How much investment is needed to start a fashion brand?

As with any new business, starting a company in a totally new industry requires deep research and preparation. After doing all the preparation groundwork, the next step is choose a good clothing manufacturer to support your business. Hence, to gauge for an accurate estimate on the level of investment needed, this will depends on your commitment level towards the business. Here, we basically break it down into three types of businesses that many people usually choose from:

Entry Level Fashion

Many people choose to start here because they are not sure if this business is for them. They want to try it out and feel what it is like to be in the industry. They might be working with a clothing manufacturer with no minimum order quantity that will print and ship the products for them. Most at this level would just design shirts for themselves and rely on drop-shipping to make money. Usually at this stage, many owners that we’ve come across does not have big budgets for advertisement and rely mainly on word of mouth advertising.

Most people would start with $500 - $1,000 investment in the entry level fashion.

Independent Fashion Brand

Players at this range has ambition to take their company bigger and hopefully into the professional stage. They have budget for advertisement and possibly rent a small boutique shop at a local retail neighbourhood outlet. Players in this stage work with clothing manufacturers or clothing manufacturing companies and have extensive selection of shirts to launch into the market. Some designs are brought off from artists while some are done in house. This is also the stage where players start to get into quality assurance and quality control of their products in order to build a reputation off their branding.

If you’re looking to start seriously in the fashion industry, expect to fork out no less than $10,000 to become an independent fashion brand.

Professional

If you’re looking to become a professional player, you’ll have to get really serious in the industry. Players here aim for the top and choose clothing manufacturers that are aligned to their objectives and able to fulfil their stringent quality control. Often, they can probably rent a really nice location to get started. They also have an extensive budget to promote their apparels all over digital and traditional medias. To get into an idea how much professional players are spending, Kanye recently dropped a quarter million on their “Pastelle” brand just to get enough samples from various clothing manufacturing companies.

Looking to start your business as a professional in the fashion industry? You’ll be looking at no less than $50,000.

With this conclusive list of estimates on the investment needed to start a fashion brand, there are also a few factors you need to take into account before starting out your fashion brand:

1. Do you know how to develop a website?

If you know how to develop a website, you will be saving some money trying to develop a website. Hiring a professional web designer can be expensive but however necessary if you’re trying to start an independent or a professional fashion brand.

2. Launching a product line

You need to take into account how many product categories you will be introducing to the market when you launch your brand. Ideally, 5-10 product lines will be the best but your budget may not permit it. Hence, when searching for a clothing manufacturer, always ask for the best bargain possible. You need to take note that sometimes however, going for the cheapest option may not be best too as this usually translates to lower quality apparels. If you’re planning for a long term game in the industry, you shouldn’t skimp down on the quality. Clothing manufacturers in China may offer you cheaper prices for same quality but care must be taken on the regulation and taxes involved when importing them over to your country.

3. Are you going to spend on Advertising?

Advertising without a doubt, made up a big chunk of the fashion industry cost. The growth of digital advertising industry has allowed advertisers more tool to concentrate on their target audiences and market. You need to take into account the advertising cost and how effective they are since tools today can tell you in advance an estimate of your reach vs your budget. These additional costs need to be taken into account on the final pricing of your apparels.

In conclusion, there are many external factors involved when trying to start a fashion brand on the market today. You need to be sensitive to the market trends and be the first mover to introduce specific apparels with unique traits that you think will attract your customers. There are many clothing manufacturers today that can help you on quality, logistics and some even design. If the cost seems to be too prohibitive to you, consider looking into China clothing manufacturers as they are famous for producing quality apparels at lower prices.

Mohamad Latiff Bin Rahim