Being an entrepreneur brings with it an incredible range of benefits, from the freedom to choose your own schedule to the satisfaction of following your ambitions.

But starting a business isn’t without cost. To have the best chance at launching your business successfully, it’s important to set aside some time for careful financial planning.

In this blog, you’ll have the opportunity to develop your understanding of the costs associated with starting your own men’s fashion business. While an interest in clothing trends and awareness of your market is a great place to begin, it’s not enough to sustain your budding small business. With 20% of new businesses failing in their first year of trading, it’s important to make every effort to avoid early collapse.

Starting a Men’s Fashion Business

© Can Stock Photo / Remo_Designer

It’s easy to assume that starting a men’s fashion business will be relatively low cost, but in actual fact, more than half of British fashion brands needed a minimum of £15,000 to launch their products. Here are 5 expenses that may contribute to your total start-up costs:

1. Software

Entrepreneurs who fail to realize how software can boost both the efficiency and accuracy of business processes will struggle to stay ahead of the competition, making this one of the first costs that need to be factored into your budget. But what kinds of software are really necessary?

A men’s fashion business will benefit from systems that help you to optimise your marketing, inventory, customer services and finances. However, if money is tight and you can only afford one of the above solutions, using accounting software to complete your tax return is by far the most important. The right software package will help you to keep careful financial records, allowing you to track every transaction you make as well as correctly calculate how much income tax and VAT you might owe.

Coming in at a close second, inventory software will also be indispensable as you start to accumulate stock. You’ll need a high-quality system to help you monitor stock levels and send you alerts when it’s time to order more supplies. Remember that most new software is cloud-based, which means you’ll be paying for the service on a monthly subscription basis. This makes software much more affordable to small businesses with limited capital to spare.

2. Marketing

The men’s fashion market is incredibly saturated by both large corporations and independent boutiques, so investing money into marketing will be a smart move when raising awareness for your business. To lower your marketing costs, focus on digital marketing, which is typically much more affordable than more traditional advertising methods. Strategies using advertising and social media are particularly appealing to smaller operations, as in theory, they don’t have to cost a single penny. But if you want to take your growth seriously and minimise the time you’re spending on marketing, it’s worth partnering with an agency or outsourcing some of the work to marketing professionals.

It’s no secret that agency fees can be steep, but try to take comfort in the knowledge that your investment will bring you more sales in due course. Marketing costs may also decrease as time goes on, as once your brand is established, you shouldn’t need to work quite as hard to capture your audience’s attention.

3. Inventory

Whether you’re planning on selling quality pairs of jeans, comfortable sweatshirts or black-tie suits, acquiring an inventory will take up a significant amount of your start-up costs. Calculating inventory costs will be much more complicated if you intend to manufacture your own clothes, as you’ll have to consider not only the cost of raw materials but also the costs associated with designing the pieces and making them. While manufacturing clothes in other countries can keep costs lower, it’s important not to forget about shipping costs as well as import taxes.

Buying clothes from a wholesaler is much simpler, but still requires planning. New fashion businesses should begin with a more limited range of clothes and expand their lines as their customer base grows. Consider ordering samples of certain pieces before committing to stocking them yourself, as this way you’ll be able to get a better sense of quality.

4. Premises

Fashion businesses that plan to open a physical shop will have expenses such as rent, electricity, heating and renovation to consider. However, even eCommerce companies may need to pay for storage or a warehouse for stock. Because having physical premises can increase your start-up costs beyond affordability, you may decide to operate using a drop-shipping company. This means that a third party will store and send out your orders for a small fee. The only downside to this is you may be limited on the types of clothing you can sell and you won’t be able to personalize your packaging and shipping notes. However, this business model works well for fashion businesses selling graphic T-shirts or other merchandise with various logos or artworks on.

Many eCommerce fashion business owners have started out working from home, so this could also be an option for you. If you have a spare room or a garage to store your stock, it will allow you to focus on growing your business to a point where you will one day be able to afford a physical shop or storage solution.

5. Employees

It can be hard to run a fashion business by yourself, especially if you’re planning to sell clothes online and in person. Sometimes you need to accept the fact that you’ll need help and this means paying your employees a fair wage. Depending on the type of staff you need, you might be able to offer the minimum or living wage to workers, especially if they’re carrying out general admin or serving customers behind a counter. But if you need to hire a business manager or marketing expert, be prepared to set aside more of your budget, especially if you want to keep them on your team.

A lot of small businesses find it hard to afford the wages of full-time employees, which is why so many start-ups rely on freelancers and contract workers. This might not work on a long-term basis, but it can be a great temporary solution while you focus on stabilising your business and achieving a steady rate of growth.

Start financial planning today

Finances are often the hardest part about launching a fashion business, but by spending some time researching loans and calculating expenses, you’ll be much closer to realising your ultimate ambitions.