If you are a creative person who loves fashion, and design and would like to learn how to start a small clothing business from home, you are in the right place. You might think that the fashion industry is something developed by only fashion designers and world brands that dictate high fashion standards.

Not at all. So, how to start a t-shirt brand, and what steps do you need to go through?

All you need to start a clothing line is some creativity and a great desire.

Nowadays creative t-shirts are popular among youth and everyone can build such a brand fast and with little money. So, what are the steps you should go through to start a clothing business? Let’s discuss them.

1. How To Start A Clothing Brand: Design

Every clothing brand starts with an idea. Find inspiration and think about the concept of your future clothing line. Try to understand how to make it differ from your competitors.

Perhaps, your t-shirts will have a unique design or unique colors. It is up to you to decide, but this decision can influence future growth.

Fortunately, today we have AI, and we don’t need to spend a lot for hiring professional designers unless you have such skills and can do it yourself. Just take a look at the photo below – I asked DALLE to generate some weird t-shirt design and here it is.

a tshirt design with AI

So, you can play with it and come up with some fashion ideas for your future brand. Just don’t be afraid to be creative and have fun.

One of my favorite examples of a successful t-shirt brand is ‘Johnny Cupcakes’ which became popular due to its creative idea of making t-shirts. At the beginning of the brand’s growth, it was the t-shirt design that attracted so many people to the brand. A logo demonstrating cupcakes with crossbones seemed unusual, and people got interested in it. Furthermore, Johnny opened the so-called t-shirt bakeries that made the brand become popular worldwide. Just imagine you come to a bakery and it appears to be a t-shirt shop with super creative t-shirts. I would definitely buy such a cool product!

how to start a clothing brand

Johnny Cupcakes shop

This example shows that you should think out-of-box while starting a clothing business. In such a case people will pay attention to it, remember it, and make it popular sharing their emotions from collaboration with you.

Show your individuality

I have another example, the t-shirt brand ‘Raubdruckerin’ creates the design for their t-shirts using street architecture for prints. The idea of traveling around the world and investigating new forms on the streets and then printing them on clothes is more than just great. Why not if people love it?

A t-shirt brand creating prints on the street

Raubdruckerin t-shirt print

Such printing road trips bring not only new designs to the brand collection but also an inspiration to its creators and strong promotion to the brand itself.

2. Production

When your design is ready, it is time to get down to production and make your product real. Let’s discuss how you can do it in a simple way.

  • Use online services

Nowadays, some popular online projects provide great opportunities for designers and allow them to sell t-shirts and other products with one’s own design. One of the most popular projects you can try is Threadless.

All you need is to register on one of such platforms, upload your design, select the items you would like to sell with your design (t-shirts, bags, accessories) and that’s it. When your items are sold you earn your commission. It is an excellent and simple way when starting a brand of clothing because there is no need to think about production and channels of brand promotion.

  • Find a t-shirt supplier

Another way to produce a collection for your clothing brand is to find a t-shirt supplier. There are companies that supply t-shirts and make customized prints at the same time. I think it is very convenient and can save a lot of time for you. At the very first stage, I would recommend testing the product and produce only several items. You can spread them among your friends and get feedback. If you see that people love your product and are interested in purchasing more, start increasing your production volume.

Read also: 6 basic steps to start a startup and change your life

  • Find local sewers

Finding local sewers for the first fashion brand collection was the way I started my own clothing line Capslook. I got inspired by some fashion looks on Pinterest and imagined how my hoodies should look like. My investments were minimal because I wanted to test the market and learn the demand. As a result, my product got popular on Instagram in the shortest time frame and now it is presented in 7 showrooms and tenths of marketplaces across the country.

3. How To Start A Clothing Brand: Meet your clients

Think about the way you would like to sell and promote your product. Here are two basic ways how to do this:

  • Sell your products locally

If you start a local business, you can find a partner. For example, if there is a brand with sunglasses in your city, you can join it and share the cost of the shop rent. Such a partnership can help you to sell a product to real people, get honest feedback and become popular in your city.

  • Create an online shop

The world of the internet provides unlimited opportunities for any product. You can promote your brand on the international level and there is no need to pay for rent. Create your own website using WordPress which is as easy as a pie. Alternatively, you can use other website-building platforms like Wix or Shopify.

  • Sell on marketplaces

How to sell on the Etsy marketplace

Etsy is a highly popular platform to sell clothes on.

Step 1. Go to etsy.com and on the top right click Open your Etsy shop

Step 2. Select your currency, country, and shop name. Click Save.

Step 3. Finish your setup – add a logo, a banner, and a welcome message to your shop page.

Step 4. Add your first listing to your Etsy shop.

How to sell on the Facebook marketplace

Facebook as a marketplace is growing and getting more and more popular. Use this social network with high traffic to sell your clothing line items. So how to sell on the Facebook marketplace?

Step 1. Go to https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/

Step 2. On the left-hand side find the button +Sell something. Click on it.

Step 3. You will see a pop-up window offering you to select the type of product you are selling. Select an Item for sale.

Step 4. After that, you will be redirected to the Marketplace page where you need to put all the information about your clothing item. Make sure you upload a quality photo of your product and a detailed description.


How much does it cost to start a clothing brand?

The primary investment costs may vary depending on your clothing brand niche and the business model you chose. From my perspective, you can start as low as $100-$200 to test the market. I wouldn’t advise you invest a lot from the very start. For example, for the Capslook brand launch, I spent $100 to sew 5 hoodies, and the same amount was spent for marketing (to start social media with targeting costs). So, if you are interested in how much it costs to start a clothing brand, here are the primary costs to consider:

  1. Product Design. Costs include payments for designers (if you’re hiring) and the creation of prototypes. This can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
  2. Materials and Manufacturing. Material costs vary depending on quality and type, and manufacturing can be local or overseas, affecting the price significantly. Initial production might require at least $5,000.
  3. Branding and Marketing. In fact, you can do it for free or delegate to a designer. Costs for logo design, website creation, and marketing materials can start from $2,000.
  4. Legal and Administrative: Includes business registration, trademarking, and other professional services. Costs could start around $500.


As you can see, everyone can build a fashion brand in 3 simple steps. Starting a clothing brand all you need is some creativity and a great desire to make a cool product that people will love. I wish you good luck with your startup!

In case you have questions or comments, or maybe you would like to share your experience, let me know.


Tetiana Artemova

Tetiana Artemova is an entrepreneur and owner of IStartHub, a business media for ambitious female entrepreneurs and small business owners.