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How To Become A Succesful Good Fashion Designer, Tailor, Sell Materials, Tools in Nigeria



Fashion according to it’s definition which means “The latest and most admired style in clothes and cosmetics and behaviour” is of course not a far-fetch stuff in Nigeria, cos everyone loves making up new trends that’d enhance their looks and most importantly make their body-shelter-lifestyle awesome!

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Just as you know, you can’t compare what Fashion in Nigeria currently says to that of 90s, 80s, 70s, 60s, 50s and more… Why? Cos the world kept revolving, whereby making up new things, which Fashion ain’t a left-over too.!

Therefore, if you’re planning to take up Fashion Designing business in NIgeria, then you’re definitely on a right choice cos it’s a day-to-day increase business that’ll forever remain as long as people wear clothes.

What Is Fashion?

Fashion as defined above is simply “The latest and most admired style in clothes and cosmetics and behaviour” –  according to Dictionary **winks**… But here at All Naija Entertainment we’ll say Fashion is whatever you love, What people loves, And never stop using!… You mean we can call “food” a Fashion? Ahaha! Hell Yes! Food is a Fashion. But in proving that, we’ll have to take in “Economics” law definition of “Want” and “Need“. Food is “Need” while clothes is “Want”… Why? Cos the first men on earth were naked, but never forgo feeding!

Wherefore, Food is an essential Fashion while Clothes are “maybe/by chanceFashion. You can decide to stay naked for 3 months, but can never take same decision for food! 😛 😛

Fact proved or not? Kindly applaud us in the comment below! All Naija Entertainment rocks! 😀 😀


There’s a very big difference between Fashion and Tailoring. Tailor means difference explanations and definitions but we’ll use one, which is “Style or make in a certain fashion“. While Fashion means the definition we gave above. However, in this case, we’ll have to mix both together. Kindly take yours out while you read through sipping your zobo(kunnu, Sans cream soda or any other milk drink) alongside pop corn or any other snacks.

A Tailor is A person whose occupation is making and altering garments, while a Fashionista means A person who creates, promotes or follows the latest high fashion.

So back to the real deal! Fashion Designing Business in Nigeria.

Fashion designing is not just the business of sewing both local and foreign fabrics. There’s a lot involved in becoming a professional fashion designer. First, you must possess drawing skills and sense of creativity because it will help you in coming up with unique designs or styles. Creativity is what will give you edge above others.

And most importantly, you have to be patient enough, as sewing and other activities in fashion designing cycle require carefulness. Don’t always be in a hurry. Always take your time to calculate and think of new creative styles.

The directives may help anyone that aspires to become a successful fashion designer in Nigeria and any part of the world.

Nothing beats interest and when someone has a deep drive or motivation to succeed in some certain profession, and then the ways to achieve it will become much easier. Interest, endurance no matter how to tough is to start or manage it and desire to excel in fashion designing is a must for every startup.

Although one must acquire training from a qualified fashion designer school for him/her to be certified as a fashion designer. A talented fashion designer goes the extra mile to develop the skills and potentials in him or her in this trade. Such skills and potentials include the ability to design unique style, sewing skills, and others.

There is also the need for you to acquire the skill from more experienced person in the fashion and designing field if you think you have not acquired enough knowledge. This is very important as skilled fashion designers have an advantage over unqualified fashion designers.

As an expert in the fashion and designing business, you must have a reasonable knowledge of the quality of textile materials, the best styles that can bring out your hand work and also tailoring materials that can bring out the beauty in a particular cloth etc..

Don’t rely on the existing styles

If you really wanna go far and wanna be taken serious in the fashion industry, the you need to be creative. Try to come up with a new style which is different from the existing ones. This will attract customers to you and by the time other fashion designers started adopting your style, you would also have come up with another design. Hope you understand?

There’re difference between a busy fashion designer and the one looking for customers. Fashion designers who rely solely on the existing styles i.e old fashion styles, will no doubt continue to struggle to make a living while those with knowledge about textile and have creativity in designs will always be busy in their shops making a large profit.

Now, there are a lot of great benefits and potentials for fashion designers in Nigeria and Africa in general, because more and more people are willing to wear African fabrics and clothes designed by a good fashion designer.

Now that you know these, so what next? Follow the processes below…

Step 1: Complete a degree program/Learn It

In order to get a foot in the door of this competitive industry, hopeful fashion designers need to hone their skills through a degree program. Students interested in the field can earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in fashion design, where they take courses in computer-aided fashion design, the history of fashion, textiles, figure drawing, and pattern making. Fashion designers may also complete degrees in fashion merchandising to train for a job, which has a curriculum that covers merchandise planning, retail sales promotion, consumer behavior, retail management, and product development.

Step 2: Sharpen skills with hands-on experience

In order to sharpen the skills needed to execute a design from an idea to the finished product, students need to get practice outside of the classroom. This hands-on learning can be achieved by participating in an internship program with a design firm, clothing manufacturer, or personal stylist. In addition, students can get experience by volunteering for a fashion house.

Step 3: Learn the business of fashion

Behind the creative flair of the fashion industry is the business acumen needed to keep a company running. In addition to learning the creative side of the field, students should also familiarize themselves with what goes on behind the scenes—such as finance, sales, and marketing—particularly if they want to have their own fashion business.

Step 4: Put together a portfolio

In order for future fashion designers to show off their talent to potential employers, they have to create a portfolio demonstrating their skills and creative sensibilities. Students can fill their portfolio with the work they’ve done during their degree program, so it’s important for them to treat every assignment as if they were going to show their work to a future boss. Portfolios allow people to show off a range of skills, including their sketching, sewing, and pattern making abilities.

Step 5: Keep up with the trends

This is one of the most important factor you must never skip!… The fashion industry changes from season to season, so it’s important for designers to keep abreast of the trends. This can be done by regularly reading industry journals and magazines.

How Can I Make Money Apart From Sowing Clothes?

This is a very beautiful question! You can extend your monetization level by;

  • Selling Clothing/Tailoring Materials.
  • Create/Publish And Sell Fashion Magazine.
  • Sell Beauty Products (since it relates to fashion). etc…

How To Start Selling Tailoring Materials In Nigeria

Tailoring materials is a lucrative business in Nigeria. And this is because of high numbers of fashion designers i.e. tailors in Nigeria. From our observation here at All Naija Entertainment, we have never seen an area where there aren’t more than 20 tailors. So this makes selling tailoring materials a very lucrative business especially when it is done either on a small scale or large scale.

Please don’t be scared of the large-scale stuff we mentioned, it is because of certain things that we have considered. Starting on a small scale is good but the profit margin can’t be compared with large scale or a wholesales. For example, a row of a linen which contains 50 yards is N6,000 buying it from a wholesaler. The gain on a row might be N1000 but for you as a retailer selling it at N125 per yard which is the general sales price, the gain is N250. You can see that the profit margin is times four. However, either small scale or large scale, you will definitely maximize profit.

Capital is a major factor in selling tailoring material but the good news is that you can start as small as N50,000. It is not about the capital you start with that really matter, your business acumen and discipline will go a long way to make the business a success. My wife started the business with that amount and the business is flourishing.

List of tailoring materials or tailoring materials name

To start selling tailoring materials, below are the materials that you need to have in your shop because of their daily demand. Before you go to market, pen down the quantity of these materials you will like to buy base on your capital, and make of rough estimate of each material. Finding the cost of each material will help your budget. The tailoring materials are:

  1. Dull face satin fabric
  2. Tapeta silk fabrics
  3. Duchess satin fabric
  4. Raw silk fabrics
  5. Bridal satin
  6. Polish cotton
  7. Bridal net
  8. Chiffon: A sheer fabric of silk or rayon
  9. Needle
  10. Thread
  11. Veil net
  12. Scissors
  13. Linen- China and Aba: A fabric woven with fibers from the flax plant
  14. Stone
  15. Zip
  16. Hard net
  17. Trims
  18. Shuttle
  19. Machine reeler
  20. Sample net
  21. Tape rule
  22. Button
  23. Machine part
  24. Machine oil
  25. Clothing-stays etc…

One good thing about this business is that you can get a shop in any location of your choice. You only need to make sure you are accessible and close to tailors around (they are the potential buyers).

Places where you can buy tailoring materials in wholesales in Nigeria

The major place where you can buy tailoring materials in Nigeria especially south-west is Lagos and Ibadan.

Lagos Market: Idunmota market, Oshodi, yaba.

Ibadan Market: Gbagi, Aleshinloye, Ogunpa.

How to start a Tailoring Shop In Nigeria

If you love sewing, nothing like managing a business related it. A tailoring shop – sewing clothes or altering them on your own or managing other employees who will do it for you is a good business idea for anyone wanting to start their own business and continue doing something they love – handling clothes and fabrics. Over a hundred thousand people google for cloth alterations and about one million for a tailor every month; out of that someone must be from your area in need of a good quality tailor.Be that one.

The opportunities for a sewing shop include generalized as well as specialized tailoring shops that specialize in bridal clothes, or bespoke suits or party dresses or only dress costumes. You can specialize in making kids’s dresses ( communion and other party dresses) with beautiful embroidery or make custom fitting pants for guys

1. Make a business plan for your shop

For any business, a business plan is the first thing you have to make. A business plan will include most of the things you will be doing 6 months , 1 year and even 10 year from the start of your business. But first of all you have to decide on the type of garment you will make, or alter or your area of specialization.

You may be staying in an area where people prefer to wear mostly ready made clothes and they are not bothered about the fit of the clothes. In this case you have to target cloth alterations . In which case you will have to ensure that the volume of alterations will be enough to justify a separate rented space. If a shop is not viable you will have to limit your operations to a room in your house.

Write down the overhead expenses you will have to incur in starting this business and create a detailed plausibility study as to whether a shop will be a profit making business.The expenses will include rent, office supplies, tools and equipments, insurance, maintenance expenses like electricity, telephone, accountant or other professional assistance if using.

Study the rates charged in other tailoring/ cloth alteration shops around you and decide on yours. Check out how many business you will get realistically every month. Checkout the money you can make . Compare this with the expenses you will be incurring and this will tell you the feasibility of the business

2. Get necessary training

This could be business training or sewing training

Even if you have been sewing for a long time you will not know some of the tricks and techniques only privy to the experts in this business. This can be learned by joining an already established business which is doing the same job as you plan to. If they do not want to hire you as a manager or a tailor you can join as an assistant or even a non paid employee – you need the experience not the money at this stage

If you feel not so sure about your sewing you can get the necessary training from a good sewing school near you. A few months of training can make you an expert . A business owner who knows the technical aspects of sewing cannot go wrong in running it well.

3. Decide how much fund you need to get started and how to get it

Consider expenses like rent, employee salaries, equipment, other running expenses

Checkout how you will get the fund – you can get a bank loan especially for women entrepreneurs. Cooperative credit societies will give loan for starting small businesses like yours. If you have an asset you may pledge it if other avenues are not open. The best way to fund your business is to ask your relatives or friends for a loan. If you can convince them of the profitability of your business they can give you some loan at a lower interest rate and at a lower risk.

4 Decide on the location of the business

Location can be one of the main determinants in the success of any business.

A tailoring shop or clothing alterations store is best located in a residential area. If you are located in an area with mostly business offices you may struggle to get customers. If you have a mall with heavy footfall of women this may be the best place though the rent may be high and you may end up with lose.

A small place in residential complexes maybe the best place to start this business. The advantage of this business is that this can be started out of a very small space ( say 200 sq. feet)

5. Decide on a name

This is a very personal thing. Like naming your kid. Many people name their shop after their own name. eg ANE Tailors. Or after something they love – Butterfly design tailors. Find an appealing name ; Sound it with your friends and family.

6 Get the legalities right

Consult a knowledgeable person for the legalities involved in starting a small business in your area. Register your business.

Open a bank account; You will need a current account with overdraft facilities. The bank may ask for your registered documents and tax number ( Social Security Number , Permanent account numer etc)

You will need to maintain the necessary books like Cash Receipts Journal, Cash Disbursement Journal, Check Register and keep files for advertising, office supplies and miscellaneous operations

For nittygritties like this which can go above your head ( for me it does) you may need to talk to an accountant.

7. Get the equipment needed

The minimum requirement in a tailoring shop is an industry grade sewing machine and an overlock / serger machine. The home sewing machine would not do for professional sewing though small alterations from home can be done for clients with these. The home machines are mostly made for only a few hours of continuous work and this is not how much you will need the sewing machine for.

You need a big table for cutting and storage shelves for storing fabrics patterns and other sewing tools. Checkout these posts on the sewing tools and embroidery tools you will need for various purposes.

Do not splurge too much on the interior of the shop but you will have to ensure that the customer who comes will be comfortable in the layout of the store.

A separate space room with closable door is necessary as a fitting room. This privacy is a minimum requirement for a professional shop. This can be done away with, in a less professional set up where extra space is impossible. Some tailoring shops manage with a separate cubicle made with detachable side walls and a curtain in the place of door

Sewing is messy and the cloth storage is even more. Ensure that the customer who come to your shop doesn’t see the clustered shop and get the wrong impression. A curtain strategically placed can help. Or get big storage shelves which can be closed

A dressing form ( mannequin), collection of lining materials and sewing trims are extra supplies which can add value. You also need bags for delivering goods. Most professionals will have name labels which are attached to the finished goods.Business cards are a necessity rather than an option

8 Get the employees needed for the business

If you have decided to start small you can sew for the clients yourself. When you get more work you can hire employees; first on a part time basis and then full time. Some tailors who are working in other shops maybe willing to come to your shop on a part time basis.

There are also tailoring shops operating by hiring women who work from home. They are given piece rate ; when work is there it is send to their houses and they complete it and send it back to the shop. The tailors can be hired more cheaply this way because the women can work from home. You will have to be extra vigilant that the work is up to your standands.Most of the time the cutting will be done at the shop and only the final sewing is done at houses. Sometimes ony embroidery work and or hand sewing parts are given out.

But you may have already decided that you will have permanent tailors and cutters and you will be managing and not sewing .When hiring tailors and cutters to get the good ones you may have to give them piece rates which are mostly on the higher side. If you get fresh tailors without much experience you may have to give them the necessary training to ensure that they sew professionally.The small work involved in sewing like attaching hooks and hemming are given to assistants who are hired for lesser pay

Conduct detailed interviews with sewing tests . Inspect the work for best dressmaking practises and good finishing.

In this industry quality work is the most important thing. If you compromise on quality sewing that will be the beginning of the end of your business

9 Decide on a service policy for the shop

A rude response or two by your employee to a valued customer can end your business prematurely. A written customer care policy manual is important. This will ensure that everyone in your business knows how to behave with customers and how to react to their sometimes rude demeanour.

I have felt put off by behaviour of staff in some of the shops I have been to and maybe they didn’t know that they are offensive and will be losing a customer because of their attitude. Getting the employees in on the ‘customer is king mentality’ is important from the day one for the success of your tailoring business

One important thing with a tailor shop is adherence to a strict timely delivery. If you cannot make/alter clothes on time you shouldnot take the order.

A disappointed customer can badmouth about your business resulting in a lessening of orders.But that doesnot mean that they are allowed to take advantage of you.

Get the policy of your shop clear and written in the bill or somewhere visible in the shop so that your customer is aware of your shop policies like ‘no extra alterations after 2 days of taking the product from the shop’ or ‘ we will keep the product for 15 days from the date of completion and no more’ etc

10 Marketing your tailoring business

Word of mouth is the best marketing for a tailoring shop. If you have satisfied customers you may not even need a marketing policy. They will market for you by way of good words to their friends and relatives.

When starting new you will need to let people know that the shop is open and services are available. Printed pamphlets which can be dropped in the postboxes of localities or inserted inside newspapers are the best marketing for local tailoring shops. You can print posters to be displayed in apartment complex notice boards

After a point you may want to expand into related businesses like drycleaning pickup center or dyeing or boutique or monograming. This growth will bring more revenue to you without much additional expenses

FAQs: Quick Questions And Answers To Them!

1. Should I choose a niche?

The fashion industry is so broad, designers won’t master every aspect of it. Designers should choose a niche that they enjoy and they’re good at, and focus their work in that area. Some of the niches that fashion designers can choose from include men’s, women’s, swimwear, sportswear, and accessories design.

2. Should fashion designers be on social media?

It’s important for designers to connect with each other, other professionals in the industry, and those who will be their future customers. Having a strong social media presence allows them to make these vital connections, as well as build their brand by showing off their talent. In order to get a head start on promotion, aspiring designers can start creating their online brand while they’re still in school.

3. Should I attend networking events?

It is a good idea to attend industry networking events. By participating in these events, fashion designers can meet people they may want to do business with including models, stylists, retailers, merchandisers, and buyers.

Final thought,

According to the definition of Business which means “The activity of providing goods and services involving financial, commercial and industrial aspects“.
Business is a game of lose and win, Most winners today are those that refused to quit yesterday but decided to take one more step. To succeed in any business management, you need “patience” and more “marketing strategies. Don’t just give up because it didn’t work out as planned.

Be Consistence
Be Strong
Be Active
And Never stop breeding new ideas!

We here at ALL NAIJA ENTERTAINMENT bids you luck as you go about trying new business idea this year!….

Get More Stories Like This On: Facebook: @AllNaijaEntertainment, Twitter: @AllNaijaEntertainment

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Ezuwore Uzezi Simeon
Ezuwore Uzezi Simeon
3 years ago

Nice write-up. Tailoring has always been a lucrative business, any tailor store you go to you must meet he/she sewing a cloth or doing something related to sewing. You might not get the big cheese at once but with consistency you’ll make it.

Kudos to ANE!

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