiate your research process by understanding your target market. It all boils down to one simple question── who do you want to sell your products to? 

Researching the fashion industry as a whole is crucial to identifying the following:

  • What type of clothing brands are currently trending in the market? 
  • What’s their overall turnover? 
  • What’s the extent of competition and its impact? 
  • How much knowledge do you have about existing and upcoming fashion trends? 
  • What are the rules and regulations prevailing in the production and distribution processes?

Never keep yourself restricted to the internet during the research process. Reach out to designers and retail heads to collect insider knowledge. 

Next comes the clarity on who you are selling to. Target the following question to understand your customer segments: 

  • Where are they situated? Are you targeting locals or international customers? 
  • Which age and gender group of customers are you targeting? 
  • Is your brand supporting a specific cause? 
  • What are the market trends your target audience keeps up with? 
  • How much money are they willing to spend on clothing in a specific time frame? 
  • What problems do they come across while choosing clothes? 

Creating a business plan for a clothing brand

Executing an idea requires a detailed business plan covering all relevant costs and uncertainties. Preparing for the worst will help you stay in the market during unfortunate situations. Here are some key points to include in your business plan:

  • Your business model 
  • Short-term and long-term goals 
  • The value proposition 
  • Kind of products in your clothing line 
  • Methods of production 
  • Your selling strategy──which channels will you use for selling your products? 
  • A detailed competitor analysis 
  • Overall budget 

Let’s get into the details of the areas mentioned above.

Selecting a business model: DIY, POD, or bulk manufacturing?

Deciding on a business model comes with a variety of factors. Here are some commonly chosen options for starting a clothing line: 

  • Do-It-Yourself (DIY)

Starting a brand with handmade designs helps establish a unique identity. But it comes with the burden of handling the production process. Initially, you’ll enjoy the process, but growing orders demand hiring individuals to ensure timely deliveries. The cost of setting up and operating a DIY store is higher than other options.

  • Print-On-Demand (POD)

A POD store remains the most convenient option as you don’t need inventory or heavy initial investment. The risk remains negligible as you pay only when someone places an order. The process involves creating your designs (or outsourcing the design process), selecting a POD service, setting up your online store, and investing in marketing. Your packaging and shipping processes are handled effectively with an effective print-on-demand service. It’s a great option if you want to start a clothing line with a minimum budget and associated risks. 

Note: the competition remains high due to fewer barriers to entry. But you can excel with unique design ideas and marketing strategies.

In our opinion, a POD business is the easiest way to give an initial start to your clothing line. 

  • Bulk manufacturing

This business model comes with the burden of maintaining an inventory that may or may not sell over time. It demands an initial investment in equipment or a tie-up with another manufacturer. It also requires a minimum order quantity or the minimum amount the manufacturer needs for starting your clothing line. Ordering in bulk leads to enormous savings but comes with the risk of heavy losses if you fail to clear the inventory over time. 

Competitor analysis of fashion brand

Start by identifying your top five competitors before starting a clothing brand. Studying their business models and working will help you develop a competitive edge. Here are the areas you need to keep up with:

  • Understand the fashion trends they keep up with.
  • What are the opportunities they missed? Dwelling on this will help you create strategies that provide an edge. 
  • Study their pricing structure before setting up yours. 
  • Identify the potential threats during your research to create strategies accordingly.

Financial planning to build a brand

How much money will you need to start your desired line of clothing? 

Your financial requirements vary based on your selected business model. For instance, the initial amount needed for bulk manufacturing depends on your selected manufacturer’s MOQ. Conversely, starting your DIY store requires investment in equipment, raw material, etc. 

Thankfully, a POD business doesn’t have any upfront investment unless you outsource the design process. Your provider will charge only when you receive orders. 

Next comes deciding on your prices and profit margin. Analyzing your competitors’ prices will lead to an informed decision. Also, identify the recurring costs associated with your brand. 

Lastly, prepare your fund in advance to tackle any future uncertainties.

Step-2: Creating a unique clothing brand identity

Having compelling out-of-box designs is crucial to growing your clothing brand. But it’s essential to create a unique brand identity people can resonate with and recognize. Clarity on this guides all your decisions, including website design, marketing campaigns, etc. Your website conveys the basic idea, while social media helps spread the same. 

Let’s look at some important elements for creating your brand identity:

Your brand story: mission, vision, and values

A well-curated brand story conveys your company’s origin while establishing a feeling of belongingness with your audience. Here are some tips for writing an engaging brand narrative:

  • Keep your story’s focus intact on your prospects. Remember that you are writing for them to build an instant connection. 
  • Target a specific problem your brand aims at solving. 
  • Guide them through the ways your brand uses to solve the same. 
  • Have a clear CTA button to guide them through the next steps. 

No one likes a brand that keeps bragging about itself. Your about us section must convey information to create a sense of belongingness. Prioritizing your audiences will help you develop brand loyalty. Here is an example of an about section that speaks from the audience’s perspective. 

about us page for starting a clothing brand qikink

Take a look at how Monkeegenes, a UK-based brand, is known for creating environmental-friendly clothing items. Also, notice how they mentioned their unique cause while introducing the brand.

our story how to start a blog qikink

Brand name

Having a recognizable brand name plays an important role for fashion brands. Names like Nike, Gucci, and Adidas are simple and easy to remember. Here are some tips for deciding on a catchy brand name: 

  • Start with making a list of all the brand name ideas in your mind and highlight your favorites. 
  • Evaluate your business plan to get words and phrases that entices you. 
  • Initiate a conversation with your target audience to get ideas. Understand the concepts they use to associate with their preferred brands. 
  • Go through the styles that you chose. Your brand name can revolve around the style that represents it. 
  • Revise your name list and use a name generator to develop more ideas. 
  • Decide on the final names you like and ask your potential customers to review them. 

Your brand name can also come out of an experience. Who doesn’t like reading about a crazy idea in your head that turned out to be your brand name? Here is an example of how FrenchConnection, a French fashion brand, explains the idea behind the abbreviation FCUK which played an important part in brand recognition. Mentioning your personal experiences will help establish a deeper sense of connection.

fcuk story to start a clothing brand with POD qikink blog

Logos play an important part in brand recognition. Logos play an important part in brand recognition. Having a good logo before starting a clothing brand is essential. You can either hire a logo design agency or freelance designers. Some brands even create their logo using Canva. Most famous brands revamp their logos keeping in mind the changing trends. Some brands like Adidas use different logos based on clothing categories.

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adidas logo transformation in qikink

Here are some tips for designing your brand logo:

  • Go through the logos of some of the top fashion brands to get ideas. 
  • Consider your target audience. According to psychology, a feminine audience perceives colors better, while font plays an important role with a male audience. 
  • Decide whether you want a specific icon or a text-based logo. 
  • Use a free logo maker to test out various designs. Ask your target audience to review these designs before choosing one. 
  • Use different modifications based on product categories, if required. 
  • Keep revamping your logo based on changing trends to keep your brand updated.

Now let’s look at some unique clothing logos to run your creative juices:

Versace logo: using the love for mythology

The Versace logo depicts the founder’s love for greek mythology. Medusa is one of the three monstrous gorgons that made people fall hopelessly in love with her. Using her head in the logo, Gianni Versace tried conveying the same message. After all these years, we know his idea worked out as the brand is recognized as one of the most superior brands in the fashion industry.

versace logo reflects the brand value in it

Takeaway tip: create a logo design with a hidden, deep message. Start by reflecting on your areas of interest to get ideas.

Lacoste logo: a logo with a personal story

Do you wonder why Lacoste’s worldwide-recognized clothing brand comes with a crocodile logo? 

The company’s founder, Rene, received the nickname “crocodile” from his friends. In another incident, Rene bet on a crocodile-leather bag with the French Davis cup captain. Then the crocodile logo was introduced by Rene Lacoste in 1944. It hasn’t changed much since then. 

lacoste brand for blog purpose to start a fashion brand qikink

Takeaway tip: people love knowing a humorous story. Take out a fun aspect and let your logo design revolve around it. 

Capturing a specific market

Instead of starting a generic clothing line providing all types of products, you can select and excel in a particular niche. For example, what brands come to your mind when someone mentions athletic wear?

Nike has captured the athletic-wear market by offering top-notch products in the industry. Over the years, the brand has sponsored many tournaments to promote its product. Moreover, it’s also recognized for its swoosh logo.

nike logo for design guidelines qikink

Developing brand recognition is easier when you excel in a certain domain. Although it provides other products, sportswear remains the only preference for clothing.

Step-3: Designing and mockups for clothing brand

Now you have your designs ready. Next comes putting them on products to evaluate the overall look. Most POD services come with a free mockup generator you can use to create enticing visuals. It will add value to your products, so keep in mind mockups or models are essential while starting a clothing brand. Adding these designs to your store or social media will lead to effective promotion. Let’s see the steps involved in generating mockups using Qikink’s mockup generator.

  • Sign up with the platform to reach Qikink’s dashboard.
create free qikink account for starting a clothing brand online
  • Click on the mockup generator in the top right corner.
mockup generator option in qikink for making easy to start a clothing brand products
  • Select the clothing and product type. For example, men’s hooded sweatshirts.
selecting clothing category for mockups in qikink
  • Select the color, size, and print type and click on Add design to put your created visuals on the product.
starting a clothing brand with easy features from qikink
  • Upload the design from your files or drag and drop the relevant file.
drag and drop design in qikink erp
  • Adjust your selected design on the product and download the created design.
  • You will find all your created designs under My Products
my products tab in qikink dashboard

Step-4: Sample testing of fashion products 

So, you ended up creating excellent mockups. But it’s crucial to identify how the products look in real before you start selling them. Ordering samples from different suppliers requires investment but saves you from receiving faulty designs. You can make necessary edits before initiating the selling process. It’s the right time to switch suppliers as well. Remember that your final products create a specific brand image in your audiences’ minds.

You can also display the sample images instead of mockups on your social media. Mockups look slightly different than the real product. Putting forward the actual items leads to quick buying decisions. Look at the increase in customer engagement with actual product images.

Step-5: Pricing your clothing products

Several factors affect the pricing model of the clothing business. For example, the premium part of the market expects high-priced products. Starting on a cheap end rarely affects their buying decision. The quality of products becomes a consideration criterion here. A heavily profit-oriented pricing structure does not sustain low-quality products. You should instead focus on a value-based pricing model to enhance sales. Let’s look at top fashion brands’ two most common pricing models.

  • Keystone markup method

The method starts with considering the cost price of your garment. For example, the cost price (considering production costs and relevant expenses) is $250. Multiply the cost price by 2 or 2.5 to get the wholesale price ($500). Many retailers sell their clothes at this pricing. This creates a specific brand image in the customer’s minds. They are less likely to make purchases if you eventually raise prices. You will never end up earning up to your potential (irrespective of the quality you provide). 

Next, you must calculate your retail pricing by multiplying the amount by two again ($1000). This becomes your final selling price covering every cost and leaving room for profits. Most fashion brands use this pricing strategy as it’s straightforward with the least complexities.

  • Absorption pricing method (preferred)

The absorption pricing method determines the cost price by adding production, overhead, and admin expenses to each item. It then adds the profit margin to identify the wholesale price. Next comes multiplying the overall amount with 2 or 2.5 to get to the retail price. This pricing model is recommended to fashion retailers to earn maximum profit.

Qikink integration with Shopify and Woo-commerce

Qikink provides seamless integration with Shopify and WooCommerce after the initial sign-up process. Go to your Qikink dashboard and click on integrations. Install the Shopify or WooCommerce app to start adding your designs. 

add or edit design in the qikink dashboard

You can add or edit designs after adding details like design name, code, width and design URL. Qikink processes all your further designs after you successfully add them to the platforms. Furthermore, the auto-placement of orders on Qikink’s dashboard saves users from the time spent on manual order creation.


Use the POD model to start your clothing brand with minimal investment and associated risks. POD providers like Qikink will help you automate crucial steps like packaging, shipping, etc. You can keep your focus intact on creating exceptional designs using the free mockup generators. Remember that a saturated industry like fashion requires products that stand out. We provide you with the time and tools required to put your ideas into reality. Meanwhile, you also get the time to direct your energy into creating a unique brand identity.


How to calculate the retail price of fashion products?

There are different ways of identifying a product’s final or retail pricing. The price must include the cost of production and a profit margin. The easiest way to price fashion products is to calculate the wholesale price after adding relevant expenses and profit margin. Next comes multiplying the price by 2 or 2.5 to calculate the retail price.

What are the common challenges faced by people while entering the clothing business?

Funds become a core issue if you start a DIY store or go with bulk manufacturing. The challenge of clearing inventory becomes a huge burden. Therefore, following a dropshipping or POD business model becomes easier in the initial stages.

What’s the easiest way to launch a clothing brand?

A Print-On-Demand (POD) model is the easiest to start your clothing brand in 2022. It helps you connect with suppliers and tackles the packaging and shipping process. You can spend your time focusing on creating catchy designs and marketing your brand.

Can a beginner with no experience flourish in the fashion industry?

Sustaining in a saturated industry requires presenting unique ideas to the audience. Engaging designs often catch attention, which helps build a unique brand identity. Beginners can experiment with various designs before ordering products in bulk to prevent heavy losses.

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