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Chicken diapers are a fashion accessory only die-hard chicken breeders knew about 10 years ago. Those who don’t have chickens often still raise their eyebrows at the idea of diapering poultry. Among a rising culture of urban chicken owners, however, there is a steady demand for functional and handsome chicken diapers.
A survey of four major cities (Denver, Miami, New York City, and Los Angeles) found that 0.8 percent of residents already owned at least one chicken, and another 4 percent intended to purchase chickens within 5 years.
While these percentages may seem small, just a fractional percentage of any one of these cities equates to thousands of chicken owners. Moreover, almost all of these owners need diapers for their poultry because the birds are kept at least partially indoors. Chicken diaper businesses specialize in making fashionable and practical diapers for these birds.
Who is this business right for?
Anyone who is interested in raising urban chickens and likes sewing may enjoy running a chicken diaper business. A passion for the hobby helps business owners connect with their customers and anticipate diapering features that customers will like. Most business owners at least design their own diapers, which requires spending a lot of time sewing.
What happens during a typical day at a chicken diaper business?
A typical day at a chicken diaper business involves sewing diapers, shipping orders, and ordering supplies as needed. When not working on these tasks, business owners spend time designing new pieces and marketing their business.
What is the target market?
The target market for chicken diaper businesses is primarily people who have smaller flocks of chickens. Some customers are backyard chicken raisers, generally keeping flocks of twenty or fewer birds. Others are urbanites who have just one or two birds indoors.
How does a chicken diaper business make money?
A chicken diaper business makes money by selling diapers that are designed for poultry. Most businesses sell diapers individually at retail prices, but business owners could theoretically also sell diapers wholesale.
What is the growth potential for a chicken diaper business?
Chicken diaper businesses are limited by the size of the market. While businesses can be quite successful and ship to all 50 states, even the most well-known ones are still small businesses. Some of the more recognized names in the industry are Pampered Poultry, My Pet Chicken, Purely Poultry and FeatherWear.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful chicken diaper business?
In order to design chicken diapers well, business owners should have experience owning chickens and sewing. Those who don’t already have chickens may want to spend a year raising them before they get into this line of work.
Anyone who isn’t an accomplished sewer ought to take classes on sewing and/or pattern making. Jo-Ann Fabrics offers in-person sewing classes, and Craftsy has online sewing courses. SkillShare and Craftsy both have online pattern-making courses.
What are the costs involved in opening a chicken diaper business?
The startup costs for a chicken diapering business are extremely low.
Business owners who already have a sewing machine and serger need little more than a website and materials. A website can be created for less than $100 on platforms like Wix and Shopify. Materials cost little, and business owners who have limited capital can start out with only what they need to create their store’s sample diapers. The materials required for customers’ orders can be purchased after orders are placed.
Those who don’t have a sewing machine and serger will need to acquire each. Amazon has many sewing machines available for a few hundred dollars, and sergers run in a similar price range. (A computerized sewing machine isn’t necessary.)
What are the steps to start a chicken diaper business?
Once you're ready to start your chicken diaper business, follow these steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant and avoid wasting time and money as your business grows:
- Plan your business. A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. A few important topics to consider are your initial costs, your target market, and how long it will take you to break even.
- Form a legal entity. Establishing a legal business entity prevents you from being personally liable if your chicken diaper business is sued.
- Register for taxes. You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
- Open a business bank account. A dedicated checking account for your chicken diaper business keeps your finances organized and makes your business appear more professional to your customers.
- Set up business accounting. Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
- Obtain necessary permits and licenses. Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
- Get business insurance. Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
- Define your brand. Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
- Establish a web presence. A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers. Save 15% when you create a business website with Weebly.
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Where can I find a business mentor?
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a chicken diaper business?
Business owners can quickly increase their brand’s visibility and credibility by supplying diapers for show chickens. Even if a chicken doesn’t win its show, everyone at the show will see the diaper and the business can advertise that the diapers were used in the show.
How to promote & market a chicken diaper business
Chicken diapers are as much fashion pieces as they are functional items, and their fashion side lends itself to social media. Many customers post pictures of their chickens in diapers and other duds on Instagram and Facebook, which are also natural marketing channels for businesses. In addition to asking customers to tag their photos with a company-specific hashtag, business owners can also manage their own channels.
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How to keep customers coming back
Business owners can keep their customers returning by regularly coming out with new designs. Since fashion is as important as function, many customers will buy pieces that they like well before their chicken’s current diapers are worn out.
How and when to build a team
Business owners don’t have to hire employees as long as they can do all the sewing themselves. Some, however, choose to hire a seamstress to help with the workload. According to Indeed, the average wage for a seamstress is $12.15 per hour.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a chicken diaper business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Maintain Personal Asset Protection
Don’t think that just forming an LLC, or any other type of business, will save your personal assets in case of a lawsuit or other matter by itself.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Two of the simplest steps that will protect your business, and yourself, are to:
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
How much can you charge customers?
What are the ongoing expenses for a chicken diaper business?
The ongoing expenses for a chicken diaper business are minimal. They mostly consist of website hosting and maintenance fees and material costs. Businesses that have a seamstress must also factor in employee wages.
How much profit can a chicken diaper business make?
Successful chicken diaper businesses bring in a substantial revenue. Pampered Poultry sells between 500 and 1,000 diapers each month, generating an annual revenue over $50,000. Since operating expenses are so low, most of this is profit.
How can you make your business more profitable?
A chicken diaper business can increase revenue by selling other, related products. Pampered Poultry also has peep pouches (for chicks), saddles (to protect hens during mating) and dresses (which serve no practical function). The business sells around 100 dresses per month. FeatherWear makes diapers for many kinds of birds.