Nigerians love wearing clothes that are specifically made for them. Such clothes are tailored to their sizes, taste, and desired design, as opposed to already-made wear that are generic and available to a wide range of customers. In this post, you will learn how to start a tailoring business in Nigeria.
Come on and let’s sew some clothes…
How to start a successful tailoring business in Nigeria
Follow these steps to start a successful tailoring business in Nigeria:
1. Make a business plan for your tailoring business
Just like any other business, a fashion design startup needs a business plan that will outline its goals and objectives. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Just like the name implies, a business plan includes everything that needs to be planned for before the tailoring business can be a success.
Your tailoring business plan should include your rent expenses, equipment purchase, and maintenance costs, your area of specialization, your target customers, electricity costs, your goals for the coming months, and many more.
2. Pick a niche to specialize in
Your tailoring business can be general or specialized. Many of the pioneer tailors were generic and catered to all customers. Today, most tailors are specialized.
Your fashion design business in Nigeria can cater for a particular market or group of people. You can choose to sew and design clothes for babies, plus-size women, students, teenagers and the like.
Having a niche means that you can brand your fashion design business and have recognition, even among your fellow tailors. Here are the most lucrative tailoring business niches in Nigeria:
- Baby and children’s clothes
- Home decorations
- Professional suits
- Wedding dresses
- School uniforms
3. Get the necessary training
After picking a niche, you should get all the necessary training that you need to start a business and practice it. Mind you, some techniques can only be learned from other professional tailors that are already established in the industry.
You can approach them for business or sewing training. Another way you can learn is by partnering with other tailors on certain jobs.
If you’re still young and you don’t mind, you can apply to one of the biggest fashion designers in your region and serve as an apprentice.
Apprenticeship is the best way to learn any tailoring business. On average, it ranges from 6 months to 2 years, depending on the amount of fashion design knowledge you have beforehand (and also your passion).
Although you may not be given enough respect that you deserve throughout your apprenticeship, you will learn professional skills that may be your main source of livelihood for the rest of your life.
4. Get funding for your tailoring business
The best way to fund your tailoring business is to use your personal savings or raise money from your loved ones. If it’s not enough, you can consider some alternatives.
If you need a large amount of money (like ₦2 million upward) to start your tailoring business, a bank business loan is your best bet. If it’s an amount below ₦500,000, you can take business loans from cooperative credit societies and microfinance banks.
You may also like: How to get funding for your business in Nigeria
5. Choose a location for your tailoring business
Although you can run a tailoring business from home (if you’re starting small), the best thing to do is to have a physical tailoring shop.
That way, strangers and passersby will also bring clothing materials for you to sew. Now, how do you know a good location?
Before all other things, your tailoring business must be located in a very busy commercial area. It can also be in a residential area (close to people’s homes), but it must be a populous place where your target customers pass by daily.
The choice of location of your tailoring business should have a stable supply of electricity, accessible by road, have a low crime rate, and should also be close to your place of residence.
6. Register and brand your tailoring business
The next thing to do is to pick a business name. You can use one of your names or come up with a brand name.
Either way, your tailoring business name must be related to fashion design, easy to spell and remember while also being visually appealing. From there you should design a brand logo.
Once that is done, you should register your tailoring business with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). You can register as a sole proprietorship or partnership, but the safest business structure is a limited liability company.
7. Get the required tailoring equipment
If you don’t have access to big startup capital, you can start your tailoring business with an affordable home sewing machine.
However, it can only handle a small amount of work and the ease of use won’t be as comfortable as professional-grade sewing machines.
Most fashion designers have at least a serger overlock machine and a professional-grade sewing machine. Aside from being comfortable to use, this sewing equipment will produce high-quality clothes that will satisfy your customers.
Here are some other tools and equipment you’ll need to start a tailoring business in Nigeria.
- Sewing needles (for machine and your hands)
- Tailor chalk or pen, Markers
- Self-healing cutting mat
- Pins and pincushions
- Small craft scissors
- Clear plastic ruler
- Measuring tape
- Pinking shears
- Fabric shears
- Rotary cutter
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Fabric Glue
- Ott light
And many other tools.
8. Hire fashion designers
Note that this is optional, as not all tailoring businesses require this. Even if your fashion design business is big and you have many customers, you may not need to hire employees if you have many apprentices.
9. Market your fashion design business
There are many ways to advertise your tailoring business to potential customers. You can start by hoisting a signboard at strategic locations and road junctions close to your shop.
Most of your customers will be around that vicinity, so you can use posters, flyers, and handbills. You can also pay the local radio station to advertise your business on the air.
If you specialize in teen and youth wear, you can go digital, but only target nearby locations. Social media platforms are free to use, and you can also list your fashion design business on local business listing sites and directories.
Also read: How to market a business in Nigeria
You can do generalized sewing like most neighbourhood tailors. You can also be a fashion designer and focus only on certain types of clothes. Common examples are wedding gowns, suits, school uniforms, native wears and the like.
For some time now, Nigerians have been developing a liken for clothes that are specifically tailored to their personal needs. This has created many profitable opportunities in the tailoring business.