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Blog / Beginner's handbook / How to Start a Kids’ Clothing Line: 8 Key Steps for Beginners

Beginner's handbook

How to Start a Kids’ Clothing Line: 8 Key Steps for Beginners

How to Start a Kids’ Clothing Line: 8 Key Steps for Beginners
Dace Gribuste

By Dace Gribuste

14 min read

If you’ve ever wondered how to start a kids’ clothing line, chances are you have a ton of questions. We get it, starting a business isn’t easy! Before you start selling your product, there’s a lot of groundwork to cover—from market research to creating designs and shipping them out. 

But if you’re ready to take on the challenge of building a business, it’s crucial to follow the right steps for creating a thriving brand.

In just 8 simple steps, we’ll lay out everything you need to know to launch your own kids’ clothing line. Packed with insider tips and expert advice, this complete guide will set you up for success from day one.

1. Research the kids’ fashion market

Starting a clothing brand is an exciting venture. But before diving into design and production, thorough market research of kids’ fashion is essential. By understanding the market landscape, trends, and consumer preferences, you can create a unique children’s clothing line that stands out and adds value. 

Explore kids’ fashion trends

In the dynamic world of fashion, trends are not limited to adults. The kids’ fashion industry also thrives on constant change and innovation. Consider the following recommendations to keep up with the latest trends:

  • Stay informed. Attend industry events like fashion exhibitions and follow prominent kids’ fashion blogs, magazines, or social media profiles.

  • Watch color forecasts. Explore color forecasts and palettes tailored specifically for kids’ fashion. You should also understand the psychology behind different colors and how they resonate with your target audience.

  • Pay attention to prints and patterns. Stay updated on popular prints and patterns that children love, like animal motifs, geometric shapes, floral designs, or whimsical characters.

  • Incorporate diverse styles. Explore different clothing manufacturers and their styles, including athleisure, streetwear, vintage-inspired, and eco-friendly fashion, to offer a variety of options.

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Understanding children’s unique needs

Children’s clothing has specific requirements. To succeed in the youth clothing business, you’ll need to grasp these particular needs before designing your own clothing line.

Comfort 

Kids have delicate skin that requires soft, breathable fabrics that promote unrestricted movement. Choose simple cuts and avoid synthetic or sharp materials that potentially irritate the skin. Remember, the main goal is to make dressing easy and hassle-free for both children and parents.

Safety 

When it comes to the kids’ clothing industry, safety should be at the forefront. Ensure garments are free from small parts or loose embellishments that could pose a choking hazard. Use child-friendly fasteners like snaps, buttons, or easy-to-use zippers.

And the skin needs to breathe! Opt for natural fabrics like cotton, linen, silk, wool, and denim. These materials promote breathability, minimize irritation, and reduce the risk of allergies.

100% organic cotton kids t-shirt

100% organic cotton kids t-shirt. Source: Printful 

Durability 

The material used in kids’ clothes is a key indicator of their quality. Opt for high-quality materials that can withstand children's active lifestyles and frequent washing. It’s also preferable for the clothing to be wrinkle resistant.

2. Identify your niche audience 

The better you know your target consumers, the more chances you’ll have to position your kids’ clothing business for success. Here are some essential considerations when identifying your niche audience:

Decision-makers 

Focus on kids and their parents in your marketing strategy. While kids have a say in their preferences and may request specific brands or styles, parents are the ones making the purchasing decisions.

Parents

Parents have different priorities when it comes to clothing for their children. Some prioritize comfort, natural materials, and high-quality construction, while others seek budget-friendly options. Most parents aim to strike a balance between price and quality.

But there is a significant group of parents who want to go beyond ordinary clothing and create a magical experience for their children. They believe in instilling a sense of taste and style in their kids’ fits from an early age. These customers are more likely to indulge in fashionable children’s garments from the get-go.

Kids

In addition to targeting parents, consider marketing strategies specifically tailored to children. Parents want their kids to love the clothing they wear, so engaging with a younger audience through a child-centric marketing plan is also important.

Wildcards

Don’t forget the influence of people like friends, grandparents, or godparents. They’re decision-makers as well, and will help expand your customer base.

Age 

Tailoring your kids’ clothing line to specific age groups is essential for success. Consider the unique needs and preferences of children at different developmental stages. Also think about the influence of a parent’s age on buying decisions, as choices may differ between age ranges and generations.

Aesthetic and interests

Understanding both the aesthetics that draw in parents as well as children’s interests is crucial in creating an appealing clothing line. For instance, you can combine clean lines and soft colors for a minimalist aesthetic that appeals to parents. At the same time, adding whimsical details like animal prints or charming embroidery will capture children’s attention. This winning combination ensures your clothing line appeals to both parents and kids.

Occasions 

Connect with your target audience by understanding the specific occasions that shape their clothing needs, for instance: 

  • outdoor activities 

  • school  

  • everyday wear 

  • holidays 

Location 

Tailoring your products to suit different audiences based on their location can be a solid strategic move. Consider climate, traditions, seasons, and weather conditions in specific countries.

Don’t forget to check out your competitors 

Competitor analysis is crucial for identifying your niche audience and distinguishing yourself in the market. Study your competitors’ offerings and compare them to your products. This process will help you find a competitive advantage and differentiate your brand from the rest.

3. Decide on fulfillment 

Embarking on a kids’ clothing line means making a crucial decision: how to handle fulfillment. The choice between self-fulfillment and print-on-demand services will impact your how your new business functions, and customer satisfaction. Let’s explore the differences and weigh the pros and cons to guide an informed choice.

Self-fulfillment

If you choose to handle fulfillment yourself, there are several factors to consider:

Pros

  • You’ll be able to control the entire fulfillment process, from inventory management to shipping

  • It’s easier to maintain quality control and ensure product consistency 

  • It’s possible to achieve a truly unique customer experience with things like personalized packaging featuring branded materials 

Cons

  • Requires much more time, resources, and logistics to manage inventory, deal with packaging and handle shipping

  • Higher upfront costs for purchasing and storing inventory 

  • Increased responsibility for order processing, customer service, and returns

Print-on-demand 

On the other hand, on-demand printing offers a different set of benefits and considerations:

Pros

  • No need for investing upfront in inventory as products are made to order

  • Reduced overhead costs—printing, packaging, and shipping are handled by your POD provider

  • Flexibility to offer a wide range of designs and styles without the need to hold inventory

printful kids t-shirt review

Source: Printful reviews

Cons

  • Less control over the fulfillment process, which may affect quality and shipping times

  • Limited customization options for packaging 

  • Higher product costs per unit compared to bulk production

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. The choice of manufacturing process depends on your specific business needs, resources, and goals.

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4. Create designs 

This is where the fun begins! Let your inspiration flow as you sketch out your ideas for kids’ clothing designs. Play around with various styles and designs to discover what works best. Brainstorm your design concepts beforehand, it'll give you a sense of direction before committing to specific designs. If you’re looking to level up, consider using design software or hiring an expert to bring your sketches to life. Need some inspo? Below we share some examples of excellent kid clothing designs.

Family sets 

Creating kids’ clothing with matching adult pieces, like mom-daughter t-shirts, is a fantastic idea. Why not target two audiences simultaneously?
 

Animals 

Animal themes are always popular in children’s wardrobes. To stand out, focus on excellent graphic designs, like distinct watercolor-painted styles or embroidered animals, modern abstract designs, or hand-drawn illustrations.

Puns and wordplay 

Witty puns paired with cute visuals immediately grab the attention of both children and parents. To create these engaging designs, you’ll need to unleash your creative side. Here are a few delightful examples to inspire you:

Minimalist

One of the most popular kids’ clothing design choices is minimalist looks. This aesthetic is especially loved by parents who want gender-neutral baby clothing options.

Fun and vibrant 

Clothing designs that showcase intriguing characters, vibrant colors, or playful quotes aren’t just meant for the little ones but also resonate with pre-teens and teens. Think of retro or abstract designs that are the perfect fit for a wide age range.

DIY-inspired 

Add excitement to your kids’ clothing brand by offering custom clothing with a creative touch. Go beyond the usual customization options of age and name, and explore new horizons. Draw inspiration from companies like Picture This Clothing, where kids’ artwork is transformed into vibrant clothes.

diy inspired kids clothing

Source: Picture This Clothing

Nature-inspired

Designs inspired by nature, plants, and botanical elements can create a fresh and organic aesthetic. Think floral patterns, leaf motifs, and earthy color palettes. And there’s more! Explore the charm of fruits, vegetables, celestial bodies, seasons, and natural phenomena. These design elements not only add cuteness but also offer valuable educational opportunities. 

Holidays

Catering to parents who cherish holiday moments with their children? Consider creating a seasonal kids’ clothing line. Incorporate designs that celebrate yearly holidays like Valentine’s Day, Halloween, birthdays and more.

Cute patterns

Babies will always be adorable, and parents love to enhance their cuteness with delightful apparel looks. Get inspired by these charming prints and illustrated patterns:

Inspiring and awareness-rising designs 

Socially-conscious parents like to seize the opportunity to address important causes when appropriate, and instill those values in their kids. In this vein, apparel can be used to make a statement and teach important life lessons to their little ones. Explore these thought-provoking examples:

Need help creating a design? With free, easy-to-use features like clipart graphics and Premium images, Printful’s free online Design Maker can be your guide. 

Once you’ve created the perfect design, you can see how it’ll look on different products using the Design Maker. Simply drag and drop or upload your design onto the product, and watch it come to life.

Congratulations on finalizing your awesome children’s clothing designs! Now, it’s time to dive into the exciting world of ordering samples. Samples are crucial for getting a feel for and assessing the actual garments. This way, you can ensure that clothing meets your expectations and truly represents your brand. To maximize your sample order, consider these recommendations:

  • Group your designs. Organize your clothing line into groups based on similar characteristics, like colors, quotes, or themes. This way, you can cover a representative sample of your entire collection.

  • Test wearability. Encourage friends or family members to try on the samples and provide feedback. Their insights on comfort, fit, and overall appeal are invaluable.

The best part about ordering samples is that you’re not committed—if you want to tweak your design or change the base product, you can without having to unload inventory. Plus, Printful offers a samples program. Online store owners can get 1 sample order a month with a 20% discount. Remember, samples represent what your brand is putting out there, so make sure you’re evaluating the products you offer on a regular basis.

Building a strong online presence is an important requirement for the longevity of new brands these days. Below we discuss how it will help you reach a larger audience, strengthen your brand identity, and increase sales.

Website

Gone are the days of needing to rely solely on a brick-and-mortar store. With affordable options like Wix, Canva, Shopify, Tilda, or WordPress, you can easily create an impressive online store that’s up and running in no time. Showcase products, share pricing info, take orders, and connect with customers. Unlock the power of digital marketing tools like Google ads and SEO to attract new customers and boost sales.

Planning on using print-on-demand fulfillment? Integrate your ecommerce store with Printful and start selling your custom kids’ clothing designs.

Social media accounts

Facebook and Instagram are not just for selfies anymore. Leverage these platforms to supercharge your sales. They offer integrated selling and ecommerce options that can complement your website. Don’t forget the impact of platforms like TikTok, which can take your brand’s visibility and sales to new heights. 

Other ecommerce solutions

If building a website feels overwhelming, consider marketplaces like Shopify, Etsy, Amazon, and eBay—Printful also integrates with the leading online marketplaces. These platforms have a vast audience eager to discover your kids’ clothing line. Let them handle the technical aspects while you focus on impressing customers. 

You can maximize your online presence with additional tools like email marketing, influencer marketing, online advertising (Google Ads, social media ads), content marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO). 

When it comes to engaging your audience, you’ve got to bring more than just clothes to the table. It’s time to inject some serious fun into your content! 

Entertaining videos

TikTok and Instagram should be your go-to platforms for creating videos that steal the spotlight. Imagine short, lively clips that showcase your clothing line’s playful side. You can take it up a notch with fun challenges, catchy dance routines, and even hilarious comedy skits featuring your products.

Interactive contests

Consider organizing contests where kids can showcase their creativity by designing their outfits using your clothing line or by sharing pictures of themselves styling your garments in unique ways.

Behind the scenes

Who doesn’t love a behind the scenes sneak peek? Social media lets you take parents and kids on an exclusive tour of your design techniques, manufacturing process, and the day-to-day adventures of your team.

Interactive polls and surveys

Your audience’s opinion matters, and social media offers interactive tools to gather their insights. Use polls and surveys to involve parents and kids in decision-making. Get their thoughts on new designs, color palettes, or even names for your collections. 

Storytelling and inspiration

Stories have a way of touching hearts and forging connections. Share inspiring anecdotes and experiences that embody your brand’s values and the journey behind your clothing line.

8. Spread the word with creative marketing 

With the power of creative marketing, you can captivate your audience and leave a lasting impression. From attention-grabbing visuals to unique email campaigns, discover how to effectively promote your children’s clothing line with creativity as your secret weapon. 

Use attention-grabbing visuals 

Don’t let a tight advertising budget hold you back—creativity is a priceless gift that’s free. In the world of social media and digital marketing, the key is to grab attention, and in a sea of content, it has to be earned. One of the most powerful strategies is harnessing the potential of creative visuals. The crucial element here is your idea: you can bring it to life even with minimal graphic design skills. Get inspired by these attention-grabbing visuals from Primark’s “Out of this world” kids’ clothing line advertising campaign. 

Highlight the strengths of your brand

Work smart, not hard, when it comes to advertising your brand. While creativity and vibrant visuals are great, demonstrating utility also goes a long way Learn from the Burberry Childrenswear AW12 Campaign. It masterfully showcases the characteristics and strengths of their stylish garments. The visuals speak volumes, instantly conveying the practicality of Burberry kids’ outerwear.

Master the art of creative email campaigns

Don’t underestimate the power of email marketing, particularly when targeting parents. Stand out by crafting inventive subject lines and captivating email designs. Here’s some inspiration from the striking Boden’s Hopscotch Back to School email design.

kids clothing email campaign

Source: Smartmail

Develop a compelling concept to promote

Avoid creating content just for the sake of it. Connect your brand with the values of your target demographic, seamlessly integrating these ideals into your marketing campaigns. Here’s a great example: the impactful River Island SS18 campaign “Labels Are For Clothes!” It combines video and photo content, featuring the hashtag #LABELSAREFORCLOTHES to encourage community engagement and shareability on social media. 

river island kids clothing campaign

river island kids clothing campaign

Source: River Island

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Starting a kids’ clothing line is a journey worth taking  

If you’ve ever thought about creating your own kids' clothing line, you can definitely make it happen. With print-on-demand services Printful, you can easily create designs, get clothing samples, and start selling. Sure, starting a children's clothing line involves some steps, but if you do it right, success is sure to come your way. We wish you the best of luck on this exciting journey! 

Read more: 11 Kidswear Business Ideas to Try

author

By Dace Gribuste on Aug 15, 2023

Dace Gribuste

Guest author

Dace is a freelance writer at Printful, with a background in content marketing and social media management. During her spare time, she indulges in reading and seizes every opportunity to backpack across Europe.

Dace is a freelance writer at Printful, with a background in content marketing and social media management. During her spare time, she indulges in reading and seizes every opportunity to backpack across Europe.