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Starting up small clothes making business - think Mini Boden / Equine / Coastal.

(4 Posts)
Freyfreysmum Wed 07-Oct-09 10:41:32

I have recently left my job as a Comms Manager for a defence company and am now on maternity leave wohoo awaiting baby2. Over the next year I am doing an advanced web design course and also am keen to get into clothes making, even if on a very small scale.
My eventual aim is a little boutiquey style shop, mainly clothes for babies and young children, think rather Cath Kidston / Baby Gap / Mini Boden, with the name Made In Cornwall. I have a creative background and have lots of simple but (I think) lovely designs in mind. Theme will be coastal/rural/equine/animals/Cornwall and I have branding etc drafted including models, concepts, a website and a brochure. I will largely operate online initially and see what happens from there. Initially, until I gauge popularity lol everything will be handmade just by me, from my studio at home.

So, wondered what of the below course/s would be most appropriate, several seem to overlap. Initially obviously making clothes' seemed the obvious one but wondered what you think. Any other tips/suggestions etc welcome on courses or the idea in general. x from my studio at home.

Do you have a similar business? Can you offer hints and tips re startup? I will be continuing various mkt research q's on here but wondered if you could help re above first. Thanks, FFM X

FlopemOut Wed 07-Oct-09 10:53:26

Hi. Firstly, just wanted to say good luck! It's obviously a big investment to start your own business. I'm no expert of fashion or retailing but have studied business. Personally, I would question the logic for studying dressmaking to any great level as surely you won't be producing all your goods? I'm pretty sure that you would be better off focusing on the retail side - the brand, design, PR & marketing, customer service and supply chain rather than production. I would focus on your strengths and recognise when to use outside help.

MrAnchovy Wed 07-Oct-09 15:13:05

I think Made in Cornwall is a great selling point. There is a 'Made in Cornwall' scheme run by the trading standards department of Cornwall Council: you should talk to them about how you can use those words in connection with your business.

ShellingPeas Wed 07-Oct-09 19:56:22

A number of years ago, when my DCs were small, I set up a toddlers clothing business with the idea that I would make all the clothing myself. I found it almost impossible to make enough clothing to make it worthwhile financially. Although the items sold well and were popular, the time it took to make each item by hand meant the hourly rate was rubbish - I would have made more stacking shelves in Sainsburys. Eventually I moved into bespoke dress making for christenings/weddings/special occasion wear which was more succesful because of a higher end product charge e.g. you can charge £80-£100 for a silk handmade dress, but perhaps £20 max for a cotton frock which took the same amount of time to make.

If you have design ideas and can sew well enough to produce samples then you need to source a manufacturer who can produce the items in bulk at a sensible price. Another way of having the items produced would be a team of outsourced dressmakers working from home making up your designs to order, but you would probably need to have template pattern pieces drawn up for this to work effectively.

Sorry if that all sounds overtly negative - it didn't work for me, but may well work for you!

And if you do a dressmaking course, make sure you learn pattern drafting as this is invaluable.

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