HOW TO START A SEWING BUSINESS [Everything you need to know]
Here’s a first hand information on how to start a sewing business at home.
Starting a sewing business can’t be all juicy but in this guide, we’ve compiled for you a step by step guide on everything you need to start a successful sewing business at home or tailoring business.
This article will be based frequently asked questions on the sewing from home business. You’ll love it, just keep reading.
WHO IS THIS BUSINESS RIGHT FOR?
Before we go into much details, you need to know if the sewing from home business is for you or not.
The sewing business is right for individuals who enjoy / love fashion. This business is for those who like creating and mending clothes for people to look really nice.
Therefore if you think you have the ability or you are willing and ready to learn to make individuals look smashing hot – the sewing business is for you.
If you think you fit in the above, that’s really nice but if not, you can still continue reading to know how to set up this tailoring business and assign it to the right person to manage. That way, it can serve as an alternative source of income.
HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE EXTRA MONEY RUNNING THIS BUSINESS?
PROFIT POTENTIAL IN STARTING A SEWING BUSINESS.
The cost of a well made or designed clothe ranges from ₦15,000 to ₦20,000 depending on the fabric used in sewing the dress.
However, the sum of ₦5000 or at least ₦3000 is charged when a customer actually bring his or her fabric for you to make a dress with.
Now let’s say in a day you manage to work on 5 clothes, That’s ₦5000 x 5 = 25,000. (that’s the money realized for a day). Now the money realised for a day’s Job ₦25,000 x 7days a week =75,000.
I wouldn’t want to exaggerate so let’s say you manage to sell just two (2) well designed clothe for ₦20,000 each in the whole week. (₦20,000 x 2 = ₦40,000). So the total amount realised for the week will be ₦195,000.
Because unexpected expenses are associated with the sewing business, for example, transportation fare, machine maintenance fee etc. Let’s deduct 50,000 for expenses.
Therefore the potential profit realised for a week will be 195,000 – 50,000 (for expenses) that’s ₦145,000 realized for the week. Now 145,000 x 4 weeks available in month will give you a whooping ₦580,000 monthly, isn’t that something to be proud of? Well that’s more than something, it’s huge.
Truth be told, don’t expect to start making the above figures at the introductory stage of your business, It is 100% realizable but it will take some time. But if you’re booming of creativity in the sewing business, you can start achieving that with just 6 months or less of starting a sewing business.
What to expect from this article
- • How to start a sewing business step by step guide.
- • Abilities needed to start a sewing business
- • Equipments for starting a sewing business
- • How to earn / make extra income running this business.
- • Capital needed to start it, how to market / promote it
- Ways to improve your sewing skills and lots more
Now to the business of the day.
HOW CAN I START A SEWING BUSINESS?
HOW TO START A SEWING BUSINESS | STEP BY STEP GUIDE.
Step 1: master your sewing skills.
To start a sewing business, you need to know how to sew clothes. This is the most important step in this business because it will either make you succeed or fail. When you know how to sew very well, only then is it advisable for you to start a sewing business.
You may need to contact a friend or go for a proper training at a fashion Institute to master your tailoring or sewing skills. Either way just make sure you’re capable of making or coming up with quality dresses.
HOW CAN I IMPROVE MY SEWING SKILLS?
Tips to improve your sewing skills.
• Customize / make dresses at all times.
At this point, I really don’t expect you to have started operating fully as a tailor or sewing business owner.
Just take time during and after your training or skill mastering to creatively come up with dresses on your own just as a graphic designer will just come up with designs randomly.
You can measure an individual using your tape rule and come up with something good for him or her. You may not have to give them the dress but I’ll advise you do if it comes out pretty well. The bottom line is you’re trying to improve your tailoring or sewing skills which is good.
You can browse sewing / fashion styles online, watch fashion shows and follow celebrities with good fashion sense to get inspiration on dresses to make.
Compare your works with a few tailors or sewing business owners around you and some big guns in the industry. And when you can confidently say I am better, you can proceed to the next step.
Lastly, I’ll recommend a training duration of at least 6 months to master your tailoring or sewing skills and a personal training of 4 months.
The sewing business is a competitive one, so I’ll advise you come out into the business world very prepared. That’s it on my first step on how to start a sewing business.
Step 2: Choose a business name.
After mastering your skills, the thought of having a sewing business fully should be welcomed. But what are you going to call your sewing business? You haven’t thought of that of that or have you? Well you need to think of a good business name for your sewing business.
You can further contact a graphic designer to help come up with a logo/ label with your business name.
You should attach it at the neck side of a cloth. A label is important because it helps one know the maker of a dress. Example, the picture below shows the label of a cloth.
Step 3: Register your sewing business.
You may need to contact the appropriate authorities and register your business. There are loads of restrictions, to an unregistered business. Coupled with the fact that potential customers won’t perceive you as a serious business person, It will also affect or restrict exportation and also potential investors.
For someone that’s aiming future expansion, you should register your business. You can register your business with the internal revenue (IRS) while you contact a sewing business Union or fashion design Union to register your sewing or tailoring business in Nigeria.
However, there maybe little or no need to register a sewing business operating from home but having a Legal backing for your business isn’t a bad idea.
Step 4: Write a business plan.
According to Wikipedia.org a business plan is a formal written document containing business goals and methods on how these goals can be achieved.
While writing or working on a business plan make sure your executive summary is top notch. It is very important to capture the interest of a reader. An investor may decide not to know more about your business having read your executive summary.
Other important aspect of a business plan may include your company profile, marketing plan finance, operational plan, management team /human resources and conclusion / actions.
You can write a business plan yourself or get a professional to help you out with it.
A business plan can be used to get loans from investors or banks that’s an additional benefit to having it.
Step 5: Organise your sewing business start up capital.
Capital in this case is the money needed to gather all resources to start a sewing business.
Your means or method of getting the required capital to start up this business is 100% your choice to make but I won’t recommend a bank loan.
Considering the fact you’ll be starting the sewing business at home means you’ll require little capital for the business.
Therefore, I’ll advice you contact a few friends and family members to support you and add what you have to it and get the necessary materials needed to start.
You may need to arrange or raise around $700 (₦240,000) or less to start a sewing business at home. it would definitely Cost more if you decide to rent a shop to start this business.
However, whenever you decide to get a shop for your sewing business, make sure its strategically located.
Its should be very close to your target audience and easily accessible by them.
Don’t underestimate the need to be located where basic social infrastructures are available
Location is a key success factor to any business.
So to better understanding the need for you to be strategically located, I have compiled a must read detailed article on considerations before choosing a business location. (things to consider before choosing a business location)
Step 6: Buy the necessary sewing equipments
With your capital all set and ready, its time to get all the necessary materials needed to make that dress that will change your life and put a smile on someone’s face.
To get your sewing equipments I’ll recommend you contact the institute you got trained. As a reputable institute, they may parade a few quality equipments to start a sewing business at home. Or they may know a few places you can go get high quality equipments.
However, the bottom line is that your equipments are of good quality to survive repeated daily use. You may need to have a back up of some key parts of your equipments if possible; incase there’s need for you to replace or repair.
WHAT MATERIALS DO I NEED TO START A SEWING BUSINESS?
EQUIPMENTS NEEDED TO START A SEWING BUSINESS AT HOME.
Tape rule: for taking customers measurements to know their actual body size.
Proper measurements is very important because it helps you know key body part sizes like the neck, hand, chest, thigh, Heights etc.
Garment racks: Used for hanging clothes.
A table: needed to place fabrics for cutting, marking, drawing and designing.
Mirror – Needed for customers to test cloths and maybe recommend adjustments where necessary.
Serger – used for tailoring seems to prevent fragi
Sewing machine – used to stitch fabrics together
Weaving machine – for
Scissors – for cutting fabrics and for cutting patterns
Electric pressing Iron – for smoothing clothes upon completion and also for removing labels and wrinkles from fabric.
You also need some equipments needed to make up clothes like zips, elastics, gum stain, colour stain etc.
Other sewing equipments are pencils or Biro (for writing measurement sizes), books, ironing board, generator, fans or Air conditioners, entertainment gadgets such as radio, television, decoders etc
How to measure properly.
(Accurate measurements – Area of Measurement.)
*Measure twice, cut once!
1. Height/Length: This is the overall height, from head to toe with shoes on- Be sure to stand straight when measuring
2. Bust Point/ Shoulder to Bust: Measure from top of the shoulder at neckline to bust point- Nipple.
3. Bust: This is the circumference around the fullest part of the bust.
4. Upper Bust Round (circumference): Circumference above the fullest part of the bust.
5. Lower Bust Round (circumference): Circumference below the fullest part of the bust.
6. Under Bust: Measurement from the top of the shoulder at neckline down through the bust to under the bust.
7. Nipple to Nipple/ Bust Span : From the left apical Nipple to the dexter apical Nipple
8. Shoulder to Shoulder (front & back): Measurement from shoulder socket to the other socket along the front and back)
9. Chest ( front & back): Measure about 3.9″ from the neck base from hairline to their other sleeve
10. Half Lenght: Front Half Length-Measure from the neck to waist passing through the full part of the breast.
–Back Half Length:From neckline-nape down to waist through spine
11. Armsyce : Measure the circumstance approximately 4cm below the armpit. Measurement for taken for the sleeve armhole on a dress.
12. Bicep : Circumference around the fullest part of the arm
13. Shoulder to Elbow: This is from the tip of the shoulder drown to the elbow
14. Shoulder to Elbow Round: Circumference around the elbow area.
15. Overall Arm Length: shoulder point to waist arm-bent.
16. Outer Arm Length: measure from outer shoulder down to elbow
17. Inner Arm: Measurement from armpit to elbow
18. Armhole: Measure round the armhole across the armpit
19. Wrist: Measure the waist
20. Waist: circumference measurement around the waist passing through the narrowest/smallest part of the body.
21. Hip 1/ High Hip: circumference measurement below the wait over top of the hip bone. It’s usually between 3-5″ from the waist.
22. Hip 2/ Lower Hip: measurement around the fullest part of the buttocks/ hip. It’s usually between 7-9″, depending on the night, shape of the body.
23. Top of Thigh:
24. Waist to Knee/Half Length: Measure from waist to the knee length.
25. Waist to Ankle/Skirt Full Lenght .
HOW CAN I MAINTAIN MY SEWING EQUIPMENTS?
Maintenance techniques/tips for your sewing equipments.
Below are a few tips to ensure your sewing from home business equipments last long enough.
• Ensure your sewing machines are always oiled at least 3 times a week.
Please make sure to use the appropriate oil for the machine as non recommended one can damage it in no time.
• Service your machine when necessary
Servicing should be done twice or three times in a month depending on frequent you use the machine. You should contact a professional to help you out with that.
• Ensure to keep off dust by cleaning the machines.
• Do not place liquid substances like water, juice etc on the machine.
• Make sure all your other sewing materials should be kept in a cool and dry place and also free of dust.
Step 7: Set price structure.
A price can be seen as an amount incurred/placed on a particular product. With due consideration of your location and most especially your target audience, set a good price for your product.
Your prices should be very affordable by target audience and should be a standard price.
Don’t entertain partiality, treat all customers equally to stamp your authority as a good, serious and reliable business person. Don’t charge Mr A $20 for a product or service and charge Mr B $15 or $25 for the same product, that’s not right.
Once again, you should have a fixed price for all your product and make sure it’s one your target audience can afford.
Step 8: Set store policy.
These should be like rules and regulations guiding your sewing business or tailoring business.
Carefully set your store or shop principles to avoid misunderstandings and enable customers know their right around your shop.
Some of your principles may include.
• No smoking inside and around this shop
• Tips or extra cash should not be given to workers
• Goods are not returnable after 24hrs or 48hrs of purchase. Etc
Step 9: Mentor / Business advisor.
Every individual needs a push. Because it is something we can’t always do by ourselves, we may need an individual who can always tell us to stop sleeping and advise us when we really need it. You can always set daily targets yourself in cases when you cant find a good mentor. You’ll definitely need it in the sewing business.
A role model isn’t a bad idea too. Choose someone that motivates you always.
NOTE that your mentor should be either a small business expert or someone who has good knowledge of the sewing business.
A good business advisor can add a lot to the growth of your business by providing you useful tips on pricing, marketing strategies etc.
Step 10: Begin operation.
Having successfully completed the above tips, the next step is to start operating fully as a tailor or sewing business owner.
At this stage, you should be boosting of all the needed abilities to start a sewing business and should be able to satisfy your customers by carrying out services related to tailoring OR in the sewing business.
- Ironing – to be done upon sewing or dress completion.
- Cutting – cutting of fabric into different sizes & shapes.
- Cloth repairing – which may include sticking slim fitting, patching, shortening, lengthening, hemming etc
- Sewing new garment
- Measuring clients
- Recommending styles or designs for clients
- Cloth maintenance tips or advice
- Creating and using patterns
- Purchasing supplies such as fabrics, zippers and buttons.
WHAT ARE THE LEAST THINGS I SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO TO START A SEWING FROM HOME BUSINESS?
ABILITIES NEEDED TO START A SEWING BUSINESS.
• Basic equipments skills and knowledge
To start a sewing business, you need to have the ability to use all necessary equipments used in making and repairing cloths.
Most especially the sewing machine. Because you can’t make or repair a dress without it, you need to know how operate it.
• Equipment installation and how to do routine maintenance and repair.
The installation needed for a home sewing business much isn’t really much. A few things involved in arranging a sewing machine may include adding thread and needle where it’s needed. And setting all other necessary things.
For maintenance – I shared a few tips earlier on how to maintain your sewing business equipments so it will last longer. You may need to check that out again.
For repairs – As a tailor, your ability to do some minor repairs that may affect your sewing machine is very key in this business.
Let’s say you’re working on a dress to be delivered the next day or very soon and the needle broke while tailoring.
If you cant fix a minor issue like that and other related ones, it will definitely affect your delivery time which isn’t good for business.
So to avoid disappointing customers, you may need to learn a thing or two on repairing minor issues that affects sewing machines and other sewing equipments.
• Book – keeping / Accountability.
Another very important ability to starting a successful sewing is your ability to keep records of your financial activities.
A good financial record will help you know your income and expenditure. And will also help you determine the amount to set aside for other expenses which may include equipment maintenance, Texas and levies etc.
You can always hire someone to take care of this aspect if you can’t do it yourself.
• Familiarity with quality fabric and equipments.
As a tailor, this ability is needed mainly for personal and recommendation purpose.
Customers may approach you to recommend or help them get some fabrics from the market to make cloths or for other reason (like to gift someone ). You should be able to deliver quality fabrics / recommend a few to avoid misunderstandings between you and your customers.
When a customer offers you cash to help him / her get something related to your profession, it’s because he/she trust you to deliver the best and shouldn’t disappoint.
Lastly on abilities needed to start a sewing business – You should consider building your ability to teach interested individuals on tailoring or how to sew. As time goes on, clients may approach you to learn and master their tailoring/ sewing skills. You should be able to teach and train them well.
That’s all I can share for on abilities needed in starting a sewing business.
HOW CAN I EARN EXTRA INCOME IN THIS LINE OF BUSINESS?
HOW TO EARN EXTRA INCOME RUNNING A SEWING BUSINESS
• Put on display for sale some basic home sewing equipments like threads needles and fabrics
• Organize home classes for clients interested in tailoring or how to sew.
• You can also make available soft drinks and water for sale.
• Another way to generate a massive income is to run your sewing business with a shoe business. You can contact a shoe manufacturing company to supply you shoes related to your target audience.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES I AM LIKELY TO FACE IN A SEWING BUSINESS?
CHALLENGES OF STARTING A SEWING BUSINESS.
Based on my experience…
Firstly, Once upon a time a customer gave me a job to make her a dress for a wedding she’s attending in 3 weeks. She knew I’m always on a project or two and because she doesn’t want any surprises she had to secure my service earlier.
I had to measure her and was able to make the dress ready within 3 days, but the customer failed to come for the dress because it wasn’t needed urgently.
She later came for the dress after 2 weeks but because she’s added weight, it was too tight and a bit small. You won’t believe I was accused of not taking the appropriate measurement. Now that’s one major challenge of a sewing business.
This happened during my early stage in tailoring (sewing business)… A customer gave me a very difficult design to emulate. And upon completion of the dress, the customer wasn’t satisfied with my effort. I had to buy another fabric to start all over again.
Other challenges related to starting a sewing business are
• Cost or capital needed to start the business
• Expenses – money spent on equipments maintenance, oil, back up power such as generator, transportation fare, taxes etc
• Lack of customers at the introductory stage
• Competition – Breaking into the market on a large scale won’t be an easy task because of others already flourishing in the business. It will be more difficult if your target audience already have a lot of other tailor or sewing business owners satisfying their needs.
HOW CAN PROMOTE MY PRODUCTS WELL?
How to market and promote a sewing business.
There’s need for you to adopt a few techniques to reach more customers which will lead to more sales and of course business growth.
I have covered all you need to know on how to create awareness for a sewing business by advertising and other useful techniques in my previous article on fashion design set up.
One benefit of starting a sewing business is that it’s a lucrative business. With the required training, creativity, management skill and marketing techniques coupled with other tips mentioned in this guide, you’ll be on track to launching a successful sewing business on your own.
And that’s all I have for you on sewing from home business. We would like to hear from you though, contribute and ask related questions via the comment section.