Have you ever browsed for clothes online or in a shop and couldn’t quite find your fit? You probably thought, “What the heck was going through the designer’s head when they made this jumper?!” Never fear- you can build your own unique clothing brand with a perfect fit, for less than £30!
Impressive right? You’re welcome, see you in the next post!
Seriously though, less than £30 for a clothing brand? What about sourcing clothes, printing, embellishment, inventory, storage and all that boring expensive stuff?
Well, you won’t need to worry about any of those aspects if you follow the method I am about to show you!
Getting started checklist
Before diving in head first, there are a few things you should consider if you want to optimise your chances of success.
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win” – Sun Tzu
Here is a list of elements to prepare before your store opens:
- Take some time to think about what your niche will be. The more specific it is, the less competition you will have. I suggest you pick a topic you are passionate about so you don’t get bored of it after two weeks! (Let’s imagine you chose Sloths!)
- Pick a great name for your brand. Pro tip: Go to namecheckr.com and try a few names you made up. Their amazing web app will check if your name is available “.com”, on Facebook, Instagram (very important, I’ll explain later), and more! (Woo! The name Slothings will do for now…)
- Go and secure your “.com” domain name on a website like Godaddy, Namecheap or any other provider (you can google to compare them). I personally recommend Godaddy for two reasons, their prices are quite cheap and they can be easily integrated on Shopify, the platform we will be using as an online store. (Great! www.slothings.com is available and “WeareSlothings” is available on Instagram!)
You’re doing great so far! Your clothing brand name is ready and you have a professional domain name!
Money spent so far: £8.52 (Godaddy’s domain name price for one year at the time of writing).
Making your first designs
Ok, now we have to actually create the designs we want to put on our clothes.
If you are already able to make your own designs, skip ahead to the next section.
Otherwise, here are some tips to create some cool designs with little skill and zero cost!
Some websites offer high-quality images that are completely free to use, even for commercial purposes. You can use those images, modify them, and then make them your own! You are not required to credit the artist behind the photo or design, however, I believe you should do it anyway as a thank you gesture. To name a couple, Unsplash for HD photos and Pixabay for both HD photos and illustrations.
Money spent until now: still £8.52.
Come in, we’re OPEN!
All your initial designs are ready? Let’s create your store on Shopify!
You will get a 14-day free trial before having to pay around £21 /month to keep your store.
Remember when I said you wouldn’t have to worry about inventory, printing, sourcing, shipping, etc. earlier? It’s because you can outsource all those things with no upfront cost!
The company I am familiar with is Inkthreadable (based in the UK). They offer a wide range of products to print on and they take care of inventory, production and shipping! So go ahead, have a look at their products and download their PSD template to put your design in the right format for a shirt, hoodie, etc. (PSD is a Photoshop format. If you don’t have Photoshop you can still use a free software, such as Gimp).
No worries if you don’t know how to work with PSD files. You can directly upload your design onto the website and adjust it on the go.
So, wait a minute! Do I have to buy this hoodie with my design on it to resell it after?
Not at all! Your design only exists virtually for now. It will only be printed on a hoodie whenever you or one of your customers place an order.
As an illustration, here is a concrete example with cash flows included, and your balance at each stage (let’s assume your initial balance is £0):
- Create your design and put it on a t-shirt [Balance = £0 (this part is free)]
- Import your design to your Shopify store [Balance = £0 (this part is also free)]
- Someone buys your t-shirt for £19.99 [Balance = £19.99 (Woohoo you made your first sale!)]
- You place an order on Inkthreadable to ship the t-shirt directly to your customer (t-shirt price £9.45 + shipping £1.35) [Balance = £9.19 (That’s what you are keeping!)]
Now imagine selling 10 (£91.90 profit), or 100 (£919 profit). Your only job is to find customers and place orders (you can even automate the latter).
Do you understand the power of this method? It’s called Print On Demand (POD) Drop Shipping! You don’t have to pay for any product before you get paid first!
I remember how excited I was when I made my first sale, it didn’t happen overnight but relatively fast (after 2 months working on my store part-time).
Money spent until now: £8.52 and then £29.52 after the free 14-day trial.
BONUS: How to find your first customer and increase your sales
Two words: QUALITY and TRUST!
While it is entirely possible to sell products you haven’t seen or touched, I’d suggest you buy samples of your products first to try them, if you have a few extra bucks to spare (you get a discount on samples at Inkthreadable).
If you’re getting serious about your clothing brand, you can use this opportunity to:
- Try the product yourself and judge whether its quality is what you expected (you don’t want to send cheap products to your customers)
- Know how long it takes from order to delivery (you can then add it to your shipping time policy)
- Wear your products or have a friend wear them to take additional photos along with the generic ones Inkthreadable provides
- Promote your brand by wearing your products in your everyday life and get face to face feedback on your designs!
Also, here are some pro tips to build and give life to your brand, and to create trust:
- Write an About Us page. You might have great products, but people get emotionally attached to your story!
- Have a clear Terms and Conditions page explaining EXACTLY what you do with your customers’ information (credit card number, email address, name, …)
- Create a Facebook page for your brand and create an Instagram account from there to have them linked. Facebook has an incredibly powerful and affordable targeted ad system. Use it to your advantage! (Search for $5 /day ad strategy on Google, there are plenty of great resources to help you create your first ad campaigns.) In addition, Instagram is an incredible free way to showcase your products in a natural way and share your brand’s story with others by building a following!
- Create a professional email address to communicate with your customers. Imagine receiving an order confirmation email from a website you just bought something from. How would you feel if the email came from firstname.lastname@example.org versus email@example.com?
- Have a transparent refund policy and returns guarantee. If you haven’t already, I invite you to read The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. In this book, you will learn about building a fully automated business that doesn’t need you to run it, and it has a great section about why offering insane guarantees is actually profitable.
There is an infinite amount of things I could add to this list, but I will stick to the basics for now!
Let me know if you enjoyed this article and I will write more like it!
Did you create your Shopify store and need help setting things up?
Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll help you out!