How to Start My Own Jeans Company

by Liz Gold - Updated June 26, 2018
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Khloe Kardashian did it – and so can you. Starting your own jeans company is as American as apple pie and with a vision and the help of the internet, you will be on your way to putting your own twist on skinny jeans in no time.

But before you jump in, you'll have to know what requirements are needed to launch a company. While there are some legal and administrative tasks that need to be done, it's not as burdensome as you may anticipate.

Get Your Licenses, Permits and EIN

First things first, pick a name. Don't worry about branding right now, just pick a name so you can get the ball moving. Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is a federal tax number to identify your business. You don't need an EIN unless you will have employees or plan to form a partnership, LLC or corporation, but go ahead and get one anyway by registering on the IRS website. Next, register your trade name if you are not operating under your own name. Use your EIN to obtain your business license in your state and city. Find out if you require any other permits or licenses to operate in your area. You want to know this information up front before you start investing money. Since you will be selling products, you'll have to get a seller's permit, which you can obtain through your state department of taxation's website. Now, you're ready to open a business bank account with your business name and EIN. Use this account for all your business-related transactions and expenses.

Once you are aware of all the required legal and administrative details, you can focus on the fun part of starting your own jeans company.

Do Your Research

Who are you trying to reach? Who is your ideal customer? How will you develop your sizing? And, how will you differentiate yourself? Start with what people are already doing and research the market thoroughly. Talk to other designers and prospective customers. Take a look at what jeans styles and designs are coming out of design hubs like Amsterdam and Los Angeles and study how global influences impact the denim market. Styles and trends will vary from place to place. Take note of your likes and dislikes.

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Create a Must-Have Item

The denim market is crowded so you will need to differentiate yourself. Figure out what your must-have item will be. Is it a jean jacket? Flares? Boyfriend jeans? This will be your flagship product you will start to develop and market. Sketch it out or hire someone to design it for you. It doesn't need to be fancy, but you will need a visual illustration for the next step in the process

Design a Prototype, Find a Manufacturer and Raise Capital

Developing a sample of your garment will help you be able to talk about it with potential buyers. These often are expensive, so be prepared to pay an upfront cost for this. Once you have a prototype, you can research and interview potential manufacturers for producing your garment. Shop around and don't settle. You want a good relationship with your manufacturer. To prepare for manufacturing, start thinking about how you will raise revenue through investments from friends and family, loans or from your own personal money. Most indie brands starting out have a budget of $500 to $2,500.

Market, Market and Market

To start, create a website where people can go to buy your brand's jeans. Then, use social media and word of mouth to drive people to your site. Contact fashion bloggers and influencers and ask them to review your garment. While it's great to have your jeans in a brick and mortar store, the online commerce market is where you have an opportunity to really expand your brand.

Solicit Feedback

Once you have a prototype and have gone through your first round of production, ask people for feedback. Find your target customers and ask them to be honest: Do they like the feel of the jeans, the quality and finish of the denim? Do they like the color? Ask if they think the jeans are well-priced. If your customers are asking for something different, listen and incorporate the changes that make sense and are relevant to your brand.

Starting your own jeans company can be an exciting endeavor. Know all the elements that go into creating a denim company start-up so you aren't met with any surprises. There will be some grueling moments, but don't give up. With dedication and hard work, the American dream can be yours.

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