Where to Find Apparel Financing
Apparel financing can be found at banks, credit unions, and via online platforms.
Banks and credit unions typically offer the best interest rates and loan terms, but the qualifying requirements and application process are stricter than alternative lenders. You will need to provide documents including a solid business plan, bank statements, tax forms, and profit-and-loss statements, as well as collateral documentation when applicable.
With an alternative lender, you can often access funding more quickly – sometimes as fast as one business day, after an (often) digital application process. This isn’t to say you those platforms won’t inquire about a number of creditworthiness points based on their own lending formulas, but these processes are often streamlined, self-service and significantly faster. Despite frequently offering higher amounts to younger companies than traditional lenders, these providers frequently feature higher interest rates and shorter terms.
If you are able to qualify for a bank loan or loan offered by a credit union, that should always be your first choice. If you don’t meet the requirements of either of those types of lenders, or you need more money than you’re able to secure there, alternative lenders are a great option used by many growing businesses to reach the next level of success.
Different ways to use clothing / apparel financing
If you take out an inventory loan, you may only be able to use the funds to purchase inventory. However, if you use a general clothing store loan you may be able to use funds for a variety of operating expenses such as. . .
Most common expenses apparel store business owners face
If you are looking to get apparel store financing, you will need to have a good idea of the expenses that need to be covered. These include the following:
Property Expenses: Not all clothing stores are brick and mortar, but if yours is, your clothing store loan will need to cover your rent expenses. 1000 square feet of retail space can cost around $57,333 a month if you are renting in a major city.
Utilities: Utility expenses must also be considered. Electricity can cost as much as $1.47 per square foot while gas is about 29 cents. Water and sewer and phone and internet will add to these costs.
Entity Formation Costs: One of the first things you will need to do is decide on what type of legal entity you will be forming for your clothing store. You can choose from a sole proprietorship, and various types of corporations, and limited liability arrangements. Costs for entity formation vary from state to state.
Licensing and Permitting: Licensing and permitting involves getting an EIN number, a resale certificate, a seller’s permit, a certificate of occupancy and other local licenses. These costs can also vary based on location.
Legal Fees: It’s advisable to get the help of accountants, lawyers and other business professionals to ensure your paperwork is filed correctly. A lawyer can charge anywhere from $150 to $325 an hour while an accountant is usually around $40 an hour.
Insurance: You may need various types of insurance for your business. Property and liability insurance are musts. If you have a staff, you will also need workers’ compensation insurance. You may also consider getting health insurance for yourself and your employees.
Hiring Staff: While you may be able to run your business on your own, it’s likely you may find this difficult to do as your company grows. The amount you spend on staff will depend on how many people you hire and what positions you hire for. A retail associate is typically paid $11.25 an hour although some states have raised their minimum wage in 2021. Store managers usually make between $26 and $35 an hour.
Inventory Costs: Inventory will likely be one of your biggest and most important expenses. When figuring out costs, you will need to consider the items you are going to purchase as well as how much of each item you will need to stock your store.
Marketing Costs: It’s essential to market your brand to get the name out. This may require sending out mailings, launching social media and software campaigns and doing other types of in-person and internet advertising. You will need to consider fees for listings, materials and marketing software. You may also think about hiring a marketing manager.
Branding: As a clothing store company, it’s vital to pay attention to your brand image. This includes a great logo, a well-designed web site, a nice-looking interior design for brick and mortar locations, attractive signage and more.
In Store Equipment: A brick and mortar location will also require equipment such as a POS system, inventory counting software, security systems, shelving, racks, hangers and more.
Website Expenses: In this day and age, some clothing stores work through websites exclusively while others have websites in addition to an actual store. In either case, you will need an eCommerce platform and you will need to hire people to design and maintain the site.
What is the cost of financing for apparel makers?
Inventory funding and apparel store loans can increase costs. In most cases, lenders want a decent return for their loan. For some businesses, the additional cost may cause them to operate in the red. If a clothing store loan is going to diminish profits to the point you are no longer profitable, you may want to rethink the loan. It’s important to find affordable clothing store loans. If you are looking for affordable inventory funding you should check out SBA loans and Kickfurther.
How can I get funding for my apparel / textile business?
Before you are ready to apply for an apparel loan or funding, you will want to do plenty of research. If you only need funding for inventory, you can apply at Kickfurther. To qualify for funding on Kickfurther you will need to sell physical products or non-perishable products. You will also need revenue between $150k to $15MM over the last 12 months.
If you need a business loan for operating expenses, you will want to explore available options, review qualification requirements, and see what lenders can offer. Regardless of the type of loan or the lender, most lenders will get started with an application process to see if you qualify for a loan.
What credit score do I need to qualify for apparel financing?
Credit score requirements can vary depending on the type of business loan you are applying for. Most lenders will want the business owner to have a healthy credit score, a solid business plan, and profits to support their ability to borrow and repay the loan. You should have a credit score of 640 or better to secure inventory financing.
Can I get financing for my clothing store with no money down?
There are ways to get a clothing store loan with no money down. Most traditional loan types will require a down payment. Even SBA loans require down payments. If you sell physical products or non-perishable consumables and have revenue between $150k to $15mm over the last 12 months, you may qualify for inventory funding on Kickfurther.
How to choose the best business financing for apparel brands
Choosing the best business loan for your clothing store depends on a few different factors.
You should consider the type of clothing store loan that is best for the needs of your business, whether that be a loan to buy a retail property, a loan to purchase inventory, a loan to cover daily expenses or a loan to cover gaps in cash flow. Identifying the exact need for financing will help you to narrow down which type/s of business loan will be best.
You should also determine whether you are willing to use any of your assets or inventory as collateral. If you are comfortable doing this, you are likely to find that you have more business loan options available to you, even if you have a less than excellent credit score.
It is also a good idea to focus on your credit score when choosing a business loan. If you work to build a good to excellent credit score, you will find that there are more options available and, not only that, but you will be more likely to secure the lowest interest rates with the best terms.
Can apparel brands get business loans with bad credit?
As mentioned above, having a good credit history means that you will have access to more loan types and lenders, but that does not mean that you will be unable to get a business loan for a clothing store if you have bad credit.
There are a handful of online, alternative lenders who will approve you for a loan with a credit score of 580 or less, typically in the form of a short-term loan or business line of credit. You are likely to find, however, that you will be offered higher rates and less desirable terms than if you were to have good credit. If another member of your ownership or leadership team is able to sign the loan, you may find more favorable terms.
Some business owners reporting less than ideal credit list merchant cash advance (MCA) as a great option. MCAs largely base their lending on your sales volume. You receive a set amount in exchange for a percentage of future sales. The MCA withdraws regular payments from your account, based on the agreed-upon percentage, until your borrowed amount is repaid. Rates can be high, but it may be a good option if you can’t find a traditional form of funding or have sales volume that is more bankable than your personal credit.
For clothing and apparel brands with sales over $150,000 and personal credit over 600, inventory funding from Kickfurther can be a terrific option to increase inventory, free up cash on hand to reinvest across your business, and access volume-ordering discounts to improve your margin.
How does business financing benefit apparel/clothing brands?
There are a number of ways in which business loans can benefit clothing and apparel brands, including:
- avoiding “stockouts” of top items that drive revenue
- allowing for the purchase of larger inventory orders than cash on hand allows
- providing the funds to expand into new distribution channels
- providing capital needed to keep and hire new staff
- covering costs of marketing and advertising
- providing the funds needed to invest in appropriate technologies, such as an Inventory Management System
What do you need to apply for apparel brand financing?
Requirements for the above options vary based on the type of funding you choose and the lender. However, there are a number of things you can expect to need in order to apply for any type of funding for your clothing brand:
- a solid business plan (for traditional loans)
- at least 2 years in business – some online lenders will take less than this
- a personal credit score of at least 600
- a positive business history
- profit-and-loss statements or proof of revenue
- purpose of your loan
Previously funded apparel brand co-ops
What is the best way to finance inventory needs for my apparel brand?
If you are considering financing for your clothing store, you should determine exactly how the funds will be used and how they will help grow your business. If you can justify the loan, the next step should be to learn about different types of loans available. Once you determine the type of loan that is best for your business, you will want to shop for offers. If you just need to fund inventory, you should consider an alternative like Kickfurther.
How to obtain inventory financing for an apparel business
Kickfurther funds up to 100% of your inventory costs on flexible payment terms that you customize and control. With Kickfurther, you can fund your entire order(s) each time you need more inventory and put your existing capital to work growing your business without adding debt or giving up equity.
No immediate repayments: You don’t pay back until your new inventory order begins selling. You set your repayment schedule based on what works best for your cash flow.
Non-dilutive: Kickfurther doesn’t take equity in exchange for funding.
Not a debt: Kickfurther is not a loan, so it does not put debt on your books. Debt financing options can sometimes further constrain your working capital and access to capital, or even lower your business’s valuation if you are looking at venture capital or a sale.
Quick access: You need capital when your supplier payments are due. Kickfurther can fund your entire order(s) each time you need more inventory.
Kickfurther puts you in control of your business while delivering the costliest asset for most CPG brands. And by funding your largest expense (inventory), you can free up existing capital to grow your business wherever you need it – product development, advertising, adding headcount, etc.
Interested in getting funded on Kickfurther?
Create a free business account, complete the online application, and review a potential deal with one of our account representatives. Once approved, our community of buyers fund most deals within a day, often within minutes to hours.