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

Starting a clothing line is the ultimate side hustle!

I was able to start my first clothing line back in 2008. That line earned me $2,000 extra a month when I needed it most. If I can do it during the worst financial crisis of my lifetime and succeed, you can too – especially now! Here are two reasons why:

1. There is an explosion of online tools that didnt exist back then
2. There has always been demand for custom clothing and jewelry. That has not changed in 120,000 years of human history, and wont change any time soon.

If you follow this guide, you can learn from my mistakes and build a profitable Black owned clothing line that runs with very little effort on your part.

Again, I started my first line in the middle of the Great Recession of 2008 – and it made the difference between me eating and starving. 10 years later, and it looks like the economic winds are shifting again. Thats why now is the best time to get started. Dont wait for the rain to start to build your financial shelter.

⚠️ Warning: This is a long guide. I try to cover as much as possible to help you make your project a success. If you dont have time to read now, add your email to the box below. When you do, I will send you a step by step mini course that will drip feed the info to you.


Avoid These Mistakes Before You Get Started!

But while starting a Black owned clothing line is simple, it is far from easy. It took me a lot of trial, error, and wasted money to build my clothing line. I made quite a few stupid mistakes like:

  • Trying to do everything myself
  • Building my store on social media instead of using my own website

Mistake 1: Trying To Make Your First Line By Hand

This is not a guide on how to manufacture your own clothing. Here is why:

  • Manufacturing takes time. This guide is designed to get you in the game as fast as possible.
  • Manufacturing is expensive. This guide helps you get started with $100 or less.
  • When you manufacture, the margin for error is greater than using other methods. If you stick with this guide, you will be able to get your products in customers hands with the exact same quality every single time.

My first attempt at starting a clothing line failed because I spent more time shopping for fabrics, cutting, and sewing than I spent selling and making money.

To avoid making the same mistake that I made, I want you to think of yourself as the CEO and creative director of your clothing line. Your job is not to do manual labor. Instead, as the CEO you are responsible for building systems that run your company. And as the creative director, you are responsible for making sure your vision is carried out the way you want it to be.

But you will leave the manufacturing, shipping, design, and other ‘dirty work’ to other people that you ‘hire’ or other parts of your system.

Once everything is set up, your system will run on its own with little to no involvement on your part. This will set you free to work on your business instead of working in it!

If you need a refresher on what I mean by ‘business systems’ read The 3 Things You MUST Do If You Want To Succeed As A Black Entrepreneur below.

https://www.panafricanalliance.com/black-entrepreneur-advice/

Mistake 2: Not Writing Your Plan Down.

When it comes to goals and business plans, if its not written down its not going to happen. Period. There are some schools of thought that discourage business plans as being unnecessary or unrealistic. I cannot disagree more. ALL of the most successful operations on the planet – from small corporations to large countries – plan relentlessly, revisit their plans often, and operate according to plan. Your operation should be no exception.

The good news for you is that you don’t need a full 100 page traditional business plan. Instead, use the 5 page plan that I have included beneath Step 1 below.

Mistake 3: Being Obsessed with Tools.

You might be tempted to pile up “tools” that you think will help you get more done, but doing so is an expensive distraction from doing the real work. You don’t need a new MacBook Pro, business planning software, leather organization binders, iPads, or apps to get organized.

Instead, your money should be invested in graphic designers, fulfillment tools, a website and email autoresponder, and tools that automate your marketing.

At the end of this guide, I give you my full list of tools and a cost breakdown. While you might be tempted to jump to the end, I encourage you to read this guide to learn why those tools are necessary.

Mistake 4: Trying to do everything yourself.

Every great entrepreneur knows this #1 rule of business: NEVER try to do everything yourself!

Building a website looks easy. Using photoshop to create your designs looks easy. Creating nice packaging to ship your orders looks easy. Setting up payment processors looks easy.

Its not.

I know so many Black entrepreneurs who have been building their website for years that its not even funny anymore.

I also know many entrepreneurs who think their self-made logo looks great…

…And it looks like trash.

Here is the point: You can spend a full year trying to learn how to build a website and still not get it right. You can spend hours on your self made logo and end up with trash.

There are people out there who can build your site, design your logo, and ship your orders for you. And they can do it better than you. These are professionals who spent years learning their craft, and they do it well.

You can hire these people for a small fee (I will show you how later), and have great looking websites or designs in a few hours. Or you can try to do it yourself and maybe – maybe – launch in a year.

The choice should be clear. Hire cheap professionals to do what they are trained to do while you focus on moving units.

The Step By Step Guide To Starting A Black Owned Clothing Line

Now that you know what not to do, here is my full formula for starting and launching a Black clothing line. If you follow this guide to the letter, you can have a Black owned clothing line up and running in 2 days for less than $100.

Step 1: Complete Your Business Plan

Your Mission: Create a 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:

  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Income
  • and Education

Psychographic factors are mental and include:

  • Fears
  • Needs
  • Wants
  • Beliefs
  • Values
  • 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.

Subculturesocks focuses on fun socks for women.

Types of apparel can include:

  • Jackets
  • Shorts
  • Underwear
  • Bathing Suits
  • Skirts and Dresses
  • Shoes
  • 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 Entrepreneur 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.

Step 2: Outsource and Delegate

Your Mission: Spend $5 to hire your first virtual employee.

If you completed the first step you should now have a birds-eye view of your business system. You know what needs to be done, how it should be done, and the end results that your business should produce.

Now its time to put together a team of people who will bring your vision to life! But instead spending thousands of dollars hiring employees, you will be using Virtual Assistants using Fiverr.

Fiverr lets you hire Virtual Assistants from all over the world for just $5. Every business is different, but here is a short list of people you will definitely need:

I have used Fiverr to produce podcasts, create Youtube videos, and write ebooks. If you are new to hiring and outsourcing, Fiverr is an excellent place to get your feet wet.

Remember mistake #4 above? Dont skip this step by trying to do everything on your own! Spending $5 could easily save you 5 days of work. Go to https://panafricanalliance.com/fiverr and get started now.

Step 3: Launch Your Website

Your Mission: Create a sales funnel that keeps customers coming back

This is my favorite part of the process. There is nothing like seeing a good website come to life!

But before you go crazy with designs, understand that a good website has one purpose: to convert visitors into long term supporters. The process of taking a person from their first visit to your site to becoming a long term supporter is called ‘sales funneling’. Every good sales funnel captures the attention and interest of new visitors, helps them make a decision, and gives them clear next steps for taking action.

You can have the best looking website online, but if it doesnt convert visitors into long term supporters, then you will be out of business quickly.

⚠️Social Media Pages Don’t Count⚠️

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as an entrepreneur is building your business on someone else’s land. That is exactly what you are doing when you have a ‘Facebook Only’, ‘Instagram Only’ or ‘Youtube Only’ clothing store.

Having a social media account is not the same as having an actual website. Facebook is the largest social media platform in history, so its easy to understand why everyone would want a piece of that. The problem arises when entrepreneurs rely on Facebook as their only professional online presence. This is a mistake for several reasons you may not have considered.

Reason #1: If Facebook and Instagram (which Facebook owns) doesn’t like your content, they can secretly hide it. Anybody who has run a page knows this is true, but you are powerless to stop it from happening.

Reason #2:If social media platforms really don’t like your topic, they can suspend or delete your page. That means all that work you did to get your numbers up was for nothing. If you have been promoting your page all over the place, potential customers and clients will go looking for your page, wont find it, and will go elsewhere.

Reason #3:Facebook could crush you, your reputation, and your business with the push of a button because they can. Same thing with Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter.

Don’t rely on the goodness of Mark Zuckerburg’s heart to run your business.

While Facebook should definitely be a part of every Black Business strategy (for now), you must have a platform that you own and control. In other words, you need your own website. The only thing you should use Facebook for is finding your target market and sending them to your site as fast as possible.

The good news for you is that it has never been easier to start your website. Follow these 5 steps and you will be in action in under an hour!

5 Quick Steps To Launching Your Site

Starting a website used to be hard. Not anymore. There are just 5 steps you need to follow to get up and running, and all of them are cheap and easy:

Launch Your Website Step 1. Get A 99 Cent Domain


$.99* .COM Domain! You be you with GoDaddy!

This is the fastest and easiest part of the website process: Pick a URL for your website. Make it as short as possible and try not to misspell words. Shorter domain names are easier to remember, and research suggests that many of the world’s most visited web sites have domain names of between 6 – 10 characters.

Make sure your domain name is .com. This is still the easiest kind of domain for your supporters to remember and is the best suited for SEO purposes.

For a limited time, Godaddy is selling domain names for 99 cents, so you have no excuse! Click here to find your 99 cent domain name.

Launch Your Website Step 2. Set up Hosting and WordPress

Web hosting is a server that is managed by a company that stores all of the code, images, text, and media that make up your website.

Think of your URL as an address and webhosting as a house. Addresses are how people find you, and the house itself is where you keep your content.

There are thousands of webhosting companies out there, but you want a web hosting company that is willing to answer any questions you might have quickly, and who is able to keep your website live.

The company I suggest is Bluehost. Here is why:

1. Since you are using Bluehost, you get free WordPress installation, so you wont need to worry about uploading WordPress yourself. Very few companies offer that service, so take advantage and save time.
2. Bluehost is cheap, reliable, and they offer fast support for newbies.
3. Bluehost offers free SSL! If you didn’t know, Google will smack your website if it doesnt have that https and green lock in front of the domain name (read this). Having SSL also gives your visitors more trust in your site than others since it lets them know their information is secure.

DisclosureWe get compensation from the companies whose products we review. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

Click on the banner below to get signed up fast and easy.



Dont see the banner? Click here for the best hosting for your Black clothing line website.

Launch Your Website Step 3. Choose Your Free Theme

A theme is a pre-made design that you can use to give your site the look and feel that you want without having to learn how to code. A theme will automatically give you a website that looks like the ones below – all you have to do is upload your own images and change the text.

Wordpress Themes For Black Owned Clothing Lines

WordPress offers a huge library of free themes. You can search for themes from inside of the WordPress dashboard, or by downloading and uploading the theme from their website here.

You can pay extra for premium WordPress themes, but since we only have $100 to work with, I advise waiting until you are cash flow positive before shelling out.

Besides, you can get just as much out of free themes as you can by paying for bells and whistles you probably wont use or need.

Head over to https://wordpress.org/themes/ and find a theme that suits your purposes. The themes may not be completely aligned with your vision, so hire a Fiverr virtual assistant to make the changes you want (its in the budget).

Launch Your Website Step 4. Create Your Pages

Pages are sections of your website that have their own url.

There are a few pages your website must have:

  • An About Us Page that tells visitors your brand story and unique selling proposition
  • A Products Page that makes it quick and easy to purchase products
  • A Home Page that shows off all your best products and content
  • A Contact Us Page that tells your supporters and other businesses how to get in touch with you
  • A Terms of Service/Privacy Policy Page that tells your visitors how you gather and use their data. It fulfills a legal requirement to protect a customer or client’s privacy.
  • A Blog Page that educates visitors and keeps them coming back to your site.

So if your website is blackclothingline.com, your pages would look like this:

blackclothingline.com/about/
blackclothingline.com/products/
blackclothingline.com/home/
blackclothingline.com/contact/
blackclothingline.com/terms/
blackclothingline.com/blog/

Notice how each page has its own unique address? You are going to add these to the menu for your website to help your visitors navigate around.

I walk you through how to create and design all these pages in the video tutorials that I give to subscribers. Enter your best email below to get it!

Launch Your Website Step 5. Add Your Products to your page

Now that you have a place to put your products (blackclothingline.com/products/ if we are using the example above), its time to upload those images you got from Fiverr, put some descriptions in place, and price them.

Capture Emails At All Costs

Remember that our mission during this step is to create a sales funnel that keeps customers coming back. To do that, you must capture email addresses from your visitors. Here is why email capture is so important:

You have direct contact with potential supporters. Email is personal, and gives you an opportunity to reach out to individuals directly. I spend a lot of time personally connecting with Pan-Africans from all over the world. I would not be able to do this without having their email addresses.

Your message has a higher chance of being seen by potential supporters. Everyone checks their emails. Not everyone sees Facebook or Twitter posts.

And a visitor may come to your website once, but forget your URL and never come back again. If you caught their email address, you can reach out to them and bring them back time and time again.

Those reasons are why you will see a signup form on any decent site you visit.

To capture emails, you will need something called an ‘autoresponder’. An email autoresponder is a system that captures information about your subscribers (like their name, email, and location), stores that information, and sends emails to your subscribers.

Like webhosting companies, there are many autoresponder companies out there. I have tried almost all of them and the best one I have found is Mailchimp. If you have gotten an email from me, it came from my Mailchimp account.

Mailchimp is cheap ($10), easy to use, and comes with some nice signup forms you can add to your website. You can also use the Mailchimp WordPress plugin to create popups without having to code. If you need any help setting this up, leave a comment below and I will help you out personally.

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.

PayPal Mobile Card Reader
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PayPal Mobile Card Reader
  • Available on iOS, Android and Windows
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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 forum 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

If you are a part of our Black Wealth Builders Group, I will be doing a full tutorial to show you how to set this system up. But to be honest, its pretty easy to set up yourself.

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 success. Join our Black Wealth Builders Group for more tactics and strategies by clicking here.

Step 6: Scale Your Business

Your Mission: Diversify your offerings

Now that everything is set up and your social media marketing efforts are on autopilot, you can focus on growing your business

There are a few ways to scale your clothing line (or any business for that matter). They are upselling/cross selling, penetration, and diversification

1. Up-selling/Cross-selling: Sell more to existing customers

Cross-selling means recommending a product relevant to the one that’s already in their basket. An example would be recommending a matching wallet to a purse that the shopper is buying. Upselling, on the other hand, means offering a pricier version of the item. Think of it as asking the shopper if they want to upgrade their purchase.

An example of how Louis Vuitton Cross Sells.

So if your supporter buys a shirt in a particular color-way, ask them via email or a popup if they would like to buy a purse or wallet in the same color-way. That means a customer that would have only purchased one item from you now buys two or more items.

2. Penetration: Find new customers

Market penetration is how much of a particular market you can sell to. So if there are 42 million African Americans in the United States and you have 4,200,000 customers, then you have penetrated 10 percent of the market.

You can increase your market penetration by lowering your prices to draw customers away from competitors, going into new areas to sell your products, getting more media coverage, or by doubling up your promotion methods.

3. Diversification: Create new products

This is the first strategy that I want you to focus on for this project. Diversification means offering more products on top of your original offerings. You might consider expanding your Black owned clothing line to include accessories, outerwear, or custom cut and sew pieces.

If you go back to Printful, you will see they offer a wide variety of items that they will print and ship for you.

Once you are making money with your core offerings, you can go back to Fiverr and get new designs for some new Printful pieces.

Over time, you can expand your line as much as you like for as long as you like. But if you are a serial entrepreneur like me, you may be ready to try something new once your project is successful. Instead of letting your clothing line die, you can use your success to achieve even more by either selling your company or bailing out. That brings us to the final step of the entire endeavor: sale or bail.

Step 7: Sale Or Bail

Objective: Remove yourself from the business

Having a good exit strategy in place ensures that you get the payoff that you deserve for all your hard work. No project lasts forever. Even if it does, life challenges may require you to cash out or bail out.

Why You Might Sell Your Company

Some entrepreneurs build companies for the sole purpose of selling them for a nice payday down the line. Others come across a competitor that they just cant beat, and decide to surrender by letting the competitor buy them out.

You might come to realize that the fashion game no longer interests you, or you want to move into real estate. Whatever your reason, selling is a solid exit strategy.

I am not an expert in business finance, but when I sold my previous companies, I asked for a 12x multiple. That means the buyer would take my earnings for the current month and multiply that number by 12. That would be my selling price.

So if your store is making 3,000 per month and you are looking to sell it at a 12x multiple, you would get a $36,000 payday. You can increase your asking price if you have a big email list, special software, or a system that will keep running on its own with no maintenance well into the future. And if you have followed this guide, you are set up to command a higher than average asking price for your clothing line because it is a system that wont require much work or maintenance from your buyer. They can just buy your system, change bank account info, and they are good from day one. 😉

If you followed my advice and built your clothing line using Shopify, then it is easy to sell your store. Shopify has a huge marketplace that you can search through by clicking here that lets you buy and sell whole companies.

You can also reach out to competitors and offer to sell to them. They may be willing to offer much higher prices just to clear the field of a competitor and increase their market penetration.

How To Bail Out Of Your Company

If you cant stand to part with your baby, you can hire a General Manager to run the day to day business while you ‘bail’ for a few months or years. There are two things that need to be in place to make your bail out successful:

1. You need to generate enough revenue to grow the business, pay yourself, and pay a General Manager. Until you reach that level of revenue, bailing out wont be feasible.

2. You need to have written systems in place (for more on systems, click here). This is the ‘bible’ that you use to run your business, and includes all your login information, a step by step guide to creating designs, contact information for your sources, how to maintain the website, and anything else anyone would need to keep your business running in your absence. You are going to turn this system into a manual for your General Manager. Even if you dont hire a GM, you will need to hand this SOP over to your buyer if you are selling your company.

Summary

I gave away all my secrets in this post, so you have no excuse not to get started! Oh, and here is a checklist and cost recap of everything to prove you can do this with $100.

👉🏿 Click here to go to Fiverr and create a logo for your clothing line = $5

👉🏿 Click here to go to Fiverr and find a graphic designer to create your first 5 shirt or accessory designs = $25

👉🏿 Click here to go to Godaddy and buy a domain name for 99 cents with our discount link = $1

👉🏿 Click here to go to Printing Now to buy flyers that will go inside the package  (Optional – But adding this to your shipments is a sign of professionalism and strengthens your brand perception.) = $20

👉🏿 Click here to go to Mailchimp and buy your autoresponder = $20

👉🏿 Click here to go to Shopify and get a Lite plan to process your orders = $9

👉🏿 Click here to go to Bluehost to get hosting for your website with our discount link = $8 or less

👉🏿 Click here to go to Fiverr and hire a WordPress customization gig to make changes to your WordPress theme = $5

👉🏿 Click here to get Socialpilot.co to manage social media campaigns = $10

Grand Total = $93

In a world of so few options and so many resources, the world needs your Black owned clothing line. I have given you all my secrets, and I will even support you on your journey! Join our Black Wealth Builders Group to get a notification when our group challenge starts. You can also post your questions (or a URL for your clothing line) below and I will answer them personally. Finally, you can get a step by step “drip feed” by adding your email to the form below.

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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 carter
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crystal carter

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.