Do you want to start a wedding gown production business? If YES, here’s a complete guide to starting a wedding gown production business with NO money and no experience. Businesses that are worth going for are businesses that you are certain people would need your services or products frequently.

A business like wedding gown production thrives on creativity, branding (media hype) and good business skills. Any aspiring entrepreneur can start a wedding gown production business, and as long as they are creative, they can get people to promote their brand and they have good business skills.

The starting size of this type of business doesn’t really matter as long as the business is built on the right foundation and with the right combination of skills and talents. One thing is certain, once you are creative, you will be able to come out with a unique style. The truth is that with the wedding gown production business, you signature is your style.

So if you want to start your own wedding gown production line, all you need do is to read this article and you will be well equipped. You can start your wedding gown production business from a small town in the United States and if you are consistent and creative, it won’t be too long before your brand becomes an internationally recognized.

21 Steps to Starting a Wedding Gown Production Business

1. Understand the Industry

Bridal Shops are retail outlets that predominantly retail bridal wear, including wedding gowns, veils and other accessories such as shoes, gloves and jewelry. These stores also typically provide alterations like hemming, taking in or letting out seams, and lengthening or shortening sleeves. Some of them also go as far as renting wedding gowns and other wedding accessories.

If you are conversant with the global apparel industry, you will agree that the demand for apparel is highly dependent on disposable income and the overall economic well-being of the region in consideration. Largely, over the past decade, the Global Apparel Manufacturing industry has benefited from an increasing number of consumers opting to buy more garments at lower prices.

This trend has been sustained by significant offshoring of apparel manufacturing from industry establishments in developed countries to developing economies. Revenue for this industry is expected rise over the five years to 2018. Growing disposable income levels across both developed and emerging economies are expected to be the main driving force behind the industry’s renewed growth. The rise and fall in global disposable income tend to dictate industry performance.

A study conducted by IBISWORLD reported that the Global Apparel Manufacturing industry primarily produce, women’s, men’s and children’s and infants’ clothing. It also manufactures clothing accessories and specialty apparel such as professional uniforms. The industry’s largest product segment is women’s apparel, which accounts for an expected 56.5 percent of industry revenue in 2018.

This segment includes all women’s cut and sewn garments such as dresses, suits, shirts, skirts, blouses, sweaters, undergarments, outerwear and active wear. The womenswear segment is larger than the menswear segment, as women tend to spend a higher proportion of their disposable incomes on clothing. Moreover, changes in fashion trends are more frequent among women’s apparel than they are with men’s.

The Global Apparel Manufacturing industry that wedding gown production business is a part of is a thriving and profitable business venture in most countries of the world. Statistics has it that in the United States alone, the bridal shop industry generates over $658 billion annually from more than 305,135 apparel manufacturing companies (wedding gown production companies inclusive) scattered all around the United States of America.

The industry is responsible for the direct employment of over 10.5 million people. Experts project the global apparel manufacturing industry to grow at a 4.6 percent annual rate between 2012 and 2017. David’s Bridal can boast of having a lion market share in the industry.

The wedding gown production line of business has minimal barriers to entry, with low startup capital and no specific licensing requirements. The fact that there are multi – million dollar wedding gown production companies determining the direction of the market for the industry does not mean that medium to smaller scale wedding gown production business are not making headway in the industry.

As a matter of fact, it is easier to get customized wedding gown from small wedding gown production companies that from multi – million dollar wedding gown production companies.

Some of the leading labels in the wedding gown production line of business are from the United States of America. Although some of these wedding gown labels outsource the production of their gowns to other parts of the world; predominantly countries in Asia in the bid to cut cost.

The wedding gown production line of business is growing and there are opportunities for entrepreneurs to launch their own wedding gown production business from the scratch and still become globally recognized. Besides, it is now easier for a designer can reach out to the world market by putting up his/her wedding gowns for sale online. Instagram, YouTube et al are good platforms to promote this type of business.

2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic composition of those who patronize wedding gowns are basically females who are getting married, or movies cum musical film production companies that need wedding gowns to carry out a movie or musical role.

3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On

It is important to state that there is no known niche area when it comes to wedding gown production line of business since the business is a niche area in the global apparel manufacturing industry. Every player in this line of business usually produce wedding gowns of different designs.

The Level of Competition in the Industry

The competition that exist in the wedding gown production business goes beyond competition with wedding gown manufacturers within your location or country; you will be expected to compete with wedding gown production factories from other countries especially from places like China where cost of production is pretty low or from Italy and France where quality is a top priority. So, it will be right to say the competition in the wedding gown production line of business is tough.

The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done your due diligence and you brand and promote your products or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure that you produce unique and durable wedding gowns and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market.

4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry

In the wedding gown production line of business just like in every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and general public than others. Some of these brands have been in the industry for a long time, while others are best known for the unique and trendy designs.

These are some of the well-known wedding gown production brands in the United States of America and in the globe;

  • Morilee By Madeline Gardner
  • Anomalie – Custom Wedding Dresses
  • Limor Rosen Bridal Couture
  • Modern Trousseau Couture Bridal Collections
  • Half Yard Productions
  • Papilio Fashion House
  • House of Delphine
  • Chana Marelus Wedding Gown
  • Toni Maticevski Bridal Production
  • Yolan Cris Wedding Production Company
  • Hermoine de Paula Bridal Production
  • Halfpenny London’s line
  • Georges Hobeika Couture
  • Savannah Miller Wedding Gown Production
  • Delpozo Designs Bridal–Stellar
  • Elie Saab Bridal Couture
  • Suzanne Harward Wedding Gown Production
  • Caroline Hayden Wedding Gown Collections
  • Odylyne The Ceremony–a Bridal and Bridesmaids Collection
  • Mira and Lihi Zwillinger
Economic Analysis

If you are looking towards successfully launching a business and maximizing profits, then you need to ensure that you get your economic and cost analysis right and try as much as possible to adopt best practices in the industry you choose to build a business in.

Wedding gown production business is not a green business, as you will come across several wedding gown manufacturers all across the United States of America.

So, if you are mapping out your economic analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey and cost of a production facility and the amount needed to purchase the needed sewing and other related machines and also the cost to successfully run the business.

It is also advisable that in order to get a full perspective of the economic analysis of a wedding gown production business, you should talk to a professional that is fully on ground in the city that you intend launching the business. Although it is going to cost you a bit, but the truth remains that the professional services you will get will help you avoid unnecessary expenditure when setting up your business.

5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

If you are looking towards starting a wedding gown production business, you would have to start from the scratch simple because you can hardly get a franchise of a wedding gown production business to buy because even local wedding gown production shops are still making headway in the industry since brides who are operating on low budget will always patronize them.

Come to think of it, starting a wedding gown production business from the scratch is less stressful when compared to other small – scale businesses. With wedding gown production business, you should just try as much as possible to secure a production facility, purchase the needed sewing machines and other machines and equipment and then leverage on every marketing tools within your disposal especially the internet when it comes to marketing your business.

6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

If you decide to start your own wedding gown production business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established wedding gown brands whose products can be found all across the United States and the global market.

Other threats that you are likely going to face is economic downturn, unfavorable government policies and the arrival of a new wedding gown production company in same location where yours is located.

7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)

If you are considering starting a wedding gown production company, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow

From a general perspective, you can choose a general partnership, limited liability company, or a sole proprietorship for your wedding gown production company. Typically, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale / customized wedding gown production business especially if you are just starting out with a moderate capital and from a small shop with about two employees or so.

But if your intention is to grow the business and have your products distributed across the United States of America and other countries of the world, then choosing sole proprietorship is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.

Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholder meetings and other managerial formalities.

These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your wedding gown production line business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and of course taxes.

If you take your time to critically study the various legal entities to use for your wedding gown production business, you will agree that limited liability company is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.

Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will give you the opportunity to grow your wedding gown production line business so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company.

8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below

When it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents.

If you are considering starting your own wedding gown production line company, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;

  • Isabelle Curtis® Wedding Gown Production, Inc.
  • Charisa Williams® Bridal Couture, Inc.
  • Jades Designs, Inc.
  • Sharon Stone® Wedding Gown Production Line Company
  • Doris Beck® Bridal Brand, Inc.
  • Stellar™ Signature, Inc.
  • Jill Dave® Wedding Gown Production Company
  • Estee & Xavi® Bridal Gowns, LLC
  • Mary & Martha® Bridal Couture, Inc.
  • Ella Brighton® Wedding Gown Production Line, Inc.

9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your wedding gown production business.

Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own wedding gown production business in the United States of America;

  • General insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Workers compensation
  • Overhead expense disability insurance
  • Business owner’s policy group insurance
  • Payment protection insurance

10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

If at all there is any business that requires intellectual property protection, then wedding gown production should be one of them. The truth is that your label, design and your style need to be protected or else anybody can successfully fake or create similar products and go scot free making money off your brand name.

So, if you just want to protect your unique design, your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO.

11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

There are businesses that require professional certifications before the business can be launched but wedding gown production is not one of them. Any entrepreneur who desires that start his or her own wedding gown production line can start it with little or no stress. The only requirement that will count as a positive is having the right skill set. Tailoring skills, sales skills, business management skills and creativity might just be enough to launch a wedding gown production business.

Obtaining a degree or diploma is a good idea when you want to go global and favorably compete with the leaders in the industry. Some of the prominent fashion design schools can be found in New, York, Paris, London, and Milan et al. If you live in New York, you can try New York School of Design and Fashion Institute of Technology.

12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hand of the law catches up with you.

These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own wedding gown production business in the United States of America;

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Tax Payer’s ID / Tax Identification Number
  • Business Plan
  • Non – disclosure Agreement
  • Copy of license for the warehouse facility and/or a recent inspection report
  • Employee Handbook
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use
  • Online Privacy Policy Document (basically for online payment portal)
  • Company Bylaws
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
  • Building License
  • Contract Document

13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

When it comes to starting a small scale wedding gown production business especially as it relates to producing wedding gowns based on demands, trust me it can be cost effective. But when it comes to starting a standard wedding gown production factory, purchasing industrial sewing machines and other sewing equipment are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital. So if you choose to start the business on a large scale, you would need to go source for fund to finance the business.

When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.

Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your wedding gown production business;

  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for loan from your bank
  • Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.

14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

When it comes to wedding gown production business, any location is ideal for the business especially when other factor key factors have been taken care of. The truth is that if you have enough space in in your compound, you can start a small scale wedding gown production business from your home. The fact that you choose a location that is in the outskirt of town does not in any way stop you from selling your wedding gowns.

Some of the few factors that can influence the citing of a wedding gown manufacturing company is closeness to cheap labor, closeness to source of raw materials and stable power supply amongst other factors.

If you study the trend in the wedding gown line of business, you will realize that some of the leading wedding gowns line brands in the United States prefer to setup their factory in countries in Asia where they can cut the cost of manufacturing. India, Thailand, and China are some of the most preferred destination.

It is important to note that a business facility in good location does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough fund for leasing / renting in your budget. If you are new to the dynamics of choosing a location for a business such as wedding gown production business, then you should feel free to talk to a business consultant or a realtor who has a full grasp of the city and perhaps country you intend starting your wedding gown production line of business.

Most importantly, before choosing a location for your wedding gown production line of business, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out.

15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

The advent of industrial sewing machines and computerized system facilitates mass production of clothes. If you are considering setting up a wedding gown production company, it means that you should be prepared to purchase industrial sewing and cutting machines amongst others. If you don’t have enough cash, you can start with fairly used machines but if you are financially buoyant, then you should go for brand new ones since they usually have a long life span.

As regards leasing or outright purchase of a production facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standings, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short – term rent / lease while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you go on a long – term lease or outright purchase of the property.

There are key employees that are needed when starting a wedding gown production business. You will sure need a fashion designer, tailor, factory workers/machine operators, sales and marketing officer and factory manager. On the average you will need an estimate of 15 employees for a small scale wedding gown production company, 50 or more employees for a medium scale business and over 100 employees for a large business.

These are some of the machines and tools that you would need to start your wedding gown production line business;

  • Industrial sewing machines
  • Pattern makers for crafting designs.
  • Women and men dress forms used for garment building.
  • Scissors
  • Hole punchers
  • Straight and curved rulers
  • Pencils
  • Measuring tapes
  • Notchers for marking seams.
  • Pins
  • Slopers
  • Dotted pattern paper.
  • Sewing machine needles
  • Hand sewing needles.
  • Threads
  • Sketching books.
  • Drapings tools.
  • Dressmaking Stick pins
  • Muslin
  • Style tapes
  • Fabric shears
  • Soft lead pencil
  • Marking pen
  • Pattern plotter.
  • Pattern making software.
  • Computer
  • CAD tools for designs
  • Digital drawing tools
  • Digitizer board for pattern scanning.
  • Heat transfer machines for T-shirts.
  • Print tables.
  • Racks
  • Slat wall
  • Mannequins
  • Hangers
  • Labels and Tags.
  • Packaging materials
  • Industrial pressing irons
  • Supply of fabrics
The Service Delivery Process of the Business

The production process when mass producing wedding gowns and producing them in a small scale is slightly different.

Sketching Stage

The first stage in the production of wedding gowns starts with designing and sketching. It is the fashion designer that is responsible for designing the kind of wedding gown that the company wants to produce. At this stage of the production process, the designer is permitted to free – style and come up with a sketch that will be subjected to screening by a panel of designers.

Pattern Making Stage

After the first sketch has gotten approval from the panel of designers, the next stage is for pattern makers to develop the first pattern from the initial sketch. At this stage, the pattern maker can adopt a standard size and thereafter other sizes will be created.

Sample Making

The next stage is for samples to be made from the pattern that was developed. The patterns that are developed goes through the sewing department for it to be coupled into an apparel. At this stage the pattern created will be stitched on calico or muslin which is an inferior quality fabric and it reduces cost. After this process, the sample garment will be subjected to review by designers. If it is approved, it moves to the next stage and if not all the necessary adjustment and correction will be made.

Mass Production Pattern

The next stage after the sample wedding gown has been approved is to develop a production pattern which will be used for mass production of the wedding gown.

Grading

Other production sequences that will be followed are grading; the essence of grading is to develop patterns in different standard sizes (S, M, L, XL, and XXL et al). Grading a pattern simply means scaling a pattern up or down so as to create multiple sizes.

Thereafter; makers will be created on the fabrics; usually it is done with the aid of computer software. The next step is to spread the fabrics with the aid of spreading machines before the fabrics are cut to sizes. After cutting to the required specification, the materials are then sorted out before they are transferred to the sewing and assembling department.

Once the wedding gowns come out the sewing department, they are transferred to the pressing and finishing department where the wedding gowns will be properly ironed and packaged.

The final stage in the production process is to inspect the finished wedding gowns in order to identify defects. Once defects are identified, they will be amended before the wedding gowns will be finally packaged and shipped to outlets where they will be sold. At this stage, the wedding gowns are sorted out based on sizes, colors, and designs et al.

16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies

Marketing your wedding gowns require creativity and aggressiveness. No doubt there are competitors in market, but if your designs stand out, you will be able to corner a portion of the available market.

One of the key strategies in marketing wedding gowns is to create hype around your designs. Creating hype around your wedding gown labels involves attending wedding related fashion expos, leveraging on the both online and offline media platforms to promote your wedding gown brands. Instagram and YouTube are some of the potent social media tools in promoting a wedding gown brand.

Another major leverage in marketing a wedding gown is to get well known celebrities to endorse your brand. The truth is that if a celebrity wears your wedding gowns, she will definitely help you generate traffic to your brand. It is one of the easiest ways to get people to accept your brand in the market place. It might be expensive but it will be worth the while.

These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your wedding gowns production business;

  • Introduce your wedding gown production company by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to potential brides and bridal trains, wedding planners, and other key stake holders in and around your city
  • Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across
  • Create a basic website for your business so as to give your business an online presence
  • Directly market your products.
  • Join local wedding gowns production associations for industry trends and tips
  • Provide discount days for your customers
  • Advertise your business in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
  • List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth marketing (referrals)

17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products

One key factor that will help you produce your wedding gowns at rock bottom prices is to purchase your textile and other materials directly from the manufacturers in pretty large quantities.

Another strategy that will help you produce your wedding gowns at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products.

You can also try as much as possible to work with independent contractors and marketers; it will help you save cost for paying sales and marketing executives.

18. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win

The quality and uniqueness of your wedding gowns, your business process and of course your pricing model are part of what you need to stay competitive in the industry. If wholesale distributors are making profits from selling your wedding gowns, they will be more than willing to go the extra mile to help you push your products.

Another possible competitive strategy for winning your competitors in this particular industry is to build a robust distribution cum business network. Over and above, ensure that your organization is well positioned, key members of your team are highly qualified and your wedding gowns can favorably compete with the some of the best in the industry.

19. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers

When it comes to business, no matter the industry that you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customer retention and perhaps to attract new customers is to produce results and satisfy your customers always. If your customers are satisfied with your products, they can hardly source for alternative products.

Statistics has it that one of the major reasons why clients source for alternative or products is when there is a drop in quality. Another reason is poor customer service.

If you can continue to make available a wide range of trendy wedding gown designs at affordable prices and your customer service delivery is top notch, then you won’t struggle to maintain loyal customers.

Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers, and building loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software. With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick surveys, you can introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, you can felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, you can keep track of their progress, you can send bulk sms and customized e – mails and above all, you can easily receive compliant and feedback from them).

20. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

If you are in business and you are not conscious about boosting you brand and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend fortunes to boost their brand and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them to be.

If your intention of starting a wedding gown production business is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.

Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your wedding gown production company;

  • Place adverts on both print (newspapers and events and lifestyle magazines/ wedding planner magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Sponsor relevant community based events / programs
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your wedding gowns brand – business
  • Install your Billboards on strategic locations all around your city or state
  • Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to create awareness of your wedding gowns
  • Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
  • List your wedding gown production company in local directories / yellow pages
  • Advertise your wedding gowns in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
  • Position our Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your wedding gown showrooms are located.
  • Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and trucks / vans are well branded with your company logo et al.

21. Create a Suppliers/Distribution Network

Running a wedding gown production business requires that you enter into business relationship with suppliers of production and packaging materials. Some of the places where you can get to network with business partners is in chambers of commerce and industry and fashion expos.

Another major business relationship that is required is the relationship with wholesale distributors and even retailers. The amount of cash in – flow in your business is determined by the numbers of wholesale distributors that you have.

It is important to create a win – win business relationship with merchants and wholesalers if indeed you want your wedding gown brands to penetrate the market. You might want to sell below the average price in the industry especially if you are new so as to attract customers.

Ajaero Tony Martins