Step 1: Complete Your Business Plan
Your Mission: Create a birds-eye view of your business system
If you want the template that I used to plan my clothing line, enter your best email below and I will send you the PDF.
I mentioned earlier that you do not need to create a 100 page business plan for your clothing line. However, you will need to answer some basic questions about your operation before you get started. These questions include:
What is the unique story behind your clothing line?
Facts tell. Stories sell. If you want people to purchase your products or services, you have to tell them a story.
It pulls you in, makes you relate to the story line in a personal way, and takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride until the story is resolved with a happy ending.
Here is an example that a body positive clothing line for women of color might use:
I was almost in tears as I stood in front of the dressing room mirror. Every outfit I tried on looked and felt like it was made for skinny, shapeless women. I was frustrated with having my body type being ignored by big box clothing stores.
Real women with real curves deserve to look and feel as good on the outside as we do on the inside. Women come in all shapes and colors, and I created (your clothing line’s name) to embrace them all. Our body positive line comes in colors that flatter ethnic skin tones and is designed to celebrate your curves.
Every brand has a story to tell. The better the story, the stronger the appeal.
What is your unique selling proposition?
A unique selling proposition is what your business stands for. It’s what sets your business apart from others because of what your business makes a stand about. Instead of attempting to be known for everything, businesses with a unique selling proposition stand for something specific, and it becomes what you’re known for.
What is the one thing that your clothing line will do better than every other line out there? What problem are you solving with your clothing line? What does your clothing line represent?
The better you are at answering these questions, the stronger your unique selling proposition will be.
Who are my supporters?
Your supporters are the people who will buy your products. I differentiate between supporters and customers because customers engage in one time transactions. Supporters on the other hand will stick with you over the long run.
You should know as much about your supporters before you launch your line as possible. Create a profile of your ideal supporters according to both demographic and psychographic factors.
Demographic factors are physical and include:
- and Education
Psychographic factors are mental and include:
- and Dreams
I created a PDF for you on how to identify your supporters that I will send you along with your business plan template. Enter your best email below to get it!
The more specific you are about your supporters, the more effective your marketing efforts will be.
What items will I sell?
When we think of Black owned clothing lines, the first thing to come to mind are T-Shirts. But there are companies out there that have built huge operations by focusing on just one type of apparel.
Types of apparel can include:
- Bathing Suits
- Skirts and Dresses
- even Socks
Whatever you decide on, avoid the temptation to offer a full lineup for your first few runs. Spreading yourself too thin across too many products will strain your resources.
Instead, focus on 3 or 4 types of products. I launched my first successful line with one lapel pin, one necklace design, and one Tshirt design (shown below) in just one colorway.
Later on, I expanded into more colors, new lapel pins, and different shapes for my necklaces. That line earned me $8,000.
Start with a few items and use your profits to expand later.
How will I source my products?
You may want to start your line with custom designed sneakers or specialized cuts. But if you cant find a source that will manufacture, design, and ship those products for you, you wont have a business.
Before you start taking action, you should have a source that will work with your system already identified. I list a few basic sources below under Step 4, but if you need more specific sources, start a discussion on our Black clothing line forum by clicking here.
How do I get my products into the hands of my supporters?
Once your supporters place an order, how will their items ship? Will they get a tracking number automatically? When they receive their package, what comes inside? A flyer? A coupon? How are returns handled?
When I ran my first line, I found myself spending hours answering questions like ‘where is my item?’. If I had a good shipping and tracking system in place, I could have used that time to grow my business.
I also spend hours packaging items, printing out invoices, and waiting in line at the post office. Again, if i had a good system in place, I could have avoided all that unnecessary work.
To help you avoid making the same mistakes, I have included a list of resources you can use to fulfill orders under step 4 below.
The questions above are just a few that go into an effective business plan. If you want the full 5 page business plan template, enter your best email below to get the PDF.
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