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How to Start a Small Tailoring Business at Home

Vincent Nyoike
Vincent Nyoike Kenyan SMEs

Clothe tailoring business is among the profitable businesses you can start in Kenya with small startup capital. The business has been in existence for decades. Clothes are basic needs and from time to time, clothes wear out or get torn. Hence, they need repairs creating opportunities for tailors. This is how to start a tailoring business from my experience. 

How I Started in Clothe Tailoring Business

I learnt how to sew clothes while in primary school. At the time, we had art classes and people learnt different skills. Also, my mum used to sew our school uniform and I would help her. This is how I fell in love with sewing clothes, and little did I know that it is the skill that would shape my future.

After completing my high school education in 2006, I couldn't afford school fees to continue with my education. I decided to venture into the clothes tailoring business since it is the only skill I had. I started my tailoring business from our home and this helped me avoid the costs of renting out a stall and paying business licenses. In a day, I would get many customers and sometimes I wouldn't manage to sew all of them. On average, I was making Ksh 500 in a day and since I didn't have many expenses, I would save Ksh 5,000 every month. After 4 months of operating from home, I decided to expand my business and stop operating from home.

This is how I started operating my tailoring business away from home.

Find a Suitable Business Location

Clothes tailoring business is profitable in a location with many households. When I was starting, I was looking for a business location near an institution like a college or a place where there were many households. Luckily, I found a business space right outside a college and this was a great deal. This is because it would give exposure to a large number of customers. As such, when finding a business location for a tailoring business, look for a place with high a population.

Read also: How Caroline paid college school fees selling mitumba clothes

Write a Clothe Tailoring Business Plan

One thing that helped me to excel in my clothes tailoring business was a business plan. A business plan helps you to allocate resources accordingly. It works as a work plan for your business by helping you to foresee business risks. One of the risks I was facing when I started was competition from tailors operating inside the college where I had established my clothes tailoring business.

A business plan will also help you to know the services that your business will be offering. Among the services you can offer in a tailoring business is making clothes, repairing worn out and torn clothes, ironing and fitting large or small clothes so that they can fit.

One thing that helped me most was my sewing skills. People liked clothes that I would sew. Also, I was fast and when customers brought clothes for minor repairs, I would complete the work in a few minutes. This helped me against my competitors.

A business plan also helps you to determine startup capital and where to get it.

Clothe Tailoring Starting Capital

I started my clothes tailoring business with Ksh 25,000 as startup capital. The following is a breakdown for my business startup capital.

  • Sewing machine – Ksh 10,000
  • Business permit – Ksh 5,000
  • Iron box – Ksh 1,500
  • Ironing board – Ksh 5,000

However, you start a small clothe tailoring business with Ksh 10,000 and grow your business over time. It is always best to start small and expand your business as your customer base is growing.

Is Tailoring Business Profitable?

Tailoring is one of the profitable businesses in Kenya. Also, it is one business that it is very difficult to lack customers. From my experience, when I started my tailoring business, I was making monthly profits of Ksh 15,000. After expanding my business to start sewing clothes for events, I get a profit of at least Ksh 25,000. I also get orders from schools, hospitals and events like weddings o sew their clothes.

To succeed in the business, you can start by offering clothe repair services before expanding your business. This will help you to learn and also gather customers for your next bigger clothe tailoring business.

Challenges You Can Expect in Clothe Tailoring Business

The main challenge that I face in my business is competition from ready-made clothes from boutiques. People nowadays prefer to buy ready-made clothes compared to ordering clothes to be sewn for them. People prefer ready-made clothes since they are cheaper, but they do not last long. Offering other services like clothes repair helped me to maintain customers.

Read also: Why I left employment to start selling fruits


Starting a tailoring business is a great idea. However, to make it in the business, you need tailoring skills and trust from customers. Also, you need to maintain high cleanliness standards in your tailoring shop. Many customers fear taking clothes to tailors for fear of contracting bedbugs. Finally, you need to market your business so that customers can know the services you are offering.