28 Successful Clothing Brands & Entrepreneurs To Inspire You

Updated: December 4th, 2023
Start A Clothing Line

There are millions of fashion and clothing brands around the world.

From small, niche brands run out of people's apartments to huge brands like Nike & Uniqlo, starting a clothing brand is a great business that requires minimal costs to get started.

Here are some real life success stories of starting a clothing line:

1. Sene ($480K/year)

Ray Li, the founder of Sene, came up with the idea for his business after experiencing the frustration of finding clothing that fit properly as a slim Asian guy. He wanted to create a luxury brand that offered custom-fit clothing instead of off-the-rack options. After experimenting with different formats and launching a flagship store in LA, Sene now uses data science to provide customers with a custom fit and has become a capital-efficient business with gross margins of 60-65%.

How much they make: $480K/year
Where they're located: Los Angeles, California, USA
Current team size: 3

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I Started A $40K/Month Custom Tailored Clothing Line

In this case study, Ray breaks down:

  • Start: How they spent $0 to get their first orders from manufacturers
  • Fundraising: How they raised a $300K round from friends and family
  • Scaling: The business does 60-65% gross margin & 3x ROAS

It is not about how smart you are, it’s about the grit to stick it through the darkest and loneliest times.

So... can you actually make money with a clothing line?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

2. Swoveralls ($1.2M/year)

Kyle Bergman, Founder of The Great Fantastic, came up with the idea for his business when he couldn't find sweatpant overalls online or in stores. After discovering a supplier on Alibaba and using Google's Keyword Search Planner to determine demand, he launched his brand and sold over $300k worth of his hero product, Swoveralls, in just 18 months.

How much they make: $1.2M/year
Where they're located: New York, New York, USA
Current team size: 10

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How I Turned A Silly Idea Into A $1M+ Brand

In this interview Kyle shares:

  • Started: How he raised $108K on Kickstarter
  • Launched: His strategy to generate $300k in Amazon sales within 18 months
  • Grew: How to balance a full-time job, getting an MBA and building a $100K/year business

Normal sweatpants overalls did not exist online after a quick Google search, nor in any stores that I visited. So I made them.

3. Choast ($60K/year)

Choast was founded by Joseph and Gianfranco, who bonded over their love for smoking weed and wanted to create a brand that welcomed all stoners. After a year of subconscious preparation and the word "Choast" spreading rapidly through high schools and colleges in Ontario, they decided to start a cannabis brand. Their catchy logo, quality products, and social media marketing strategies have helped them become one of the most well-known brands in the Toronto area, making $5,000 per month.

How much they make: $60K/year
Where they're located: Richmond Hill
How much did it cost to start: $2K
Current team size: 5

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How We Started A $60K/Year Stoner-Friendly Brand

In this case study Joseph and Gianfranco break down:

  • Start: How they built an Instagram following with stoner memes
  • Grew: Hitting 15K followers in 3 months thanks to being mentioned by High Times
  • Bootstrapped: How to get sales on Etsy and Amazon before having a website

So... can you actually make money with a clothing line?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

4. Ishihara Design ($12K/year)

Paul, the founder of Ishihara Design, came up with the idea for his clothing brand while he was on his way to Japan with no plans or money. With a focus on music, he capitalized on his relationships with musician friends to launch a brand that resonated with a specific niche of customers. Through hard work and determination, he designed, prototyped, and manufactured his first collection, which led to a successful launch event and $1,000 in sales within the first few hours. Today, the brand continues to make around $1,000 per month, showcasing the power of focus and resourcefulness in building a profitable business.

How much they make: $12K/year
Where they're located: Osaka
How much did it cost to start: $350
Current team size: 0

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How I Launched A $1K/Month A Vaporwave Clothing Brand In Just 4 Days

Learn how Paul:

  • Started: Came up with the idea, brand, and first collection design in just 4 days
  • Launched: Used a Youtube live stream to generate $1K in sales in a few hours
  • Grew: Thanks to targeting an ultra-niche with high demand and low market insight

Even though I was completely broke and had no expertise, the focus I had helped me pull through any problem and hang on until I was satisfied with everything.

5. Clever Travel Companion ($600K/year)

Johanna and her husband started the Clever Travel Companion after their own experiences with theft while traveling. They wanted to design products that would prevent other travelers from facing the same fate, and came up with the idea of creating clothing with secret zippered pockets to hide valuables. Their initial products were men and women's underwear, and they have since expanded their product line to include t-shirts, leggings, hoodies, dresses, and scarves. With $50,000-plus in monthly revenue, the Clever Travel Companion is successfully funding their travels and lifestyle.

How much they make: $600K/year
Where they're located: Remote, Oregon, USA
Current team size: 2

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I Built A $50K/Month Digital Nomad Gear Brand [While Traveling The World]

In this interview Johanna details:

  • Idea: Tired of being pickpocketed while on travel, decided to create a solution
  • Launch: Created an online store with $30
  • Growth: Acquire 75% of customers thanks to reviews

We just keep plugging away at the press as it consistently delivers, press coverage works; every press mention is directly transferable to an increase in sales.

So... can you actually make money with a clothing line?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

6. Chemo Cozy ($36K/year)

Ellen Hamilton came up with the idea for Chemo Cozy after her late husband, Greg, went through chemotherapy and realized the need for accessible and comfortable clothing for patients. They launched with a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised $30k in 30 days, and now have customers in all 50 states and internationally. They have three online stores and have managed to sustain the business without outside funding.

How much they make: $36K/year
Where they're located: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
How much did it cost to start: $25K
Current team size: 0

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Creating A Clothing Brand That Supports Patients Fighting Cancer

Learn how Ellen:

  • Started: After her husband was diagnosed with cancer
  • Funded: Thanks to a Kickstarter campaign that raised $30k in 30 days
  • Grew: Building a B2B channel of hospitals and foundations that buy in bulk

The very first fleece was actually one that I purchased at an outlet mall and brought home and cut holes into.

7. Local Laundry ($600K/year)

customers and community is more important than any dollar amount. Building genuine relationships and connections is key to success. Treating customers like real people and going above and beyond to exceed their expectations will lead to long-term loyalty and organic growth. Additionally, it's important to stay true to your values and make a positive impact. Local Laundry is committed to social and environmental responsibility, supporting Canadian charities, and manufacturing their garments in Canada.

How much they make: $600K/year
Where they're located: Calgary, AB, Canada
How much did it cost to start: $0
Current team size: 4

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We Started A $50K/Month Canadian Apparel Brand

In this case study Connor explains:

  • Start: How he went from idea to launching a website in less than 48 hours
  • Side hustle: Worked on it for 2 years while clocking in at a full-time job
  • Product: No dropshipping; they sourced local, high-quality manufacturers

I had zero experience in clothing, e-commerce, or fashion. I just had an idea, so I did what all people with a view do. I Googled it and watched a YouTube video on how to do it.

8. Yoke Apparel Manufacturing ($276K/year)

Jesse James, the founder of Yoke Apparel Manufacturing, came up with the idea after noticing a lack of action among people with strong opinions on social issues. He and his wife decided to make a tangible difference by moving to Vietnam and starting a clothing manufacturing business that directly hires at-risk locals in vulnerable situations. Despite initial challenges, they have achieved automation and stability after just 2 years of operation, and they are now focused on driving growth and revolutionizing the clothing industry.

How much they make: $276K/year
Where they're located: Da Nang, HαΊ£i ChΓ’u District, Da Nang, Vietnam
How much did it cost to start: $20K
Current team size: 30

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We Moved To Vietnam And Started A $276K/Year Clothing Manufacturing Business

Learn exactly how Jesse:

  • Started: Manufacturing other people's designs instead of designing their clothing
  • Positioned: By offering low minimum order quantities. Perfect for new brands
  • Grew: Just after 12 months, they achieved a 24% profit margin

We had no experience in the field and the little planning we did do, was extremely inaccurate. But with a lot of perseverance, we managed to stay afloat.

9. Blvck Paris ($1.2M/year)

Julian O'hayon, the co-founder of Blvck Paris, came up with the idea for his business through his passion for minimalistic design and his success on Instagram showcasing black-themed images. After his photos of everyday items edited to be completely black went viral, Julian knew he wanted to create an all-black lifestyle brand, and thus Blvck Paris was born.

How much they make: $1.2M/year
Where they're located:
How much did it cost to start: $80K
Current team size: 2

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How We Started A $1.2M/Year All-Black Lifestyle Brand

In this case study, Julian shares exactly how they:

  • Started: Creating all-black concept designs on Instagram that went viral
  • Launched: Releasing limited edition drops because they couldn't afford larger orders
  • Grew: Offering themed wallpapers, emoji sets, and other digital freebies

Focus on what you are good at. We quickly realized that we couldn’t do everything and we should focus on what we could bring and what we are both good at. That’s why we decided to outsource the operational side of the business.

10. TomboyX ($24M/year)

Fran Dunaway, CEO and Co-Founder of TomboyX, came up with the idea for their gender-neutral underwear and loungewear company when they launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund their button-up shirt production. However, they soon realized that the name "TomboyX" was resonating with a wide audience, leading them to pivot and focus on creating boxer briefs for women, which became their hero product. With consistent revenue growth of over 100% each year, TomboyX has become a successful and inclusive lifestyle brand.

How much they make: $24M/year
Where they're located: Seattle, Washington, USA
How much did it cost to start: $40K
Current team size: 34

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How A Gender Neutral Garment Became A $500K/Month Business

An in-depth interview where Fran details how they:

  • Started: Raising $75K in a 30-day Kickstarter campaign
  • Picked an underserved niche: And created gender-neutral clothing with sizes from XS to 4X
  • Grew: Leveraging Instagram for brand awareness, and Facebook ads to drive sales

When we started the company, we didn’t know a knit from a woven. We just had a burning desire to make beautiful button-up shirts.

11. Hippy Feet ($1.06M/year)

While studying at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls, the founder of Hippy Feet, Michael Mader, suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him unable to work and provide for himself. Inspired by the support he received from his friends and family during his recovery, he decided to start a business that could act as a support group for individuals experiencing homelessness. This led to the creation of Hippy Feet, a sock and apparel company that provides transitional employment to homeless youth.

How much they make: $1.06M/year
Where they're located: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
How much did it cost to start: $30K
Current team size: 2

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How We Bootstrapped A $720K/Year Sock And Apparel Company That Supports The Homeless Community

Learn how Michael:

  • Started: Collecting $20K in prizes from business ideas and pitch competitions
  • First sales: Relying mostly on in-person sales events for over 2 years
  • Grew: Running 40 ads at any given time, testing them, and boosting the best performers

Starting a business is scary and comes with a lot of risk. But even if you fail, and believe me, most people do, the risk will have been worth it for the expertise and insight you gain alone.

12. Blue Skies & Ko ($12K/year)

Katlyn, the founder of Blue Skies & Ko Boutique, started her business after rediscovering her love for crafting. She initially began hand stamping jewelry as a hobby and started an Instagram account to share her creations. After receiving custom order requests and participating in a local small business event, she realized the potential to turn her crafting hobby into a profitable business. With a focus on positivity and personalized jewelry, Katlyn launched Blue Skies & Ko Boutique, doubling her income within a few months and expanding her customer base across the United States.

How much they make: $12K/year
Where they're located: Woodstock, GA, USA
How much did it cost to start: $2K
Current team size: 1

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I Turned My Crafting Hobby Into A Profitable Jewelry & Clothing Boutique [With Just $2,000]

In this case study, Katlyn breaks down:

  • Start: Posting her hobby crafts on Instagram
  • Acquisition: Focused on one platform and published a lot of content
  • Growth: Expanded from accessories to clothing, pet products, and more

Just go for it! There will never be a perfect time to start and there will always be those β€œwhat if” moments. Push past that and just go into it ready to learn and grow!

13. Costume Baldor ($120K/year)

Former Macy's employee Natalie Gomez left her job and started her side hustle as an online retailer on Poshmark. By buying clothing items from thrift stores and selling them at a higher price on her Poshmark store, Gomez made an impressive $10,000 in just one month, which encouraged her to pursue this venture full-time.

How much they make: $120K/year
Where they're located: Yonkers, NY, USA
Current team size: 0

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This 35-year-old made $100,000 reselling clothes and no longer needs to work

Learn how Natalie:

  • Started: Made her first $40 in less than 24 hours
  • Grew: Once her wardrobe was empty, she started buying clothes to flip them for a profit
  • Family business: Now her father sources and ships stuff from thrift stores.

I don’t want a nice office job; I want to work on my own terms.

14. Everlane ($120M/year)

At just 25 years old, Michael Preysman had a vision to create a direct-to-consumer clothing brand that would not only stand out from the competition, but also have a minimal impact on the environment. His vision became a reality as Everlane's value skyrocketed from $0 to over $100 million in just six years. Learn more about their journey to success on pixelphant.com.

How much they make: $120M/year
Where they're located: San Francisco, California, USA
Current team size: 333

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How Everlane Grew From $0 to $100M+ In Just 6 Years

In this case study, Michael shares:

  • Idea: Champion transparency showing exactly how much it costs to produce each product
  • Early traction: A referral invite list that went viral and hit 60K subscribers in 5 days
  • Funding: Raised $1.1M in seed funding and earned $50M in revenue that same year

15. Portland Gear ($1.44M/year)

After building a strong and engaged community on Instagram, Marcus Harvey saw an opportunity to create a brand that resonated with Portland residents. Leveraging his background in garment design and branding, he launched Portland Gear on Black Friday in 2014, aiming to provide quality menswear items and accessories that foster a sense of community in the city.

How much they make: $1.44M/year
How much did it cost to start: $500
Current team size: 15

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How to Start a Clothing Line (and Make 7 Figures a Year)

This case study showcases how Portland Gear founder Marcus Harvey leveraged his Instagram community to build a successful retail clothing store offering quality menswear items and accessories.

About
They started Portland Gear about 9 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $120K/month
Costs
It cost $500 to start the business

16. Voonik ($34.2M/year)

Navaneetha Krishnan and Sujayath Ali founded Voonik to revolutionize the fashion shopping experience in India. With over 1 million downloads and a million transactions per month, their app caters to both men and women, offering customized clothing options based on physique, personality, lifestyle, and budget.

How much they make: $34.2M/year
Current team size: 210

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Voonik - Personalizing The Shopping Experience More Than Ever

Voonik- India's fastest-growing fashion shopping app, offers a personalized shopping experience for women with over 1M downloads, more than a million transactions completed each month and desktop website launched in March 2013.

About
They started Voonik almost 11 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $2.85M/month

17. Chubbies ($44.1M/year)

Skilled in the art of producing and marketing clothing, Tom Montgomery, Preston Rutherford, Hency, and Ranier Castillo started menswear brand Chubbies in 2011. Since its founding, the brand has experienced exponential growth, increasing its net sales from $2.4 million in 2012 to an impressive $44.1 million in 2020. Learn more about their success story on Medium.

How much they make: $44.1M/year
Current team size: 110

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Chubbies: The Success Story of Shorts with Unique Design

Men's clothing brand Chubbies has experienced impressive growth, increasing its net sales from $2.4 million to $44.1 million since 2012, thanks in part to the founders' skills in production and marketing.

About
Hency, started Chubbies almost 13 years ago
Revenue
Hency, grew the business to $3.68M/month

18. Lunya ($25M/year)

Ashley Merrill, the founder and CEO of Lunya, came up with the idea for her upscale sleepwear company in 2012, focusing on using upscale materials and emphasizing body-flattering cuts for both men and women. Since its launch, Lunya has seen impressive growth, with a year-over-year increase of 500%. Listen to the full podcast on storybehindthebrand.libsyn.com to learn more about Lunya's success.

How much they make: $25M/year
How much did it cost to start: $50K
Current team size: 61

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Marketing Breakdown: How Lunya Achieved $25M Revenue

Lunya, an upscale sleepwear company founded by Ashley Merrill, has grown Year over Year by an incredible 500%, offering stylish and comfortable sleepwear and rest wear for both men and women.

About
They started Lunya about 11 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $2.08M/month
Costs
It cost $50000 to start the business

19. PaigeLauren ($7.8M/year)

Former architectural designer Paige Lauren founded PaigeLauren in 2009 to fulfill her quest for simple and classic baby clothes for her friends. The luxury baby clothing company, known for its soft and organic fabrics, has become a prominent player in the market, generating a monthly revenue of approximately $650,000. With a modest 16K+ followers on Instagram, PaigeLauren continues to thrive in the cute and comfy baby clothing industry.

How much they make: $7.8M/year
Current team size: 41

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How This Entrepreneur Started a Successful Baby Clothing Business

Luxury baby clothing company PaigeLauren, making simple & organic fabrics with a luxurious look & feel for babies & toddlers, and boasting a monthly revenue of around $650,000 through their promotion on Instagram.

About
They started PaigeLauren almost 15 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $650K/month

20. Sleeping Baby ($4.92M/year)

Stephanie and Brett Parker's journey from a $500 website and $200 for materials to building a multi-million dollar baby product line, Sleeping Baby, is a true example of entrepreneurial success. Their best-selling product, the Zipadee-Zip, has gained popularity among new parents, catching the attention of investors on ABC's Shark Tank. This inspiring story showcases their problem-solving skills and passion for parenting.

How much they make: $4.92M/year
How much did it cost to start: $700
Current team size:

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Sleeping Baby Co-Founder Stephanie Parker

Business Insider-style synopsis: Aspiring entrepreneurs can learn from Stephanie and Brett Parker, who turned $700 into a multi-million dollar baby product empire with Sleeping Baby, founded in 2013, thanks to problem-solving skills and their best-selling baby swaddle Zipadee-Zip.

About
They started Sleeping Baby over 10 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $410K/month
Costs
It cost $700 to start the business

21. iGirl World ($1.26M/year)

Bella McFadden, known as Internet Girl, built an alt-fashion community on social media and Depop, using her unique aesthetic inspired by Y2K emo culture. With a strong social media presence and millions in sales, Bella is now launching her own website, iGirlworld.com, to sell her original designs and take her brand to the next level.

How much they make: $1.26M/year
Current team size:

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This 24-year-old designer just made $1 million selling used clothes online

Teenager turned millionaire entrepreneur creates viral alt-fashion brand from scratch, with 380K followers on Instagram and more than 1 million dollars earned from Depop app, now launching her own website to sell original designs under her brand name, iGirl.

About
They started iGirl World almost 7 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $105K/month

22. Tommy John ($22.6M/year)

Erin Fujimoto and Tom Patterson founded Tommy John in 2008, introducing the world's first patented undershirt with a stay-tucked guarantee. Recognizing the opportunity to improve the quality and customer experience in the underwear market, they later expanded their product line to include underwear, socks, casual wear, and activewear. By 2014, Tommy John's revenue had grown fivefold, and the brand has gained recognition in major publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Esquire, GQ, and Golf Digest. Today, their products can be found in over 1000 retail locations across the USA, and they have recently sold their 5 millionth pair of underwear.

How much they make: $22.6M/year
Current team size: 162

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Tommy John founders Tom Patterson and Erin Fujimoto

Tommy John, the vertically integrated consumer brand in the underwear market, has grown to selling over 5 million pairs of underwear across 1000 retail locations with a focus on direct-to-consumer relationships since 2012 that has seen the company's revenue grow five times since 2014.

About
They started Tommy John almost 16 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $1.88M/month

23. MeUndies ($75M/year)

Jonathan Shokrian launched MeUndies in 2011 after a frustrating underwear shopping experience. He raised an impressive $400,000 from family and friends to create a millennial-friendly online store for underwear, and the brand gained significant media attention in 2014 when Facebook blocked some of its ads featuring scantily-clad models. Since then, MeUndies has become popular among younger generations, boasting over 500,000 Facebook fans and 340,000 Instagram followers, thanks in part to celebrity endorsements from stars like Kylie Jenner and the Hadid sisters.

How much they make: $75M/year
Current team size: 126

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How MeUndies uses risque advertising tactics to sell 10 million pairs of underwear

MeUndies used social media shock value to become a millennial-friendly online store for underwear with more than 500k+ Facebook fans and 340+ Instagram followers, thanks to endorsements from stars like Kylie Jenner and the Hadid sisters.

About
They started MeUndies almost 13 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $6.25M/month

24. BrownMill Company ($327K/year)

Justis Pitt-Goodson, the founder of streetwear brand BrownMill clothing, dropped out of college to pursue his business full-time. He started by selling bow ties and grew the brand by promoting its online store at pop-up events. The subscription model, offering tiers of bundled clothing, has been successful, and BrownMill aims to reach $2 million in annual revenue and open more storefronts in the future.

How much they make: $327K/year
Current team size: 10

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I Dropped Out Of College To Grow My Side Hustle - Now It Brings In $327,000

Streetwear brand BrownMill, founded by Justis Pitt-Goodson and two friends, attracted NBA players as customers and posted $327,000 in revenue in 2021 by selling luxury clothes produced from recycled textile materials via its online store and through subscription packages.

About
Justis started BrownMill Company over 14 years ago
Revenue
Justis grew the business to $27.3K/month