woman sewing at the factory

Starting Your Clothes Alteration Business

The door replacement company is coming over next week to fix the garage in your home in Utah. You’re settling back after working on the east coast for several years. Your company is having a branch opened there. It’s a big move for the entire family. Your wife had to quit her job to make this move.

Part of the deal was that she gets to start a business at home so that she doesn’t become idle. She has a lot of hobbies, like knitting, dressmaking, and cross-stitching. The garage is big enough to allocate space for a home business. One of the opportunities you are looking at is a sewing and clothes-alteration business. Both of you are doing research and finding out how to start this business.

An Overview of the Clothes Alteration Industry

Would you be surprised to find out that the clothing alteration industry has nearly 73,000 businesses in the country and is raking in revenues of around $2 billion as of January 2019?

The overall economic growth has positively impacted the industry and delivered an annual growth rate of 2.9% for the past five years. Total industry employment is close to 77,000.

It seems that this positive economic outlook will serve your plan well.

portrait of a seamstress

Getting Started

How many buttons have fallen off from a suit while it’s still in near perfect condition? How many jeans require a hemline alteration because they’re too long? If you think about the day-to-day aspects of having clothes altered, the scenarios might be endless. Here are a few more things that you should consider when starting a clothes alteration business:

  1. Skills check. So your wife knows a thing or two about pulling threads with a needle. Are hobby skills enough? Experts advise that one of the first things that you need to do is validate if you have the relevant skills to run the business. One way for this self-check is to determine if you’ve been asked plenty of times by other people to make clothes for them. Another way is to compare your work, if any, with other seamstress or tailor.
  2. Lifestyle check. Can you withstand the physical rigors of altering and sewing clothes from multiple clients daily? You need to be sure that the work involves fits your lifestyle. Note that it’s not only the task of sewing or altering that requires physical and mental efforts. You need to face clients, too, and that takes up some energy as well.
  3. Pro equipment. One of the significant investments that you will make is in getting the right professional sewing machine. Look for a commercial model that can withstand the abuse of continuous usage every day. You also need to have a backup device in case your principal one falters. Other equipment you will need includes a serger, a mirror for customers, fabric scissors and pinking shears, and a cutting wheel.
  4. Marketing and partnership. An excellent way to spread the word about your business is to partner with other companies, like a laundromat business. Offer them a cut of the fees for every referral that they make. Create flyers that could be distributed in the laundromats.

When you write your business plan, you need to finalize your marketing strategy as well as your financial strategies. Creating an online presence through social media and a website should be part of your plan. In the meantime, these core ideas will set you in the right direction.

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