The fashion industry has experienced some rapid development in recent times. This could be seen by the several evolutions that have taken place in the industry worldwide.
According to an estimate, the global fashion market is worth over 3 Trillion dollars coupled with a growth rate of 2% annually.
In Nigeria alone, it has enjoyed some level of popularity considering its acceptance even by corporate giants and in the country. Just recent and sometimes in December 2019 one of the biggest banks in Nigeria, popularly known as Access Bank, organized a festival that showcases fashion, music, and art.
The Born In Africa Festival (BAFEST) which is now an annual event brought together several fashion designers of great repute and experience all over Africa.
This, of course, is a translation of the increasing acceptance and demand of the locally designed styles by the everyday Nigerian and Africans.
The effect of these demands, therefore, has led to a sharp increase in the need for talented fashion designers or tailors depending on what you call them in your locality.
It has provided a means of earning genuine and attractive income for those skillful fashion designers who can design African fashion styles, whether simple or sophisticated, for both men and women alike.
This upsurge in demands has pushed many to engage in a frenzy to quickly open a fashion shop at any street corner without carrying out the necessary feasibility studies.
Although you might be a good tailor or fashion designer, failure to do your homework before startup might lead to the closure of that business in a few years. Chances that such business will not stand the test of time is high due to the foundational error.
Here Are Some Helpful Tips on How to Start a Tailoring Business in Nigeria
#1. Think Before Acting
Starting a fashion design business is beyond what you see while seated in your studio. You need to come out of your comfort zone, meet and interact with those who are already in the business. Find out how the business works and try to build good relationships with manufacturers, suppliers, investors and even potential clients.
#2. Know Your Target Consumers
Without knowing your potential customers, I am afraid growing the business might be difficult when you eventually kickoff. Before you can start a tailoring business in Nigeria, you must know your target market.
Knowing your customers entails, understanding their needs. Carry out research on the trends, designs, the color and styles of dresses people prefer these days, how they purchase and their purchasing power.
Having this vital information will help you to be able to meet their needs and make sizeable profits
#3. Have a Business Plan
Having no plan is not a good plan. Not having a business plan is common with most Nigerian businesses. Refuse to follow the trend and get your business a well written yet simple business plan.
The good thing about this is that the process can easily be outsourced to a professional at even a cheaper rate than you can imagine. Having a good business plan might be the difference between the success and failure of your fashion business, in some cases, it could even be a bait to attract investors and startup grants to your business.
#4. Start Now, Start Small and Start With a Single Product (the Triple S)
The triple S is key when starting a fashion business. It is not enough to just conceive of the business but then sit down and do nothing about it. There is never the best time to act, the best time to act is now.
Irrespective of the amount of capital at your disposal, it’s never a good idea to throw in all your available resources. Start small and observe how the business is thriving before introducing more recourse.
Most importantly, you should focus on a single design or service for a start. The best way to grow is to be known for a brand. Let your clients know that you specialize in particular styles or brands. It could be just men or women. Gain some level of brand authority before diversifying.
#5. Get the Basic Materials and Tools
As a beginner in the trade, you will be needing some basic tools, materials, and equipment needed to sow a piece of cloth. They include:
- Sewing machine: for sewing and joining of pieces together
- Pressing iron: for straightening of cloths
- Sewing materials: this includes a pair of scissors, measuring tape, needles, threads of several colors, razors, pins, etc.
- Backup power supply set: considering the epileptic powers supply in the country, you should consider having a backup power supply set. Although this could also depend on your location in the country, as some areas now enjoy a level of constant power supply.
- Furniture: you should keep it simple but providing a basic stool for sewing. Also, try as much as possible to consider ergonomics when choosing a chair.
- Embroidery machine (optional for startup): this machine is used for making designs on cloths. For startups, you might decide to leave this out especially when there is a paucity of funds.
- Weaving machine (also optional for startups): for the weaving of ends of cloths.
#6. Have a Startup Capital
For most new fashion designers in Nigeria today, getting a startup capital is always a big challenge. Although it might seem difficult to get the required minimum capital to start, the process could also be made easier.
Considering the basic tools that are needed to start the business, you should be looking at around N150,000 to N200,000 to invest as a startup.
I know you might be wondering how this can be made possible. Now I will tell you how. You can try to cut down on some unnecessary startup tools or facilities. You can operate from home and rent a shop as the business gains momentum.
In a nutshell, start small but think big.
#7. Be Visionary and Profit Oriented
From experience, this is where most Nigerian tailors or fashion designers fail. You should be visionary enough to develop a brand name that will resonate beyond your locality. Considering the different unique competitors you must work hard to meet your customers’ needs and stand out in the fashion industry.
Remember, your profit solely depends on the number of customers’ needs you are able to meet within a period of time. Be mindful enough not to be inconsiderate with your service charge so you don’t end up killing your business.
Try as much as possible to offer quality service to your clients without been too exorbitant with your price. Keep it affordable yet profitable.
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