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Costs of starting a clothing company


How much do I need to start my clothing brand?

This is a HUGE question and the simple answer is that there is no answer. So let’s break it down a little bit to help you assess your business and how much money you will possibly need.
There are pretty much three types of companies. There’s the amateur brand, the indie brand, and the professional brand. Each of these types of brands has a range of startup costs. Take a look at the list below and try to assess what type of brand your company is.

amateurAmateur: $100-$300

Maybe you’re just trying to make a quick buck or you’re just doing this as a hobby, but you’re not serious about making your brand big. With $100-$300, you’re not planning on printing on the best quality t-shirts, and you probably do it in a very DIY fashion by printing the shirts yourself, or you may be working with an online service like spreadshirt or customink. You mostly just design shirts for yourself and for your friends and family. You don’t really have the money for any kind of advertisement, but word of mouth advertising is free, and e-commerce websites start at $14 for shopify.

Indie: $500-$10,000

professionalThe range of start up cost is a little larger on this one. You have plans to make your company larger, but you don’t have all the money to make it possible. With $500, you can probably print a good amount of shirts for a launch, and you plan to print more shirts as you make profit and make a return. With $10,000 you probably can start your own in house printing with a silkscreen carousel that you could afford. You don’t have quite enough money to pay the rent to a brick and mortar store, but as long as business goes well, it isn’t impossible to do in the future. Between $500-$2500, is probably where most indie brand owners land. You’ll have enough to get a solid group of shirts for your launch. And you’ll have enough money to possibly buy designs from artists and enough money to get a nice website done.

Professional: $25,000 – $$$

Obviously these brands range from I’d say around 25k to the stars. If you plan to just get in the game and you have the money to do it, you can probably pay the rent to a really nice location and just get started. Of course, it’s much more difficult than it make sound, but you really don’t have much of a limit when you have a lot of money. So that just gives you an idea of how much money you can potentially spend. Owning a professional brand means that you can comfortably maintain a company and you can release many products at one time per season.


About Erik Mickelson

Erik Mickelson is the author of Northwest Custom Apparel's blogs. Erik has been with Northwest Custom Apparel since 1996 after graduating from Washington State University and is the founder of the Apparel Graphic Academy. Trained by the custom graphic apparel industry's best, Mark Venit, Erik brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Embroidery Adventure blog. As they say, 'Experience is the best teacher.' We are proud to have Erik as part of our team!

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