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How To Start A Black Owned Clothing Line With Less Than $100 [Ultimate Guide]

Thats it! You now have a site set up that captures repeat customers.

Step 4: Set Up Shipping and Payment Processing

Your Mission: Create a system that ships orders and pays you while you sleep

Imagine how it feels to get “You’ve Got Paid!” emails all day. Imagine being able to go about your day and have money automatically flowing into your bank account. Having a good payment processing system in place makes it possible to get paid without any effort on your part.

A payment processor accepts payment from your supporters as soon as they make a purchase and sends that payment to your bank account. These processors usually charge a small fee or percentage of the transaction for the service.

The two payment processors that can do that without charging you a monthly fee are Paypal and Stripe.

Step 4A. Set Up Paypal AND Stripe

Setting up both Paypal and Stripe accounts are free, easy, and gives you a way to get your money immediately. And yes, you need to set up both! There are two reasons why:

1. Some of your supporters may want to pay you with their credit cards without creating a Paypal account. That is where Stripe comes in. Stripe lets you accept credit card payments from your website without your supporters having to create an account.

2. This has never happened to me, but people have complained about Paypal shutting down or freezing their account. Having Stripe set up gives you some insurance in case that happens.

Both services also have card readers that let you accept payments using physical cards and your cell phone. So if you are at a community event or out in public, you can swipe credit cards on the spot.

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Since we are on a budget, hold off on buying a card reader until you move your first units. Besides, you wont even see your physical products in the early days unless you request some samples from your manufacturers. More on that in a few.

Step 4B. Set Up Shopify

Many Black owned clothing lines rely on Shopify to process orders, including HGC Apparel and Philadelphia Printworks.

Shopify is a system that lets you sell on social media, in person, or on an existing website with very little effort. Shopify bridges the gap between your website and your payment processor. It lets you create buy now buttons, capture the name and mailing address of your supporter, and works with most suppliers who will then dropship your product to your customers.

Side Note: Dont think you can just mail out items on your own. It is a pain in the ass. You ever try to ship out 200 Tshirts at the post office during the holidays? I have, and I feel like it took 5 years off my life.

Not to mention the fact that we are building a system that works without effort on our part. And the smart way to do that is having suppliers and manufacturers drop ship to your customers.

You can get started with Shopify for free with a 14 day trial. Once the trial ends, you only need to upgrade to their $9 Lite plan. They also offer a $29 plan, but thats for people who arent smart enough to have their own websites.

Again, if you need help setting this up, leave a comment below or start a topic in our Black Business group here.

Step 4C. Set Up Printful

Printful does two things: They print your designs on items you choose and they ship those items to your customers. Here is how it works:

If you have ever gotten a Tshirt, poster, or hoodie from us, it came from Printful. We were so impressed with Printful that we sent all of our physical items to their warehouse to be stored. That way, when new orders come in, Printful packs and ships those too.

You will need Printful to move on to the next step. It only takes a minute to sign up, and its free.

Remember those designs you got from Fiverr in Step 2? Now you are going to put them to use. Here are the steps you will follow to create your first Tshirt:

1. Click here to go to Printful. On the front page, click ‘Connect Your Shop’

2. Create an account (Printful is free. They make their money when you sell items by taking a small amount off the top). For this post, I am creating a brand new account.

3. Once you are signed up, on the next screen you can skip the ‘Tell us more about yourself’ block and go straight to Create your store.

4. Click on ‘Choose Platform’ and on the next screen click ‘Connect’ beneath Shopify


then

5. Remember the Shopify Store you created earlier? You are going to need it here. Once you click ‘Connect’, you will see an ‘Add App’ button. This step links your Printful and Shopify store. Click the ‘Add App’ button and enter your store URL then click log in.

6. On the next screen, confirm that you want to install the app

7. Shopify will then send you back to Printful. You may be asked to log in again if you didnt confirm your email. Otherwise, click the red button that connects your Printful store to the email associated with your account.

8. Now you can add your first product. Click the ‘Add product’ button

9. Now you can add items from Printful right in your Shopify store! For this example, we will do a basic Tshirt. Click on Mens Tshirts and on the next screen click on ‘All Shirts’.

10. Printful lets you choose the colors, sizes, cuts, and quality of the Tshirts and other items that you sell. I always suggest you choose higher quality items. People will pay a little more if the quality is decent and they believe in your brand. Cheap products will also lose you customers, so charge just a little more to give your supporters a lot more quality! Here is a screenshot of some of the colors and qualities available.

11. Once you pick your basic shirt cut and quality, you can upload your design (I used the design from our original Power Tshirt), choose the colors you want to sell, and choose the sizes you want to sell. They range from XS to XXXXL. Once you are done, click the ‘Proceed to Mockups’ button on the bottom of the screen.

12. One of the great things about Printful is they give you mockups automatically! So you dont need to go out and hire models or photographers. Just use their generator on the Mockups page! I chose the Sister for this example.

Once you select your mockup, click the ‘Proceed’ button at the bottom of the page.

13. Printful will automatically fill in information about the material and color of the shirt. You can add any information you like that tells your supporters more about the product (like what inspired it). I highly suggest giving your item a name that appeals to supporters.

Once you are done, click ‘Proceed to Pricing’ on the bottom of the page…

14. Here is where you will set the retail price for your item. Retail is what you will charge your supporters. The first price is what Printful will deduct from the retail price, leaving you with the profit.

I dont want to be greedy, but I need to make about $5 in profit per shirt. I know that I can sell 20 shirts, and thats my break even for this project ($5 in profit multiplied by 20 shirts = $100).

Once you are done, click ‘Submit To Store’

15. Printful will add everything to Shopify and you are now ready to add your product to your website. Click on ‘More Actions’ and select ‘Embed on a Website’ from the dropdown menu…

…Select ‘Button and Image’ and then click ‘Copy Code’…

16. Last step. Go to your website paste the code you copied wherever you want your item to show up.

Now you have an image and button that looks like this…

Thats it! You are in business! Now that the setup is done, its time to get the word out about your new Black owned clothing line.

Step 5: Market Your Clothing Line

Your Mission: Find and draw new customers to your website automatically

Building a new website is like building a store in the middle of the desert. If you dont put signs out there and build roads to your store, you wont get any traffic. Over time, you also want to keep these new visitors and turn them into a community built around your brand.

For this project, we want to start generating traffic and revenue as soon as possible without buying ads. Thats where your social media system comes into play. Some people will tell you that you need SEO (search engine optimization – aka Google) to get traffic for your site. That is true over the long term, but if you want a fast flood of traffic, social is the answer.

In fact, most of the traffic for this website comes from social media – not Google. Here is a screenshot:

In the last 90 days we got more than 154,000 visits from social media versus only about 40,000 visits from search engines!

You can do social media the hard way or the easy way. The hard way is logging into each platform every day and creating new messages. The easy way is logging into one system creating all your posts at once, and scheduling these posts to go out on a regular basis.

If you want to get the same results that I do from social media, use a service called Social Pilot.

socialpilot

Why not Hootsuite or Buffer? SocialPilot is cheaper (at $10 a month – remember we are on a $100 budget), the service lets you schedule posts a year or more in advance (so you can load your Black Friday posts up in March), and lets you automatically post to up to 10 accounts.

SocialPilot supports the following social media platforms:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Tumblr
  • VK.com
  • Xing.com

A few words of advice:

👉🏿 Stick to three social media platforms. It doesnt matter which three you choose, but trying to ‘be everywhere’ will stretch you thin.
👉🏿 Use a combination of text and video, audio, or images in your posts. Every post should have a written message at the very minimum.
👉🏿 Always include a call to action that tells followers what you want them to do. For example “Click here to view the new lineup” or “Click here to buy now”
👉🏿 Dont post the same image, video, or text more than twice per month. Facebook will put you in ‘jail’ temporarily if you post the same content too many times in a row
👉🏿 Experiment with posting at different times of day and night. SocialPilot lets you schedule posts at 3pm or 3am. Some of my highest conversion times (the times when people click links and make purchases) are late at night and early in the morning.

There is a lot more that goes into social media (obviously). Experimentation is the key to long term success.

Click Next Below To See The Next Step!

What do you think?

Neter

Written by Asad Malik

Asad is the Executive Officer of The Pan-African Alliance, and the Founder of United Black America.

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Devon Holley
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Devon Holley

This was amazing. This article work, every single detail brought my website to life. I would recommend this article to any person looking to get a better understanding about supply and demand while also looking to get their start. I was able to develop my website within a week. Thank you so much.

Krystal
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Krystal

Can you send me steps please

Crystal
Member
Crystal

hi, thank you for this article! i am new to this and i just launched my website with godaddy. They have web hosting – go central. I wanted to know if i could use GoCentral instead of Bluehost? They did not offer a monthly option, Go daddy – Go Central may be a more affordable option. They seem to be similar except for the wordpress offer. Thanks

carla rushing
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carla rushing

Hello, Can you send me the business plan template that you used.

Aggo Cedde
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Aggo Cedde

When you create the Shopify store do you actually “create” and add images and such to the Shopify store? Or do all that to your wordpress site? So you have 2 stores? Let me know please.

Phyllis
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Phyllis

Thank you for all the advise

Pennie Bailey
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Pennie Bailey

What about finding Manufacturing companies to make your clothing, that offer glitter. I would like to work with Black owned if possible.