How to Start a Clothing Business with No Money

How to Start a Clothing Business with No Money

Did you know that before the 19th century, people used to either make their clothes from home or order from a dressmaker or a tailor? Later on, in the 20th century, with the emergence of new technology, it became easier to mass-produce clothes that ...

Did you know that before the 19th century, people used to either make their clothes from home or order from a dressmaker or a tailor? Later on, in the 20th century, with the emergence of new technology, it became easier to mass-produce clothes that were later sold at retail and department stores.  

Fast forward to the 21st century, the industry has grown in popularity making it a multi-billion-dollar industry globally encompassing everyone; from the high-end designers like Coco Chanel and Louis Vuitton to the manufacturers, distributors and also the retailers. 

Is it a worthwhile venture?

Something has to be going on right with this industry for it to be worth that much. Therefore, if you are wondering whether it is a worthwhile venture then your answer is Yes. For the simple reason that it is one of the basic human necessities; young or old, male or female, everyone needs clothes. Also, with the industry worth as much as it does, it means that there is good money to be made from trading clothes. 

However, without having the capital to start you off, it is going to be a bit difficult but not impossible.

Starting a clothing business with no money


This is by far the best option for someone starting a clothing line with no money. Dropshipping is a business model in which the retailer does not need to keep inventory; they purchase items from a third party only after the customer has made payments then have it delivered to the client’s address. As a retailer, all you need to do is to set up an eCommerce store then link it to one of the many dropshipping suppliers such as AliExpress, Wholesale2B and  DHgate amongst many others.  

Less risk is involved

This is because as a retailer, you do not keep any inventory. You only make purchases after you make a sale.

Low overhead costs

Many Dropshipping businesses are home-based. Therefore, the only overhead costs you might incur is a one-time payment plan for your eCommerce shop on a site such as Shopify.  

A wide selection of products

Dropshipping suppliers usually have a wide range of products to choose from. You can therefore choose to list a wide range of products on your site at no extra cost to you. 

Low profits

This model operates on the concept of buying low and selling high. However, there is a limit as to how much you will be willing to charge your clients for an item. With the high competition in this business, many suppliers usually end up pricing their items at low prices to get a competitive edge. 

Inventory issues

Since you do not physically have the products, it is quite difficult for you to determine which ones are in stock and those that are out of stock. Sometimes suppliers may fail or delay to update the status of their inventory. 


As a retailer, you are not responsible for shipping the items to your customers, you are only required to confirm the details before placing your order. On one hand, this is great while on the other, it might be a complex and tiresome process especially when a customer orders for items from two different suppliers. 

Limited branding

Like everything else, the supplier is also responsible for designing and branding your orders. While some might be willing to work with your ideas, others will require a minimum order of purchase to make it affordable for them.  


This is when you have companies, individuals, friends and family make small donations to help fund a project or a business. There are different types of crowdfunding campaigns you can choose from such as;

Donation-based: individuals donate money without expecting anything in return.

Reward-based: donors expect something in return. The type of reward for each depends on the money they donated.  

Peer-to-peer: this is whereby companies or individuals donate money and expect to be paid back after a certain period with interest.  

Equity: donors give you money for your business in exchange for ownership of a certain percentage of your business.  

Examples of sites to launch your crowdfunding campaign include, GoFundMe, KickStarter, Lending Club and InDemand amongst many others. 

Start Small 

In the words of Oprah Winfrey, ‘Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do’

Waiting to have enough money to start your business might derail you from your success. So, start now with what you have, no matter how small.

Start with what you have

Go through your closet and find items that you no longer wear but are still in perfect condition. Try reselling these on Instagram, Facebook, eBay or on Depop. These days’ people are more willing to buy second-hand items. This will help you accumulate money to purchase your first inventory for your cloth line business. 

Small batches

You do not need to have a larger inventory to start a cloth line. Identify a local manufacturer, find out their prices, and what their production minimum is. If the terms work well with you, then you can send them your designs to produce.

Work to get the money

There are many opportunities available online for you to make money. You could make as much as $50 in a day filling out surveys and doing odd jobs such as delivering items, driving an Uber, babysitting, or taking part in focus groups, the opportunities are endless. 

Bottom Line 

Starting a business can be overwhelming sometimes, it can even be worse if you do not have the required capital for a startup. All in all, you will need to be very positive when starting a cloth line business. There is always going to be someone who you think is doing better than you, there will be new businesses coming up giving you a good run for your money but optimism is key. Also, you need to be very passionate about fashion, it is the only way to ensure your business remains relevant and trendy which is what will help you drive sales.