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How To Start A Successful Clothing Brand In 2021 [Full Guide]

how to start a successful clothing brand in 2021

EXACTLY How To Start A Clothing Brand (for FREE) In 2021

What is the coolest business to start?

When I hear that question, I usually think of starting a clothing brand and merchandise. 

Why?

Think about it, you have people wearing YOUR brand. YOUR name.

But how easy is it to start a clothing brand in 2021? Is it even worth starting a clothing brand in 2021?

Today, I'm going to tell you my story starting 'Extravagance Clothing' and let you know the exact framework you need to follow in order to be successful with your clothing brand.

By now, I've already tried so many different things within a year. I've tried dropshipping... failed. I've tried forex trading... failed. I've tried a 9-5... failed. I've tried the marketing agency... HATED IT!

Since I first started my business - the dropshipping store - I thought life was about to be a breeze. Little did I know, there is so much I didn't know, I was going to get swept up, chewed and spat out over and over.

There was a point in time when my friend and I (the one I started the agency with) were talking about how amazing it could be once the agency becomes successful, the doors it can open for us and the sort of things we're really interested in doing.

We started to spit out different ideas:
  • E-commerce
  • Apps
  • Real estate
  • YouTube
And then we mentioned starting a 'clothing brand.'

Immediately, ideas started flowing and my thinking cap was on.

It then hit me... "what if we sell Pokemon or Anime clothing?"

My friend told me to go on and try it, after all, this was still during our partnership with the marketing agency and we were both losing patience.

My first response was, "let's make this agency work first," but after the call, it loomed on me.

I remembered a site I had visited a while back called 'Teespring,' which was a website that lets you design clothing and sell it without holding or ordering inventory. It was very similar to dropshipping and so I thought "why not give it a go?"


I immediately went on YouTube and did some more digging into the best print-on-demand stores.

After a while, I came up with 2 shops - 'Printful' and 'Printify.'

They were cheaper and the quality was apparently better than 'Teespring.'

So I decided to go with Printify. I made my account, got on Canva, and started designing Pokemon clothing.

Pokemon was the biggest Anime that I could think of at the time, and after a quick Google search, my assumption was validated.

Furthermore, I couldn't find a single other place selling Pokemon clothing - especially not the quality I was going for.

After creating some initial designs, I placed them all on some hoodies and jumpers on Printify and proceeded to eBay where I sold the clothing for around $45.

This is where 3 BIG problems started to occur.

  1. The eBay and Printify integration was not working properly. I could not link the accounts together to seamlessly sell these goods.
  2. The shipping for each product was around 30 days. Like we established in the dropshipping blog, no one is willing to wait this long to receive the goods that they ordered.
  3. I finally realised why no one was selling Anime clothing, more specifically Pokemon clothing. Nintendo would sue anyone who is using their brand to make profit.
After this realisation, I still proceed to start the Anime clothing brand, selling the clothing, but to no avail. I was getting decent traffic to the clothing which meant that people were definitely looking for this on eBay, but the shipping time was a very big problem.

I sat down in silence and thought "Why can I not make a SINGLE thing work?"

I started to think of the sort of life I could be living if I could only make something work.

"I would be living such an extravagant lifestyle."

And then it happened...

"Extravagant?" "No... how about Extravaganza?"

"NO!"

"Extravagance!" There it was!

I certainly cannot be the only one who wants an Extravagant lifestyle, so I know people will definitely be able to relate to the brand and message if we portray it properly. 

Off I was again to the drawing board.

I had an idea for a new clothing brand.

I think I even had the massive whiteboard by this time which I had placed in my sister's room since it didn't fit anywhere in my room.

I started brainstorming and within a day or two I had come up with a road map, an empire that I wanted to build, and it all stemmed from this one thing: Extravagance Clothing.

I had clothing laid out, blogs, YouTube channels, courses and so much more.

I wanted to build a brand that every hustler and person who felt like they were meant for more, who wanted more could relate to.

It truly was going to be a movement, not just a clothing brand.

See picture below: The only remaining piece of the plan
how to start a successful clothing brand in 2021

After I had created this board of content and outlined the plan, I then went into Canva and designed my logo. The Infamous 'E.'

Once the logo was ready, I also went ahead and created a few designs that carried a strong message that anyone who was like me can relate to.

After I had these very rough designs, I then went onto Printify and started to place all my designs onto some clothing.

I started with hoodies, teeshirts and jumpers.

how to start a successful clothing brand in 2021



I kept this business in the dark for a while. I didn't tell friends, family or my YouTube channel that I was uploading on at the time.

A few weeks passed and I was getting closer. I started designing the site, some more clothing pieces and I was even starting to design some AMAZING, JAW-DROPPING designs that I had in mind for the second drop.

Although I still have access to some of those designs, I did accidentally clear all my browser cache and deleted all the designs that were saved on the internet.

If I knew I was going to be here today writing about this, I really would have taken more care - it still hurt a lot knowing how much time went into those designs, they were amazing.

Everything was going so well, all I really needed was to finally finish the site and I would be ready to release the first few designs out to the world.


I used a website called 'PlaceIt' to find some mockups that I can use for my own clothing brand.

Again, these pictures I used can all be found on my Instagram account here.

This was about to be the best clothing brand ever. The best part is, I was starting this clothing line for FREE.

This is when I decided to finally start to introduce the idea to the world and build some hype around it. I had already started posting on Instagram, it was alright to make some YouTube videos about it too, and even tell some friends and family. 

when I did, I got some great reactions, friends loving the clothing, also shouting it out and my sister even jumped on board and started to help out a little with the brand.

I shouted it out in many videos:
how to start a successful clothing brand in 2021

A while later, I started getting cold feet.

We were so, so close to launch and there was actually some slight interest in the brand.

I had reached out to some influencers and got them on board for shout-outs once we're ready to sell.

All this, but I was slightly scared of launching and hearing nothing but crickets once again.

I've gotten too used to starting and failing that I no longer knew what to do.

Every single business I started, I started with the expectation to fail.

Reality started to set in and I realised that we still faced the same problems as we did when I tried to sell the Pokemon clothing - delivery was a disaster and oh wait...

I completely forgot about the quality.

From the pictures on Printify, I assumed that it was going to be good quality.

By now with my current startup, I've learned that assumptions are like 'Leap-of-faiths' as Eric Ries calls them, if you don't validate or test those assumptions it could break your business.

But when I was at the position with the clothing brand, I didn't know about this. I didn't even know what an MVP is - if I did, I knew that I could have shipped out the product through Printify to test the demand.

Anyways, once it hit me that we don't really know what to expect in terms of quality, we went ahead and ordered some samples.

This pushed us back 30 days but in my mind, that was another 30 days to build up some hype.

For some reason, I expected some amazing quality and so it was only a matter of time till the clothing arrives, I take some pictures and videos of them and we launch!!

Day by day goes by, and I'm working on creating YouTube videos and Instagram posts, all shouting out my upcoming clothing line.

Finally, the day came where my clothing arrived.

This was the moment where my clothing line comes to life!

I waited for my little sister (NOT the one who was helping out) to get home from school so she can help me make a video as I unbox the clothing. 

I had an idea of creating a cool unboxing video on TikTok. My girlfriend was also growing on TikTok so we agreed to have her wear the clothing in her videos in order to shout it out.

I take off the first wrapper... my sister's recording and...

"WTF IS THIS!"

The quality could not have been any worse. I was furious, all we needed was the clothing quality to turn out okay and it failed me.

I even created a YouTube video talking about the whole experience and showing off the clothing: 


After this tragic event, I was demoralised. I did'n't know what to do but I wasn't surprised too.

I've been through failure too many times in the past year, this was not much different.

I decided to give it another go. I was not going to give up on starting a clothing brand that easy. Printify had a lot more clothing to choose from so I decided to switch the brand of clothing that we were going to use.

Although this next brand we chose had less colours, the material looked better and I liked their colours more.

So we got the refund from Printify and again, I ordered, but from the next manufacturers this time.

It took around 3 weeks for this one to arrive. The delivery was faster, and their quality also looked slightly better from what we could tell initially.

So once it arrived, I opened the package and was slightly disappointed once again. The colors were not what we wanted them to be, but the rest was almost flawless.

My sister decided to wear the hoodie, after one wash, and that revealed another flaw. 

The clothing had already started to rip near the underarm.

I uploaded another video going over this second attempt here:


After this second time, I realised that if I were to get some good quality garments, they would not be from a print-on-demand store.

So me and my sister scoured the internet to find some clothing manufacturers who had good quality clothing.

At the same time, some people were asking about the progress with the clothing, and I was running out of updates to give.

I was even running out of content to post, I have already posted all the pictures we could come up with.

After a few weeks of looking, we both started losing interest in the business.

Eventually, it became another one of my 'failed experiments.'

I was no longer going to pursue starting this clothing line.

I was now dipping my toes in the tech world with the hope of someday being able to come back and have a good stab at the clothing brand world once more.

In this somewhat long blog, there were some great lessons that I talked about:
  1. If you think you have a good idea go for it. You will never know the outcome if you don't, so rest easy and just do it!
  2. Always test your risky assumptions first. With the first idea - selling Pokemon clothing - I didn't really think about the copyright issues of using Anime characters to sell clothing. It turned out, however, that it is something you can get into big trouble for.
  3. Don't be scared to pivot. I wasted no time going from Pokemon clothing to my own clothing brand. As soon as you realise something will not work, you should not hesitate in moving on to the next.
  4. Once again, like I've mentioned in other blogs, I started this clothing brand by doing busywork. Creating logos, sites and then spent a long time making designs for the next batch when we're nowhere near ready to launch the clothing brand's first products. The whole idea of business is to launch as fast as possible. Like Mark Zuckerberg preached with Facebook: Move fast and break things.
  5. Another mistake I had repeated was that I aimed for perfection. I never shipped out using print-on-demand clothing because I thought that no one would settle for low quality like that. All I really had to do was lower the price and get the marketing right. Once I do that, I would be able to truly test the demand.
  6. Similar to this point above, I should have launched using print-on-demand as an MVP (minimum viable product). This would have let me get some early customers and then iterate the product from there by talking to those customers.
  7. I was scared to spend money. This is another mistake which can be extremely hard to correct if you've been like this your whole life. I talk about this too in my dropshipping blog, but if you don't put money on the line, it can be very hard to generate any money back,
During this time, I would watch people who have successful clothing brands such as the owners of WRLDINVSN, Trapstar, SPERGO (owned by a 15 year old boy!), and think to myself... "how is this possible?"

The truth is, all I needed to really do is:
  1. Create the initial first design with the logo
  2. Place it on 1 piece of clothing on a PoD store (print on demand)- black hoodies
  3. Get Mockups made on PlaceIt
  4. Have a quick landing page made
  5. Advertise on Facebook and Instagram to test the demand and people's reactions
After this, I would have been able to tell what we should do next.

What did you learn from this blog? Have you tried to start a clothing brand before?

Tell me below.

Till next time,
Mohamad 'can't make a business work' Alasadi

Comments

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    1. I appreciate you taking the time to read, thank you!

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