Traditional retail is in decline, e-commerce is on the rise, and these trends are paving the way for one thing: you.
Launching a clothing line can be daunting. Even thinking about it can feel exhausting. Sure, you have the idea, and maybe you really believe in that idea, but there can feel like so much grunt work to go behind it: How do I manage inventory? Shipping? Who do I work with to create my clothes? Where do I set up shop? Do I have time to devote to growing this business?
But, we’re here to tell you one thing: right now is the best time for opening a clothing line. And here’s why:
You may remember last year when Sports Authority, the nation-wide retailer, closing down all of it’s stores across the country. They’re hardly the only ones to do this in the past couple of years. Add them to the list of 21 other retailers who are expected to close 3,591 stores in 2017. Even J.Crew, who was being lauded for their forward thinking in 2010, just had to cut 250 employees, and have an investment firm save them from looming bankruptcy.
So, stores are closing — why would there be any reason for optimism here? Well, the reason these stores are closing isn’t because people aren’t buying things anymore, it’s because they’re shifting where they’re buying things. And that new place is online.
According to a study from UPS last year, consumers are now making 51% of their purchases online — up from 48% in 2015 and 47% in 2014. That’s over half!
Apart from being an interesting fact, this move to the web has some serious advantages for you and your soon-to-be business.
Don’t think that the tech world hasn’t been paying attention to the need for easy-to-operate online shops. Anticipating this ahead of time, they’ve already been fine tuning their e-commerce products, and there are plenty of functional, great looking sites to set up shop at.
Tools like Shopify, WooCommerce, and SquareSpace have done an amazing job of making the e-commerce experience as easy as possible, and with great success! In Shopify’s 2016 Review, they reported $15.4 billion in sales made through their platform, which is double what they did the year prior. The number of customers purchasing in their shops nearly doubled as well.
And that’s just one platform! E-commerce as a whole is on the rise, with platforms getting better and better. Even shipping is easier, with more companies offering fulfillment services, and eliminating the shipping headache.
But one more question still exists: how do I get found on something as big as the internet? It can be hard! But while the internet is huge, we also think it makes discovering your brand easier than ever.
The Global Village is a term coined by Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian Professor/Philosopher who predicted the internet — back in 1962! He also invented this concept of a global village, which essentially means that with the internet, distance is much less of a hindrance between people, and specific social spheres (or villages) will begin to form between people around the globe. So despite being so far away in distance, people can connect on the internet about the specific things they are passionate about.
But, what does this mean for starting a clothing brand? Fair question. What this means though, is that if you have an idea for a brand that caters to a particular niche, people will find it!
So let’s say you‘re into bocce ball (like, really into bocce ball), and you want to make a t-shirt line centered around bocce’ ball fandom. Odds are, there aren’t a ton bocce ballers around your geographical area. However, across the globe, there are probably tons! So, with a little bit of marketing effort, you can get in front of these people, and you can all share and express this niche interest together. In your global village.
So, if you’ve had a clothing line idea in your back pocket for a while, and are debating whether right now is the right time to start it, short answer: it is. So get designing, get planning, and get your passion project off the ground. For some extra tips, check out our article on how to start a clothing line.
And we’d love to help! Give us a shout — we’d love to help you work through some of the logistics of printing, or even fulfillment, and get your brand off the ground.