How to start a small business in textile

Written by melissa hopkins
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Starting a textile business is an interesting way to get involved in design, as well as all the exciting things that can be made with dynamically designed fabrics. Whether you are planning to create textiles for fashion design or modern home furnishings, you will need to know a few things to start a successful business. By arming yourself with the right knowledge and careful preparations, you can start your small textile business off on the right foot.

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    Think about the types of textiles you want to make. Will you be doing screen printing, dyeing or woven prints? This decision will have a significant impact on your equipment costs. Keep your focus narrow for the initial start-up. According to the Small Business Administration, "many businesses make the mistake of trying to be everything to everybody." Remember, you can always expand your operations if your business is successful. Choose the type of textile production your market analysis shows to have good potential for profitability.

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    Estimate your initial investment in equipment. Comparison shop for equipment and workroom supplies. Look for textile equipment suppliers that offer a good price, but also look for reliability. Do they offer solid warranties? Will your supplier be readily available if equipment breaks down? Make a thorough list of every piece of equipment and all the tools you will require to get started. Decide if you will need financing. Aside from equipment costs, consider operating costs for at least one year; it can take some time for a new business to become profitable.

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    Look for a location that fits your space and ventilation requirements. Some kinds of textile production will involve toxic materials and all will involve dust and debris from the fibres. Make sure the locations you are considering either have ventilation or can be altered for installation of a ventilation system. Talk to property owners about what type of lease terms they can offer. Ask whether utilities are included and who will pay for repairs. Make sure the square footage available will be enough for you to install and work comfortably with your equipment. Don't forget about storage space. Bulk fabrics often come in large rolls so you will need a place to store them and heavy racks to mount the rolls for your use.

Tips and warnings

  • Investigate other small textile businesses to see how they are doing. This will help you evaluate the marketability of your textile start-up.

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