Own business: atelier for tailoring clothes for Muslims

We are often approached by our regular readers with questions about how to implement this or that idea presented on the 1000 Ideas portal. Therefore, we decided to launch a new series of articles that tell how many projects that are successfully working abroad can be implemented in Russian conditions.

Despite the large number of Muslims (almost every fifth person in the world professes Islam), purchasing special clothing for them in Russia can be a big problem. In large cities, it is not so relevant, as there are specialized ateliers for tailoring Muslim clothing, regular and online stores. But residents of other regions who profess Islam are forced to buy clothes without the possibility of trying on and a large selection. Meanwhile, young girls who wear hijabs also want to be fashionable.

The word “hijab” in Arabic means “curtain”, “veil”, “barrier”. It denotes the principle of modesty of behavior and at the same time is the name of men’s and women’s clothing for Muslims. The most common form of hijab is the headscarf worn by many Muslim women, but it is not limited to headscarves alone. The hijab refers to the full covering of the entire body, except for the hands, face and feet, under a long loose dress made of opaque fabric.

Since the degree of modesty can be different, the “clothes” of Muslim women often differ. Some cover everything except their eyes, others open their face and hands, others cover only their hair and chest. In many Western countries and in Russia, hijab in most cases is understood as a headscarf on a woman’s head. Although this is not quite the exact name. The headdress, which consists of one or less often two scarves, with which women cover their hair, ears and neck, is called a himaar.

The business of tailoring and selling clothes for Muslims can be very promising for entrepreneurs who want to start their own small but profitable business. As, for example, Husna Iqbal-Willan, an 18-year-old college graduate in the UK, who has been wearing the hijab since she was 13, did. Experiencing a shortage of fashionable clothing for Muslims, the girl decided to  open her own business for their production and sale . Husna has created an online store called Pink Paisley’s that sells beautiful headscarves in a variety of prints.

The production of clothing for Muslims can be a great business idea in our country. You can open your own atelier, which will specialize in individual tailoring, or create a whole production of fashionable models for Muslim women. Opening a studio requires less investment. And although, in general, over the past few years, the demand for tailoring has declined sharply, since there are more than enough offers on the finished product market, nevertheless, ateliers are still relevant when it comes to tailoring exclusive, rare or non-standard clothes. In order to avoid unnecessary expenses and minimize the risk of failure, first draw up a detailed business plan for the atelier yourself or order from specialists. Calculate possible costs in advance, including rent, utilities, tax deductions, wages, etc.

For the atelier, you will need a room and standard equipment, which includes folding tables, sewing machines, overlockers. Please note: the spreading table should be large and comfortable for work, have a smooth light surface. The optimal dimensions of the folding table are at least 130 cm wide and two meters long. In this case, it will be possible to lay out large pieces of fabric on the working surface.

It is also worth taking care of good lighting for the workplaces of cutters and seamstresses. Ideally, it should be natural, but if the rented space does not have large windows or if they do not face the sunny side, you will need to purchase several fluorescent lamps.

The area of ​​​​the room depends on the amount of equipment that you will use. In turn, the amount of equipment depends on the number of people who work for you, and on the volume of orders. For the first time, 2-3 masters will suffice. In the future, as orders increase, it will be possible to significantly expand the staff. Try to analyze the possible demand for your products even before the opening of the atelier. You are unlikely to get exact data, but even with a rough estimate you will be able to more objectively assess your capabilities and plan the amount of work.

If you do not have the opportunity to order marketing research, you can independently conduct surveys among Muslim women you know and on the Internet resources where they communicate. So you can find out the approximate number of possible orders in the first time of the existence of your studio.

If 2-3 seamstresses can cope with such a volume, then it will be possible to get by with ordinary household sewing machines and overlockers. They are quite functional and allow you to create high-quality products. When choosing sewing equipment, first of all, pay attention to the number of operations and legs on the machine. Among overlockers, four-thread models are considered the best. With their help, you can process the edges of even the most “capricious” and expensive fabrics. In any case, no matter what price category you choose, the model should overcast heavy and dense fabrics just as well as light and thin ones.

In the future, as the number of orders increases and the income of your atelier grows, it will be possible to significantly upgrade the equipment by purchasing professional industrial sewing machines and overlocks. The latter are not only distinguished by better quality and faster operation, but also by a longer service life. In addition to the cutting table, sewing machines and overlocker, you will need an iron, ironing board, mannequins and hangers. When buying all this, it is quite possible to meet the amount of up to 100-150 thousand rubles. For greater savings, you can purchase used sewing equipment. Fortunately, there are more than enough offers on the market – many ordinary ateliers cannot compete with large clothing manufacturers and are closed.

Another expense item is the purchase of auxiliary tools and consumables. The first include meters, scissors, needles and centimeters. All this will take no more than 3000 rubles. Additional costs will be required for the development of patterns. As a rule, they are ordered from third-party companies. Consumables include fabrics and accessories. Since you will be sewing clothes to order, you do not need to purchase a large number of fabrics. It is enough to have textile samples on hand so that customers can independently choose the material and color they are interested in. Samples can be obtained from your suppliers. True, finding fabrics that are suitable in quality and colors can be a daunting task.

For the production of clothing for Muslims, mainly natural materials are used. For the summer, hijabs made of linen, natural silk, cotton, which is pleasant and comfortable to the skin, absorbs moisture well, but at the same time quickly wrinkles and shrinks when washed in hot water, and viscose are suitable. As a rule, mixed fabrics are used. Viscose itself is quite thin and tightly fits the body, which is unacceptable for a Muslim woman. Therefore, dresses from such clothes are sewn a little larger than necessary, so that they sit more freely and do not fit.

Finding natural, dense, breathable and high-quality fabrics is not so difficult. However, their colors are also subject to strict requirements. On the one hand, the fabric should be beautiful, but not bright and shiny. Most Islamic women wear bright, eye-catching clothing only at home and in the presence of relatives. Therefore, for ordinary everyday clothes, you will have to find a compromise between rigor, elegance, restraint and beauty.

Many manufacturers even specially buy such fabrics in Italy, India, Turkey, Germany. In this case, the cost of opening an atelier for tailoring clothes for Muslims will be higher, since it will take too long to deliver the fabric ordered by the client from abroad. You will have to have a certain supply of fabrics so that you can quickly sew off one or another model.

Please note that for tailoring a traditional Muslim costume, one must not only follow the tailoring technology, but also take into account existing requirements. For example, for one hijab, fabric will take two human heights and about fifty centimeters from above. It must have a loose fit. The average width of the pattern for each shelf of a size 42 model is almost a meter. If the hijab comes with trousers, then the length of the latter should be 15 centimeters longer than the length of the dress.

In addition to fabric, it is necessary to purchase a sufficient amount of accessories in advance – zippers, decorative braid, etc. Stocks of fabrics and accessories, as a rule, are replenished monthly. Moreover, the studio purchases them at its own expense, including the cost of the material in the price of the finished product. The purchase of materials takes from 10 thousand rubles (taking into account the fact that fabrics of two or three colors are taken with a margin).

Do not save on the premises where the studio is located. Certain requirements are imposed on it both in terms of area and location. It should be spacious enough (at least 20 square meters for 2-3 people). Ideally, it is desirable that it be located in a place with high traffic. However, if the question is this: to rent a small patch in a crowded place or a room of normal size in a residential area, the latter option may even be preferable.

Each seamstress should have an individual work desk, and plan for an ironing board, storage shelving for fabrics and accessories, and a closed fitting room for customers with a large full-length mirror. The cost of rent in a residential area will be lower than in the city center. However, this difference is offset by high advertising costs. Even a sign for an atelier located in a busy downtown area is a great way to attract customers.

Despite the small number of atelier employees, it will also take some time to find them. It is desirable that these are not just qualified seamstresses with extensive work experience, but also that they themselves have experience in wearing hijabs. The range of clothing manufacturers for Muslims is quite wide. It includes casual wear, evening dresses, abayas, amirs, himaras, office wear, shawls, women’s skirt or trouser suits, niqabs, home wear, sportswear, galabiyas, bathrobes, etc. Each of these models has its own subtleties and nuances of tailoring. Even the very technology of tying a headscarf is a whole science. There are dozens of ways to wear it, allowing you to create stylish and attractive ensembles. All these wisdoms should be known to people working in your studio. Learning how to sew hijabs is easy,

So, you have a room (ideally not rented, but owned), the necessary equipment and assistants. But how to attract customers to a newly opened atelier with a narrow specialization? If the demand for Muslim clothing in your area is high enough to provide you with the required number of customers, then target your advertising to this narrow target audience. Place ads in print publications (from regular newspapers with ads to fashion magazines), radio and television. Don’t forget about the internet.

Many Muslim women actively communicate on women’s forums and in groups on social networks, maintain their own blogs and websites. Advertising on these resources can be very effective. For such companies, word of mouth plays a key role, which is perhaps your most effective, free and valuable asset. One satisfied customer will bring several new ones.

When opening your own clothing production for Muslims, the costs will be many times higher. In this case, clothes are sewn in large workshops in a wide range. In addition to the standard dimensional grid (from 42 to 48 sizes), clothes of large sizes are in demand – from 50 to 64. For the production of clothes, you will need cutting machines, special automatic or semi-automatic sewing machines (there is equipment for each type of product and various operations) and overlockers , installations for wet-heat treatments, interoperative tables, automatic loopers.

In order to open an enterprise with a capacity of about 100 units of garments per shift, an amount of 300 thousand rubles or more will be required. As a rule, people who already have experience in this field think about their own sewing business. If you have not encountered this before, you will have to pre-order a project from a technologist who will determine how many and what machines you need and how to arrange them correctly in the workshop. The development of such a project will cost 30-50 thousand rubles.

For a small production, which provides for no more than ten workers, you will need about seven universal machines, two overcasting machines (overlocks), a semi-automatic buttonhole for making a straight buttonhole and a semi-automatic buttonhole. Equipment can be taken not new, in which case it will cost less than 150 thousand rubles. New cars will cost 2-3 times more. Ironing fabrics requires a special steam unit, which consists of an iron, a table with vacuum suction and a steam generator. Polish equipment will cost about 45-50 thousand rubles. The requirements for fabric and accessories remain the same, but the amount for the purchase of materials will be much higher (from 100 thousand rubles).

Some sewing firms operate in a home-based format. Each seamstress has the necessary equipment installed at home. The courier delivers them the cut parts and materials, and then collects the finished work. On the one hand, the entrepreneur thus saves on rent, but on the other hand, transportation costs increase significantly. There are also certain risks. Expensive equipment can be used by a seamstress not only for sewing the products you ordered, which can lead to its rapid wear. It is difficult to control remote workers, deadlines are often violated, and their quality can be significantly lower than required.

If you are planning to rent a separate workshop for tailoring, the best option is to find a room in a residential area or on the outskirts of the city, where the cost of rent will not be as high as in the center. Ten workers will need an area of ​​​​at least 100 square meters. meters. In any case, the cost of rent will be at least 20 thousand rubles per month (for regions). The salary fund will be from one hundred thousand rubles, depending on the region and the number of employees. In addition to seamstresses, clothing designers, technologists, fashion designers will be needed. Do not do without the services of an accountant. But the functions of a purchasing manager, sales manager and administrator can be taken over for the first time. Set aside 50-100 thousand rubles in advance for unforeseen expenses.

Depending on the volume of products produced, you can sell clothes through your own online store (its main drawback when working not only in your region is the inability to try on models), your own retail store, other retail stores (in some cities there are outlets where goods are sold for Muslims). A small sewing workshop pays off in one to one and a half years.

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