3 Methods For How To Start
An Online Clothing Business

(Made 12/2018; Modified 11/2022) Post may contain affiliate links; click here for statement.

Since time and money are modern constraints, let's look at different ways to begin a clothing store from that perspective.

How to start an online clothing business? This writing goes over things from the free option, over to the minimal cost choice, and ends up with the more expensive alternate path.

Begin an online clothing design business.

You may want to skip to the last "More Expensive Option" below if money is not a concern and you want to spend on marketing or outsource help in some way. This could help save much time in certain cases, though researching clothing topics could still help greatly. Certain steps like market research should probably still be followed.

Like almost any endeavor online, this one takes time to do right. If you're working at this alone, it could definitely take some time. Things just depend on the market's wants, the competition level overall, even the clothing niche topic you want to get involved with.

Doing some research beforehand can make things run more smoothly.

  1. Look to the Google Trends tool. Verify that there is a big enough market for your topic of choice. Beginning with one topic or specializing in a single field could really help sales figures. Returning customers are probably more likely with specialization.
  2. Go research Amazon prices. For the chosen topic, look at current prices by typing the word "shirts" or "clothing" alongside the topic, in the search bar of this store. Notice the prices, the design quality, and the number of results for the competition level. All this is useful knowledge beforehand.
  3. Research best selling varieties. Look at trying to determine the best selling kinds of shirts, clothing or accessories. What kinds of quality of apparel do people usually look for? What kinds of artistic clothing do people buy more than others? Are there specific genres that are bought online more frequently than the rest?

By taking time to research before beginning, you could end up ahead of other stores that haven't taken the time to do these things.

Consider ad buying. Know that one way to bypass much competition is by directly buying some online ads to be run. There are many places that offer this. You could discern whether that's one route available in the future. It may be better to see if you can sell things for free to begin.

Necessarily, you'll want to raise prices enough to allow enough margin to support ads while still making some profit. Though, if fulfilling orders doesn't take much effort, this approach may well be worth the cost of some ads.

How To Open An Online Clothing Store

Open a nice online clothing store.

1. The Free Option

This option is not strictly about actually "opening a store" but rather developing a clothing business as an apparel artist. As an artist, one could license out design work. Let's look at two ways in which to do this.

Way #1 is Amazon Merch. Under this program, they can accept someone either with or without an existing designer website. They treat the artist or individual as someone who holds full rights to the work uploaded.

Potential customer reach is huge. Potential profit could be lower, maybe 15-25% of full shirt costs. It is probably worth the profit loss though. Amazon takes care of printing fulfillment, shipping, returns, and customer questions.

Way #2 is about finding someone to upload your designs somewhere or anywhere, and splitting the profits this way. In the very least, a simple legal contract is recommended. That will help things stay fair and square for the parties involved.

Potential profit is even lower than when uploading and doing SEO or keyword research yourself, as the initial free prior recommendation. So for more of a lazy approach to things, maybe 10% profit more or less. It may still be worth it, as no work is necessary except making the designs and handing them off (as licensed work you own of course).

2. Minimal Cost Option

DraftNook uses this model currently.

Having a website along with the free storefront tends toward lower-to-minimal costs. This combination makes a nice clothing store. Two different working components come together and form a nice lower-cost option. Some ingenuity can end up saving money over time.

Action #1 is to get a domain and hosting. SiteGround is excellent. Other hosting businesses don't seem to have this level of customer support one may need. Then market the website for free with social media locations or with low cost ads. Through beginning with budgetary concerns in mind, you can determine if growth is possible with less spending.

The domain and hosting are maybe $50-$100 yearly. Another $100 or more yearly for low cost promotions. Ads may be wanted for quicker growth, especially if alone with no social media influence. Several things can help - local ads, online ads, business cards.

Action #2 is to have an absolutely free store installed on your website! Let's be honest here. Not too many people care to mess around with this. Understanding how to configure things takes time. Setting things up takes even more time. For others, paying monthly for a store is an option.

The DraftNook Store is an example of the free storefront. Love not having to pay monthly for some paid choice on the market. Here is why ...

If you're interested in getting something free while learning how to open an online clothing store, then OpenCart may be the choice for you. Be prepared though for trial and error, for time being used just to make things function correctly.

The OpenCart shopping cart can be installed easily if going with the prior recommended hosting company. When buying a hosting plan, OpenCart can be placed on a subdomain of the acquired domain name. Alternatively, it could also be placed on a site location of your choice. And it's free! A great option, but with a learning curve.

3. More Expensive Option

Now for the last and more expensive way.

Try the Shopify Storefront selection for getting going faster.

Have an easier time than having to learn about running your own clothing store online. With less control yourself though, the Shopify team has more control. So it's a bit of give-and-take here.

For the price though, it may end up saving countless hours. This depends on the tech savvy of the individual or business. If making $15-$30 hourly, this may easily be worth the monthly cost.

Of course the two cheap ways to market include free social media and cheap ads you can look for and locate. Telling friends or giving away cheap business cards can help hold costs down.

With more money or success, marketing efforts and expenses can evolve.

How To Start An Online Boutique For Free

Begin an online boutique for free.

What is it? A boutique is a small store that sells luxury clothing, jewelry or handmade goods. This is of course often more expensive than the ordinary products of the same variety.

It is more designer-oriented, which is an important distinction. One could support the small designer or business that is an upstart or just beginning. Looking at it like this may make paying a higher price more easy.

In a sense, the DraftNook store here can be considered an online boutique. The products are unique and of small inventory in the sense I try to sell them exclusively here on this website. These things generally have more time and thought placed into them, rather than just posting anything within the store itself. I try to bring some nice things into existence there.

Being online presents a nice opportunity to specialize. Find a topic you like and have products designed around that. Believing in the artwork or fashion really assists the process much.

Two ways materialize when discerning how to start an online boutique for free.

  1. The Etsy route. Try out things in the Etsy.com handmade or designer marketplace. Only then try and set out on your own when achieving some relative success. Having customers ready to buy makes this marketplace viable for testing out your products. You don't need any website to begin.
  2. The OpenCart route. Just buy a website and hosting. Install OpenCart freely through the hosting service. SiteGround offers this of course. There are other less-known providers that may do the same.

Both ways are relatively free. Etsy is free, though it comes with low fees every few months for each artistic listing. OpenCart is free, but requires a prior website. So in reality, free to low cost is the range for these two selections.

Beginning any online store or clothing boutique for absolutely nothing is quite challenging to do, while trying to be taken seriously by customers.

An Underutilized Method

There is one possible way for needing to have things absolutely free.

Have someone sponsor the new boutique. Get someone else to pay the year's $100 cost for example. Then state or sign an agreement that you'll pay them back the full amount plus 25%-50% interest, after reaching a certain revenue threshold like $500.

Reaching the certain revenue threshold is crucial before the return payment. This insures you have enough to fund the venture in the event of slow times or no growth for the immediate future. You don't want to borrow money again at interest.

Hope you've gotten some good information from this website reading.

Just go on over to the about page to learn about offerings, if you happen to need some website writing or other service done. Also offered is clothing for family reunions, the small business, and even individual concepts. Thanks for reading.