How to Start Your Own Tailoring Business: A Beginner’s Guide
A lot of people want to start their own business but get discouraged because they think they lack an MBA or a degree in business. So, we are here to tell you that, to start a business, all you need is the zeal, capital and the capacity to hire skilled tailors.
One of the easiest businesses to start is a tailoring business. This is because it's one of the most thriving businesses of all times.
Why wouldn't it be?
People wear clothes, day-in-day-out for different purposes. From everyday outfits to suits, wedding dresses, and so much more, clothes are just everywhere.
Contrary to popular opinions, you don't need to know how to sew to start a tailoring shop, although that can be an added advantage. They are different tailoring projects to choose from including special occasion, dress-making, costume, embroidery, and so on.
You might not require the expertise to start a business, but you surely will need to know how to run a business and also a few other things. Because of this, we have brought you the basic things you need to understand before you venture in this area.
Steps to Follow to Start a Tailoring Shop
Starting a tailoring business can be a hectic task, especially if you have never run a business before or you don't know what it takes to do that. To help you with that, we have compiled some of the steps you need to follow to start a thriving, successful tailoring shop business.
These steps are in no particular order, feel free to start with which works best for you.
Create Your Business Plan
Having a business plan helps you manage your business more efficiently. It guides you through every step of the process, from the planning phase through to the setting up and executing the whole idea.
Additionally, a good business plan serves as a point of reference, even after you have successfully started. It can be created to target six months from inception, two years, five years, and more.
To create a proper business plan, you will need first to decide your preferred forte in the industry. This will help you channel it to suit your taste. Writing a business is not a difficult task; what you need to do first is to research existing company similar to yours.
You then estimate your desired expenditure, including rent, cost of getting sewing machines, materials you need, and labor to pay.
In essence, your plan should have the following components: legal structure, financial plan, sales, and marketing plan, market analysis, and the product and services offered.
Scout for a Good Location
The location of your business is crucial as it can make or mar it. You need to find a place that can guarantee customers. For instance, a tailoring shop located in a corporate environment will struggle to get customers while that in a residential area will have customers trooping in.
Shopping malls are another option that you can explore. However, they mostly have high rents which can overcome all your profit. So unless you already have a customer base, think of a cheaper place. You can also work from your home but check with the authorities to know the rules.
Another thing to look out for is an easily accessible shop. Nobody wants to drive to a distant location when you can find a shop nearby.
Get the Required Training
This training can be for both business and tailoring. Having the required knowledge to start a business is good as it helps to establish and run a fruitful business.
Even if you know how to sew, or you sew as a hobby, registering with a professional tailoring school will give you an insight into the techniques, tricks, and trends that you might not have been privy to.
Alternatively, you can intern with other well-established businesses that offer similar service. By doing this, you get a hold of running the business. Some businesses do not take in paid interns, consider doing it free as the knowledge you get will not be quantifiable.
When you plan on hiring tailors, the task becomes less daunting when you know what to look for. It is a way that ensures your workers don't try to outsmart you. Also, it generally helps you run the business properly. Add business training to it, and you are sure to make an impact.
Source for Capital
For you to start, you will need capital. This is the income you will need to pay rent, pay the sewing machines, make a few adjustments to the shop if need be, buy fabrics and much more.
If you are starting a small business, then getting the money you need would not be a problem. You can use your savings to start. If your savings are not enough, consider asking family and friends for a loan.
But if you are considering starting on a big scale, bank loans are an option. Just make sure you have all you need. The business plan you have created should help guide you in knowing the amount you need and what goes for what.
Choose a Suitable Name for Your Business
The name you give to your business is also essential. It is one of the first things that you customers get familiarized to. So, when choosing a name, be sure to find one that appeals to your customers.
Also, people tend to have a hard time when choosing a business name. One way to choose a business is by attaching the kind of service you offer to it. By this, we mean, you should consider adding 'tailors' or anything similar to the name.
Another thing to note is, when deciding on a name, it would do you much good if you go for a name that can be easily remembered. You can also choose a name that has a beautiful ring to it, the one that would keep ringing in the brain much later.
In all of this, make sure you don't overdo it as naming a business is almost just like naming your first child- overwhelming and frightening.
Get the Business Registered
Registering a business with the state and local authorities is essential if you want to make the business legal. It gives you the edge and allows performing other functions like opening a business account and taking bank loans.
The registration process is not complicated but can vary from place to place. You can try checking with the county office in your area to see what you need as well as the general process.
Then again, you can meet an attorney to help you with advice on what to do and what to avoid. The attorney should also be able to put you through if you plan on making the business a corporation, partnership, or any other venture.
After registration, contact the appropriate authorities to get your tax identification number and employer identification number. You should also consider business insurance to ensure that your business is protected.
Get the Necessary Equipment
Before you start equipping the store, you must work on the interior to give an excellent first impression on your customers. That doesn't necessarily mean that you should put all your money there; work with moderation.
With the experience you have gained as an intern, it is easy for you to decide on what to buy and what not to especially when you are working on a budget. You would also have noticed that you will need a professional-grade sewing machine. Home sewing machines won't get the job done if you are serious with the business.
The absolute necessities in a tailoring shop are the sewing machine, over-lock machine, a storage cabinet, fabrics, lining materials, cutting table, seam ripper, measuring tape, tailor chalk or pen and scissors. Additional materials needed include embroidery, mannequin, fabric glue, pins, rotary cutter, and so on.
A good tailor shop should have a fitting room. This gives customers their required privacy. If you do not have much space, a cubicle with a curtain can do the work.
And if you plan on hiring tailors, then get experienced ones, those that have the skills in your chosen niche. For starters, you will only require a few because you would not have many customers. As the business grows, you can hire more staff to suit the current need.
Advertise Your Business
For a business to thrive successfully, you will need to get customers. One way to do that is by advertising the business. Another way is by retaining loyal customers who refer others.
They are a different way to go about advertising your product. One of them is to create a portfolio. Here, you will assemble most of your best work and have potential clients look at them. This way they can see the quality of your work and its finishing.
Another way is to print flyers and pamphlets and distribute them in gatherings, post-boxes and more. You can also choose to make a poster to display on busy roads and walkways. Just be sure to check the legality of that with your local authorities.
Social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, are a great way to get your business out. They also have business pages where you can promote your posts to reach a wider audience. It also can be a way to showcase your business to potential clients.
Things to Avoid When Starting a Tailoring Shop Business
When starting a tailoring business, there are certain mistakes that people tend to make. This can hinder the growth of the company. So we bring you the most common amongst them to prevent you from making them.
Not Doing Market Survey
One of the biggest and major mistakes people make is not assessing the competitors. This is not to spite anyone or to cause harm to them. What you should be doing is knowing the competitors, the type of service they offer, their price range, and so on.
By doing so, it gives you a rough idea of how many similar shops are in your vicinity, what do and how they do it. This will make you fine-tune your own business to stand out amongst the others.
Doing Everything at the Same Time
When opening a tailoring shop, you must select a domain to work on. That is, choose from a dress-making shop, corporate wear shop, costume shop and more. Doing so will let you focus on that and aim towards achieving your goals.
However, you can choose to have work on two or more of those. Just make sure that you have adequately planned for it. Also try not to be a "Jack of all trades, master of none."
Not Being Your Brand Ambassador
The chances are that people will ask you what you are wearing and where you got it every once in a while. If you do not wear your brand, you will end up doing an unpaid advert for others.
When you start your own tailoring business, you must wear your work. This will show people that you have confidence in your work. And like we have mentioned before, word of mouth is one of the best ways to advertise.
Having a Bad Customer Service
Like with every other business, the quality of customer service is vital as no one wants to go to a place they do not feel welcomed. Treat all your customers kindly and ensure they feel comfortable at the shop. Smiling also helps to keep people at ease.
This is not saying that you cannot disagree with them; we implore you to do so with dignity. If you have others managing the customer service, it will only be wise that you get them the proper training that they need.
Also, try to assess their performance every once in a while by giving out survey forms to customers. This will give you a general insight and idea as to how they are faring. You can do this for yourself to gauge people's opinion of your business and where you need to improve on.
Just like starting every other business, the success of that business depends on how well you plan and implement the plans. So after going through this, you will have an idea about the things that you need to do and what to avoid when opening a tailoring shop.
This would give you a working plan, especially if you are starting a small business. You should also seek advice from similar companies and contact local authorities to have a better understanding of what works in your area.