29andSeptember Studio

Costs to consider when starting a fashion business

Industry how toVicki WallisComment
Costs to consider when starting a fashion business | Free download for fashion students, designers, fashion businesses, startups and new brands to help them understand the fashion industry and work with manufacturers to get their clothes produced.

I often get asked what the ideal budget is for starting a new brand + truth is, there's no such thing as 'ideals' in this industry! Unless you've got millions, there's always things that you will have to compromise on, especially at the start + the best way to decide what you need to invest in is by looking at your business plan. This post covers some of the costs assosiated with starting a fashion business. The list is long, but don't freak out! It's unlikely that you'll need all of these things for your particular plan + chances are you'll be able to do some of the work yourself - I just wanted to make sure that I cover a lot of bases + include things that a lot of startup + small businesses don't think of. Also keep in mind that you don't have to spend a huge amount on a lot of these things, for example a website. Some people charge £10k+ for a website, but if you're happy to put some effort in you can create a website for as little as £18 a month, like me. Before you get overwhelmed by all of these costs, keep in mind that I was able to start my business with a tiny budget (you can read how I did it + how you can too here), so there's nothing to stop you from doing the same!


I've created an accompanying free download for this post, which you can access via the free resource library. If you've not already got access, simply enter your email address below to sign up. You'll also receive news + free articles to help your business + you can of course unsubscribe at any time. I hate spam too - your details are safe with me!

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Day-to-day expenses

These aren't necessarily things that you pay for often, perhaps even just once a year, but these are items that contribute to the day to day running of your business; 

  • Phone
  • Internet
  • Computer
  • Software (such as Excel, Word, Photoshop, Illustrator), etc. Tip - unless you're experienced with Photoshop + Illustrator I wouldn't buy these - they take years to master + there's a lot of free versions that are simpler to use, especially for photo editing
  • Electricity
  • Car/ fuel/ transport
  • Insurance
  • Accountant
  • Books/ education/ information/ consulting help
Costs to consider when starting a fashion business
Costs to consider when starting a fashion business

Product expenses

These expenses all contribute to the cost price of your garments + include the components you need to make a finished product for sale;

  • Trend reports
  • Visiting events/ trade shows/ seminars/ suppliers
  • Designs (more on that here)
  • Technical drawings (read about those here)
  • Tech packs (article on what they are + why you need them here)
  • Patterns (you might not need these if you work with a factory, they may include them in the production price)
  • Samples (as with the patterns, these may be included in the production price)
  • Fit model
  • Production cost - labour
  • Fabrics
  • Dying/printing
  • Trims, eg thread, ribbon, elastic, buttons, zips, clasps, etc
  • Labels, eg woven labels, size pips, card labels possibly with ribbon, kimbles or pins, barcodes
  • Hygiene stickers if producing swimwear or lingerie
  • Packaging, including poly bags, garment bags, hangers, shipping boxes
  • Transport from the place of manufacture to you
  • Taxes + customs fees may be applicable if the stock is made in another country
  • Quality control inspections
  • Stock preparation, eg steaming, scanning in, distributing
  • Warehousing if you are using a company to store your stock + send out orders
Costs to consider when starting a fashion business
Costs to consider when starting a fashion business
Costs to consider when starting a fashion business

Marketing + Sales expenses

Marketing is one area where you could literally spend limitlessly, but if you're a small business keep in mind that some of the best marketing methods, such as PR (getting featured in magazines/on websites) + social media can be done for free, you just need to put some effort in!

  • Branding design
  • Website
  • Business cards/ flyers/ promotional leaflets
  • Social media scheduler
  • Advertising, such as Facebook, in magazines, on blogs, influencer marketing, etc
  • Photography
  • Model
  • Hair/make up artist
  • Lookbook
  • Events such as press launch, pop-up shop, fashion show
  • Travel to sales meetings
  • Line sheet


As I said, I know this is a long list but please don't feel disheartened, there's a good chance that you don't need all of these things + I'm sure that you can do some of them yourself, without having to hire outside help. 

As a treat for subscribers, I'm offering a free Excel template to help you keep track of costs. It's easy to use + allows you to enter any quotes you've received for your business to help you manage your expenses. It's available in the free resource library now + you can access it by clicking here. Not already a member? Sign up below for free to receive access to all of the freebies in my library + occasional emails with useful info on the fashion industry, to help your business grow. I hate spam too, you won't receive lots of emails from me, your details won't be shared with anyone + you can unsubscribe at any time! 

If you'd like some help identifying which expenses you need to budget for + which aren't so important for your brand, I'd love to help you with this. My popular 1-on-1 consulting sessions allow you to receive information tailored to your personal situation. You can learn more by clicking here