Little by Little…Starting a Children’s Clothing Line


I incorporated Downtown Joey Inc. back in November 2005, but for some reason I didn’t file for my resale certificate (tax-exempt status) until last week.  Shame on me–my husband is a CPA and has done a hundred of these for his clients.  I asked him how to do it and he said I could file the resale certificate application online.  I received my approval last week in the mail…YIPPEE!!!

Just in case you thought I was slacking off, I’ve been hard at work.  I’ve been spending endless hours trying to find a great pattern maker and sewing factory in the NYC area.  I can’t tell you how many phone calls I’ve made…ugh!  In addition, I’ve been searching for the right textile manufacturers on the Internet…Google is a wonderful thing…LOL!


So far, I’m on track for my launch.  Here’s my updated list of what I need to do this year (not necessarily in this order) to launch my boys’ clothing line to the wholesale market this Summer:

Incorporate Business

Tax ID

Contact Ingrid to build web site

Resale Certificate

Apply for Made in NYC listing


Sign up for Liza D’s Fashion School workshop by January 11th

Attend Liza D’s Fashion School workshop on January 19th

Sign up for Liza D’s Fashion School workshop by May 1st

Attend Liza D’s Fashion School workshop on May 17th and 18th

Write Business Plan (4/1 purchased Business Plan Template from Toronto Fashion Incubator)

Open Business Bank Account

Attend (walk) at least 2 Trade Shows

Figure out the Answers to the following from Fashion Incubator:

A brief description of my boys’ line (uptown style with a downtown twist)

My customer profile (mother who wants her son to look neatly dressed, but clothing that won’t get him beat up at the lunch table)

My anticipated price points (wholesale $13 – $29, retail $29 – $68)

The types of stores I’d like to sell to (Z-Baby, Sprout, Lester’s, Cantaloup)

Who I aspire to hang with on the rack (Jackson Clay, Jean Bourget, IKKS, Mayoral)

(contacted 3/20) Utilize the Garment Industry Development Corp (assists NYC sewn product manufacturers in an effort to keep business here in NYC) to find:

  • Pattern Maker (I think I’m going to use one I was referred to)
  • Cutting Service
  • Sewing Contractor (4/3 – waiting call back from Brooklyn factory) 
  • Screen Printer (3/31 – awaiting pricing)
  • Embroider (3/31 – need to visit in Manhattan, 4/7 rec’d estimates)
  • Fabric and Trim Manufacturers (swatches received-I found the perfect denims and twills!  Will find knits when I visit LA 4/13 – 4/16)

Keychain Sourcing (3/29 – possible source)


Design 5 complete boys’ sets:  pants, snap down shirts and t-shirts plus 1 hat)


Order Sample Fabric, Trims and Keychains

Fabric Testing 

Have Graphic Designer do artwork for screen prints

Assign Style Numbers

Figure out Sizing for line I want to keep this as simple as possible so I’m going with 1T, 2T, 3T, 4T, 6, 8.


Have First Patterns made

Sew Samples

Select and Sign up for ENK Children’s Club and send 6 samples to be juried.

Create database of children’s boutiques nationwide and web sites (4/4 have already collected more than 250 pages of listings to be used for marketing).

Prepare for Trade Show:

  • Figure out Wholesale Pricing
  • Purchase Footwear for Models
  • Have Line Photographed by EMA Photography
  • Order Posters of Line
  • Order Sign for Booth
  • Design Booth Display
  • Create 10′ x 10′ Mock-Up Booth Display
  • Design and print Business Cards 
  • Design and mail postcards
  • Design and Print Line Sheets
  • Design and Print Look Book
  • Design and Print Press Sheets
  • Send out Press Sheets to media sources 
  • Open American Express and Mastercard/Visa Accounts via PayPal
  • Design and Order Hang Tags
  • Order Garment Name Tags
  • Order Size/Fiber Content Tags
  • Ship Samples
  • Hire Assistant (or beg one of my friends to help…LOL)

Do my 1st Trade Show

Take Orders from Wholesale Customers at Trade Show

Order Fabric based on Wholesale Sales

Have Final Patterns Graded based on Orders

Have Markers made

Make Cutter’s Must

Have Cutting done

Make Sewing Spec Sheets

Hire Sewing Contractor based on orders 

Ship Fabric and Trims to Sewing Contractor

Fulfill Orders to Wholesale Customers

Hire a Sales Rep for future Trade Shows

Continue learning from Kathleen, Amber and Debbie

Rinse, Repeat…LOL

Whew!  Back to work!





  1. You have done so much and yet have so much to do! Good thing you are so organized or it could get so overwhelming.

  2. Sounds like you’ve been quite busy!

  3. I’m really excited for you! I’m excited to hear about the ENK Children’s Club Show! Best-Rachel

  4. Hey Lisa I don’t know if you remember me or not from ebay days. I found your blog again and see that you have been very busy. You have already done a lot! You are well on your way to reaching your goals.

    I remember getting my tax number and how easy it was and then thinking why did it take me so long to do this.

    I’ve been reading and re-reading Kathleen’s book because there is so much to learn! It’s especially great that you are blogging about this because I know there must be different challenges in manufacturing children’s wear and those are what I’m particularly interested in.

    Good luck with everything!

  5. Wow! I am so impressed with that outline. I’ve never seen the process of developing an apparel line like this before. That is a ton of work. Congrats!
    I would like to start a line of outdoorsy stuff under my trademarked name someday “Rocky Trail”.
    I’ve been a photographer for 20 years in Los Angeles and have been waiting for my moment to start this new part of my life. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. I am so excited for you! You are embarking on a great journey and I wish you much success! I can’t wait to begin hearing about how successful your clothing line is and seeing those clothes hanging on the racks of stores. 😀

  7. How exciting! Look at you crossing all of these items off your list! Can’t wait to see the Downtown Joey line in an Anchorage store!! 🙂 Keep on truckin’ – you’re going to be great!!

  8. Wow – it is so nice to see another person going through the same start-up experience that I am. I have just met with manfacturers and narrowing it down to one that we really think will work well with us. My husand and I are developing a clothing line for girls…hence we have a daughter and so it is interesting how you are designing boys clothes and I’m doing girl cloths..LOL. It has been alot of late nights searching companies and information on the internet but once it all comes together I think we can then take a step back and breathe. Although you are way ahead of me in the process. I will keep using your steps to beginning a clothing line as a guide to what I am doing here in Canada. Thanks for helping start-ups like me!

  9. wow I never knew what it took to get a clothing line started! You have worked so hard. I’m so excited for you!

  10. Oh my goodness, just READING that exhaustes me!!
    I haven’t been keeping up with the blog lately, I’m amazed at how rapidly this is all coming together for you!
    What a wonderful reward for all that hard work, but remember not to wear yourself out! ❤

  11. wow! you rock! can’t wait to see your stuff in the dallas area!!! you’re so talented!

  12. Lisa, I’ve been checking in on your blog occasionally to see how the new line is coming. I don’t know if you’ll remember me from eBay a few years ago, but I now have a retail line and we’re just finishing off our third selling season. It looks like you’re working your tail off! I’m excited to see your progress.

    We just did ENK last month. When you’re planning your booth and budgeting for it, keep in mind that you can not do any of the actual construction of it yourself. You have to hire union labor to hang the paper, carry anything heavy, plug in lights, etc. The manual is over 60 pages long!! They do provide you with a free

    I have several thoughts that are too lengthy for this comment page. Email me and I’ll send you a link or two that you might be interested in.


  13. Meant to say “free lunch”. LOL LOL

  14. Oh my ….I did my own line back before kids…..You go girl….
    Your little model is just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!

  15. Go Lisa! You are doing great!


  16. You _are_ working hard! I’m so excited and exhausted for you.


    Do they have more hours over there on your ” island ” than they do over here on the ” mainland ” or something ?

    I was feeling sooooo proud of myself that I got the dishes done , kids fed , dogs walked and hubby off to work ………

    Whatever it is your taking … me some okay ?

    I want to have a DIva Day !

  18. Wow it sounds like you have got a lot of things going for you right now. From one Domestic Diva to another….congratulations! Make sure you keep us up to date on everything you are doing so we can celebrate your success with you.

    BTW, thanks for checking out my site a while back, sorry it has taken so long to get back with you…I’ve been ubber busy on my end too! Whew, how do we do it all?

  19. Work it Lisa!! sounds like you are really pulling everything together–I can’t even wait to see it all.

    Have a blast in L.A.!!


  20. Girl….you are sooo dang organized! And I am soooo proud of you and you know how honored I am going to be to start photographic your new line!

  21. Never despise the days of little beginnings.I’m so proud of u,keep it up.the lord is ur strenght

  22. Reading your blog- wondering how it went? How much did it take to get started?


  1. […] have gotten the bright idea to start their own fashion line.  Little do they know what is REALLY involved.  Many people think they have the new hottest idea.  Truth is most of it has already been […]

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