One of the trending questions in the fashion market today is how to start an activewear business. And if you are wondering the same thing, you’ve come to the right place. Starting an activewear business from scratch not only takes extensive knowledge of the fashion world but also the finances and fitness/sports side of things. In this step-by-step guide, I will walk you through the exact steps and strategies I used to start a successful activewear business for my client in early 2017.
The athleisure market is an ever-growing industry. In recent years the industry has grown massively hence the reason many entrepreneurs want to take advantage of that. As a startup specialist, I get to work with a lot of new and innovative brands, and lately, it feels like every other startup idea I am getting on my inbox is related to the leggings business. Therefore, I thought I would write an extensive article, covering as much ground as possible, on how to start an activewear business.
1. Research the market and demographics :
The very first and crucial step to start any business or startup is research and understanding your target demographics. The best thing to do while identifying your target demographic is to take a piece of paper and write down every single small detail about your prospective customer. Having a clear picture of your prospective customer not only makes decision-making swift and easy but helps in creating winning marketing strategies.
Once you finish your research in demographics the next phase is market research. One of the simplest and most effective market research strategies is looking to your competitors. When I was working with my client to start an activewear business, all we did was go to our competitor’s review pages(eg. Google Reviews) and look at all the negative reviews left by customers. Note down all the bad reviews on a piece of paper. Now all you gotta do is think about the ways you would turn the bad review into a good review in the most effective way possible.
Even better if you could pose as a customer and visit your competitor’s shop(online or offline), ask them some tough questions, and see what kind of answers they come up with. Also, follow your competitor’s social media pages to gauge how they presented themselves in their earlier days and what they are up to currently. Keep in mind, as a rule of thumb, keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
2. Prepare a Business Plan :
A business plan is a document written by businesses that contain the goals of the business, strategies to attain those goals, and the time frame of achievement. Therefore, a business plan is a very important strategic tool for all business owners.
A business plan is a must for your activewear brand. An activewear business plan helps to determine your future financial needs and even to attract investors and/or lenders. A few of the key things to include in your activewear business plan are as follows:
- Sourcing your Activewear Clothes :
You must identify your suppliers before starting a sportswear or activewear startup. There are a lot of wholesale activewear suppliers or activewear clothes manufacturers in the USA. You can refer to Activewear Manufacturers or USA Clothing Manufacturers as your suppliers.
However, the problem with these suppliers is that they will have MOQs(Minimum Order Quantity) in place. And if you are starting with a small budget, maybe you don’t want to invest in inventory at all. In that case, you can follow the dropshipping business model. If you think dropshipping is the way to go, you can source all your products from AliExpress.
- Marketing is Key :
The marketing portion is one of the key sections of the activewear business plan. It is normally addressed into four topics: product, price, promotion, and price. Marketing plans and strategies are really important as they make sales really easy for sportswear startups. When you target your ideal customer in a smart and efficient way, you reduce the marketing costs alongside increasing your chances of converting leads into sales.
- Hiring is not easy :
An activewear startup needs to hire a lot of people in different phases of the business. In the early stages, you should hire mostly contract workers. You can pay them on a work basis and keep them on standby, so you can refer to them whenever you run into an issue. You need to hire a Web developer and maybe a digital marketer for your activewear startup. If you want professional help from us, please contact us through this page. We will not only give you advice and suggestions throughout your business journey but also assist you to hire individuals as per your needs.
3. Getting a Professional Website:
A lot of people underestimate the power of a professional-looking website for their business. Websites used to be a luxury for small businesses however, it is more of a necessity in the current world. Whether you plan to sell your activewear online or offline(or both), a website is a must.
You need to have two things to build a website for your business. The first is domain and the other is hosting. A domain is nothing but the name of your Website. For eg., the name of this website is moneyworths.com. A domain name costs around $12 per year and you can check if the domain of your choice is available or not here.
Hosting means keeping your website live to the public 24/7. Hosting companies have these specialized computers that are powered on 24/7 and store the media and files of your website. These companies make sure your website is on a good server and is maintained properly.
Bluehost provides one of the cheapest yet most reliable hosting packages for small businesses. Their cheapest plan starts from $2.95 per month. I have got a special deal with them for you small business owners, if you buy a 12 monthly hosting package from this link, you will receive a domain name free for a year. Keep in mind, Bluehost also offers a free email with your hosting package. That means you get one free custom business email for your activewear business.
A search engine optimized professionally designed e-commerce website can easily increase your revenue by a few folds. Designing a website is pretty easy nowadays with all the drag and drop builders available in the market. Read how to make a basic website for small businesses for more information to build your own websites. If you want a professionally designed website, please contact us through this page.
One of the other easier options to get your e-commerce store up and running is Shopify. Shopify is more expensive than hosting your own website with WordPress, but a lot of young business owners choose this platform as it is really easy to set up your own eCommerce website within hours.
4. Setting up your Socials :
I can’t stress this point enough, in order to run a successful activewear business, your social game should be on point. Make sure your activewear business has Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Reddit accounts reserved. Keep in mind, posting content regularly and engaging with your audience is only the way to generate an organic following for your business.
It is best to hire a social media manager for your business for the first few months. When we started our activewear brand, we hired a guy to work for 1.5 hours a day, 7 days a week for around 10 weeks. We paid him a total of $550 and let me tell you it was totally worth it. If you are looking for a virtual assistant or social media manager for your business, please contact us here. We will recommend you, individuals, with whom we have worked in the past.
5. Registering your Business :
Registering your business will not only avoid legal problems with the government but also help to secure your reputation as a legitimate business. Furthermore, it builds trust among suppliers, customers, and employees. Registering your business opens opportunities to do business with larger companies.
The four major structures to register your business are sole proprietorship, LLC, C-corp, and S-corp respectively. The business structure that you choose will determine tax and debt obligations. Therefore, it is highly recommended to seek professional advice before choosing your preferred option.
6. Opening a Business Bank Account :
Opening a business bank account is an important first step to establishing your small business. Having a separate bank account makes it easier to manage your business. You can collect receipts in the account as well as write checks for expenses. This will be much easier to manage than attempting to do it all through a personal account. For LLC and C-corp / S-corp, it is imperative to have this barrier.
Keep in mind, most banks require an EIN(Employer Identification Number) to open a business bank account. EIN is a unique 9-digit number used by the government to identify businesses as tax-paying entities. Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a free service offered by the Internal Revenue Service.
Generally speaking, U.S. business bank account requirements mean that you’ll need to provide the following documents before the account can be opened:
- Photo ID of the business owner
- Articles of incorporation/organisation
- EIN confirmation letter
- Proof of personal address for the business owner
- Proof of business address (some banks will require you to prove that your business address is located in the same geographic area and state as that branch, while others will not)
7. Create your Marketing Strategy :
With organic reach providing only around a 2% conversion rate, simply posting to your social media accounts is no longer a profitable strategy. The world of social media advertising is a “paid” business today, which means it’s important to factor this into your initial starting budget. In order to reach more people for your marketing campaign, you can either opt for the paid ads offered by different social media channels or go for influencer outreach.
Connecting with potential customers on social media platforms is an integral facet of any effective promotional strategy and it is even more effective when it comes to promoting an activewear brand. These are some of the key strategies to follow while marketing your clothing brand.
- Images are key.
- Organic and Paid social media management
- Influencer and Blogger outreach
- Invest in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) from start
- Email marketing.
If you’d like any professional help with any of your marketing issues, please let us know through this form. We will be happy to assist you and work towards a successful marketing strategy.
8. Sell an Experience :
Instead of selling just a clothing item, sell the whole experience. Always give your client more than they expect. Outstanding customer service will help you retain the clients making them loyal to your brand. Try to sell emotion, not just a product.
How do I start a business in activewear?
Here are the 6 steps to starting your own activewear business.
- Research the market
- Make a Business plan
- Register your activewear business
- Source your products
- Create a website to showcase your products
- Market your website
How much do activewear brands make?
Generally speaking, the net margin in the clothing business is around 15-20%. Activewear brands make anywhere from $27,000 to millions of dollars per year depending on their sales and expenses.
How much is the activewear industry worth?
In 2020, the size of the global activewear market amounted to approximately 353.5 billion US dollars.
Is activewear saturated?
The global activewear market is predicted to reach 439 billion US dollars by 2026. Even though there are a lot of new activewear businesses around, it is not over saturated as the demand for these products is always upwards.
How much does it cost to start an activewear brand?
The bare minimum cost to start an activewear brand is $1600. Here is the breakdown of the costs to start an activewear business.
- Shopify Plan : $29/mo for 6 months = $174
- Domain name : $11/year
- Design & Development of Shopify Store : $299/one-time
- Marketing Budget : $750
- Shopify Apps : $30/mo for 6 months = $180
- Set aside : $200 as emergency fund for business
Keep in mind, this is the most basic breakdown. Investment is directly proportional to the growth rate of any business. More investment, the faster the business grows.