Hi Pat. Thank you for your voice in question, “how to start a clothing business with designs I don’t see in the market that I have on hand?”
The basic concept of starting a business is that it’s about what the market wants and not what you have to offer. Starting with a product to sell instead of finding out what the market needs can be tricky.
In this case, you already have a unique design in mind that’s not on the market. The next logical step would be first to test the market. To do this, we will need to go back to a few business model questions.
Who is your target market? Paint a clear picture with an avatar. How old is your customer avatar? Is your avatar male or female? Married or single? If married, how many children? Where are the children studying? What car does your avatar drive? Where does your avatar live? How much money does your avatar household make? Paint a clear picture of your target market using an avatar.
The next question is, where can we find your avatar? Does your avatar belong to an organization? What websites interest them? Where do they shop for clothes? What type of clothes do they wear? What are their buying preferences? What social media do they prefer surfing?
What makes your design unique? Who are your direct competitors? Are they making money? How long have they been in the market? What’s their unique value proposition?
Let us say that you have done your due diligence and crafted a good business model. The next step is to shoot bullets before shooting a canon. Come up with a plan to pilot test your concept. Try it out on a very targeted and small scale before investing in manufacturing a vast number of SKU. Try two or three limited edition designs. Set up a simple yet compelling website and social media presence. Don’t spend too much at this point. You want to test your idea.
Depending on the outcome of your test, pivot your concept if you have not quite hit the mark with your target market. Drop the idea if you pivoted many times to no avail. Gradually grow your line of designs and distribution network if it’s picking up very well.
If you notice, I am suggesting moving with caution. You want to be careful in coming out with a new business. Be lean, be smart.
Thank you very much for your question, Pat. Please feel free to come up with other questions.