When starting a tailoring business you will be measuring, sewing, ironing, fitting, and sewing some more. Your job duties will include alterations to clothing, repairing torn fabrics, sewing on buttons, sewing on zippers, hemming and more. You must be able to make specific measurements and know how to sew and use a sewing machine. You may be asked to tailor anything from a doll’s clothing to a bride’s wedding dress. It is essential that you become familiar with working with different fabrics such as cotton, wool, satin, polyester and more. When running a tailoring business you will consult with your customers to determine their specifications for the clothing. Afterwards you will conduct fittings to ensure it fits well and make necessary alterations.
Where will you work
When starting a tailoring business you can decide to work from home or find a separate storefront location. You should take in consideration how you will reach your customers when deciding on a location. A storefront location will look more professional and appealing to individual customers. However if you just plan on getting your tailoring jobs from other businesses such as local dry cleaners, bridal/ dress stores, or clothing stores, a location is not necessary.
When starting a tailoring business your basic costs will include a professional sewing machine, sewing needles, threads of all colors and various buttons. You will also need an iron to keep the clothes looking neat and presentable for your clients. If the clothes can not be ironed you can send them to the local dry cleaners. You should also keep in supply plenty of hangers.
- Protect Yourself– Since you will be responsible for working with and caring for other people’s clothing it is essential that you protect yourself from liability. If you accidentally damage/lose the clothing or if the client is not happy with how their clothing turned out having insurance can put a limit on your responsibility. Having insurance can come in handy should one of your customers choose to sue you.
- Check out the competition– Is their stiff competition in your area? Is their enough demand in your area to support another tailoring business? Conducting market research can help you determine which area will provide the best opportunity for your business to thrive.
- Know your limits– If you are not familiar with a specific type of sewing such as decorative stitching tell your customers or hire someone else with experience to do it. You are better off loosing one job than gaining an unhappy customer and bad word of mouth publicity which can prevent many new customers.
Advertising a Tailoring Business
- Word-of-Mouth– Word of mouth is a very effective way of advertising your business. Providing excellent service and keeping your current customers happy will help produce positive word of mouth publicity. When customers are happy with a service they tend to tell their friends about it.
- Flyers– Determine if you can put up flyers in local grocery stores, bridal stores, clothing stores, dry cleaners, and community centers. It is best to ask the owner of these businesses for permission first. Also hand out flyers to passer byers on the street.
- Business Cards– Create business cards and hand them whenever an opportunity appears.
- Yahoo Local Searches– If you include your business in the Yahoo Local Searches, when people search for your service your local area your business will appear in the list. To add your business to Yahoo local search, enter the term “add business to yahoo local search” in Yahoo.com and click on the first link.
- Google Local Searches– Google has a local search as well. To add your business to Google local search, enter the term “add business to google search” in Google.com and click on the first link.
- Newspaper classified ads– You can advertise your tailoring business in newspaper ads in your local newspaper.
- Local Event– Keep an eye out for local events where your tailoring services may be needed such as a wedding or community play. Once you have discovered an opportunity take advantage of it.
- Yellow Pages– Consider buying an advertisement in the yellow pages of your local phone book. You can also include your business in the online version: YellowPages.com.
- Form a Partnership– Make your business known to local bridal stores, dry cleaners, and clothing stores. You can ask them to recommend your services in exchange for a small commission.