Working from home, doing something we love, is the dream for many Indians. Not having to play by anyone else’s rules, letting your creative imagination run riot, working to your own schedule, and being around to stay on top of the domestic scene – it sounds perfect! However, running your own dressmaking business from home will only work if you can generate enough interest (and thus enough profit) to make it worthwhile. Otherwise, you’ll end up getting very stressed indeed and hating the thing you love – nobody wants that!
Dressmaking Business from Home:
Here are some tips to help you run a successful and profitable dressmaking sewing business from home:
Cover Your Back
One of the biggest mistakes made by small home businesses is not doing enough risk analysis, and not preparing adequately for things to go wrong. A shocking number of Indian companies do not have adequate insurance provision. Though it may seem silly to put a policy in place for something as small and personal as your proposed sewing business, it’s more than worth it in the event of a disaster. Think of all of the overheads you’re going to be spending (equipment, energy, fabrics), and all of the time you’re going to put into this. Should something happen to damage your business, you don’t want it to have all been for nothing. On a less pecuniary level, doing a risk-analysis on your business and putting risk-reduction strategies in place can really help you to get a clearer picture of what you’ll be doing, what you’re aiming for and so on. It’s well worth doing!
While you’re getting yourself established, it’s best not to be too ‘niche’ in what you do. Saying ‘no’ to someone who wants you to make a pashmina because you only do dresses limits your trading options somewhat. When you first start, you’re unlikely to be able to support yourself off one product or one design until you get a bit better established and can pick and choose your customers. So develop a proficiency in a number of styles, techniques, and garments. Don’t just make garments, mend and adjust them as well. Don’t make just one kind of garment, make many. This will not only widen your profit base, it will also bring more people to your door (and thus improve your word-of-mouth advertising!).
Work Out Your Pricing
This may sound really obvious, but it’s important to have a clear idea of what you’re going to charge for what. Often, people will ask you for a quote for work, and if you don’t know, they’ll take their trade to someone with a clearer idea of what they charge. Developing a consistent and reasonable pricing scale will involve some business introspection. If you overestimate your skills and experience, people will feel ripped off. However, if you underestimate them, you’ll struggle to turn a profit. Be honest, and realistic. It’s a good idea to do some market research and see what others are charging for similar work. This will help you to get a better idea of what your potential customers will expect from you.
Create A Business Plan
You’ll probably have done this reasonably early on, but it’s worth repeating. A business plan will help you to assess to viability of your business, and introduce you to a lot of variables which you hadn’t considered before. It’s very much worth doing. Write down your vision, your strategies, and how you think you can achieve your goals. Work out funding ideas, and set out a long-term growth ideal. Business plans are essential if you’re looking to get a business loan, but they’re useful even if you’re not, as they help you to get a more comprehensive understanding of what you’re doing, and the kind of challenges you’ll face.
Ever wondered why some dressmakers who can barely turn a seam get more work than their brilliant neighbour down the road? It’s probably because the ‘bad’ dressmaker is friendly and amiable to work with. Humans are essentially sociable creatures, and we’ll choose bad work done by someone who is nice to us over good work done by someone rude and unfriendly. We like to subconsciously ‘reward’ kindness and amiability – so make an effort to be good to your customers!
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Founder & Editor of Textile Learner. He is a Textile Consultant, Blogger & Entrepreneur. He is working as a textile consultant in several local and international companies. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.