Even if you have been making your own clothes for years, know everything about garment construction and the properties of different fabrics, and have a sketchbook filled with great designs, you will need an additional set of skills to turn your creative product into a business. To set up a successful menswear fashion line, you will need to understand how to market your fashions, produce your line and develop a plan for your business.
Analyze the market you want to target. The market for men’s sportswear will require a different approach than the market for high-end business attire, and will appeal to an entirely different demographic. Conduct interviews with men you consider potential customers for your line. Take notes on their favorite designers, the price ranges and stores where they shop, what they like about their favorite pieces and common complaints about clothing and clothes shopping in general. Talk to menswear retailers who carry brands popular in your target market about buying trends as well, suggests PowerHomeBiz.com.
Choose a niche in your menswear line to help narrow your focus. According to the Small Business Administration, trying to appeal to too many different markets is a common mistake among entrepreneurs that can lead to failure. This is especially true if you’re starting a men’s fashionwear line, because even a small line will involve significant, upfront production costs. Choose a specific style to focus on, such as sportswear, business casual wear or more formal, dressy attire, to begin establishing your line. You can always expand your range of styles after you establish your brand.
Develop a business name and logo. Refer to your market research to ensure that these essential marketing tools will appeal to the type of men you want as customers. For example, sporty fashions will probably do better with a brand name and logo that connotes action, or even danger, while club wear or business attire may be better served by a logo that projects a refined, urban aesthetic. Study the advertising materials for successful designers in your market, in men’s magazines and websites. Take notes on what makes these ads effective.
Create a sample line. Shop for clothing manufacturers or professional tailors that can create pieces from your designs. Samples give you a product to photograph, test market, and show to menswear retailers and design firms in your market. According to the Starting a Clothing Line website, expecting a company to take the financial risk of producing your menswear line based on sketches and ideas alone is unrealistic. Use your samples to develop a better understanding of your production costs, and to begin promoting your line to retailers, men’s fashion design houses or even direct to customers online.