How to Set Up a Clothing Business

Clothing is big business in Europe and North America. In Britain, style-conscious shoppers spend around £20 billion on clothing and there are many different types of clothes shops, including large department stores, high street chains and thousands of independent retailers across the country.

The clothing industry is highly competitive and established brands like New Look, Primark and Topshop make it difficult for newcomers to break into the market. It is one of the most highly developed retail sectors and entrepreneurs attracted to this field should approach it from a position of experience and competence.

Attractive clothing model
photo credit: Yu-Cheng Hsiao

Identify Your Niche

In order to survive, a smaller clothing shop needs to offer something that isn’t already provided by the chains and larger retail outlets. If a start-up business manages to be successful in this field, there’s no reason why expansion and eventual chain status can’t be possible.

Think about the gaps in the market and how your business can fill them. Usually, the large stores can afford to offer the greatest choice and range of items to shoppers due to the space and resources they have at their disposal. You may be able to differentiate your clothing business by the style of clothes you sell or the kind of customer you’re interested in attracting, be it children, students or plus sizes.

Shirt design by Le Shirt
photo credit: Le Shirt

Choose Your Location

The location of a clothing store can dictate whether or not it manages to survive. Although rents for commercial properties are much higher in the city centre, there’s no point in situating your shop in a housing area or a cheaper part of town that doesn’t receive a reasonable amount of shopping traffic. It’s best to look at several locations for your apparel store before you make a final decision. You should look into whether local ordinances and zoning regulations will apply to you, and determine the parking requirements of your store.

Ask yourself whether the location is in an area of potential growth and think about the selling point of your business’ location. Ultimately, you have to make a decision about whether the site is worth the rent. You will also need to consider your storage needs, as the price of commercial rents will have a big impact on the storage space available. It’s recommended that you contact a facility that specialises in clothing, like Warehouse Storage Solutions. This way you will be able to pay less for commercial space, and store stock safely.

Eno clothing store in Shimao Mall in Nanjing Dong Lu, Shanghai
photo credit: Jellymon

Hiring Employees

In retail, the sales ability and personality of the staff you hire should come first. Are they experienced and friendly? Your sales staff should treat customers with the utmost respect and make them feel welcome from the moment they step into the store. It’s not a good idea to select sales assistants on the basis of their appearance. Your staff should also be honest, and trustworthy enough to be left with the cash register when you’re not present in the store. Selecting staff carefully can guarantee the success of a small business, particularly in the early stages.


Please bear in mind that clothing is a competitive niche. With that being said, you need to make an effort in branding and positioning your business. Small clothing companies have successfully promote their products via local events and social media – so, you might also want to consider those venue to get the words out.