How To Start a Lingerie Business?

Published by Martha Pierson at August 8, 2022

According to a study by Statista, the global lingerie retail market is expected to reach $78.66 billion in 2027. Although this market is dominated by world-famous brands such as Victoria’s Secret and Calvin Klein, now may be a great time to invest in the industry and start your own lingerie business. Of course, you will face some challenges; however, the rewards are worthwhile.

If you’re interested in breaking into this growing industry, keep reading for our step-by-step guide on how to start a lingerie business.

Step 1: Research the Lingerie Market

Business owners analyzing market research on tablet

The first step of starting your own lingerie business is researching the market. Market research allows companies to discover their target market and collect data to learn about consumers’ opinions about their products or service. Consequently, the data will enable the business to develop or sell products accordingly and maintain a competitive advantage over other lingerie companies. Businesses can conduct market research in-house through surveys, product testing, and focus groups. They can also hire a third-party company specializing in market research.

Also, make sure to conduct a competitive analysis to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and identify opportunities and threats in the market. Moreover, you may also face competition from online stores. If that’s the case, consider widening your potential customer base by setting up an online shop.

Step 2: Choose Your Business Structure and Apply for Permits

Before you start brainstorming product ideas, you’ll want to decide on the type of business you want to run. The four most common legal structures are:

  • Sole proprietorship: Starting a sole proprietorship is simple and inexpensive. However, the owner and the business are the same legal person and are responsible for all debts and obligations of the company. 
  • Partnerships: Establishing a partnership is a great option when two or more people want to open a lingerie shop together. The partners share in the profits and losses of the business.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC): An LLC provides limited liability to the business owner, protecting them from the debts and liabilities of the business.
  • Corporations: A corporation is a separate entity from its owners, offering limited liability. It is owned by shareholders and managed by a board of directors.

Next, you must obtain the necessary licenses and permits, such as a business license, seller’s permit, and a federal and state employer identification number (EIN). Check with your state’s official website to understand the costs related to the licenses and whether you need any additional documents associated with starting your lingerie business.

Step 3: Decide on Your Product and Branding

Seamstress making lingerie

Once you’ve better understood the lingerie market, it’s time to decide on your product and branding for your business. The first thing you should do is decide on the type of lingerie you want to sell.

Depending on the size of your business, you might sell all lingerie types or just a single category. For example, you could sell luxury lingerie, sports bras, or bridal lingerie.

Once you’ve decided on your product, you’ll want to think about branding and brand positioning strategies. Start by asking yourself a few key questions:

  • What are your core values as a brand?
  • What is your brand’s mission?
  • What is your brand personality?
  • What is your story?
  • How do you want your brand to be perceived?

Now that you have a better idea of your brand, start by designing your logo and deciding on the type of typography and colors you’ll utilize. For example, script fonts, such as Lucida, are associated with elegance and creativity. On the other hand, red is associated with power, strength, and passion. Therefore, ensure that your decisions are aligned with your brand value. 

Step 4: Find Your Suppliers

One of the first steps in launching your own lingerie business is finding reliable suppliers for your product. If you already have a product ready to launch, then you’ll need to find manufacturers that can create your items. If you’re still designing your product, you’ll need to start contacting potential suppliers and lining up meetings to discuss your project.

This step might feel overwhelming, especially if you’ve never been involved in product manufacturing. Nonetheless, there are a few ways to start your search. The first thing you may want to do is look at online directories that list manufacturers. Examples include the Manufacturing Advice Network, the Fashion Manufacturing Institute, and the International Trade Centre.

Step 5: Find Your Warehouse and Office Space

Business owner checking lingerie inventory and stock

The fifth step in how to start a lingerie business is finding a location for your office and warehouse. This will be the base for your business and where you’ll store and ship your products. Of course, depending on the type of lingerie you sell, your warehouse and office space may operate differently.

When searching for office and warehouse space, you’ll want to consider a few things, such as:

  • Current and future space requirements
  • Inventory management
  • Climate and humidity control
  • Enough room for your equipment
  • The size of the dock and parking lot to easily navigate and accommodate the number of trucks
  • Comfortable and convenient facilities for your team

Of course, another important consideration is the cost of the space, which will depend on your budget.

Step 6: Build Your Brand’s Digital Presence

Creating a digital presence is essential to starting your own lingerie business, regardless of the type you sell. A strong digital presence will help you market your product, reach new customers, and create brand loyalty. However, it can be challenging to know where to begin building your digital presence if you’re starting. Luckily, there are a few key areas you should focus on to help you improve your brand’s digital presence.

  • Website – Your website is the first place people will turn to learn more about your brand. It’s also the best way to generate leads and earn revenue through advertising. To build your website, you need to first decide on your domain name. Then, you can choose a website builder like Wix or a content management system like WordPress to build your website.
    Next, optimize your site for search engines to rank at the top when people search lingerie stores. Lastly, set up your payment system and market your website on social media.
  • Social Media – Social media is one of the best ways to get your brand name out.  It is excellent for attracting customers, listening to their feedback, and building customer loyalty. Moreover, social media can reduce your business’s marketing costs as they are a cost-effective way to increase your market reach.
    While doing your market research, understand which social media platforms your target audience is most active on and leverage that opportunity to reach them by providing value and building a community.
  • Email Marketing – Email marketing is one of the best ways to start growing your brand. It allows you to communicate directly with your customers, build relationships, and share valuable content. Email marketing is also one of the most cost-effective ways to grow your business.
    Choose your email service provider and build your targeted email list to get started. Next, establish your goals for your email marketing campaign and select the best time to schedule your emails, and include a catchy subject line to ensure a higher response rate.

Step 7: Build Your Physical Presence

View of lingerie store with stocked displays

A physical retail presence allows you to showcase your products in a real-life setting and attract passersby into your store. For example, you can host a pop-up shot at a popular boutique or set up a permanent shop.

Popup shops are short-term events that allow you to showcase your products in a physical location. They’re a great way to test if there’s a demand for your products in person. Popup shops are relatively easy to host, and you can often find them by searching online.

If you want to set up a permanent shop, the location plays a crucial role in the success of your business. Ideally, you would wish your store to have ample and easy parking nearby.

Another essential component is opening your shop next to other businesses, such as clothing shops and beauty salons, to maximize your chances of attracting new customers. Also, make sure to set up an attractive display to draw in customers to your store.

Step 8: Implement Your Advertising and Marketing Strategies

Once you’ve launched your product, it’s time to generate leads and get your brand out there. Your initial research will also come in handy to determine your advertising and marketing strategies because you now have a better understanding of your target audience and competitors, which will help you assess your marketing strategy.

Determine which channels are best for your brand and what is the most effective way to reach your audience. Some of the most popular advertising channels include social media marketing, influencer marketing, email marketing, word of mouth marketing, point-of-sale advertising, outdoor advertising, print media, and TV and radio advertising.

For example, influencer marketing is one of the best ways to inform people about your lingerie business. Influencers are content creators with social influence in their field and can promote your products through endorsements or recommendations on social media platforms.

You can also hire a marketing agency to create a strong advertising and marketing strategy for your lingerie business.

Step 9: Offer In-House Customer Financing

The last step in how to start a lingerie business is to integrate point-of-sale financing software. Offering in-house customer financing has many advantages. First, it allows customers to purchase an item and pay later. This flexibility can encourage them to increase their order size.

While offering your customers an unsecured line of credit might seem risky, companies like Finturf take the risk out of your hands by connecting your customers to a lender offering POS financing. The lender takes on the risk, not you.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to start a lingerie business, consider following all the steps carefully. First, research the lingerie market and evaluate your competitors. Next, acquire the necessary license and permits. Then, decide on your product and branding and find your suppliers.

Afterward, find your warehouse and office space and build a physical and online presence. Then, implement your advertising and marketing strategies to attract your target audience.

Finally, offer in-house customer financing to improve cash flow and your competitive edge.


Martha Pierson

Editor-in-ChiefMartha is Editor-in-Chief at Finturf.com. Her career began in 2003 when she started as an investment banking analyst. Martha continued her career path as a financial advisor for investments. She has a passion for writing and is mainly focused on covering financial and business management topics.

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