In this startup guide, we provide many helpful bits of advice on opening an alterations and tailoring business.
Tailoring in the 21st Century
As long as there has been fashion, there have been professional tailors dedicated to altering and modifying clothing for both the masses and for the elite. Although the idea of a local tailor may seem like a throwback to a different era, the alterations and tailoring industry is alive and well in the U.S. and around the world.
Without a doubt, the ability to purchase mass-market clothing in a broad range of sizes has taken a bite out of the alterations and tailor trade. But like many other industries, the clothing alterations industry has changed with the times and adapted itself to the needs of 21st century consumers.
Market Segmentation for an Alterations & Tailoring Startup
In order to survive the onslaught of mass produced clothing and big box department stores, custom tailoring has transformed itself into a segmented industry. While some tailors focus on general alterations, many specialize in wedding garments, high-end clothier, designing, distance tailoring or other market segments.
From the outset, your tailor shop startup will need to determine which market segments to target. For startup entrepreneurs, the ability to create a customer segmentation strategy is a critical skill set -- and one that will have business ramifications for years to come.
Getting Started in Custom Alteration, Tailoring & Design
Since custom alteration is a service-based business, the startup capital requirements for a tailor shop are extremely manageable. Unless you plan to launch a home-based business, finding the right location is a key factor in store traffic and revenue.
Once you've found a space and secured a commercial lease, you'll need to purchase commercial quality sewing machines, overlock machines (or sergers) for hems and seams, irons, work tables and supplies. You will also need to invest a bit of time in hiring to make sure your startup is staffed by highly skilled tailors and seamstresses.
How to Write a Top Quality Alterations & Tailoring Company Business Plan
Your alterations and tailoring company's business plan is a blueprint that describes your company and the strategy you will execute to achieve specific goals.
In contemporary business culture, business plans are also litmus tests used by external interests to assess real world viability and marketability.
Early in the process, it's worth your time to learn how to write the market analysis section of a business plan. While a robust market analysis can be a selling point for an alterations and tailoring business startup, weak market research is a sure giveaway for a business that hasn't invested adequate effort in planning.
This is predominantly a local business that sells to local customers. Does localization mean that your business will sell exclusively to customers in the immediate vicinity? Not necessarily. However, customers that are close to your location will be your bread and butter source of revenues. Accordingly, the focus of your outreach should cater to local prospects.
Take a Look at the Competition
Well in advance of opening an alterations and tailoring business within your community, it's a smart move to find out what the competition looks like. We've provided the link below to help you get a list of local competitors in your city. After clicking on the link, type in your city, state and zip code to get a list of alterations and tailoring businesses near you.
How tough is the competition in the market you are considering? If the competition is too tough, you may need to think about starting the business in a different area or even start a completely different business instead.
Studying the Market
If you are interested in starting an alterations and tailoring business, you really ought to learn as much as you can from somebody who is already in the business. If you think owners of nearby alterations and tailoring businesses will give you advice, think again. Why would they want to educate a future competitor?
But, a person who owns an alterations and tailoring business in a location that is not competitive to you may be willing to share their entrepreneurial wisdom with you, after they realize you reside far away from them and won't be stealing their local customers. In that case, the business owner may be more than happy to discuss the industry with you. In my experience, you may have to call ten business owners in order to find one who is willing to share his wisdom with you.
So, what can you do to find an alterations and tailoring business entrepreneur who is willing to advise you because you live in different cities?
No problem! Just use the link below and try a random city/state or zipcode. Then start dialing for advice until you are successful.
Getting Started in Alterations & Tailoring Business Ownership
As a prospective alterations and tailoring business owner, your entry options are limited to buying a viable business or building one from scratch.
Startup alterations and tailoring businesses can be attractive because they allow the entrepreneur to have more control and greater influence. Yet startups are also more difficult to finance because their nature is inherently risky.
Armed with several years of actual financials and a current asset appraisal, it is much easier to convince lenders to take a chance on an alterations and tailoring business acquisition. On the whole, buying a business minimizes uncertainty as well as many of the objections lenders use to disqualify startup entrepreneurs from financing.
To improve your chances of business success, consider the efficiences gained by opting to buy a franchise.
Before you get too far along in your plan to open an alterations and tailoring business, you ought to check out whether buying a franchise could be worth investigating.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding getting started as an entrepreneur may be of interest to you.
If you currently own an alterations and tailoring business, these resources will come in handy:
If you sell to alterations and tailoring businesses, this isn't the right place for you. These resources are more appropriate for you:
If you are interested in starting a different kind of business, please browse our directory of guides below.