How to start a clothing brand business

A business for the creatively inclined, learn what it takes to become a fashion entrepreneur here

Key steps to starting a clothing line

  1. Work out your brand and business plan – what will your identity be?
  2. Conduct market research – look at what other fashion brands are doing and where
  3. Develop your clothing line marketing strategy
  4. Check any rules and regulations
  5. Understand start-up costs for starting a clothing line
  6. Find industry contacts for clothing suppliers, funding, events and exposure

It may also be worth:
Seeing if you can get a Start Up Loan to help you start (external site, opens in new tab)
Registering a company name (we recommend this formation agent (external site, new tab))

Clothing line rules and regulations

As with many retail businesses, clothing is not a particularly heavily regulated space; you don’t need any kind of license or certificate to start selling clothing, and as long as you have the equipment and means to sell you can get started right away.

However, the relatively unregulated nature of the business means that many first-time entrepreneurs fall into the trap of not taking the business side of their clothing line seriously. Even if you are just running it as a sideline, you need to stay on top of your books and accounts and treat it as a bona fide business. “I didn’t take my own business seriously at the beginning,” admits Chloe Nicolls. “I didn’t have a separate business bank account, which was a mistake, and I only got an accountant a little while ago – setting aside time to work on that side of the business is so, so important.”

In particular, make sure all you are on top of your tax obligations – you will need to register as a sole trader with HMRC (unless you decide to start a limited company or partnership). Keep hold of all expenses receipts to avoid a nasty surprise come self-assessment deadline day, and the up-front expense of hiring an accountant will almost certainly pay off in the long run. “I should have got an accountant much sooner,” Chloe Nicolls says. “It makes that side of the business so much easier and frees up a load of time.”