Are you a small business person and want to start a clothing line business in Kenya? Are you in the dark about what activities you should do to ensure that your clothing line business succeeds?
The big question is: Are you willing to learn how to start a successful clothing line business?
I bet your answer is a big “YES” because you navigated all your way here just to learn how to become a better small business person.
Before I start off, I wish ask you to feel at home and ask any question (s) where you don’t understand or leave a comment at the end. This is not a college classroom run by an intimidating tutor!
How to Start a Clothing Line Business in Kenya
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Basically, there are six steps. However, I would like to add two more steps (to start with) that have been overlooked, for a long time, by other writers before me.
1. Be in Your Right Mind
Clothing line business is just like any other business. Competition is rampant and there are numerous business challenges that you must overcome to achieve significant success. If you are in your right mind, nothing is impossible.
Have the enthusiasm and passion to run your clothing line business. Moreover, anticipate market changes and prepare to adapt to them quickly. Don’t be like “Hem” and “Haw” (characters in the book “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Dr. Spencer Johnson) who thought that cheese would always be at Cheese Station C. Learn to move with the cheese.
2. Learn about the Fashion Industry
The fashion industry is more like the technology industry. You sleep today and by the time you wake up tomorrow, a new trend has emerged. In other words, the industry is dynamic. It is always good to learn how your customers behave. Learn their tastes and preferences. Always attend fashion shows and seminars to learn more about the fashion industry from the experts. In addition, make Google or Yahoo! your best friend. This way, you will nurture your ability to foretell trends months before they get into the market. As I said earlier, you will be able to get cheese once it is moved to somewhere else.
3. Build a Solid and Realistic Business Plan
Every successful entrepreneur understands that having a solid business plan is key step to starting a business.
Here is Wikipedia’s definition of a business plan:
“A business plan is a formal statement of a set of business goals, the reasons they are believed attainable, and the plan for reaching those goals. It may also contain background information about the organization or team attempting to reach those goals. Business plans may also target changes in perception and branding by the customer, client, taxpayer, or larger community. When the existing business is to assume a major change or when planning a new venture, a 3 to 5 year business plan is required, since investors will look for their annual return in that time frame.”
A business plan will help you navigate through the following aspects successfully:
a) Start-up capital
A business plan will enable you to determine the exact amount that you need to establish you clothing line business. You can raise capital from friends and family, angel investors, or bank loan.
b) Operating costs
A business plan will enable you project the operating costs necessary to run your clothing line business. The costs of manufacturing, supplies, marketing, and advertising among others add up to operating costs.
A business plan will help you pinpoint your current and future competitor (s). It will enable you determine your target market. The best way to do research is get a part-time or even full-time job in a leading clothing store in your area. You will learn what customers want, which designs sell well and for how much among others.
d) Level of profitability
A business plan will enable you project expected profits. You can use these projections to approach a bank or angel investor for funding.
e) Legal requirements to be fulfilled
A business plan will enable you choose a business structure that best suits your clothing business
Kindly check out this sample clothing line business plan for further details.
4. Establish a Brand
Wikipedia defines a brand as:
“A brand is a "name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers."
Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Marc Jacobs are examples of successful brand names in the clothing line business.
It is important to note that a brand name should be unique, catchy, and different from your company name. Remember to register it with the authorities to avoid other people from legally stealing it.
5. Design Your Clothes
Your designs will make or destroy your clothing line business. It is important that you make sketches and present them to your customers or closest friends to get their feedback. If they like your sketches, probability of success are high.
If you’re not good at sketching, you can always use clothing design programs available.
Always remember that designs vary from season to season. This will enable you choose the best fabrics and materials.
6. Locate and Contact an established Manufacturer
Once you have the best sketches, find a manufacturer who will produce your clothes. It is important that you present all the details to a manufacturer for best results. In addition, ask the manufacturer questions to improve on your designs and fabrics. You can shop around for the best and affordable manufacturers on the Internet.
7. Build a Website
A professional website will promote your designs and brand. It will enable your customers find and buy their favorite collections. However, make sure that you create a merchant account to enable clients purchase your clothes online.
8. Promote your Clothing Line
Promoting a brand can be expensive especially in its first year. However, you are your best promoter. Always wear your brand everywhere you go and ask how it looks. Use other people’s feedbacks to add improvements. Approach celebrities and give them your brand for free. In addition, you can place adverts and press releases in local newspapers and fashion magazines. Your website too can be a promotion tool; make good use of it.
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