If you are wondering how to start a clothing business as a teenager you have come to the right place. It can be a time-consuming task to run a clothing business online, but as a teenager, you do have an amazing gift of TIME. The first thing I considered before writing this article is that if you are a teenager then odds are you don’t have enough capital, business knowledge, experience, or contacts. But don’t worry, this article provides an in-depth step-by-step guide to start a clothing business and is geared towards a teenager. Since we have a lot to cover, therefore, without further ado let’s get started.
1. Market And Demographic Research
In 2019 alone, the global retail sales of the apparel and footwear industry were 1.9 trillion US dollars. The clothing and fashion industry is an ever-growing industry and retail sales are expected to rise above 3 trillion US dollars by 2030. However, you should keep in mind that the fashion industry is notorious for changing frequently. New trends are constantly evolving and it is really hard to predict the future. Therefore, your plans need to be flexible. Since there is almost no guarantee, you should always be up for a new challenge.
With that being said, you need to perform your own market and demographic research while starting your clothing business as a teenager. Here are two of the key concepts you need to be clear of, before starting this business.
Choose A Niche :
The clothing business is a huge industry. Therefore, as a teenager, it’s a good idea to choose a niche market and grow it from there. A niche is a specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service. For example, a niche under the clothing business can be the activewear business. You can go a level further and divide the niche into sub-niches. For example, the leggings business falls under the activewear niche.
A lot of teenagers who start a clothing business want to chase every opportunity and want to please a broader market as possible. However, specializing in a specific segment of the market allows you to better position your business and establish brand identity within your field.
Here are a few clothing niches you can chase for your new business.
Identify Your Customer :
Similar to choosing a niche, identifying your prospective customer is key in the clothing industry. Once you choose your niche, focus on what your potential customer is going to be like. For example, if you decide to start a clothing business in a streetwear niche, there is a high possibility that your customer is young under the age of 25. According to a survey conducted by PwC, 70% of streetwear clothing customers reported an income of USD 40,000 or less. Also, the 62% of the participants reported sneakers as a product they are more likely to purchase in the streetwear clothing niche.
Researching and Identifying these details, traits and behavioral patterns of your prospective customers help you to advertise your products to a better audience. Ultimately, the goal of your clothing business as a teenager is acquiring a customer with the least amount of advertising money spent. These details about your customers will massively help you create a super-effective marketing strategy for your clothing business.
How Much Do You Need To Start A Clothing Business As A Teenager?
In order to start a clothing business as a teenager, you will need $700 to $1000. I have broken down all the basic costs related to starting a clothing business below:
- Domain Name -> $11/year
- Shopify -> 14 day free trial, $29/month onward
- Inventory -> $500
- Influencer Marketing -> $150
- Facebook and TikTok Ads -> $300
Therefore, the basic cost to start a clothing business as a teenager is only around $990. Of course, having a high capital helps, but we have a real case study where our client(19, Male) has successfully started a 7 figure clothing business within a year starting with just around $750. Bear in mind, the only way to launch a successful business is to get started and the only way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.
2. Create A Business Plan
If you want to test out a clothing niche idea on a small scale, you might not need a full-scale business plan to get started. However, you should keep in mind, if your business takes off and you want to scale it quickly, having a rough plan in the background is always a good idea.
A business plan will help you raise funding for your clothing business, if needed, and elevate the growth of your clothing brand in order to improve your chances of success. Your clothing line business plan is a document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes. The business plan must explain your goals and your strategies for reaching them. It should also include proper market/product research to support your plans.
If you need help writing a business plan for your clothing business, SBA offers an excellent resource for writing a business plan for a small business.
3. Register Your Business
Prior to starting a clothing business as a teenager, you need to make sure that you follow the regulations and register your business as a legal entity. If you just want to test out the business idea, you can just operate it as a sole proprietor. This way you do not need to register your business with the state in order to exist.
If you have bigger ambitions and want to protect your business from possible future lawsuits or bankruptcy, it is a good idea to register your business as an LLC. Registering an LLC is really simple and completely online. LegalZoom offers LLC registrations starting from just $79.
Once you register your clothing business as an LLC, the next step is getting an EIN(Employee Identification Number). This is a special 9-digit number assigned to you by the IRS in order to identify your business as a tax-paying entity. Fortunately, it’s completely free and easy to apply for an EIN through the IRS website.
The last step for setting up your clothing business as a teenager is getting a dedicated bank account for your clothing business. Keep in mind, you will need an EIN to open a business bank account. Having a separate bank account from your business will pave the way for your business to borrow money, get a business credit card, and take card payments from customers. Moreover, it also helps to keep your personal and business expenses separate, which makes life really easy while filing annual tax returns.
4. Source Your Apparels
As a teenager, the probability of you having a huge capital for inventory is pretty low, therefore, it is one of the most consuming phases of your business. I would highly recommend you start small and hold an inventory of 50-100 items while starting out. If you do not have any budget for inventory, I would suggest you follow the dropshipping business model. This way, you can save all the costs on inventory and invest that money into marketing and branding your clothing business.
The United States is the biggest apparel and fashion market in the world. If you are looking for US-based supplier for your clothing business, I would recommend these companies :
Though the UK has left the EU, the country still is an exciting location for clothing wholesalers. If you want to ship to European customers and want to operate the clothing business from the UK, I would recommend these companies :
Most of the wholesale clothing suppliers are located in China. They can produce quickly, have high-quality apparel, and provide products at a low price. Here are some noteworthy names:
5. Create An Online Store :
Creating a basic online store for your clothing business is pretty simple. And your best friend for this task is Shopify. The 14-day free trial offered by Shopify gives teenagers the ability to test out different business models without having to worry about the web design charges. Best of all you won’t even need a credit card for the trial.
You will also need to buy a domain name for your clothing business. Namecheap offers one of the best services when it comes to buying the domain name. Once you get the domain name, you can connect it to your Shopify store and your e-commerce website is ready to go. If you are having a hard time thinking of a name for a business or a domain name, Shopify’s Business Name Generator is a great tool for brainstorming brandable names.
While creating an online store with Shopify, you will need a logo for your clothing brand. If you are not a designer like me, you can check out Looka for logo designs. Looka combines your design ideas with AI to make beautiful logos you’ll love. Once you have your logo, you can use their Brand Kit, which gives you access to 300+ branded templates, create custom marketing assets, build a website, and launch your business.
If you need professional help in designing an online store for your clothing business, our $499 digital package can be a blessing for you. The best thing about this package is we will provide lifetime support, consultations, and unlimited edits to your website. The package includes the following key digital services:
- Web Design
- Social Media Management
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Logo Design
- Digital Marketing Services
You can contact us through this contact form if you want us to take care of all the technicalities of your business, while you focus on acquiring more clients.
6. Engage on Social Media
Social media has become a crucial platform for clothing businesses run by teenagers. It is one of the best, free marketing and branding tools if used properly. The best thing about social media marketing is that you can reach a wide range of audiences from all around the world from just your mobile phone. Some ideas on how to get your brand started from social media are below:
- Post content regularly of your products or customers wearing your products
- Organize promotional giveaways regularly for your loyal customers
- Engage with your customers by posting stories and liking and replying to their comments and messages.
You can create your presence on all the social media platforms available. However, if you want to just focus on just a few, I would highly recommend putting Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest on your list.
If you want to design graphics, templates, or infographics for your social media pages, make sure to check out Canva. It is an online tool with thousands of free elements, fonts, and copyright-free images you can use for your creatives.
7. Create A Marketing Strategy
Starting a clothing business as a teenager is easy, the difficult part is marketing your business and acquiring new customers for your business. As a teenager, I am assuming, you will be starting your clothing business solely online while starting out. Due to this reason, digital marketing should be considered a key part of your overall marketing strategy.
The first thing to understand is there are two channels you can market your business digitally. One is organic and the other is paid. Organic marketing (SEO, Social Media Marketing, etc) takes time but the results will be long-lasting. On the other hand, paid marketing is a great way to acquire customers fast. However, once you stop your paid advertising campaigns – the chances are the influx of customers to your online store will stop too. Therefore, make sure you practice a strategy that involves the utilization of both organic and paid marketing channels.
Regardless of the marketing approach, here are some of the core marketing strategies you, as a teenager, should adopt for your clothing business today.
- Get a website.
- Get social.
- Adopt influencer marketing.
- Have a contest or promotional giveaways.
- Start a blog
- Add a personal touch to your products.