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How to Start a Fitness Clothing Line

Written by:

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How to Start a Fitness Clothing Line

Fast Facts

Investment range

$3,550 - $8,800

Revenue potential

$91,000 - $260,000 p.a.

Time to build

1 – 3 months

Profit potential

$36,000 - $104,000 p.a.

Industry trend




As fitness wear becomes more common outside the gym and more and more people look to get fit in stylish workout clothes, the sports apparel industry is in the middle of a boom. It’s expected to expand nearly a third by 2028, and fashion-forward fitness wear is a big part of that market, led by companies like Sweaty Betty and Alo Yoga. 

You could ride this growth by starting your own fitness clothing line and providing people the gear they need while making a good living. But before you get your creativity going, you’ll need to understand the business launch process. 

Luckily, this step-by-step guide has all the insight and information you need to put you on your way to fitness clothing success.

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Pros and cons


  • Get Creative – Let your creative design juices flow
  • Good Money – High profit margins on fitness clothing
  • Global Market – Sell online to people all over the world


  • Crowded Market – Compete with many established brands
  • Manufacturer Needed – Finding a reliable manufacturer can be tough

Starting a fitness clothing line has pros and cons to consider before deciding if it’s right for you.

Fitness clothing industry trends

Industry size and growth

fitness clothing industry size and growth

Trends and challenges

fitness clothing Trends and Challenges

Trends in the fitness clothing industry include:

  • Athleisure wear, meaning clothing that you can wear to workout or just in everyday life, has seen a sharp rise in popularity. 
  • Consumers are seeking sustainably made fitness clothing, particularly young adults.

Challenges in the fitness clothing industry include:

  • The rising prices of raw materials is driving up the price of manufacturing for fitness clothing.
  • Many people are getting into the fitness apparel market, making it highly competitive.

Demand hotspots

fitness clothing demand hotspots

What kind of people work in clothing lines?

fitness clothing line industry demographics
  • Gender 82.7% of fashion designers are female, while 17.3% are male.((https://www.zippia.com/fashion-designer-jobs/demographics/))
  • Average level of education The average fashion designer has a bachelor’s degree.
  • Average age The average fashion designer in the US is 38 years old.

How much does it cost to start a fitness clothing line business?

Startup costs for a fitness clothing line range from $3,500 to $9,000. Costs include a computer, fitness clothing design software, and samples of your fitness clothing from the manufacturer. 

To keep your costs low, you should find a white label manufacturer that offers drop shipping. They will produce your fitness clothing orders on-demand and ship directly to the customer, cutting your inventory costs to near-zero. 

If you want to hone your design skills, you can take online fashion design courses on sites like Udemy

You’ll need a handful of items to successfully launch your fitness clothing line business, including: 

  • Computer
  • Fitness clothing design software
Start-up CostsBallpark RangeAverage
Setting up a business name and corporation$150 - $200$175
Business licenses and permits$100 - $300$200
Business cards and brochures$200 - $300$250
Website setup$1,000 - $3,000$2,000
Computer$800 - $1,400$1,100
Design software$200 - $300$250
Fitness clothing samples from the manufacturing$1,000 - $3,000$2,000
Total$3,550 - $8,800$6,175

How much can you earn from a fitness clothing line business?

fitness clothing line earnings forecast

Prices for fitness clothing vary greatly. These calculations will assume that an average item will be priced at $25. Your profit margin after the cost of manufacturing should be about 40%. 

In your first year or two, you could work from home and sell 70 items a week, bringing in $91,000 in annual revenue. This would mean $36,000 in profit, assuming that 40% margin. As your brand gains recognition, sales could climb to 200 items per week. With annual revenue of $260,000, you’d make a handsome profit of $104,000.

What barriers to entry are there?

There are a few barriers to entry for a fitness clothing line. Your biggest challenges will be:

  • The design skills needed to create appealing styles
  • Standing out from established fitness brands

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Step 2: Hone Your Idea

develop a business idea

Now that you know what’s involved in starting a fitness clothing line, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market. 

Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.

Why? Identify an opportunity

Research fitness clothing lines in your area to examine their products, price points, and customer reviews. You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the local market is missing a fitness apparel business for plus sizes, or fitness clothing made from sustainable materials. 

You might consider targeting a niche market by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry, such as leggings or sports bras.

This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away. 

What? Determine your clothing design

You’ll just need to design a series of clothing pieces that will make up your fitness clothing line. You can design clothing for men or women. 

How much should you charge for fitness clothing?

Fitness clothing prices have a huge range. Your prices will depend on the materials used as well as your costs from the manufacturer. After your costs, you should aim for a profit margin of about 40%. 

Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.

Who? Identify your target market

Your target market will be broad, so you should spread out your marketing to include sites like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.

Where? Choose your business premises

In the early stages, you may want to run your business from home to keep costs low. But as your business grows, you’ll likely need to hire workers for various roles and may need to rent out an office. You can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.

When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:

  • Central location accessible via public transport
  • Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
  • Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
  • Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
fitness clothing line idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm a Business Name

Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:

  • Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
  • Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better 
  • Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
  • Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
  • Including keywords, such as “fitness clothing” or “fitness apparel”, boosts SEO
  • Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “Fit Fashion Co.” over “Running Apparel”
  • A location-based name can help establish a strong connection with your local community and help with the SEO but might hinder future expansion

Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. 

Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.

Step 4: Create a Business Plan

Here are the key components of a business plan:

what to include in a business plan
  • Executive Summary: A brief overview outlining the core elements of the fitness clothing line business plan, including its mission, objectives, and key highlights.
  • Business Overview: A concise description of the fitness clothing line business, covering its mission, vision, values, and the problem it solves in the market.
  • Product and Services: Clearly defined details about the fitness clothing line’s offerings, specifying the types of fitness apparel and related products.
  • Market Analysis: An in-depth examination of the target market for the fitness clothing line, including demographics, trends, and potential opportunities.
  • Competitive Analysis: Evaluation of competitors in the fitness clothing market, identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to inform the business strategy.
  • Sales and Marketing: Strategies for promoting and selling the fitness clothing line, encompassing branding, advertising, and sales tactics to reach and attract the target audience.
  • Management Team: An introduction to the key individuals leading the fitness clothing line business, highlighting their skills, experience, and roles within the company.
  • Operations Plan: Details on the day-to-day operations of the fitness clothing line, covering production, supply chain, and logistics.
  • Financial Plan: A comprehensive financial projection outlining revenue, expenses, and profitability for the fitness clothing line over a specified period.
  • Appendix: Supplementary information and documents, such as market research data, additional financial details, or any other supporting materials relevant to the business plan.

If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.

Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business! 

Choose where to register your company

Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you’re planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to fitness clothing lines. 

If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state. 

Choose your business structure

Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your fitness clothing line will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely. 

Here are the main options:

types of business structures
  • Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
  • General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
  • C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
  • S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.

We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have.

Form Your LLC

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Step 6: Register for Taxes

The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN. 

Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.

The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist, and taxes can be filed online.

It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you’re completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund your Business

Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:

types of business financing
  • Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
  • Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
  • Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
  • Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
  • Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.

Bank and SBA loans are probably the best option, other than friends and family, for funding a fitness clothing line business. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept. 

Step 8: Apply for Licenses/Permits

Business Licenses and Permits

Starting a fitness clothing line business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits. 

You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more. 

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.

If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your fitness clothing line business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.

Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account.

Step 10: Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.

Here are some types of insurance to consider:

types of business insurance
  • General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
  • Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of the above insurance types.

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

Launching a Business

As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business. 

Essential software and tools

Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks. 

You may want to use fitness clothing design software, such as Adobe, tailornova, or CLO, to organize your designs, track orders, handle inventory and more.


  • Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero
  • If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.

Develop your website

Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism.

You can create your own website using website builders. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.

They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google. 


Here are some powerful marketing strategies for your future business:

  • Professional Branding — Develop a cohesive branding strategy that conveys energy, performance, and style across your logo, product designs, and marketing materials.
  • SEO and Professional Website — Create a sleek, user-friendly website showcasing your activewear with optimized content for search engines targeting fitness apparel keywords.
  • Direct Outreach and Networking — Connect with fitness professionals, gyms, and sports teams to introduce your products and explore partnership opportunities, including attendance at fitness expos and trade shows.
  • Social Media Engagement — Leverage platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to display your apparel, share customer testimonials, and engage with fitness-related content.
  • Fitness and Fashion Blogging — Regularly publish blog posts about fitness trends, style tips, and detailed features of your clothing line.
  • Influencer Marketing — Collaborate with fitness influencers to promote your clothing, expanding your reach and enhancing brand credibility.
  • Email Personalization — Send tailored newsletters to keep your audience updated with new releases, special offers, and fitness tips.
  • Experiential Marketing — Host pop-up shops at fitness events and gyms, and sponsor local fitness competitions to increase brand visibility and product engagement.
  • Partnerships with Gyms and Fitness Centers — Forge partnerships for exclusive merchandise or co-branded apparel to enhance brand presence in local fitness communities.
  • Community Fitness Programs — Sponsor or participate in community fitness programs to promote a healthy lifestyle alongside your brand.
  • Loyalty and Referral Programs — Implement loyalty rewards for repeat customers and referral discounts to encourage word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Targeted Online and Seasonal Advertising — Use digital advertising to target fitness enthusiasts and plan seasonal campaigns aligned with fitness cycles like New Year’s resolutions or summer activities.

Focus on USPs

unique selling proposition

Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your fitness clothing meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire. 

Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your fitness clothing line business could be: 

  • Pump up your workout and look great at the same time
  • Fitness wear for all shapes and sizes
  • Be gorgeous and green in our sustainably-made fitness apparel


You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a fitness clothing line business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in fitness clothing for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections. 

The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in fitness clothing. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. 

Step 12: Build Your Team

Building a Team for a New Business

If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a fitness clothing line business include:

  • Pattern Makers – create patterns for fitness clothing
  • Seamstresses – sew sample fitness clothing to test designs
  • General Manager – scheduling, accounting
  • Marketing Lead – SEO strategies, social media

At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need. 

Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent. 

Step 13: Start Making Money!

Running a Business

The fitness wear market is growing fast, which means now is a great time to ride the wave and start your own fitness clothing line. If you have a flair for design and a passion for good clothing, you could create a fitness brand worn around the world! 

You’ve done your entrepreneurial homework, so now it’s time to start designing your successful fitness clothing future.

Fitness Clothing Line Business FAQs

Can I start a fitness clothing line from home?

Yes, you can start a fitness clothing line from your home. You’ll need a computer and some fitness clothing design software, and then find a white label manufacturer to produce your fitness clothing.

How should I price my fitness clothing line?

Fitness clothing prices have a huge range. Your prices will depend on the fabric used and your brand identity – high-end, affordable, or somewhere in between. They will also depend on your costs from the manufacturer. 

How can I differentiate my fitness clothing line from competitors?

Your fitness clothing should have some differentiating factors like quality, comfort, durability, attractiveness, or low prices

How can I choose the right manufacturing partner for my fitness clothing line?

Your best bet is to look at the reputation of different manufacturers. You can also order item prototypes so that you can evaluate the quality.


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How to Start a Fitness Clothing Line