Is clothing business profitable? is the first question that will pop into your head if you have been meaning to turn your passion for business and knack for creativity into a lucrative profession.
With a plethora of clothing business model and niche, it might be dizzying for you to decide if you should invest in this business and if so, then which type of clothing business model or niche might be the most beneficial for you.
Keep on reading to find out answers to all your burning questions!
Investment Required To Start a Clothing Business
The total cost of starting a clothing business, including rent and a good amount of initial inventory, would cost you anywhere between $35,000 – $100,000.
The amount can be more or less depending on your location, the size of your clothing business, the size of the inventory, etc.
If you decide to start this business from home with minimum inventory, you can save a lot on rent and decor expenses and can start your clothing business from $10,000 also.
|Type of expense||Average Cost|
|Manufacturing cost||$75 – $500|
|Storage cost||$2.50 per item|
|Shipping cost||$3 per item sent|
|Website cost||$2,000 and $9,000|
|Licensing cost||$500 – $2000|
|Registration cost||$10 – $100|
|Labor cost||$5 – $15 per hour|
|Location security deposit||$3,000 – $10,000|
|Store preparation and decor||$5,000 – $20,000|
|Initial inventory||$25,000 – $100,000|
|Total Cost||$35,000 – $100,000|
How Much Does a Clothing Business Owner Make?
A clothing business owner makes anywhere between $23,751 and $140,935 annually, depending on the size of the business, sales, marketing efforts, product quality, etc.
And most clothing business owners easily make over $51,000 annually.
If your average revenue per user (your total monthly customers divided by total revenue) is over $216, then you will be among the top 20% of clothing businesses.
And if your average revenue per user is less than $46, then that will put you among the bottom 20% of clothing business owners.
What is the Profit Margin in a Clothing Business?
The revenue that you are making from your clothing business does not always gives you a clear picture of how profitable your clothing business is.
To determine how much of the actual money will go into your pocket, you must shift your focus towards finding out the profit margin of the clothing business.
So in the United States, the gross profit margin for a small-scale clothing business is anywhere between 4%-20%.
Calculating Profit Earned By a Clothing Business Owner
So, for example: if a clothing item costs you $10 and you sell it for $20, then with a profit margin of 12% (average), you will get to keep $2.4.
So if you sell 100 pieces of clothing in a month, your gross profit will come down to $240, which is enough to run a successful clothing business.
Different Types of Clothing Businesses & Their Profit Margins
You can choose from a wide range of clothing businesses; depending on your choice, the profit margin for each can vary.
Here is a list of different types of clothing businesses & their profit Margins:
|Type of Clothing Business||Profit Margin|
|Retail Clothing Business||53%|
|Online Clothing Business||30% – 40%|
|Small Offline Clothing Business||7% – 14%|
|Thirft Store Clothing Business||50% – 100%|
|Dropshipping Clothing Business||15% – 20%|
|Maternity Clothing Business||Up to 100%|
|Boutique Business||4% -12%|
So Is Owing A Clothing Business Profitable?
According to Zippia, as of 2023, the global fashion industry is valued at $1.7 trillion so it might be a good time to invest in this business.
A clothing business can be a profitable venture to start, with business owners making $23,751 to $140,935 annually on average.
However, the profitability of your clothing business depends on a number of factors such as:
- Marketing efforts
- Quality of inventory
- Your target audience
- Operating costs
- Competitors in your area
Maternity Wear Clothing Line Needs More Players
If you are really passionate about starting a clothing business but want to increase your chance of success in the clothing business line, then Maternity Wear is a solid niche for that.
The competition in maternity wear clothing lines is less, and the demand, as you can imagine, is more, making it a lucrative business option.
Maternity clothing businesses offer better marketing and revenue option, with business owners enjoying a profit margin of up to 100%.
The maternity clothing business line is flourishing, with over 20 million garments sold worldwide, and is expected to grow in the future as well.
So if you are looking for a lucrative niche in the clothing business industry, then starting a maternity clothing business can be quite beneficial for you.
Pros & Cons of Clothing Business
Pros of Clothing Business
- High profit margin.
- Scalable business.
- Holds word-of-mouth power.
- Creative industry.
- You get to shop for a living.
- No requirement for an education degree.
Cons of Clothing Business
- Changing trends might leave you with dead stock.
- Tough competition.
- Requires long hours.
How to Start a Profitable Clothing Business In 2023?
There are a plethora of clothing businesses, many of which fail within the first three years.
The distance between your clothing business and success can be covered by solid business planning.
So here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start a profitable clothing business:
Understand your niche market & set up a plan
When starting a clothing market, examine your intended market and see what is the purchasing behavior of customers.
You want to stand out from existing brands, and for this, you must examine what is trending and how you can make the best use of the opportunity.
Once you understand your target market, the next step is to set up a solid business plan.
Determine your business strategy, model, investment, marketing plan, need for money, and profit to have a clear path defined to reach your goal.
Invest Time in Branding
If you dream of having your own brand, then you must invest enough time to think about a brand name, logo, design, etc., that speaks who you are and what your brand is all about.
Think About Financing
Starting a clothing business is not cheap, so think about the best way in which you can fund your business.
Ask yourself do you have enough money saved up? Can you take help from friends or family? Or do you want to take up a loan?
Once you have your investment figured out, you can move on to the next steps of starting your clothing business.
Product design & Sourcing
The next step is to design clothes that target your niche market and attracts your target audience. For this, you can design clothes yourself or hire a fashion designer.
Once you have your designs ready, it is time to find suppliers who can help you with good quality clothing materials and other required help.
Creating Garment Prototypes
You cannot just send designs to the manufacturer and get your clothes ready at once.
You will need to get a garment prototype designed for all the designs, and once you like the result, you can then give bulk orders for production.
Setting up Price
This is a crucial step as the price you keep will not only determine your profit but will also attract or repel customers.
You should set up a price by taking all the expenses into account and in accordance with a profit margin of 4-20% as per the industry standard.
Marketing & Sales
Once you have your pieces ready and priced, the next step is to invest in marketing your business to reach the target audience. For this, you can choose a variety of ways and channels, including:
- Organic social media marketing (e.g., Pinterest, Instagram)
- Paid search advertising (e.g., Google Ads)
- Paid social media advertising (e.g., Facebook Ads, YouTube Ads)
- Content marketing
- Forums (e.g., Reddit)
- Paid placements
- Influencer marketing
- Banner ads
Once you start receiving orders, now it’s time to ship them to your customers if they are purchasing them online.
For this, make sure you find a reliable shipment company. And for offline orders, make sure you always maintain enough inventory.
Solid Ways to Increase the Profitability of Your Clothing Business
Starting a clothing business is a solid way to merge business sense with creativity.
So is the clothing business profitable?
The clothing business can be profitable depending on the type of clothing business and model you choose among options such as maternity wear, thrift store business, dropshipping, online clothing business, etc.
Do I need a business plan before starting a clothing business?
While it is not compulsory to have a business plan, we recommend you to create one just to have a roadmap that defines your actions and goals.
What is the difference between markup and profit margin?
Both markup price and profit margin are often confused with each other. However, markup is based on price where, whereas the profit margin is based on sales.
For example: if a t-shirt costs $10 and you mark it up for $20, that’s a 100% markup. But if you sell it for $20, your profit margin is 50%.
Is it difficult to start a clothing business?
Yes, it can be challenging to start a clothing business, especially with cut-throat competition in the market.
The clothing business requires creativity, time, patience, marketing and customer skills, etc., to be successful.
Amit Gupta is an experienced expert in digital marketing and co-founder of DrFranchises. With more than 11 years of knowledge in franchise digital marketing, SEO, email marketing, and social media marketing, Amit has helped many brands achieve incredible success online. As a passionate entrepreneur and owner of 7 franchises, he continues to study franchise models, looking at costs, revenue, and profitability to guide brands toward profitable growth. When he’s not working on digital marketing, Amit enjoys spending time playing with his beloved dog.