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