Do you want to start a smocked clothing business? Well, you have come to the right place. Smocked clothing business is similar to any other clothing business except the decoration on the smocked clothes are created by gathering a portion of the fabric into tight pleats. These pleats are often held together with parallel stitches in a decorative style. Smocked garments are often used in children’s clothing, skirts, and other traditional outfits. Although smocked dresses fell out of fashion during the Victorian period, children smocked clothing is still popular in the US, the U.K, and other parts of the world. Without further ado, let’s dive into this step-by-step guide on how to start a smocked clothing business.
1. Market And Demographic Research
The global clothing market is a whopping 1.5 trillion US dollar industry. The clothing industry is huge but mainstream clothing has become highly competitive in recent years. Starting a smocked clothing business is perfect if you want to get into the clothing industry without a lot of competitors in your way. The demand for smocked clothes is still there in the market, especially in the form of children’s smocked clothing. And the competition in this niche is pretty low.
As far as demographics go, I would genuinely target smocked children’s clothing and women’s apparel like skirts. Although smocked fabrics are used in a wide variety of apparel, focusing on a small niche demographic is always the right choice. If you follow my suggestion, your primary prospective customer will be females and moms.
In order to do thorough research on the market and demographics, my advice will be to study the competitors in your city or country. Peeking through their social media accounts should give you a clear idea of demographics and the complaints from their customer. This is a perfect opportunity for your business as you will not only learn about your competitors’ business model but also make their complaints your unique selling point.
2. A Business Plan
Prior to starting a smocked clothing business, a business plan is key. Whether you are starting a denim business, a leggings business, or an activewear business, you will certainly need a business plan. Though a full-scale business plan may not be necessary while you are just starting out on a small scale or want to test an idea, having a rough plan in the background always helps in case your business takes off and you want to scale it quickly.
The six major components of planning a new smocked clothing business are:
- Determine the startup cost of starting a smocked clothing business.
- Decide on a business name, logo, and layout
- Create a business plan
- Source your inventory
- Legal requirements
- Creating financial forecast
If you are having problems writing a business plan for your smocked clothing business, SBA offers a great resource for writing business plans for small businesses.
3. Sourcing Your Smocked Clothes
This is one of the most important steps while starting your smocked clothing business. You need to perform your own due diligence while choosing and sourcing your apparel from wholesalers or distributors. Therefore, make sure you order a sample batch before going all in and ordering your inventory at once. Some of the trustworthy wholesalers and suppliers for smocked clothing apparel are listed below :
Bear in mind, a lot of wholesalers will have MOQs(Minimum Order Quantity) in place. Some even have MOAs(Minimum Order Amount) systems in place. Therefore, it is a good idea to get in touch with your supplier and discuss all the MOQs or MOAs they have set for their business.
3. Costs To Start A Smocked Clothing Business
In order to start a successful smocked clothing business, you will need at least $1000. I have broken the most basic startup costs for starting a successful smocked clothing business below.
- Shopify Plan : 14-day free trial ($29/month after free trial expires)
- Domain Name : $11/year on Namecheap
- Inventory : $400 – $500 while starting out
- Marketing and Advertising : $300 while starting out
4. Digital Presence And Social Media
A solid digital presence and A+ social media management are key to success in the clothing business. In order to create a strong digital presence, you will need the following :
1. Domain Name :
Make sure you register your domain name as soon as you come up with a name for your smocked clothing business. If you are having problems coming up with a name for your business, Shopify’s free Business Name Generator is a great tool to brainstorm brandable names. Namecheap offers domain registration services at one of the cheapest prices on the internet.
Find a domain starting at $0.88
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2. Shopify :
After you purchase your domain name, the next step is linking it with your Shopify account and getting it ready to make sales. Shopify is an e-commerce platform that offers a way to quickly launch your dream business online and start selling to your customers, wherever they are. The best thing I like about Shopify is its 14-day free trial period(no credit card required). To register for their trial using an email and play around to know how to make a perfect online store for your business.
3. Social Media Accounts :
Social media platforms are an integral part of the clothing business. Their impact is so massive that they single-handedly can make or break your smocked clothing business. Make sure you register and book the usernames of all the major social media networks as soon as you register your domain.
Posting content regularly and engaging with your audience is one of the best and completely free forms of marketing that has the potential to generate loyal clients to your smocked business. Social media network gives your customers a convenient and accessible way to express their feelings and give your smocked clothing business a chance to improve and respond. With such an approach, your smocked clothing businesses will be able to view the complaints and assure your customers that their problems will be dealt with.
5. Marketing Strategy
Marketing your smocked clothing business is similar to marketing any other clothing business. Your campaigns will need both organic and paid channels for a winning marketing strategy.
Organic marketing channels are completely free tools to advertise your business and reach a bigger audience. The only problem with an organic marketing approach like SEO or social media management is that it takes time. My number 1 advice to a lot of young entrepreneurs is to invest the time in organic channels without expecting any results for 6-8 months. While you are investing your time in an organic approach, you can advertise your business through paid marketing channels like Influencer marketing or social media paid ads for continuous lead generation.