How To Start A Fitness Clothing Line In 2021: The Complete Guide

Interested in learning how to start a fitness clothing line?

Good, because it’s about to explode. You see, the entire health and wellness industry is growing at a breakneck speed as younger generations are much more inclined to care about their health. This means that the fitness clothing market is poised to grow faster than most categories. It’s also growing more popular in “fitness populations”, which makes it one of the better small business ideas for veterans and first responders.

The trick is to make sure you can get in front of this wave.

That’s why in this guide, we’re going over a “minimalist” business plan that will help you go from 0 to 1 in the fastest, most straightforward path that is still likely to work.

Let’s get started…

How Much Does It Cost To Start A Fitness Clothing Line?

Figuring out the exact cost of starting a fitness clothing line is always complicated. That’s because there are multiple variables that go into it that can wildly change the end cost.

First is cost per unit.

In fitness, you can sell a shirt for anywhere between $10 and $100. Of course, the higher you go, the more expensive it costs to make it. That’s because more expensive materials lead to a more expensive shirt. This is called cost per unit. 

Second are minimums.

For obvious reasons, it costs a lot more to start a fitness clothing line if you have to buy 1,000 shirts to get started than if you only had to buy 10 shirts even if the cost per unit of the 1,000 shirts is much lower. How many you have to buy to start is called a “minimum” and that’s mostly influenced by what manufacturer you work with.

Your cost to starting a fitness clothing will come down to these 2 factors.

With that said, I would budget $10,000-$25,000 to start a fitness clothing line.

It’s possible to start with less. I’ve started one for just $4,000. However, you’ll want at least somewhat of a decent margin so you can reinvest into bigger batches. Otherwise, you’ll go from starting a fitness clothing line to closing down a fitness clothing line fast.

Fitness Clothing Line Business Plan: Build

Fitness is one of the most competitive margins in the world. Combine that with the high refund rates and slim margins on clothing in general and you’ve got yourself a business that will have a much higher chance of succeeding if you build an audience first.

This means starting a blog, Youtube channel, TikTok or something else by producing consistent content for at least 6 months before launching your brand. For example, say you’re coming out with new shorts for Crossfitters. It would be a good idea to start a TikTok that’s all about Crossfit so that in 6 months, you have a group of people who are likely to buy your shorts.

The same goes for whatever category of fitness clothing you’re thinking of launching.

By building this audience of fitness lovers before you launch, you won’t have to spend money on ads to get you first sales. This leads to much higher margins, which you can then use to buy larger batches of inventory, which then leads to bigger margins when you sell more. 

This kind of flywheel is the “trick” to learning how to start a fitness clothing line the profitable way.

Fitness Clothing Line Business Plan: Launch

One month before you launch, you’ll want to send your audience to an opt-in page that notifies them when you launch in exchange for their email address. This is called a “hot list” or “pre-launch” list” and it’s the most profitable marketing channel you will have.

Once it’s time to launch, it’s all hands on deck.

This is when you send multiple emails to your list, produce direct response sales content on whatever social channel you’re using to grow an audience, and tell your entire network that you launched.

With that said, I highly suggest you take a 3 round approach to launch safely.

This means you should aim to sell out your 1st batch of clothing first and focus on data collection so you can pivot (if necessary) before ordering your 2nd batch of clothing. Then launch again and re-assess again after your 2nd batch. Once you reach your 3rd batch, then you keep your Shopify store open permanently.

This allows you to make sure you’re actually reaching product-market fit before investing more.

Fitness Clothing Line Business Plan: Scale

Once you’re ready to scale, you’ll want to test new marketing channels.

Your primary marketing channel besides audience building should be advertising. Most fitness clothing brands do this with Facebook and Instagram ads. However, you can also look into Youtube ads, Snapchat ads, TikTok ads, and even email newsletter sponsorships. Either way, this will be the most scalable traffic source as you can just pour money in.

Amazon is another important marketing channel because fitness clothing lines need a big volume of sales to be profitable. There’s nowhere better to do that than with Amazon, if you can figure out Amazon SEO so people find your clothing over everyone else’s. Even if all it did was make enough sales so you can improve your margins, it would be a huge win.

Retail is the last big channel you need to worry about. Again, fitness clothing needs as much distribution as possible to be a profitable business. Online is great and it’s possible to build a 7 figure brand just by focusing on audience building, advertising, and Amazon. But once you’re ready, look into retail as it’s the only channel with stable acquisition costs.