Staring a Designer Clothing Business in Canada

Starting a clothing line or designer clothing business can be a great idea to create unique items and earn a living at the same time. What you need to do is think of the clothing you want to produce and sell, choose a business model that works best, develop a sound business plan, and apply for financing.

Business Model

There are three basic business models to look into – custom-cut and sew, private label, and print on demand. Print on demand is the easiest model for a start-up, and the costs are low compared to the other two.

Think of Clothing to Produce and Sell

There are plenty of options when it comes to clothing and apparel, depending on your potential customers and target market. Examples include dresses, pants, hoodies, long and short sleeve shirts, bridal dresses and accessories, and a lot more.


When it comes to equipment, what you need depends on the clothing or apparel you plan to sell. If you want to make t-shirts, for example, you will need a good printer. In general, to start a clothing business, you will need things like an ironing board, tape, chalks, pins, needles, knives, scissors, a knitting or sewing machine, etc. If you plan on starting a manufacturing business, then you will need manufacturing equipment such as cutting and knitting equipment and sewing and pressing machines, including button hole sewing machines, pocket sewer machines, finishing machines, two-needle lock stitch machines, and others.

Develop a Business Plan

Once you think of clothing and apparel to sell and the equipment you need to this end, it is time to develop a sound business plan to prove financial institutions that you are a trustworthy customer. A comprehensive business plan covers important details such as your mission and objectives, keys to success, start-up and executive summary, company ownership, start-up funding, and more. It is important to list start-up expenses such as business insurance, utility bills, business supplies, equipment, promotion and advertising expenses, and others. Other details to cover include future products, market trends and needs, industry analysis, and pricing and marketing strategy. It is a good idea to include a sales forecast for different items, including hats and belts, t-shirts, pants, dresses, and so on.

Sources of Financing

Depending on your financial requirements, there are different sources to look into, including loans by private providers such as credit unions, finance companies, and banks. The Canada Small Business Financing Program is a second option to consider for your designer clothing business. Applicants are offered low-cost loans to cover eligible expenses such as installation and transportation, equipment, non-refundable taxes, and others. Reimbursements, refunds, discounts, and grants must be excluded from the costs. A loan from a private provider is one alternative to consider, and the main types are secured and unsecured loans. Financial institutions offer a host of business solutions such as equipment leasing, business lines of credit, types of secured cards and start-up loans. Other options to finance your business include crowdfunding, angel investors, self-financing, and loans from friends and family. The type of financing for your business depends on your business model, location, cost of equipment, and other factors. There are two types of crowdfunding models, one being debt/equity funding, and the other – reward/donation funding. You can opt for equity crowdfunding in provinces such as Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia.

Finally, it is always a good idea to have a RBC business credit card with a competitive interest rate, long grace period, and high credit limit. This is one way to pay day-to-day and operational expenses.

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