how to start a clothing line with no money

How do I start a clothing line with no money? HERE IS AN EFFECTIVE WAY TO DO JUST THAT + HOW TO FIND INVESTORS

First, let me say that this is an in-depth article on How to Start A Clothing Line with no money and do it in an highly effective way. There is is a secret to creating a clothing line on a very low to zero budget. I will cover where you should start in terms of creating your fashion label from scratch. Please know that you do have options. You no longer have to continue to let things hold you back. I will also cover how to find and land investors. This article will go over how you can overcome all your obstacles and go from aspiring fashion designer / beginner to creating and running your very own successful clothing company.
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My Fashion Industry Background
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I am Michael H. I have been working in the fashion industry for over 23 years now. It has been a truly wonderful experience. I started my own clothing line early on in my career.  Later I helped to found StartingAClothingLine.com and DigitalFashionPro.com. It all started when I created a website (not fashion related) but then realized that I wanted to sell website branded merch. We started out with T-shirts and hats. I used a graphics program to create the artwork for the T-shirts. I contacted a local embroidery shop to make the T-shirts. I was probably ordering about 20 shirts at a time. I kept the ordering in small quantity so that I could sell out faster and reinvest the proceeds. Realizing that I needed a little help, I asked some friends and family to join in to help. Together we sold the T-shirts all over town. By that time, I had forgot about the website I had created. I became more focused on the Tees we were selling and then dreamed up the idea of starting a clothing line.
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Then one summer we decided we wanted to get a booth at a music festival that was coming to the city. We all took money out of our paychecks at our regular jobs to buy 750 T-shirts. We sold $15,000 worth of T-shirts during the 3 day festival at $25 a shirt. It was amazing and it felt really good. At that point, I started thinking that I wanted to do jeans as well. I didn’t think the name we were had at the time represented where I envisioned the line going. We all agreed and we changed the name and trademarked it. Our clothing line was born. But how would we get the ultimate funds / loan / investor to really start a full-fledged clothing line? Remember, starting a clothing line with no money can be done as long as you start small + use some additional techniques I will talk about in this article.
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I couldn’t draw but I was full of clothing design ideas. I was hand sketching my ideas out and manufacturers did not want to work with my hand sketches. In fact, they hated them. I admit that my drawing skills were probably I lot worst than I previously stated. The apparel manufacturers wanted computerized fashion sketches (CAD) where they could see the detail etc. I developed a method of designing using the computer to create our clothing sketches. This fashion designing method would later become the foundation of Digital Fashion Pro.
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Back then, there was not a website like ours that had a detailed plan of action on how to start a clothing line, design it and work with manufacturers. Would be fashion entrepreneurs were on their own. Everything that we were doing was by trial and error, and believe me, we paid dearly for that. The awesome thing is, now our clients don’t have to start a clothing line by trial and error. You have our Official Step by Step Guide to Starting A Clothing Line Course. It will guide you through the path of how to successfully start your own clothing line. Readers get to take advantage of our direct fashion industry experience.
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“The Secret to Getting Investors is to Invest In Yourself First” – Michael H.
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“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” 
– Mark Twain
 
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The truth of the matter is I was just an aspiring fashion designer with an idea when we started our clothing line. I was not born rich nor did I have a wealthy family. I was just an ordinary guy with an ordinary job (not related to fashion). The same can be said for our whole team at the time. So how did we get the financing to do our clothing line? There is a secret to it! The secret is you have to be willing to invest in yourself first. If you aren’t willing to invest in yourself then who will. My business partner Jay’s favorite saying is, “Don’t say you can’t afford something, you should ask yourself how can I afford it?” This means you have to be resourceful. Therefore, starting a clothing line with no money is an exercise in creativity and strategy. 
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Before I get into the specifics of funding a clothing line venture, I will ask you to consider these statements. A few people have written us over time and asked how they can start their clothing line for free? Is anything in life really free? Well talk is. But besides that, there are few businesses that you can start without spending any money at all. Whether it is on start-up cost, inventory, business licenses, etc., you will have to spend something. If you have ever had this mindset, please look at starting a business differently. You will need a new mindset. Ask yourself, why would someone give you money to start a clothing line and all you have is an idea? Think ABC’s Sharktank. The main things the Sharks like to say is, show me what you have done? What are your sales? What is your background that lends you credibility in your venture? How much of your own funds have you invested? One of their favorite rejection lines is that, “it is too early for me so I am out.”
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Again, if you aren’t willing to invest in you then who will. Another statement we have heard is what company will just make my clothing for me for free and I’ll just be responsible for bringing my grand design idea to them. I will not spend any of my money. I’ll let you take all the risk and I want the most proceeds because after all it is my idea. If you believe in this myth, please wake up immediately! No business works like that. This is the mindset of a person who is either unwilling or think they are unable to invest in themselves. No one will hold your hand for free so that you can potentially make millions of dollars all at their expense. It simply doesn’t work like that. Sorry. If it did, we all would be rich because we all have the next great idea right?
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Think about it. If you were going to start a real estate agency. You would first have to pay for real estate classes and your real estate license. If you wanted to start a lawn service, you would have to learn a few things about lawn care and buy equipment. You get the point. There will always be a need for you to invest in yourself first. You should be up to the challenge and realize that this is your responsibility, especially, if you deem the dream you have worthy of chasing and achieving. Too many times people do not believe in themselves enough or make excuses as to why they can’t go after their dreams. Don’t let this be you!
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You can even compare getting investors for your clothing line to an artist seeking a record deal. Ultimately the record label is investing in the artist when they give them a recording contract. Who is more likely to get a record deal – the artist who walks into their office that sings really good or the artist that walks in, sings really good, has invested in their own professional demo, has invested in their own promo pictures, sold some CD’s / downloads, has their own website and has been out touring. You get the point. People love people who invest in themselves. We are all obsessed with stories of how entrepreneurs took matters into their own hands first and found success. You could be the next one with a success story! You can start your clothing line on a small budget but there are some things you should do first. You also may wonder can a person such as yourself, that does not have traditional fashion design training, can’t draw or sew still be able to become a fashion designer? Yes you can still become a fashion designer if you lack these things. 
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Why Would an Investor Want to Invest In Your Clothing Line?

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There are people everyday saying I want to start a clothing line or I have a clothing line. Let’s face it, we all know that talk is cheap. Investors want to see proof of concept. They want to know that you know what you are doing and what you are talking about. They want to see a business plan. They want to see your fashion design sketches, your website and clothing samples. If you can sew great! If you can not sew don’t let that stop you. Just hire someone that can sew your designs like a seamstress, sampling service or get a clothing factory to make your samples. Now back to investors. They want to know how and when they will get their money back and see a return on their investment. They want to know your yearly projections. And more than anything, they want to believe in you and your vision. The way to get them to believe and get excited, is by doing everything I just mentioned above. You have to show them that you are ready and willing to make your clothing line happen. This means you need to first educate yourself on the fashion business.
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In reality, your clothing line start-up cost, has to come from you. The start-up cost I am referring to is you obtaining the fashion business tools and information that will give you the educational background to start a clothing line, design it, work with clothing manufacturers and ultimately get your line in stores. An investor wants to know that they will get their initial investment back. They need to be able to trust that you know what you are doing. With that being said, trial and error would not be the best practice especially if there is help available. That is where the signature tools we offer can help you with creating your fashion label.
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Our Fashion Mogul Package + Spec Book for creating garment measurements will equip you to be able to do all of the necessary background work to get your fashion line going. You will be able to plan out your clothing line, get trademarks, create logos, create professional fashion sketches (even if you can’t draw), find clothing manufacturers, know how to work with manufacturers, know fashion jargon, learn how to design clothing, know how to create spec sheets, how much money you will need to start the clothing line, know how to effectively sell your clothing line to retailers, best practices for shipping your clothes to retailers, how to handle accounts payable, credit terms and much more. This package is deemed our Go From Aspiring Fashion Designer to Professional Clothing Line kit.
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You ever heard the old saying that banks only loan money to people who don’t need it? Why is this? Well for one, people who don’t need a loan have the appearance / collateral / bank account that makes the banks feel like they will get their money back one way or another. The same is true of an investor to a certain extent. They want to feel like you are on your way and you just need a little help. They want to know that you know what direction you are going in. They want to know what your goals are and how you plan to get there. Therefore, trying to raise funds without knowing about the fashion business and actually creating your own designs is a mistake. It is possible to get investors, we did, but you have to appear / actually be ready. So don’t say I want to start a clothing line but I can’t afford to start one. You absolutely can start a line without no money or on a limited budget! You just can’t put the cart before the horse. 
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Also when you talk to potential investors, you want to be able to talk about what apparel factory will be making your clothing and a little about them. You want to be able to talk about how much you will be paying for certain styles and how much you will sell them for etc. To have this detailed information means you need to be operating like you have an actual clothing line, even though you may not have ordered any inventory yet. All this may sound like a lot, but once you know exactly what to do by following our proven plan, it will become more simple. That is not to say there won’t be speed bumps, but overall, you will be able to execute starting your own clothing line with confidence. Remember you have to become a salesman to sell investors on your clothing line. Any great salesman knows that to sell effectively, you have to know the ins and outs of whatever it is you are selling.
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How Do I Find The Actual Investors For My Clothing Line?

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When we were first starting our clothing line we funded the start-up cost out of our own paychecks from our regular jobs. We recommend you do the same. Collaborate with a few friends or family members to help you with the start-up cost if you can’t do it all on your own. Start-up cost again are the business tools you will need to adequately move from being an aspiring fashion design beginner to knowing about how the fashion industry really works and being able to create your own designs that are manufacturer ready. 
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People / investors around us were so impressed with our designs, our samples, our name and what we had accomplished, that they wanted to invest. People had been seeing our clothing on TV, in magazines and people wearing our clothing line around the city. We would get what we called “short term small investors.” These people would invest small amounts, say for us to pay for a small production run and would get their money back with a little interest plus free merchandise. These people were family, friends, friends of friends and co-workers.
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By starting out our clothing line small but having our business in order – a few pivotal events transpired. Prior to becoming an investor, a guy had purchased one of our styles from a local store. When he wore the piece, he received lots of compliments on it. Things happened and when we met, he told us the story of him buying one of our pieces and that he was a fan of what we were doing. Another time, we were at the Saddle Ranch Restaurant in Los Angeles, CA and a guy liked what we were wearing (our own clothing line) so much that he offered to put us in contact with a few industry contacts. Again, none of these wonderful things would have came about if all we did was sit on our clothing line ideas. Instead, we chose to fight for our dream.
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You also have to make sure you have customers waiting for what you are making. We often had people even pre-ordering our clothing before we even made it because they had seen the design or actual clothing samples. We would let them pre-order and place a deposit down on the design to get it for an discount. This concept allowed us to fund some of our early production. All these are ways that you can finance your clothing line with little to no money. Most early investors are people with some type of ties to you. When you begin approaching larger investors is when you really have to know what you are talking about and have your business in order. These investors will be extra critical of your plan and they will want to see proof of concept. They will not ever be sold on just your idea alone. They won’t care that you have a hot idea for a clothing line. 
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You can also use crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and GoFundMe to try to raise funds for your clothing line. Your clothing line start-up cost should not be a part of the investment you are seeking. No one should pay you to learn what they already expect you to know. Not to mention, you have a moral responsibility to be as educated as you can be concerning starting a fashion brand prior to seeking investment. Plus, only real research will tell you how much it will cost you to finance your company and inventory. You want to be spot on in every aspect. Crowdfunding can work as long as you demonstrate a solid plan and have professional fashion design sketches, samples and prototypes to show. 
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The First Step to Starting Your Own Clothing Line / Where To Start

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The first step to starting your own clothing line is to test the waters and do research. You don’t know whether or not you want to really start a clothing line until you go through the motions. However, I assume that if you are reading this, you feel you have what it takes to make it in fashion. I also assume that you have a fashion vision and creativity that you are ready to unleash on the world. It is easy to stand outside of a window and wish you were inside. You will never know how miraculous it may feel until you decide to step through the door. You can’t be a window shopper. Seriously, decide if fashion is a passion that you want to pursue. If it is, make the decision to invest in yourself. 
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What that means is take a local fashion class if you want. Enroll in fashion school if you want. Even though the Fashion Mogul Package is our product and we may be a little bit biased but it is something you definitely want to consider adding to your arsenal. Even people who go to fashion schools still use the package so there really isn’t a substitute for it. Whether you have a lot of experience in the fashion industry or none at all, this business / design course is essential to giving yourself the edge in the fashion world. Even if you can’t draw or sew, this package can help you overcome that. In fact, most fashion brands and designers use CAD. It is an essential of doing business and creating a collection.
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The Fashion Mogul Package or our Digital Fashion Pro Style Blast Edition will walk you step by step through creating your own fashion line. From what to do on day 1 to fully having everything running. The Official Guide (included in The Fashion Mogul or Style Blast) will walk you through the entire process with clarity, using a very simplified, yet effective course of action. You will find that after completion of the book / course, your understanding of the fashion industry will be great expounded. You will no longer feel like a beginner. 
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In Closing 
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We have been helping aspiring fashion designers create their own fashion lines for over 18 years. We frequently hear feedback and updates from our clients. The most successful ones all have something in common. They were willing to invest in themselves and sought every opportunity to learn, grow and network. They believed in their vision and are actively working vigorously on their vision. 
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It is wonderful when we hear back from our Startingaclothingline.com alumni. Because of the nature of secrecy and brand image issues, many of our clients want to remain private. We totally understand this and respect it. Fashion is all about perception and people don’t like others knowing how they got started because they want to blend in with the elite. We have worked with some of the biggest fashion labels and even designers from some of the major fashion labels that wanted to branch out on their own.
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We treat every client the same whether they are from a big clothing line or they are true beginners trying to get started in the industry. We take great pride and humbleness in our position. Our clients trust us and our products to do help them achieve their dreams. It is something we do not take lightly. We want you to succeed! Because your success is our success, even if we can’t tell or share your success with others. We do not want anything to hold you back. This is why we created this site in 2004 to help ordinary people overcome the challenges of starting their own clothing line especially when they don’t have a fashion background. We also wanted to show people how they could create a clothing line with no money / on a very limited budget. Start off selling 1 or 2 of something. Then reinvest and sell 4 to 6 pieces. Reinvest and then order and sell 12 pieces etc. Work your way up! Just keep reinvesting your original seed money. 
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I love bringing up Shark Tank because it is a great show for entrepreneurs. As you may have seen on ABC’s Shark Tank, many times people get a deal with the Sharks because the Sharks often say, “I am Investing in you because I believe in you.” They say this because they see the would-be entrepreneur is passionate about what they want to accomplish and have taken the steps to invest in their own dreams. I know I said this many times in this article, but I want to drive this point home to you, if you aren’t willing to invest in yourself, no one else will. When you believe in your dreams enough to actually take action, the universe will conspire to help you. You can’t have faith without works.
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 In close, remember that there is help available to you. You can design clothing and create professional fashion sketches even if you can’t draw using a program like Digital Fashion Pro. You can get manufacturers to make your line even in small quantities. You can do all these things and more. Just believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to invest in yourself. When you ask who will be your first investor, make sure you are looking in the mirror. Once you realize this one feat, you have cracked The Secret to Raising Funds to Start a Clothing Line or any business venture. Because once you make yourself looked polished, and your business acumen is in place, people are more likely to want to invest in you and your dream. Good luck with starting your clothing line.
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Article by Michael Harper, Co-Founder of Digital Fashion Pro, StartingAClothingLine.com, and Co-Author of The Official Step by Step Guide to Starting a Clothing Line.

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