Launching a loungewear line in today’s times is an exciting way to join the thriving world of online retail selling. If you are a novice brand owner, take comfort in the fact that everything you need to know to get things rolling is readily available to you – you just need to know where to look. Here are some tips that will help you get started.
Thinking of creating your own loungewear or clothing line? Seeing your clothing line ideas come to fruition is totally achievable these days, especially if you plan to start a clothing business online.
Building a Clothing Brand With No Experience
The great thing about creating a successful clothing brand is that you don’t need to have prior experience in the retail clothing industry before venturing out on your own. Sure, experience and expertise in the clothing industry does give a certain advantage. However, you should take comfort in the idea that so many of these clothes and sleepwear startup companies have started out with nothing more than the determination to see their vision come to life. In short, most of what you need to know about how to start a loungewear business online can be learned. Here are 10 tips that will allow you to take your loungewear or clothing line ideas and turn them into a truly viable venture.
1. Come up with an identity for your brand.
On the checklist for starting a clothing line, knowing what your brand is and the direction you want it to go is always first. While the brand name for your sleepwear startup is important, it is equally vital to have a clear idea of how you want to position your brand in any particular market. This clarity in identity and direction will help guide the way you design and market the pieces included in your clothing line business plan. In short, what is the brand’s vibe? What story are you telling through your clothing? How will your customers relate to your brand?
A perfect example of a clothing brand that has a clear identity is Only NY, which is based in New York. The streetwear brand pays homage to various organizations, institutions, destinations and monuments across New York. All the clothing is extremely comfortable, which includes sweatpants, hoodies, sweatshirts, socks, hats, t-shirts, long sleeves and more. The unique part of the brand is showcasing various graphics that depict the New York lifestyle of Gen Z.
2. Know your target market.
Which age group do you plan to market your loungewear trends to? Do you have a particular socioeconomic bracket that you wish to design for? In your clothing line business plan, what is the age range of customers that you want to produce apparel for? Flushing out your ideal customer (age, gender, income level, lifestyle, etc.) will help you make better design and marketing choices that have a higher chance of appealing to them. Feel free to build customer profiles that will help clarify who your target buyer is.
A good example of a clothing and loungewear brand that understands its target market is Sporty & Rich. Inspired by athletics and the lifestyle of wealthy and sporty individuals in the 80s and 90s, Sporty & Rich gives us a throwback of how our parents may have dressed while playing tennis or attending their weekly sports club. All their marketing materials are based on the lifestyle of living healthy with an emphasis on exercising and fitness, which then gives you the richness of life. The price point is higher than most loungewear brands currently being marketed today, but they use high quality fabrics that should last for decades.
3. Research the technical side of producing loungewear.
Whether you’re working on simple loungewear or taking notes from popular streetwear trends in 2021, you’ll need to know how to design for your target market. Make sure to test your designs and see how they will translate best on high quality fabric composition, printing, stitching, and other details necessary for producing the actual clothes. Sometimes this means purchasing samples from other brands or making sure you ask for a pre-production sample from your vendor to see how the design will look on your apparel products. This also includes research on the best packaging and delivery protocols. If you use a company like Gemnote, packaging and fulfillment is included in their monthly service, so you don’t need to worry about that.
The Pangaia brand started to blow up before the pandemic because luxury loungewear became a must-have for most of the world. Dressing up and going out was the thing of the past, since everyone was under strict stay-at-home orders. The Pangaia clothing brand began to pop up all over Instagram and on celebrities because of their mission of being sustainable, giving back and using materials that are from recycled materials. It also helped that their product line consisted of basics (that men and women could wear all year round) but with almost every color imaginable.
4. Match your numbers with the best value options.
Starting a clothing line from home means being very conscious about choosing the best quality materials for the budget that you have at the moment. If you’re starting out and don’t have a large budget, try not to use a fabric like cashmere. If you’re looking for a specific cotton, know how much various types will cost you. Be very particular about what works well within your budget to create profit from pieces that are still considered well-made.
5. Have several options.
In a checklist for starting a clothing line, it is a good idea to produce loungewear that comes in different styles or designs. You’ll be able to cater to a variety of individuals who may not necessarily prefer the singular offering you initially want to have. Perhaps that means offering different color apparel with the same artwork design. Or that means ordering neutral color products, so that all genders feel comfortable wearing your brand. In addition, this is a good opportunity to research and see which particular styles or designs sell well – giving you real evidence to consider the next time you start designing a new collection. Data matters, so make sure you take that into consideration on your next production run or restock.
6. Find your best platform.
Knowing how to start a clothing business online and in physical stores includes deciding where to host your wares. Choosing an online platform is easy as there are a number of great options that top clothing manufacturers will swear by. Having an online store allows you to work remotely, gives you greater exposure through social media and will become the most viral. You can use website builders like Shopify, SquareSpace, Wix and Weebly to create your ecommerce store and website, while using companies like Gemnote to create, fulfill and ship out your custom product. An alternative to starting your store online is finding consignment stores or pop-up shops that you can partner with for a better in-person experience.
7. Be strategic about clothing line marketing.
Well-made clothes can often guarantee customer satisfaction, but it is strategic clothing line marketing that will allow these customers to discover your brand in the first place. If you don’t know how to approach this, it is good to hire a marketing consultant with the expertise to launch and sustain your successful clothing store. If you feel confident about starting a brand on Instagram or TikTok, you should leverage your following to build your customer base. Many influencers start their clothing brand by advertising through their social media accounts. It’s critical to solicit feedback from your followers, analyze engagement data and create your products based on customer wants and lifestyles.
8. Create unique designs for your brand.
This may be one of the most important parts of starting a clothing line and standing out among the fray. Once you solidify your color palette, logo, artwork and fabrics/textiles, you can use these key components across several products. Perhaps you start your clothing line with sweatsuits (sweatpants and sweatshirts), then expand into jackets, socks, bags, bottles and more. Starting a clothing line from home shouldn’t prevent you from creating brand merch to sell alongside your loungewear or give away to customers (marketing giveaways are important for getting your products in the hands of the right people). Clothing brands experience better success with personalized brand merch, which are practical, well-made, gender neutral and beautifully designed.
A great example of this is the Museum of Peace and Quiet’s clothing brand. This was started by an influencer and designer who wanted to tell the story of living peacefully, naturally and quietly through clothing and wearables. From simple t-shirts that said ‘Natural’ to baseball caps that said Peace & Quiet, the idea was to convey a sense of solace and comfort through life in comfortable loungewear. Your designs can be simple, but make sure they are pleasing to the eye, modern and generally fitting for all genders.
Most of these brands that we’ve featured evoke a sense of comfort, security, coziness, and leisure. Each one is different from the rest but are carefully chosen as an example of notable elements that make up the lifestyle of a loungewear brand’s particular target market. When choosing merch to go with your clothing line, make sure that the items you choose match the mood, personality, and lifestyle that you wish to portray!
9. Work with a professional merch company for your other items.
Companies like Gemnote offer great merch items that contribute to the story of many successful clothing lines and founders who started with nothing. In the list of tips on starting a clothing line, working with experienced merch vendors is always highly suggested because they have curated items ready for your choosing as well as great personalization options that work best for the items you want. They are the experts, trust them with product knowledge and how to utilize your budget in the best way. Gemnote is a full-service merch and corporate swag company and can help you effectively plan for the entire merch campaign, from conceptualizing the campaign to order fulfillment and shipping.
10. Consider getting influencers for your brand.
When it comes to tips on starting a clothing line in today’s world, getting influencers onboard is almost critical to your success. Whether you are the influencer starting a brand or you’re looking to hire influencers to advertise for your clothing brand, you’ll need to set aside product for showcasing on Instagram. What’s great is that they don’t necessarily have to be big time influencers to start a clothing brand--the important thing is that you’re growing, you have a loyal following and people love your aesthetic and trust your taste. You can still make successful clothing and product lines with emerging social media personalities that align with your brand and can make a genuine connection with your target market, which often happens to be theirs as well.
The most famous example of streetwear and loungewear produced by a celebrity or influencer is, of course, Yeezy. Some would say he started it all for Gen Z buyers. Scott Disick was able to leverage his popularity from being on a reality show and his social media following to start his brand, Talentless. For him, it’s easy to gift to some of the biggest names in Hollywood, but you don’t have to be part of the Kardashian-Jenner clan to start a clothing line. Again, making sure you have an audience through hired influencers or your own social media account will get you started on the right foot.
A Great Launch: Your Entry Point to a Successful Clothing Store
At this point, you more or less know the basics of how to start a clothing business online and creating clothing line advertising strategies that will make for a profitable venture. One more area that you need to focus on is launching your business. The steps to making a clothing line will always include the product launch, which builds excitement and anticipation for your brand. Making an event for this is always a good idea, with a special activity and limited edition merchandise to be given away for early bird orders or as GWPs (gift with purchase). This doesn’t need to be a physical event; this can be a virtual event done on Instagram Stories/Live or YouTube. Make sure that you pay special attention to this, because this can help drive attention (and eventual sales) to your brand if you do it right. Be prepared; don’t just wing it!
Starting a clothing business is a challenging yet exciting and fulfilling venture for a lot of people. Especially during a time when old-school businesses are suffering, there’s a market to be your own boss and build your own business from the ground up. With the kinds of tools that are available to most people, creating your own loungewear collection and getting them in the hands of people is absolutely achievable. These tips on how to start a successful loungewear line should help put you on the path to becoming a clothing line worth noticing and sharing.