Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Dressmaking Business in the United Kingdom

Starting a Dressmaking Business in the United Kingdom Every business can be successful if you have enough drive, effort, persistence and some financial backup. If you follow proper guidelines and instructions, you’re bound to transform your business into something big. Starting a dressmaking business in the United Kingdom is no different from any other business. You only need to have designing skills, choose a speciality and customer base, among others, to get started. As a dressmaker, you can decide to offer several services, from creating tailor-made outfits for award-winning events, weddings and other special occasions.

Here’s a guide on starting a dressmaking business in the United Kingdom.


1. Industry Practice

Starting a dressmaking business in the United Kingdom is basically a personal journey to probably fulfilling your passion. Coming up with a unique offer in a fast-moving industry is one of the keys to success in your creative mind. If by any chance you’ve spotted a gap in the market and want to explore, you have an opportunity to explore.

In the UK, the opportunities for dressmaking business may include generalized as well as specialized tailoring shops. Some specialize in bridal clothes, or bespoke suits or party dresses or specifically dress costumes. Again, you can specialize in creating kid’s dresses with beautiful embroidery or custom fitting pants for guys.

This business requires more time but at the same time needs adequate communication skills. Clients will be coming to you with a specific idea on their mind concerning the piece, and it’s upon you to provide the output. In most cases, most customers may not understand how and why something is sewn the way it is. This may lead to them requesting for the impossible.


2. Business Registration Process

Having a business plan is the blueprint for building your dressmaking business. This means that you have a clearly defined outlook of what your business does and how to generate money. But before you decide on starting a dressmaking business in the United Kingdom, you must do the following:

Do Market Research For Target Market

Whenever you plan to do any form of business, you must first do your market research. Carrying out market research within your local area is essential. This will give you an overview of the demographic and the demand for dressmakers within the location. The industry is widespread in the UK, and customers search for suitable quality garments from several sources.

Get to understand the kind of competition you are up against, including, hire businesses, catalogue clothing specialists, and fashion designers, among others. As you’ll be targeting a particular segment of the market, you must provide a high-quality end product.

Promote Your Business

One of the traditional ways of advertising is word-of-mouth which can work for your business. Recommendations from gratified customers may pass the information to friends and relatives. Besides that, you can employ other ways of promoting your business such as:

  • Making an advertisement on local daily newspapers or local directories.
  • Develop your own website, providing details of your made-to-measure service and offer practical examples of your work.
  • Use social media platforms to promote your services
  • Apply business cards and fliers where you could drop to related business such as hairdressing and beauty salons.
  • Ensure all your items of clothing have a sewn-in label bearing your logo.

Develop A Business Plan

For your business to be up and running, you must have a concrete business plan. A business plan will act as a guide through each stage of your dressmaking business. The plan will contain the types of sewing services you plan to offer in the first section. List the start-up costs, such as sewing machines, threads, computer equipment, and software for your designs, in the second section. The third section will include your marketing plan crucial in putting out your services to potential customers.

Registering Your Dressmaking Business

Experienced business owners will tell you to start your business on a small scale moving forward. However, if you want to operate on a large scale, you must register a company. Now, the United Kingdom company incorporation is done at the Companies House. Ensure that you have all the required details concerning company registration. Some notable legal documents needed before launching a dressmaking business include:

  • Certificate of incorporation
  • Business license
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • Insurance policy

These legal documents will only apply for company registration in the United Kingdom.


When starting a dressmaking business in the United Kingdom, it’s crucial to have a brand. This means you must have a company name and a logo. Likewise, branding will cover the color scheme, the type of models you decide to use, and any written communications typeface. Branding goes as far as building a unique identity. More often, people are attracted to brands that inspire or have a relatable back story.

Develop Your Designs

Within this dressmaking business, the fascinating stages are product development. Begin by putting your design concepts on paper or screen as a sketch. The moment you’re ready, turn those rough ideas into digital sketches. Subsequently, you have to develop your product’s details and technical specifications. Again, it will entail design, materials and measurements, and additional accessories. The final process may be pattern making and grading ahead of finding your manufacturer.

Services Pricing

Determining how you’d price your services is vital. In a nutshell, ensuring that the difference between the cost price and the selling price is sufficient to cover all the operating costs. Whenever you’re preparing a quotation for a client, you must consider the following:

  • The required fabric quantity and the cost.
  • The trimmings cost includes fasteners, zips, lining, shoulder pads, buttons, and much more.
  • Time spent on clothing items, including fitting time and time needed to perform complex finishing line embroidery or beading.
  • The cost incurred on any specialist services outsourced.
  • The profit element

Remember, when setting the prices, they should be in line with what the local market can afford. If it means targeting more affluent customers who would pay premium prices for made-to-measure, then so be it.

Customer Profile

By sticking to one particular niche allows you to specialize in a specific type of outfit. In return, you profile your customer, either affluent clientele or customer based on affordability. Within this line of corporate service provider business, you must set your terms and conditions for you to earn your decent money. Remember, you’ll spend a considerable amount of materials each time you accept a commission for a made-to-measure item. This means that higher are the chances of you not selling the item if the client decides not to pay. Therefore, the most prudent thing to do is ask for a deposit before ordering the fabric.

Sourcing Manufacturers and Suppliers

The dressmaking business requires you to search for fabric to create your final output. This means you’ll need to research the manufacturers and suppliers to get the suitable fabric requested by clients. Different suppliers will sell their clothing blank or offer print, embroidering, and labeling services in the UK. Therefore, the entire process will depend on your recommendations.


3. Licenses, Permits, and Regulations

When you decide on starting a dressmaking business in the United Kingdom, you‘ll need to understand the regulations. If you’re planning to operate within the streets, you’ll be required to apply for a business license. The local authorities in the UK are responsible for issuing licenses for small businesses. Through the government website, you can find the correct point of contact to make a license application.

The cost of the licenses differs depending on the type of license you’re applying for. If you find it cumbersome, you can contact 3E Accounting for further assistance. When you decide that you’ll be making your dresses and selling them online, you’ll have to search for the rules concerning selling online.

Taking insurance cover for your clothes within your premises is significant. Again, it’s worth noting that specific trade associations and buying groups provide members with particular insurance policies. This might save you some cash and offer the level of cover your business requires.

The obligations under this clothing industry require that your clothes adhere to the Sale of Goods Act. Additionally, you must comply with the Supply of Goods and Services Act and the Supply of Goods Act. These Acts stipulate that any products a business owner sells must come exactly as you’ve illustrated them. The obligations apply to the seller and not the supplier or manufacturer and must always abide by the rules.

Other regulations go further as labeling (country of origin & care instruction) and flammability that the fabric supplier must provide.

Starting a Dressmaking Business in the United Kingdom