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Podcast: Episode 1

How to choose where to get started based on these 3 different scenarios.

Episode 1: Starting an apparel line requires deciding if you want to print-on-demand, private label or custom cut and sew.

You have a lot of choices when it comes to creating apparel and fashion products.

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If you’ve always wanted to start a clothing line, you likely already have a good idea of the particular products you want to create and sell. For others, creating a clothing brand may represent a unique and interesting opportunity to design a product that represents your personal style—but you may be unsure of which products to sell.

Regardless of which category you fall into, it’s important to carefully consider all clothing and apparel options before deciding to move forward on one of them.

This is an important first step to consider, because this decision will drive your designs, apparel items, budget and timeline. We will explain more steps in upcoming episodes. Depending on what kind of clothing line you want to create, there are likely going to be many different steps involved in the process. The more involved you want to be in the sourcing and production of your line, the more time, effort, and money you’ll have to invest. If you’re just interested in starting something quick and easy, there are options for that too. In this podcast we’re going to show you step-by-step how you can start your own clothing line whether you have a small budget of $500.

TypeDifficultyCostTime Input
1. Print-on-DemandVery Low$Very Low
2. Wholesale/Private LabelLow$$Medium
3. Custom Cut & Sew Clothing LineHigh$$$$Very High

Option 1: Print on Demand


  • No set-up costs
  • High-quality prints
  • Unlimited color options
  • Perfect for low order quantities or one-offs
  • Many clothing options (shirts, leggings, socks, dresses, etc.)


  • Not cost-effective for large production runs
  • Generally no volume discounts
  • Limited print product selection
  • Limited finishing options (tags, labels, etc)

Other Notes: To start a print-on-demand clothing brand, we recommend using Printful and Shopify. When utilizing a clothing and apparel printing company like Printful (which seamlessly integrates with Shopify stores), you can be up and running in a matter of hours for under $50. Once you receive an order for your online store, Printful will also receive the order automatically and begin the printing process and ship it to your customer on your behalf.

Option #2: Wholesale/Private Label Clothing Line


  • Don’t need to manufacture your own items
  • Can keep up with changing trends more easily
  • Get to curate your own range of products
  • Volume discounts
  • Potential for good profit margins
  • You can brand items with your own hangtags, packaging, etc.
  • When working with a private label supplier, you will be able to customize the clothing tags with your own brand name


  • When working with a wholesaler, you won’t be able to customize the clothing tags with your brand name
  • Usually, minimum order quantities start at (at least) 10 units per color/size, if not 100 or 1,000 units
  • You’ll have to manage inventory and shipping yourself
  • You’ll need cash flow to purchase many products upfront

Option #3: Custom Cut & Sew Clothing Line


  • You’ll get a 100% custom product
  • Potential for increased perceived value from customers
  • Potential for increased margins
  • You’ll be 100% in control of branding


  • Very high startup costs
  • It’s a complex process involving several moving parts
  • It can take months or more to launch

Custom cut and sew clothing means you’re doing everything. We’re talking about designing sketches, turning them into patterns, sourcing fabrics and manufacturers, and paying for a full production run (which could be thousands of units).

Making your own clothing isn’t for the faint of heart. It can be an intensive process that can take months (at minimum) to get up and running. You’ll need to find a manufacturer, you’ll need to work with a pattern maker, you’ll have to create tach packs, you’ll have to source and test fabric, and you’ll also likely have to create and test many samples before you even come close to a finished product.

We have all these resources in place, so contact [email protected] to start the conversation.