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How To Start a Clothing Business Online (Without a Ton of Overhead Costs!)

how to start a clothing business online
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Maslow’s hierarchy of needs says every person needs self-actualization, esteem, belonging, safety, and physiological needs.  Interestingly, clothing can fit into all of those categories because of how it plays with each person psychologically.  As a result of the sheer demand and the deep-seated need of clothing, it makes for a great business especially when you know how to start a clothing business online.

As an owner, you can establish a very stable income because you’re providing an innate need, and nowadays with all of the technological advancements, you can start a clothing business with a very small budget online.  In previous articles, I’ve discussed the huge growth of the internet since it’s inception in the 1960’s.  While it seems like “everyone’s using the internet”, there’s still so much room for growth.

how to start a clothing business onlineIn fact,the first online purchase took place in 1994 and within a little over two decades, online shopping has scaled up to hundreds of millions of dollars annually!  Added onto that, if you know anyone who doesn’t shop online regularly, or if you’ve watched how eager the upcoming generations are to jump online for purchases and information, you can see the growth potential of the internet.

It’s pretty exciting for you and I.

There are 4 billion internet users, and the number is constantly growing.

As a result of the huge growth, there’s been a growing interest in online business.  The business sector has not caught up to the demand, therefore, those who are leveraging the internet well are seeing VERY HIGH RETURNS, and there’s much more room!

With All Good Things There Are Scams Also

This whole online growth can really be compared to the early exploration as sailors and maps became more proficient.  People were so excited to invest and get higher returns than what they put in, there were good and bad companies the arose.

Some said they would explore the new lands and use funding ethically, but turned to be scammers, and others (the rare few) did the right thing.

The same thing occurs now with the online business space, and I want you to be mindful of this as you’re considering how to start your clothing business online.  There are many great opportunities, but you have to be careful of online scams as well.

If you’d like to see this content in video format, check it out here:

Step One: Make a Schedule and Budget to Invest in Your Business

how to start a clothing business onlineWhen you’re getting started, you’ll want to be mindful of the work and time requirements, so you can modify your schedule and your budget to ensure your business has the best chance.  Often times, companies and others who advise entrepreneurs don’t give insight about the time or money requirements, so realistic goals can be made.

Realistically, you’ll need time and money for:


  • Marketing
  • Training
  • Networking
  • Engaging with potential customers
  • Doing training
  • Making decisions about what should be in your inventory
  • Looking over your results
  • and, making plans

Usually, the more time, money, and connections you have to invest in your business, the quicker you can start and scale.  There are several different ways you can arrange your schedule and work with any budget in favor of your business.

Step Two: Begin Record-keeping and Set Yourself Up For Tax Breaks

You’ll also want to consider incorporating your business, so you can take advantage of the tax breaks you can get as you’re growing your business.  Very notable personal finance experts say income taxes are the largest expenses most people incur: beyond a mortgage or car.

When you’re starting your business, many governments reward entrepreneurs with tax breaks because of the positivity that business offers the economy.  Incorporating your business is usually the first step to be able to acquire the tax breaks, then you may also have to consider whether an LLC, S-Corp, or a C Corp would be more suitable for your business.

Recommended Reading:

Step Three: Choose Your Business Model

In the online clothing line space, there are several different business model options: some with higher profit margins and earning potential than others.  Some require more startup capital.  Let’s discuss a few options…

Print On-Demand

With print-on-demand, there are companies like… who allow you to upload designs and will print the designs and ship them to your customers for you.  Print on-demand is a growing business model because:

  •  There’s lots of earning potential
  • Low startup costs
  • Lets entrepreneurs and their teams focus on creativity and marketing without much worry about manufacturing
  • There’s low risk

Although print-on-demand is a very promising business model, you also want to consider:

  • The profit margins are typically smaller
  • You have to market, acquire customers, and master sales
  • Product development is still important, so you’ll want to do market research to ensure you’re creating designs that will sell.

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Wholesale Sourcing

As an alternative to print-on-demand, others are sourcing clothing from wholesalers: some local and some overseas.  Companies like Alibaba have become notorious for entrepreneurs who want to private label clothing or other goods.

With an arrangement like wholesale sourcing, you find a design you like, create an agreement between you and the manufacturer to private label the design, and you purchase inventory in build for sale.

Wholesaling allows you to be more:

  • Of a unique brand
  • To have your own cuts and brand name on each garment
  • The potential to participate in things like Amazon FBA or other online retailers (in addition to your own site)
  • and, to scale into physical retail (if you ever decided to)

Wholesale sourcing is a very exciting business model so many companies are doing this.  Now, it’s not just big box stores that can create a brand.  The online space has made private labeling accessible to many more people.

While access is open, you also have to be careful to do:

  • Inventory tracking
  • Quality control
  •  To regulate shipping, packaging, and client fulfillment

Many well-intentioned business owners jump into wholesale sourcing underestimating the requirements and ruin their reputations, and even worse, sometimes, their thought to be scammers.  They may have bad customer service because they work alone, they may have poor quality control, or other bad features simply because they did not plan each function’s fulfillment well.

Handmade, Custom Design, and Create

If you’re a seamstress, you know how to do screenprinting, or you like to sew or create, you may want to consider a store selling your handmade goods.  There are online stores selling all kinds of handmade goods and turning into very lucrative endeavors!

If this is something you’re good at, you’d simply have to learn to balance the tactical functions of creating products with the strategic functions of selling and scaling the business.

Step Four: Choose a Niche

how to start a clothing business online

(Image Source: Wealthy Affiliate)

If you listen to great entrepreneurs, one key feature they learn to have is focus.  Quite a few of us start out with an aggressive sense of optimism, but as we evolve into better entrepreneurs, we learn to ground our optimism with data.

The clothing business has so many niches:

  • lingerie
  • bridal
  • little girls clothing
  • little boys clothing
  • formal
  • suits
  • tuxedos
  • and the list goes on and on

While it’s nice to “think” you can master them all at the startup phase, it’s not ideal.  Even companies like Amazon started with a niche.

You should choose your niche by asking yourself, “Who is the smaller audience within the clothes buying sector that you can serve with your knowledge, skills, money, and connections?”

Step Five: Build a Website

Next, you want to build your website and add e-commerce functionality to it.

Now, you’re getting into digital marketing…

When you create a free account at Wealthy Affiliate, you’ll get internet marketing training, websites, and coaching to get your clothing business started. Check out my full Wealthy Affiliate review and video demo to learn more.

If you’d like to give it a try now, you can create your free website here:

The website will serve as your digital retail location where you’ll upload product descriptions, images, and connect it to a payment processor where you’ll be able to get sales and DEPOSIT MONEY INTO YOUR ACCOUNT.

I always recommend setting up your own website, then you can have control of your business.  Added onto creating your own website, you can also choose to distribute to Etsy, Amazon, or others as you see fit, however, be careful because each platform will require lead generation and customer acquisition costs (even if it’s simply your time and effort).

Step Seven: Attract Visitors

Regardless of your business model or how nice your inventory, you can’t grow a business without visitors.  People have to be informed about your new business and the products you’re offering. Leading traffic generation methods include:

  • Social media marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Pay-Per-Click marketing
  • Social media ads
  • and more…

You can learn these leading internet marketing techniques for driving traffic by getting started with my #1 recommended Internet marketing training here.

Step Eight: Earn Revenue

After your website is up and getting traffic, there are many ways you can monetize your clothing business online.  You can grow your primary business model, you can add onto that advertising, affiliate marketing, strategic partnerships, ongoing product development, consulting, training classes, or quite a few other options.  The monetization options can be very exciting and lucrative for you.

Resources to Learn More about Starting a Clothing Business

1. Wealthy Affiliate

how to start a clothing business online

2. Udemy

how to start a clothing business online

Final Words on How To Start a Clothing Business Online

The goal of this article was to show you how to start a clothing business online.  There’s loads of opportunity in the e-commerce space and creating a clothing business can be alot of fun and very fulling!  If you have questions or concerns about this, don’t hesistate to leave them in the comments section.  I’d love to help you out!

If you’re interested in starting or scaling a business, check out my free e-course. It’s a framework to grow a business: from idea to enterprise. Check out my free e-course here.

Now, it’s Your Turn…

Where are you in your journey to starting or scaling a clothing business online?  Do you have additional tips for those who are thinking about starting a clothing business online?  Leave your comments, questions, and concerns below.

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