If you appreciate the satisfaction of creating something unique and well-made, you might open a tailored apron shop. This involves producing customized garments for businesses or individuals. Clients select the style, size, and color. They might supply an image for you to print on the fabric, such as a restaurant logo. You could also let people choose the material, the number of pockets, or exact measurements. While you might only think about kitchen staff at first, this occupation allows you to serve a variety of customers.
Learn how to start your own Tailored Apron Business and whether it is the right fit for you.
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Start a Tailored Apron Business by following these 10 steps:
- Plan your Tailored Apron Business
- Form your Tailored Apron Business into a Legal Entity
- Register your Tailored Apron Business for Taxes
- Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
- Set up Accounting for your Tailored Apron Business
- Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Tailored Apron Business
- Get Tailored Apron Business Insurance
- Define your Tailored Apron Business Brand
- Create your Tailored Apron Business Website
- Set up your Business Phone System
We have put together this simple guide to starting your Tailored Apron Business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Exploring your options? Check out other small business ideas.
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What will you name your business?
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
What are the costs involved in opening a Tailored Apron Business?
If you seek professional training, you might spend around $150 to $500 on a screen-printing course. It costs more to undergo comprehensive education and earn a certificate. A heavy-duty sewing machine sells for $250 to $550. Embroidery or screen printing equipment will probably add at least $8,000 to your initial expenses. You may need to spend $100 to $450 on cutting equipment as well. Many entrepreneurs conserve cash by purchasing used machinery.
What are the ongoing expenses for a Tailored Apron Business?
You'll have to order various supplies regularly. One option is to make products from scratch using fabric and thread. You can also buy basic aprons to customize. They only cost about $2 to $3 each when purchased in sets of 10. Ink is necessary if you use screen printing.
Commercial or industrial space will add at least $500 to your monthly expenses. If you have a spacious house, you could avoid paying rent by starting a home business. Your residence may require improvements before you can accomplish this. Either way, tailored apron businesses need to insure costly equipment and obtain product liability coverage.
If you sell merchandise outside of your local community, you'll spend cash on shipping and associated supplies. You can also plan on advertising your website or paying seller fees at online marketplaces like Etsy and eBay. Keep in mind that free promotional methods sometimes outperform paid advertisements.
Who is the target market?
You can sell tailored aprons to artists, barbers, gardeners, mechanics, bakers, chefs, and anyone who enjoys cooking at home. Some people give these products as gifts. You could also market them to business owners with employees who perform messy tasks. Buyers generally have moderate to high incomes; they're not content purchasing cheap, basic aprons.
How does a Tailored Apron Business make money?
The customer pays a per-unit price in exchange for one or more personalized aprons. Some sellers offer flat prices, but you can also charge different amounts depending on the clients' specific needs.
How much can you charge customers?
The average personalized apron sells for $23.34, according to Etsy. Most products cost $18 to $60, but child-size aprons fetch somewhat lower prices. Many sellers offer bulk discounts, making it affordable for a restaurant or salon to buy garments for multiple employees. Prices vary based on the size, material, and level of customization.
How much profit can a Tailored Apron Business make?
It will take some time to recoup initial equipment costs. You might spend around $4 to $7 on the materials for an apron. If it sells at the average price of $23, you should earn at least $16. However, you won't start making a profit until you've sold enough units to pay for insurance, marketing, and any rent or wages.
How can you make your business more profitable?
One approach is to find ways to raise prices without losing customers to your rivals. Aim to develop fashionable, high-quality products that appeal to clients who are willing to pay a premium. On the other hand, you could try to cut costs. Seek business clients who order large quantities to save money on materials, shipping, and advertising. Consider these tips as well:
- Avoid returns: Confirm details and offer previews if possible.
- Use eBay or Etsy shipping labels to benefit from discount rates.
- Consider mailing multiple aprons in a flat-rate shipping box.
Want a more guided approach? Access TRUiC's free Small Business Startup Guide - a step-by-step course for turning your business idea into reality. Get started today!
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your Tailored Apron Business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Open a business bank account
Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:
- Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- Makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.
Get a business credit card
Getting a business credit card helps you:
- Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- Build your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money later on.
Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from BILL and build your business credit quickly.
STEP 5: 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.
Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.
STEP 6: 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.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a tailored apron 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.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: 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.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator. Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.
How to promote & market a Tailored Apron Business
Concentrate on one of the groups mentioned above at first. You can customize your marketing messages to suit their specific wants and needs. Create an authentic brand with an engaging story behind it; describe your own experience with aprons or the reasons why you took an interest in them. Highlight the benefits of buying locally produced merchandise.
Consider mailing ads to local establishments that might use this product. Eateries with open kitchens often desire attractive aprons. You could also talk to business owners in person. For example, the proprietor of your favorite restaurant may decide to buy these garments. One order might lead to more sales as a satisfied client tells friends about your work. You don’t need to act like a salesperson; just casually talk about what you do.
If you're capable of producing this product in large quantities, consider working with resellers after establishing a good reputation. They will send their clients' specifications and pay you to fill the order. You'll have to charge relatively low prices, but the resellers handle customer service and marketing.
How to keep customers coming back
Personalization and a greater variety of materials can help you attract more clients while setting higher prices. Offer options that appeal to the customers you hope to serve. For instance, kitchen staff might prefer four-way aprons while high-end waiters desire tuxedo-style products.
You can also gain customers by helping individuals develop designs that reflect their personal fashion preferences. Give clients a convenient reordering form to use when they want identical aprons. It's hard to retain customers if you only have one product; consider selling complimentary items, such as chef hats or commercial-grade oven mitts.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2023 to find the best phone service for your small business.
Recommended Business Phone Service: Phone.com
Phone.com is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.
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Is this Business Right For You?
If you pay attention to details and like to work with your hands, you might excel at apron tailoring. You will also benefit from in-depth knowledge of an industry that uses aprons. It's best if you can easily recognize designs that other people will find visually appealing, comfortable, and practical.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a Tailored Apron Business?
You'll probably spend much of the day working with fabric. Tasks will include sewing, cutting materials, and adding graphics or text. You will need to carefully inspect products before delivering or shipping them. This business also involves cleaning up debris, ordering supplies, contacting customers, advertising, organization, and equipment maintenance.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful Tailored Apron Business?
Personalization requires clear communication; you may need to discuss the details with clients or talk about modifying an image that isn't suitable for embroidering. Experience with a sewing machine will help you start tailoring aprons. Training in embroidery or screen printing also proves beneficial. Various businesses and universities offer classes. For instance, Santa Ana College has a certificate program that covers both methods.
What is the growth potential for a Tailored Apron Business?
Garments are comparatively easy to ship; you could serve customers across the nation if you have enough space and equipment. Hedley & Bennett provides an example of rapid growth in a company that produces high-quality personalized aprons. A young entrepreneur created the brand and succeeded in attracting well-known buyers like Bon Appetit and Martha Stewart. The business expanded its manufacturing space to 14,000 square feet within five years, according to NBC News. Your company could also grow by using the same equipment to make similar products, such as custom t-shirts.
Take the Next Step
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.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a Tailored Apron Business?
Try to simplify the ordering process. Provide easy-to-use paper and online forms that people will understand without asking questions. Even when improvements only slightly reduce the amount of effort, studies show that sales rise after businesses make purchasing easier.
If you need to choose between embroidery and screen printing, consider the pros and cons of both. Embroidery won't fade and has a higher perceived value. However, it costs more and offers less versatility. The biggest advantage of screen printing is that it can reproduce almost any image.
If you only supply one material at first, select it carefully. Cotton provides greater comfort and people can clean it easily. On the other hand, polyester-cotton blends deliver some of the same benefits while enhancing wrinkle and water resistance. Polyester-only aprons aren't desirable in hot environments like kitchens. A less common material such as denim may command higher prices but appeal to fewer clients.
How and when to build a team
Frequently overworking results in lower productivity, more mistakes, and reduced safety. You might need employees if you can't provide prompt service and set aside enough time to rest. Team members could produce more aprons or perform office tasks. Embroidery and screen-printing personnel earn around $12 to $17 per hour. Office assistants get paid almost $16/hour on average, according to ZipRecruiter. An alternative to hiring workers is to find a reputable apron tailor who will pay referral fees in exchange for excess customers.