Starting a Clothing Alterations Business
A seamstress is any person who specializes in repairs or alterations to the clothing of clients. This might involve resizing or making a suitable adjustment to the length of a garment.
A seamstress works on repairs to the damaged garments or making changes in the look or style of a garment by adjusting the way the garment is put together.
Sometimes a job may require the complete disassembly of a garment and the use of the fabric to make a new garment, particularly where the fabric is very valuable or very old. Some seamstresses also offer custom-sewn one of a kind clothing, using a pattern they have created and fitted for a particular client.
You can become a fully qualified seamstress or tailor in India by doing a two-year apprenticeship or by undertaking a textile and design course at a College or University, but you do not necessarily need to be qualified to open your business.
Basic equipment for a seamstress includes a good (high) quality sewing machine. You might also want to invest in an over-locker.
A good quality iron and ironing board is also a must. If you are going to be making new clothing a cutting table is also a good idea. Good quality business cards are a valuable promotional tool.
The startup costs will vary depending on the type of equipment you go with. A second-hand industrial sewing machine will set you back around $400, a brand new top of the line sewing machine can cost anything up to $3,000 – $4,000.You will also need to buy in startup supplies, for example, cotton in a range of colors, a basic range of zips, etc.
Most jobs in an alterations business are charged on a per job basis rather than an hourly rate. Depending on the type of jobs you accept you can earn anywhere between $20,000 – $40,000 per year working your business on a full time basis.
You can charge a higher rate for larger jobs or custom work, but in all probability a significant number of your total jobs will be small jobs that will bring in $5 or $10 per job.