Starting an e-commerce apparel business- more money towards initial inventory or marketing?

by ltdedition17. Posted on Sep 11, 2020    2    15

In short, my business partner and I are getting ready to launch an apparel company, and we are trying to determine the percentage of initial investment towards marketing vs initial on hand, ready to ship inventory. We are both heavily leaning towards more like 65-70% marketing and the rest towards initial inventory as we can always get more inventory as sales begin to take place. We thought this sub would be a great place to get outside opinions! What do you think we should do?


wamih 1

Do you have fashion expertise?

What kind of apparel?

Are you just putting designs on mass production shirts?

  ltdedition17 1

Hats. Trucker hats specifically.

We understand the market and have worn them for years. My wife is an artist and graphic designer and has helped develop patches and branding

berimtimlo 1

To expand on my other post, your initial out of pocket investment should be pretty close to 0 in this. Zazzle will make hats on demand and you should be able to generate sales through organic marketing like Instagram. If you can't sell that way then it's not a viable business. Only after you've proven out that you've got a niche that you're hitting would it be time to consider marketing and inventory.

wamih 1

So you are buying the hats and putting a logo/design on them?

  ltdedition17 1

For now, yes. One of our first goals is getting our own machines to do the embroideries

Lloydwrites 1

I’ve had a business like that. How will you sell? Amazon, eBay, your own site? Somewhere else?

In almost every case, I’d recommend inventory but let’s hear how you’re selling.

  ltdedition17 1

Our own website is the preferred method and how we plan to start!

Lloydwrites 4

In that case, I might put it all into marketing & advertising. Might because it depends on how wide your inventory selection is to begin with (and your restock time).

  ltdedition17 1

So no inventory on hand? Or minimal?

berimtimlo 1

Really you should do minimal for both. No point in stocking up inventory or spending a lot on marketing until you've proven a market fit.

  ltdedition17 1

That makes sense. I appreciate the input

Lloydwrites 3

I misunderstood. Make sure your inventory on hand is sufficient to attract your customers. It’s better to specialize in one thing first and then expand than to fail to service a lot of people and try to focus. Even Amazon started out as amazon books.

  ltdedition17 1

Love this. Thank you so much!

hinterland_skis 3

Check out one-off sites like Then you don’t have to stock inventory and the prices are good. The quality is pretty good on most products.

  ltdedition17 1

I will check this out. Thank you!