How to start a fitness apparel line in 30 days
Yup you read that right! I’m going to give you the steps to launch your own fitness apparel line in 30 days! Did I mention you can start your own business with little to no money down?
Why the fitness and apparel industry?
The global fitness and health club industry generates more than 80 billion U.S. dollars in revenue per year. The North American market had an estimated size of more than 28 billion U.S. dollars in 2015, of which 90 percent, around 25.8 billion U.S. dollars, was attributable to the United States. In fact, the U.S. is the single biggest market worldwide not only in terms of revenue but in regards to the number of members in health & fitness clubs as well. Imagine earning your piece of that $28 Billion dollar pie with customers wearing your fitness brand?
If that doesn’t convince you enough to get started on your business, check this out, according to a research report published by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., the global market for Sports and Fitness Clothing is projected to reach US$231.7 billion by 2024.
Today, it is easier to launch your own fitness apparel brand than ever before. With low startup costs, access to a wide selection of wholesale vendors to choose from, while using social media as a tool to market your business, the odds of you succeeding is possible! How so? I’ll show you step by step how to launch your business in just 30 days.
Step 1: The Business Plan
Write a business plan. I know, I know you dread the idea of “doing homework”, but hear me out. You have to plan to succeed. Jumping in headfirst with no real plan in place, will leave you frustrated, unprepared, unorganized, and discouraged. Before you know it, you will want to quit, having wasted time and money that you can’t get back. Your business plan doesn’t have to be a detailed 10 page, report. Just an idea of what your brand represents, identifying your niche market, target audience, and how you’ll execute actionable steps that will help you reach your goals.
The global market for Sports and Fitness Clothing is projected to reach US$231.7 billion by 2024.
Step 2: Who is your target audience?
It is important to understand who you are marketing to. Most new business owners believe that everyone is their customer, when in reality that is the furthest thing from the truth. Your target audience is a group of people who fit your brand’s profile. How do you determine this? Think about who your customer is, their demographics such as age, location, salary and lifestyle. Where do they eat? What are their habits? Once you’re able to identify your ideal customer, you’ll be able to market to them accordingly.
Step 3: Conduct Market Research
When you have a grasp on what is happening within your industry, you can better position yourself as a competitor. Research what brands are currently doing in your market. Who’s buying from them and why? What do you think is missing from the market in which you can add to? Look into current trends, especially regarding athletic apparel. For example, Athleisure, a fashionable trend that has recently graced the runways of Dolce Gabbana and the likes of Puma. What exactly is Athleisure? According to Merriam-Webster, (the 2016 unabridged version) Athleisure “refers to casual clothing—like yoga pants, sweat pants and hoodies—that are designed to be worn both for exercising and for doing (almost) everything else.”
Step 4: Choose wholesale suppliers
The key to building the ultimate fitness apparel line is sourcing a good supplier. Finding the right supplier for your apparel line is essential to building a successful brand. If you have no experience in doing so, you don’t know what to look for which means you can find yourself working with a supplier who doesn’t fit your brand’s needs.
Need help finding a wholesale vendor? I’ve got a downloadable wholesale vendor list of over 50 vendors that can help you find the right supplier, ask the right questions, along with drop shipping tips to help you get your brand launched with low startup costs!
On Sale for $35.99
“My funds are low and I don’t have the money to invest in the actual apparel”
Two words: Drop shipping
What is Drop Shipping?
It is defined as: To move (goods) from the manufacturer directly to the retailer without going through the usual distribution channels. It’s a cost-effective online solution for retailers where warehouses supply and ship products on behalf of the online business.
How does it work?
A customer makes a purchase on your online business website, you then provide proof of receipt to your supplier, with the customer’s information. The manufacturer, pays the wholesale price for items and provides all customer information for delivery through the manufacturer or product distributor. The Drop ship service ships out your items with your brand’s logo and packaging so your customers never really know that the items are coming from another entity.
One of the benefits of using a Drop Shipping strategy in your business plan, is that it allows you to scale quickly, meaning you don’t have to purchase items upfront. Once the customer pays for the item, the drop shipping company packages and mails out the merchandise, while taking a percentage of the profits made.
Step 5: Business Structure
Now that you’ve put a plan in place, it’s time to put your planning into action! First step: legalize your business. Learn about the different types of business structures, and which structure best fits your business needs. The types of structures include:
Limited Liability Company, and Cooperative
Many entrepreneurs will start out with sole proprietorship because it is the most inexpensive structure to start a business quickly as a self-employed individual. You can always change the structuring of your business later. Always seek an attorney for advice on how to structure your business.
Step 6: Choose and register your business name
Choose and register your business name to establish your brand identity while protecting it as well. Use the trademark database on the United States Patent and Trademark office website to ensure that the name of your business isn’t already being used.
Register your business name through your state government. There are multiple services you can utilize to assist you with registering your business as well as establishing business structures, such as Rocket lawyer and Legal Zoom . It’s always best to consult with an attorney before starting a business.
Step 7: Business License & Seller’s permit *check state for clarification on which items are needed
Depending on federal and state requirements, you may need a license or a permit to run your business legally. A good source for more information is the Small Business Administration www.sba.gov website, as well as your state licensing office websites.
Check with your state government to find out if you need a “Seller Permit”. A seller's permit identifies a business as a collector of sales tax. Some states may call this permit a "sales tax" permit or license. Seller permits are required for sole proprietors, partnerships, limited liability companies and corporations that sell tangible property to the public as a wholesaler or a retailer. Tangible property is a physical item such as a toy, jewelry or a vehicle.
Step 8: Purchase Business Insurance
**Not all but some states require certain businesses to obtain business insurance for liability purposes.
Step 9: Obtain a Tax ID Number *not valid for all states
***NOT APPLICABLE FOR SOME STATES-Check with your state and federal agencies to determine if a Tax ID number is required.
Step 10: Open a business account
Opening a business account helps you to separate your business and personal finances. A separate account will help you to track expenses, manage day to day transactions, and most importantly for IRS filing purposes and deductions.
Buy a domain and an Ecommerce website
Having an online presence is critical to the growth and success of your business. Per internetlivestats.com, “around 40% of the world population has an internet connection today. The number of internet users has increased tenfold from 1999 to 2013. The first billion was reached in 2005. The second billion in 2010. The third billion in 2014.” Your target audience which are your customers are included in these statistics.
If you’re on a budget and cannot afford to have someone build a website from scratch, there are several budget friendly website providers to choose from. Website service providers offer a variety of services to fit your business needs, which includes beautifully designed templates, hosting, domains, ecommerce, 24/7 customer support and a free email account. Here are a few E-Commerce website providers to choose from:
Step 11: Email Address
There are several service providers that either offer free email accounts such as Gmail and Yahoo, or you can opt for an affordable, low monthly payment email service such as Microsoft Outlook. Note: Check your website provider as many of them will offer free email service as part of your package.
Step 12: Business Cards
Even though we’ve moved into a modern aged society where technology rules, business cards are still an essential “old school”, yet effective tool. Have you ever had a conversation with someone who tells you about their business, you’re so compelled to either utilize their service or purchase their product and they turn to you and say “you know what, I don’t have a business card on me”. *record scratch*
That unpreparedness sometimes leaves your potential client and or customer with a “bad taste in their mouth”. Always be prepared and bring your business cards, no matter where you go! You never know when you’re going to meet your next customer so always have a business card readily available.
Step 13: Leverage Social Media
Seriously, social media is the most low-cost, efficient way to grow your brand. Choose a platform, such as, Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat, to grow your online community. Social media is a tool that can be used to raise brand awareness, increase sales, and boost your marketing initiatives. You don’t have to be on every platform. Choose one to focus on growing your business.
Starting your own fitness apparel line is an incredibly, profitable investment, with an industry of $28 billion and counting! You can start with little to no money down by using the drop shipping strategy. Build your brand using social media. Ready to start your own brand? Grab my wholesale vendor fitness apparel list. Over 50 vendors both domestic and global to choose from.