In the ultra-competitive world of fashion, it’s essential for anyone who owns a clothing line to understand the market and to align business goals based on the target audience. The challenge in selling a clothing line is that you have to maintain your artistic vision while also trying to include designs that are trendy, popular and appealing. In other words, business goals must merge with artistic goals or success will be difficult to achieve.

Analyze Fashion Trends

After identifying your target market, analyze the existing fashion trends to determine the long-term prospects of your clothing line. For example, in the 1990s, baggy jeans were a huge seller. Entrepreneurs who owned clothing lines had to adjust to this trend even if they weren’t selling jeans. They did so by offering loose-fitting pants and shirts that matched the trends of the time and took advantage of the style of that period. One of the best ways to understand trends that could impact your clothing line is to attend fashion shows that feature influential designers. Once you understand the trends, you can adjust your clothing line to appeal to commercial demand without sacrificing the artistic touches that make your line unique.

Establish Brand Appeal

Branding has become the buzzword in nearly every industry, and for good reason. With the power of social media marketing, small companies have the opportunity to compete with big businesses through brand recognition. FUBU is a great example of a clothing line that started without any brand recognition but smartly leveraged the rap culture’s fondness for stylish and colorful clothing by handing out free gear on street corners in New York City. FUBU’s owners also loaned their clothes to influential rappers so that the brand's name was included in dozens of music videos. The clothing line took off within a few years, helped in large part by the brand association that buyers made between the company and rappers who they admired.

Target Distributors

Without an established distributor, it’s nearly impossible for a clothing line to succeed. This doesn’t mean you need to find the biggest distributor in the business, but you do need a mechanism to get your product into as many stores and boutiques as possible. Target distributors based on the clothes you sell. If you’re making expensive dresses for women, then you will need a distributor that can get your clothes into high-end boutiques and designer stores. If your clothing line is hip streetwear, you should target distributors that can get your clothes into urban stores where your target market lives. Remember also that distributors can help you find a reliable manufacturer that can help streamline your production costs.

Establish Profit Margin

It’s important for you to establish both wholesale and retail prices for your clothing line so you can determine the profit margin necessary for long-term success. Typically, you would want to set your prices so you're earning a 30 to 50 percent profit margin. You must also determine how to balance your cash flow to keep your business operating during a recession or a downtime in sales.