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If you enjoy creating interesting clothing patterns, sewing, performing alterations and tailoring, a tailoring shop may be the perfect business opportunity for you.
There are many types of projects you can work on in this type of business including embroidery, costume design, clothing repair, dressmaking and special occasion clothing.
While keeping up with current design trends is a great way to keep attracting customers, it is also important to ensure that you don’t make any mistakes in the beginning.
We have put this guide together to help you start a tailoring shop business the right way.
Keep reading for more...
The first thing you should do get the necessary training and this could be business or sewing training. You may not know all the tricks privy to the experts even if you have been sewing for a long time.
You can learn more by joining an already established tailoring business. Joining a sewing school isn’t a bad idea. A few months of training will make you an expert if you are hardworking and determined.
Here's some good YouTube videos to start learning the basics:
Beginners Sewing Course – Day 1 – The Basics
Beginners Sewing Course – Day 2 – Fabric Preparation
Beginners Sewing Course – Day 3 – Sewing Basics
This is one of the main factors that determine the success of a business. A tailoring shop will do best if situated in a residential area. You will struggle to get customers if your shop is located in an area with business offices.
The best thing about a tailoring business is that it can be started out of a very small space. As such, a small place in a residential complex will suffice.
It would be a huge mistake not to seek advice from other professionals who own established tailoring businesses. They will give you a realistic picture of the market and a ton of information about what running such a business entails.
We don’t recommend consulting a local competing business because helping you out wouldn’t be in the best interest of their business. Talk to someone in another city or even state as they will be more willing to help you.
Choose a niche
There are many areas of sewing you can pursue and it’s important to choose a specialty. This will make it easier for you to market your business.
Options include children’s or adult’s clothing, crafts or even home décor. The key to not wearing yourself thin and maximizing your marketing efforts is to narrow down your focus.
You will need more than just a sewing machine if you want to open a tailoring shop business. Important equipment to invest in include:
Whether you are sewing a dress, pants or shirt, the fact remains that the seams will need to be cut and serged. The same applies to use of silk, satin and terry cloth. Such fabrics fray a lot and giving your clients a finished product that is going to fray isn’t an option.
Of course scissors are an important tool in the sewing business. Get large ones for cutting the heavy fabrics. Be sure to buy embroidery scissors for taking out hems, cutting thread and other close work.
Other cutting tools you will need include pinking shears for reducing fraying and a cutting wheel (also known as rotary cutter) for cutting stacked fabrics. All of these are important cutting tools that will allow you to reduce production time and improve the profit margin.
Iron and ironing board
The difference between a professional and hobbyist is whether or not the clothing is ironed as it is created. Be sure to choose a good iron with sufficient steam capacity. It should also be light enough for frequent use.
The ironing board should be sturdy and able to adjust to various heights. This allows for maximum comfort and prevents backaches. A good velvet ironing board will come handy if you plan on working with velvet.
Go for small board if you plan on making doll clothes. This will make it easier to get into the hard-to-reach areas.
Pins and needles
An array of pins and needles will come handy for your machine and hand-sewing. The right choices will depend on the type of work you do. For instance, glass-head pins can be ironed over without melting.
Longer pins are better for tailoring especially since you have to get through many layers when pinning up a client. Plastic-head pins or short glass-head pins are strong and best suited for heavy fabrics.
For dress, traditional metal pins that don’t break are your best bet. They can be ironed, but cannot go through a lot of fabric layers.
Rulers and measuring devices
There is a wide range of measuring devices at your disposal. You will to purchase at least three rulers i.e. an 18” metal ruler for use with a rotary cutter, a clear plastic 18” for fabric marking and a 6”-8” ruler for marking the hems.
The measuring tape should be at least 72” long and have a blank tab before the measurements start. A measuring board is a good investment that will help you line up fabrics and folded edges, thus ensuring you don’t end up with angled fabrics.
Market your tailoring business
Word of mouth is the most basic way of marketing your tailoring business and can prove quite effective. Just make sure you provide excellent service and your existing customers will refer their friends to you for their tailoring needs.
You can also put up flyers in community centers, grocery stores, bridal stores etc. You need to ask business owners for permission before putting up any flyers. Passing flyers to potential customers on the street can also prove beneficial.
Other tools for marketing your business include business cards, Google local searches, Yellow Pages, local events, newspaper classified ads and partnerships with related businesses like drycleaners, bridal stores and clothing stores.
Dress the part
One of the most effective ways of advertising your business is dressing the part. You should always be well dressed and put together when marketing your business. If your clothes always look good, people will soon start asking you where you got them.
There is no better way to market yourself than to say “I made this.” Be a walking billboard for your tailoring business and customers will soon flock to your door.