How to begin with the Government

My SO and I are starting a small business that we hope to grow into a large company and lifestyle brand centering on direct to consumer ecommerce. We've had the idea for a while now, and are just starting to make moves to turn our dream into reality. Right now, we are focusing on simply selling unique and personal screen tees (I won't go into the branding pitch) because the overhead is minuscule between my SO already working for a local screen print shop and brokering a deal with his boss, and we can really build capital and brand awareness starting with that.

The next step is procuring all the legal mumbo jumbo; tax ID, retail license, etc. My question is about what I actually need to file for and what is the best way to set up our business with the intent to grow it into a company. Ideally, we'd like to have multiple brand names in charge of different products with different target markets that are owned by an umbrella controlled by us. I'm definitely getting ahead of myself, but I want to start on the right foot instead of having to backtrack later when it will cost more money. Is the best course to go ahead and set up Umbrella Company Inc. and then DBA for Shirt Brand, or is there a different way to go about this? Do we have to set them both up separately and then "buy" Shirt Company from ourselves.

Or am I totally just not understanding how anything works at all? If there is a resource that explains all of this PLEASE point me in that direction. I should have gone to school for business!

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