How Much Does It REALLY Cost to Launch an Online Clothing Brand?
I get asked this question a lot and I also hear so many other industry experts answer with the same words, “take the number in your head and add a zero (or two zeros)”. Realistically, the amount of money and work to launch a fashion brand IS almost always underestimated. However, I have worked with so many brands in the pre, post, and mid-launch phase and I can tell you that each brand is unique and this is not a simple question.
First, you’ve got to find your path– so ask yourself some questions- are you using blanks or creating your own styles? Are you making a collection or one product? What is your sales strategy?
The answers to these questions will dramatically affect your cost-planning and how much money each category needs.
Let’s break it down into these all-important categories!
Creating your perfect product(s) should be a top priority, and to-do it right is essential. Development comes after you have come up with your brand identity, your vision, and your initial ideas for silhouettes. Break it down by style and remember that development includes sourcing, tech packs, pattern making, sampling, and production preparation.
It could go without saying but I’m going say it anyway- budgeting for your product to be produced is a MUST! It is almost always the LARGEST part of your budget! To know what this cost will be, you should be able to get accurate quotes for production from your development team (who ideally are also handling your production!). Make sure to fill out a costing sheet for each style and plan your production to give you enough time for success.
Equally as important as your development is your marketing and your budget should reflect that. Without it, you may not get any sales or be able to get your identity out into the shopping world! This includes your website optimization, social media, Google, networking and advertising to name a few. So often this is underestimated and underfunded- it is never a good idea to undervalue marketing… As long as you have a good team, the rule is the bigger your marketing budget is, the faster your marketing will work.
Let’s not forget this final piece, it is how you are going to get your product into your customer’s happy hands. This includes warehousing, order fulfillment and/or store overhead, pop-ups and events. Also included is how your product is presented to the final customer (think packaging), as well as your shipping methods and speed of delivery. Lastly, your customer service by email, chat or phone must be prompt, professional, and reasonable.
So what is the COST you ask? Unfortunately, that is unique for each brand and therefore there is no one answer. There are many paths and speeds you can take when embarking on your launch journey!
Need help figuring this out for your brand? Book a one-on-one planning consultation at Michigan Fashion Proto and we can help you.