How Much Does It Cost To Start a Clothing Line – The Cost Breakdown!

Cost To Start a Clothing Line

Starting a clothing line is both thrilling and tough. It’s exciting because you can bring your unique style to life and dream of building a successful brand. But it’s also challenging as it involves a lot of hard work, creativity, and money. “How much to start a clothing line?” is a big question for anyone considering diving into this adventure. There are many costs—designing clothes, making them, promoting your brand, and more. Let’s break down these costs so aspiring entrepreneurs can get a clear picture before jumping in.

Breakdown of Costs to Start a Clothing Line

Material Costs

Cost To Start a Clothing Line

The expense of raw materials is crucial when running a clothing line, as it significantly impacts the overall clothing manufacturing cost estimation. These materials, including fabrics, packaging supplies, and labelling elements, contribute to the total material cost. When combined with labour costs calculated based on the production location and order volume, these material costs form the basis of your manufacturing cost structure. Costs to Start a Clothing Line

Design Costs

When launching a clothing line, the design of your garments plays a pivotal role. They serve as the foundation of your products, with many customers prioritising the visual appeal of the print over other factors like quality and comfort. While this may seem like an opportunity to spare on quality, it highlights the importance of investing in design and production.

If you possess graphic design skills, you can save money by creating your designs rather than hiring professionals. However, as your business grows, you’ll likely require additional assistance from other talented designers to keep up with demand. Ultimately, it’s unavoidable that design-related cost clothing will be part of starting a clothing line.

Manufacturing Costs

The primary expenditure for many entrepreneurs is the cost to manufacture clothes, which significantly shapes their overall business strategy and potential growth. A thorough understanding of these costs is crucial, as they can impact not only the scale of the business but also its target customer base.

Within this category, there are various sub-factors to consider, including material selection and production processes, which can vary greatly depending on the product type (e.g., casual wear, athletic wear, or children’s clothing).

To ensure accuracy when estimating the average cost for clothing production, consulting with suppliers specialising in each area is essential. By doing so, entrepreneurs can establish a realistic pricing structure and set themselves up for success in their chosen market.


As the volume of orders increases, the cost of clothing manufacturing typically decreases. This phenomenon holds across various industries, including garment and apparel production. Manufacturers often offer lower prices for larger orders due to fixed setup costs that become more spread out over greater quantities.

For instance, if you’re considering producing 500 shirts but previously ordered only 20 pieces, you may notice a reduction in manufacturing expenses. Although some bespoke clothing makers might accommodate smaller batches, there’s usually an added fee associated with these services.

In addition to order size, the desired production quantity is equally important for the success of your business. When launching, it’s generally advisable to start with a modest number of items to test the market and gather customer feedback.


Manufacturing costs can vary greatly depending on where you produce your clothes due to differences in labour costs across countries. Small-scale production, with its lower quantity requirements and higher per-unit prices, tends to favour countries like China, Bangladesh, or the Philippines over Western nations like the US.

Large-scale producers may find the labour rate disparity more significant than small ones. As a result, these latter countries tend to dominate the global manufacturing landscape. However, many clothing manufacturing process, including those handled by design firms, continue to originate in Western regions.

To gauge your readiness to expand and improve the quality of your clothing line, it’s wise to launch it incrementally. If you operate independently, some factors crucial for scaling up won’t apply initially, though others might become essential later.

Labour Costs

In other words, don’t try to go it alone when how to start a clothing line. It’s crucial to surround yourself with a team of dedicated professionals, including third-party providers like fulfilment services, who will help you run your operation smoothly.

By paying your employees fairly and valuing their contributions, you can expect top-notch work and contribute to their growth and success. Don’t underestimate the importance of investing in your team – they are key to helping your business thrive.

Marketing Costs

Nonetheless, investing in marketing initiatives is crucial if you aspire to establish a reputable presence within the fashion industry and understand the overall cost to start a clothing brand. Allocate a modest budget towards digital advertising platforms such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, and others, as they are the most effective channels for reaching your target audience today.

Additionally, consider providing complimentary product samples to select individuals or influencers in your network to generate buzz around your label. While unpaid exposure through social media and personal connections may offer some traction, augmenting your efforts with paid promotions can significantly enhance your brand’s visibility and credibility in the competitive clothing market.

Licensing or Business Permit

To lawfully operate your clothing business, it’s crucial to register it. As a private individual, you can earn a certain amount of money legally, depending on where you live. Starting a clothing business involves several costs, such as acquiring a business permit and covering taxes, which are essential factors to consider when evaluating how much to start a clothing line.

It’s essential to factor these expenses into your budget and avoid letting them hold back your progress in launching your fashion venture.

How Much Does It Cost To Start a Clothing Line In 2024?


Design and Development Cost

Cost To Start a Clothing Line

When creating a brand’s visual identity, businesses have two main options: either hire a dedicated in-house designer or opt for an external solution by working with freelance professionals.

Unfortunately, many startups tend to choose the latter due to budget constraints. Here’s why: while bringing someone onto the payroll might seem like a good idea, it can be quite costly, especially if your company doesn’t yet have sufficient work to engage them fully.

As a result, most entrepreneurs prefer to save money by outsourcing their design needs instead. But what exactly does this process entail? According to industry standards, the startup expenses for a clothing store design collection range from roughly £750 to £1,000.

Of course, these figures may vary depending on how many designs you aim to create. Nevertheless, there are strategies you can employ to minimise the cost to start a clothing line during the initial design stage – such as taking on some tasks yourself!

Manufacturing Cost

Manufacturing will be your single most expensive cost to make a clothing brand. That being stated, when it comes to production, numerous options are available to a company. The most important are:

  • Print on Demand: This production process involves a manufacturer printing a product after receiving an order from one of your clients. As a brand, you keep no inventory and merely pay the provider after the sale.
  • White Label Clothing: This production technique involves a supplier customising pre-made clothing to match your branding needs. Because this form of production frequently has lower MOQs than a customised service, overall costs are likely cheaper than those of a custom clothesmaker service.
  • Bespoke Manufacturing: A clothesmaker will create personalised pieces tailored to your brand’s demands. This mode of production typically has larger minimum order quantities and lengthier turnaround times.

In essence, each of the three clothing manufacturing methods comes with unique expenses when launching a brand. Using a print-on-demand service, for instance, may not result in any upfront costs beyond sample creation, as no physical inventory holdings are required.

On the other hand, working with a white-label provider typically involves some initial investment for the clothing sample maker. However, these costs are generally less than a fully bespoke solution due to smaller minimum order quantities (MOQs) and reduced overall spending.

Finally, opting for a made-to-measure approach carries the highest cost of starting a clothing line, primarily from higher MOQs and accompanying costs such as design, sampling, and various production elements, including trim hardware manufacturing.

The total price tag for this process stage can span quite widely, ranging from approximately £3,500 to £20,000, depending on factors like the number of designs, target audience, desired product quality, etc.

Marketing and Sales Cost

Cost To Start a Clothing Line

When considering “how much is it to start a clothing brand?” it is important to count marketing and sales costs. Consider the expense of constructing, developing, and maintaining a website and the time it takes to create one. Similarly to design, there are two options throughout this phase:

  • Build your website: lesser cost, more time
  • Hiring a designer to construct your website: more expensive, less time

The optimal path for you and your brand will be determined by how much time you have available to study the fundamentals of website development. You should grasp the fundamentals to troubleshoot if necessary later on.

The cost of a website might vary based on the site’s requirements. You can, however, sign up for a basic Shopify plan for £19 per month (paid annually), which will offer you the CMS to develop your website.

After you’ve constructed your website and created your product, the following step is to decide on a marketing strategy. Similarly to the preceding points, there are a couple of approaches you can take, with the two primary routes being:

  • Organic marketing is marketing that does not cost you money to run. Examples include social media posts, giveaways, reels, and so forth.
  • Paid marketing refers to marketing strategies requiring paying to gain a consumer. Ads on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube are some examples.

Startups often opt for organic marketing as it’s a more affordable approach compared to paid marketing. With organic marketing, the initial investment is limited to creating content, making it a slower but less expensive way to attract customers. On the other hand, paid marketing requires more skill and expertise beyond just media buying.

This includes conducting thorough research to develop effective creative strategies, continuously testing and refining them, and tailoring each strategy to a specific target audience across various platforms. While paid marketing offers faster and greater scalability in the short term, it comes at a higher cost when finding successful strategies to acquire new customers.

In summary, the estimated cost range for marketing and sales efforts could fall somewhere between £220 and £5,000 (with ongoing expenses), depending on the specific approaches chosen.

Inventory and Warehousing Cost

As we previously discussed, the cost to start a clothing line’s production of products is just one aspect of your overall operational expenses. Once your goods have been created and delivered, you must also factor in the costs of storing, managing, and fulfilling orders.

Many brands typically keep their stock in their homes or rented spaces until they become too busy to handle everything in-house. While this approach might suffice for small operations, it often proves impractical as the company grows.

When you’ve got a sizable quantity of merchandise on hand or when you reach a particular level of sales, working with third-party logistics providers (3PLs) could make more sense. These specialised firms store, categorise, and ship orders on behalf of e-commerce companies like yours.

Here’s how it goes: You send all your inventory to the 3PL, which integrates them into their systems after receiving them. Then, whenever someone places an order on your website, the 3PL receives the details and handles every step of the process – picking, packing, and delivering the item straight to the buyer’s doorstep.

Each 3PL has its unique set of processes and pricing structures based on variables such as the total volume of stock, variety of product lines (SKUs), geographic location, typical package dimensions, etc. So, expect the charges for outsourcing warehousing and distribution services to range between £10 and £500, depending on these factors.

Legal and Business Cost

Ah, the final hurrah! As you wrap up your journey to launching your fashion empire, don’t forget those last but not least details that can make or break your budget. The legal, business and random expenses pop up here and there.

Don’t fret, though – they may seem like small potatoes compared to the initial startup costs, but trust me, they add up quicker than you think! So, what are we looking at? Well, you’ve got your standard business essentials like insurance, accountant help, registering your business, buying a domain name, and setting up your email.

And, oh boy, the prices range from £50 to a slightly more substantial £300. It’s all worth it for that sweet success, right?

Do You Need An LLC To Start A Clothing Brand?

Cost To Start a Clothing Line

You don’t necessarily need an LLC (Limited Liability Company) to start a clothing brand, but forming one could offer several advantages and protections, depending on your circumstances and business goals.

Starting a clothing brand can initially operate as a sole proprietorship or partnership, depending on the number of people involved. However, registering your business as an LLC or another legal entity can provide various benefits:

  • Limited Liability Protection: An LLC separates your assets from the business. Your assets generally remain protected if the business faces legal issues or debts.
  • Credibility and Professionalism: Having an LLC can enhance your brand’s credibility and professionalism in the eyes of customers, suppliers, and potential investors.
  • Tax Flexibility: LLCs offer flexibility in terms of taxation. They can be taxed as a pass-through entity, meaning profits and losses pass through to the owners’ tax returns.
  • Business Expansion and Growth: If you plan to grow and scale your clothing brand, having an LLC can make it easier to attract investors, apply for loans, or bring in partners.

How Much Money Do You Need To Start a Clothing Brand – In Total

Cost To Start a Clothing Line

Upon examination, the cost to start a clothing business appears to involve various expenses that may not have been accounted for during the initial planning stages. While the exact costs associated with each category will differ based on the brand identity and other variables, the following primary areas of investment will likely arise manufacturing, marketing & advertising, legal fees, office overhead, and sample production. Factoring in all of the above, we expect the final cost of starting a clothing brand in 2023 to be from £4,500 to £25,000.

To Sum Up!

Starting a clothing line involves many costs, from design and manufacturing to marketing and legal expenses. While the specific expenses may vary based on your brand’s vision and scale, being aware of these costs is crucial for aspiring entrepreneurs. It’s not just about creativity; it’s also about financial preparedness. Remember, careful planning and budgeting are key to navigating the complexities of launching a clothing line. Aspiring fashion entrepreneurs can take confident steps toward realising their clothing brand aspirations with dedication, a solid clothing line business plan, and a clear understanding of these costs. Costs to Start a Clothing Line