The number of fashion-related startups in the US is rising continuously. The main reason is that it’s much easier to sell to consumers directly these days. Just two decades ago, clothing startups needed to find a retail partner to reach their potential customers. Brick and mortar stores were hard to convince and simply opening up your own store made you dependent on a small geographic area. The rise and prevalence of shopping online has made entry into the market much easier for small American clothing businesses.
Not only the sales channel itself became a lot more accessible but also marketing your product has become much easier. Social media allows fashion startups to spread the news about their brand at no cost. Especially Instagram has become a fashion platform where one viral photo or feature can bring you more exposure than thousands of dollars would have bought a few years ago. If you have an innovative design or unique fashion idea, chances are that people will notice you. However, it’s not only that it’s easier than ever before to sell your custom clothes. It’s also easier and cheaper than ever before to make your clothes–which is at least as important.
How Clothing Manufacturers Became a Lot More Accessible to American Brands
Manufacturing and outsourcing required large starting capital until the nineties. Whether it was for local production in the US or for more affordable options in Asia, fashion brands used to own and operate their own manufacturing facilities. There was not much in between local seamstresses with limited output and huge factories producing for established brands. This made it really hard to scale production and grow a brand.
The development then started by multinationals taking their production abroad, most famously to China. After setting up their own plants there, these big companies realized quickly that they could mitigate risk and lower cost by partnering with local companies. They started cooperating with relatively small factories that often just did one specific type of clothing for a specific brand. In turn, these small factories in Asia also learned quickly that they didn’t have to limit themselves to the big brands, but they started to cooperate with anyone.
Easier communication through the internet, better integrated international payment, and logistics systems allowed it pretty much anyone to produce clothing at affordable cost and low minimum order quantities. Some challenges prevail. Good clothing manufacturers still have to be identified that can produce reliable, with all customization requirements, at low cost, and with smooth coordination; however, the basic opportunity for brands in the US was set.
Custom Designs and Niche Clothes are Becoming Crucial
Better sales channels and easier access to manufacturers have not only made it easier to start a clothing brand, but it has also led the increasing competition. To differentiate themselves, fast fashion was invented with ever-changing designs. This trend is coming to an end though, because of the low quality and bad environmental impact. While consumer spending on clothing is still increasing, it doesn’t just mean that they are simply buying more clothing anymore.
The new big thing is niche designs and concepts. The big brands have to target a broader customer base for their designs and can’t focus too much on very specific tastes or needs. This is the opportunity most often used by American clothing startups that cater to a very narrow target group. Check out pretty much any clothing startup and you will see that they are careful about catering to something very specific. That’s also the most important thing that anyone starting a clothing brand should begin with: a detailed and yet strictly delineated target group.
With respect to the choice of the right clothing manufacturer for startups, this trend for niches means that you can’t just approach any random clothing manufacturer that offers to print logos on existing designs. You need someone that can help you with the design creation, sample process and setting up manufacturing. Feel free to check out Intrepid Sourcing’s All-in-One clothing manufacturing solution in case you need help. They cater to American clothing brands with very individual needs and designs: https://intrepidsourcing.com/solutions/garments-production-package/
Name: David Garcia
Email: [email protected]
Organization: Intrepid Sourcing and Services
Address: Unit 1104, Crawford House, 70 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong
Phone: +1 347-783-6030