It was so hot in Colorado this summer and I was texting a friend about wanting a pool. He replied that I probably could’ve built one with what I’ve invested in Everyday Sabbatical – and yikes, he was right. Actually, I could’ve built a few. Eeeek.
Starting and building an apparel business is capital-intensive, especially if you don’t know how to design, make patterns, and sew (please do not ask me to sew) or are have a PR/Marketing background and, more importantly, the contacts. The design and development phase is like any product development phase – highly variable. It depends how many iterations/prototypes (samples) are needed and how long it takes to get the fit just right – as well as finding the right fabrics. Because I was learning the industry, there was definitely a “learning tax.”
The production runs are also capital-intensive in buying all the materials and paying to have everything cut and sewn. I previously wrote about COGS, scale, etc., so you get the picture.
Building and running the website was fairly reasonable. (The invoices from the photoshoots were no joke though, but totally worth it.) Fortunately, I could build the website myself since Shopify is pretty intuitive. There are ongoing software subscription costs for Shopify, its apps and a bunch of other run-the-business costs.
Ongoing marketing and ad costs can vary. Most big online brands easily spend $10,000 per month on digital ads. And PR/marketing firms can run $5-$10K per month to “do your marketing.” Let’s just say…that’s not in my budget.
So, call me before starting an apparel business. There are many other products and businesses with better profit margins and fewer complications. But it IS incredibly gratifying to see people wearing something you made.