How To Grow a Fashion Brand From a Simple Print On Demand Business?

9 mins 23 secs read

Every few years, the technology industry is updated with new business models that do not require considerable resources and have a low threshold for entry. However, among the easiest and most profitable businesses remains dropshipping, a global resale practice that can help a small online store grow into a big fish in the marketplace. 

Today, creating your brand and online store is not a difficult task, and anyone can learn the basics of marketing and design from scratch by putting some approaches into practice. But how do you create a delightful experience for consumers and promote your creative vision without having enough resources to launch? The idea is pretty simple, and we've written about it before: you need to start selling white-label items. The scheme is simple: you buy certain products on Aliexpress, create a collection, put a markup, and share the product all over the Internet. The commission from each sale is your net income. This is the principle on which print on demand dropshipping works. An additional part of the sales chain is the cooperation with the print supplier (although production and printing can be managed by one company, which significantly simplifies the process).

This article is a guide on how to create a fashion brand: we will break down the six main stages of the birth of a new business and hopefully inspire you to launch your clothing line. 

Table of Contents

Learn whom you're targeting and learn the audience

Collect opinions

Develop a business plan

Pick best designs

Integrate print on demand options

Introduce continuous promotion of your brand


Knowing your target market for custom clothes on demand is essential for success. This allows you to understand the audience and take steps toward solving their problem. We have a great example of this strategy. For instance, Albaparis a brand that follows veganism, LGBT tolerance, feminism, and anti-racism. The founders write about these values on their Instagram, and we certainly believe it's not greenwashing. And here's why: they use environmentally friendly materials for the T-shirts and direct printing technology, which are undoubtedly evidence of sustainability. These guys created the print on demand eco-friendly fashion - their products (clothes, stickers, badges, etc.) raise awareness of a cruelty-free lifestyle and promote a sense of customer belonging. 

We advise you to identify the audience segments you are ready to interact with. So, try to find answers to the questions listed below.

  1. What local or international locations will you be able to serve? A lot depends on it: the multi-language function of the online store, how to communicate with customer service, the delivery price, the markup on the product, and the search for manufacturing capabilities of suppliers. 
  2. Decide on demographics: age, gender, job, average income, etc. 
  3. What is the psychographics of these people? Why do they choose these values over others? What are their hobbies, their way of life?
  4. What are the current fashion trends, breakthrough or outdated trends? Study your market through statistics.
  5. Learn about the shopping habits of your users: for example, during A/B testing of the store, you can determine the cost of the basket, the preferred products, the competitiveness of your brainchild in the POD market, and the current demand.
  6. What are your customers' pain points, and how can you solve them?

To provide a comprehensive and consolidated view of your fashion audiences, you can also use cookies even if your store is in test mode. The web server usually sets them, and then the browser will automatically add them to every request for the same domain. But the recent trend of not collecting sensitive data can get in your way, so determining your audience will be most effective manually through social media and competitor analysis.

So, let's discuss how to find people's opinions, produce conversations on the sidelines of your potential audience, and even correctly track your competitors' activities.

How to Choose the Best Fabric for Your Clothing Print-on-Demand Project

You do not need excessive assets or years of experience in design and sales to create your own fashion brand. All you need is target audience analysis. So, the brand image in the market depends on customer satisfaction with your service. Its formation is influenced by people who are the creators of demand and trends. That's why a brand must understand the immediate prospects for a product to take off or to predict the launch of an ultra-fashionable product - so, it's essential to understand the behavior of users online, their preferences, and average earnings, which will affect the cost of the cart and interaction with your store. 

To make potential customers participate in forming a client portrait, you should conduct active surveys on social networks. This is the so-called primary research in which a large customer base is entirely unimportant. The primary purpose is to track purchasing behavior toward a particular category of products. If you are at the very beginning of the business idea, you should test a dummy target group that is expected to have more regular habits, expectations, and preferences. But as things change at the speed of light in the digital world, you should stick to the following steps to keep your brand alive:

  1. Each time, assess the amount of information already available from customers.
  2. Evaluate the target audience of your competitors' similar products.
  3. Conduct quality customer interviews and surveys.
  4. Don't forget to test products and their interaction with sales channels to eliminate any weaknesses in advance. 
  5. Observe the market, assess current events and share your thoughts on the company blog.
  6. Do frequent surveys of designers and suppliers you work with. This will help identify inactive positions and introduce ultra-fashionable solutions.

To build a complete chain of sales efficiency, it is worth having patience and finally starting communicating with your customers. So, after sending them a thank you email, don't forget to ask them for feedback. If you are sure that the experience is successful and the customer is satisfied, ask for feedback on Google Maps or social networks. On the other hand, if we are talking about a negative interaction, it is worth asking about what you did not like and perhaps offering some benefits. This will help create your fashion brand, characterized by reliability, a vital support service, and will be able to solve the problems of customers.

As B. Franklin said, If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. As in any other business in the POD, everything starts with a business plan. It includes an overview of the market, products, niche, analyzing competitors, making a financial plan, and operational objectives. Let's take a closer look at business planning since we have already described the processes of conducting our research. 

A financial plan allows you to determine the amount of investment you will need and helps you anticipate possible risks. Expected recurring costs include subscription fees, site maintenance, monthly costs for refining sprints by the development team, and marketing. Variable prices reflect the material costs of production, raw materials, shipping, packaging materials, etc. 

You should also budget the total cost of producing each product, considering some variables, namely taxes and shipping commissions. To handle taxes correctly make sure there are no errors in the data you entered, or if you sent a wrong copy, fill out form 1040-X. Next, focus on the margin you will receive from each order. Since the printing market is quite volatile and the products are of medium or low price category, note that in this case, your commission from the sale may be small. To make more money, you need to engage in strategic marketing

After you have defined the goals of print on demand fashion clothing stores and identified the main costs, you understand what niche will work - you have to figure out what business model is best suited for your fashion business. It could be do-it-yourself, manufacturing in bulk, or dropshipping. The first two options are associated with high costs for the product, problematic storage in the warehouse, and the possibility of downtime due to lack of use. Dropshipping, on the contrary, is based on a small amount of investment, does not require a warehouse or production facilities, and is generally one of the most profitable models for selling POD products.

Once you form a business plan, you will have to devote time to product and collection development. Once you start a business plan, you will have to spend a lot of time developing products and collections.

Ethics of Printing on Demand: Copyright, Trademarks & The Risk of Lawsuit

When creating a fashion brand, it is extremely important to understand the market you are working in, the niche, and your customer. The more effective research you do and the more accurately it reflects current demand and trends, the more successful your designs will be. After all, brand identity influences brand perception, builds customer loyalty, and demonstrates your quality standard. 

State your values: veganism, LGBTQ, feminism, anti-racism, and sustainability. All of your statements will form a solid brand backbone. For example, narrow down your goals and focus on the long term by pointing out the difference between fast fashion vs. print on demand - this will give users food for thought and make them more loyal. Don't forget about social networks - they significantly influence the audience. Speak openly about your customers' pain points and desires and offer possible solutions to their problems through your products.

It would help if you used Google Trends to find the best designs. But consider the meaning of what you sell: people are not only essential pictures or material; they need a story! One crucial marketing strategy in the brand's history is its formation from the bottom and development to the size of a powerful conglomerate. For the audience, it is essential because it shows the sincerity of intentions, reliability, and importance of the brand in the fashion world.

You cannot do without a business model once you have conceived and tested your product. The best way to launch your first clothing line without money and assess the brand's viability is to take up dropshipping. Print on demand women's fashion depends greatly on trends, and sometimes it's impossible to keep up. Just for that, you can use the strategy of selling white-label things with your designs. To make the business work, you should conduct omnichannel trade, introducing certain products given the demand of an audience segment. Most entrepreneurs choose an integration that facilitates working with several different platforms while accumulating all the necessary functionality in a single framework.

Here we are talking about two basic print on demand software options - PodZa and DropZa. They differ in their more significant support for the dropshipping model of the latter. However, Podza also has the functionality to promote business development under this model (as well as POD and W&F).

DropZa is a universal platform for store owners because it allows you to create orders, manage marketplaces, and build a system of discounts. The specialized store owner dashboard will also let you know if you have unpaid bills. You can also track your taxes here and calculate profits from different sites. DropZa team works hard to make the platform better: full product support 24/7, constant updates with new features, and customization on request.

If you can automate your business with DropZa or Podza, you can't do without word of mouth and fantastic context. Next, we'll tell you how to promote it properly after creating a fashion brand.

unique fashion POD clothing

We will tell you about essential strategies that can perfectly promote a clothing brand. So, the leading role in developing every brand is played by its content. Content marketing plays a strategic role in attracting traffic and building loyalty. Plus, it's great for online awareness. Of course, this strategy completely eclipses outbound or push marketing based on aggressive advertising. But remember, influencer marketing can work wonders in raising awareness and interest and getting them to act immediately. Here's how it works!

Continuous marketing is all up to you - all you have to do is post relevant news regularly in various ways (like blogging, infographics, podcasts, videos, and even paid advertising).

How to create a cult fashion brand? First, use the power of social media. Experiment with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin, Snapchat, or YouTube ads and see which one works better.

Also, don't forget about e-mailing: it's not extinct yet and is still a mastodon in marketing. However, it is highly effective because it focuses on building relationships with readers rather than sending them overly promotional emails. You can also participate in sponsored events and present your creations to the public. One of our next articles will be about how to submit your collections at the Burning Man Festival, do not miss it!

In the world of print on demand fashion, sometimes it is not so easy - the entrepreneur constantly faces a choice - either to steadily follow the trends or implement the ideas. But after reading this article, you will discover a new truth - you can combine the incompatible and still present the market with unique things that will fully meet users' needs and will finally help them get rid of their pain points.

July 15, 2022
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