Do you want to start a leather belt manufacturing business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a leather belt manufacturing business with NO money and no experience.
A leather belt manufacturing business is one of the many businesses that can be started in any part of the world. One of the great things here is that the owner of the business can still penetrate the world market once the design is good and it meets a need in the fashion market; everybody whether old or young, male or female wear leather belts.
Entrepreneurs who intend starting a leather belt manufacturing business can start the business from their homes on a small scale and service a customized market, or big – time investors can open a leather belt manufacturing factory and dominate both the U.S. and the international market.
The bottom line is that there is always a ready market for leather belts. All a designer needs to do is to ensure that he or she carves a niche for his business and then work hard to build the brand name to be accepted beyond the physical location of the manufacturing factory.
Leather belt manufacturing business just like most businesses, thrives on creativity, branding (media hype et al) and good business skills. Any aspiring entrepreneur can start a leather belt line as long as they are creative, 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. In the leather belt manufacturing line of business, your signature is your style. Another important factor that counts in this line of business is the brand name and perhaps the logo of the leather belt line.
If you look at the leaders in the leather belt manufacturing business, you will realize that they deliberately choose a name and create a logo that best communicate how they want people to perceive them. Once you are able to secure a good name for your leather belt manufacturing business and then hire experts to help you create a compelling logo; you can follow the trends in the industry.
So, if you have the desire to start your own leather belt manufacturing company, all you need do is read this article and you will be well equipped.
You can start your leather belt manufacturing company 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 brand.
Steps to Starting a Leather Belt Manufacturing Business
1. Understand the Industry
It wouldn’t be out of place to state that over 70 percent of adult males in the united states of America and a good number of females and children have more than one leather belt.
This goes to show that there is indeed a very large market for leather belts; hence loads of investors cum aspiring entrepreneurs are pitching their tent in the leather goods and luggage manufacturing industry and leather belt manufacturing is one of the booming business opportunities in this industry.
Businesses in the leather goods and luggage manufacturing industry that leather belt manufacturing business is a part of are known to mainly manufacture clothing accessories, including belts, hats, luggage, handbags, wallets and various other leather and non-leather goods and accessories.
Research conducted by IBISWORLD shows that the Leather Good and Luggage Manufacturing industry is undergoing a transition period. After years of offshoring and outsourcing, some industry operators are considering bringing production back to the United States to avoid rising prices in China and high overhead costs associated with manufacturing abroad.
The report also shows that restoring would also result in shorter turnaround time between production and sales, as well as greater control over manufacturing operations.
However, large players, and some players that serve niche markets, are replacing other struggling operators that are no longer able to survive profitably in this industry. Consequently, the true impact of reshoring remains uncertain, but IBISWorld expects the effects of reshoring to become more evident over the next five years.
If you take notice of the Leather Goods and Luggage Manufacturing industry, you will notice that the industry has contracted over the past five years.
Import competition has been a major factor in the declining performance of this industry, with many players in the industry shifting from manufacturing leather accessories and luggage to sourcing them from low-cost Asian countries or third-party contractors.
A good number of leather goods and luggage manufacturers have departed the industry, unable to sustain operations in the price-pressured environment. The surviving players have altered operations to focus on the design and marketing processes rather than the production of goods.
The Leather Goods and Luggage Manufacturing industry is indeed a major sector of the economy of most countries in the world (United States of America, Italy, France, united kingdom, China and India et al).
Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, the Shoe and Footwear Manufacturing industry generates over $3 billion annually from more than 7,387 registered and licensed big scale leather goods and luggage manufacturing companies scattered all around the United States of America.
The industry is responsible for the employment of over 23,415 people. Experts project the shoe and footwear manufacturing industry to grow at a -1.1 percent annual rate between 2012 and 2017. No player can boast of having a lion share of the available market in the United States of America.
Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own leather belt manufacturing company could be that the business is a thriving business and the products can be sold not just in your country but all across the globe.
Over and above, the leather good and luggage manufacturing industry that the leather belt manufacturing business is a part of, is a profitable industry and it is open for any aspiring entrepreneur to come in and establish his or her business; you can chose to start on a small scale in a small leather belt making workshop .
Or you can chose to start on a large scale with standard leather belt manufacturing factories both in the United States of America and in countries in Asia where you can get cheaper labor and raw materials.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic composition of those who wear leather belt cuts across all genders and age group; hence the demographic composition for the leather belt manufacturing business is all encompassing.
So, if you are thinking of starting your own leather belt manufacturing business, then you should look beyond producing and marketing your products to just people in your city, but to people across the United States of America and other parts of the world.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
There is no niche area of specialization in the leather belt manufacturing business since leather belt manufacturing business is a niche area in the leather good and luggage manufacturing industry. Those who are into the manufacturing of leather belt manufacture leather belts in different sizes and for different genders to meet the trend in the industry.
Branding and packaging is a major factor that can help you increase your sales and gain market prominence in the leather belt line manufacturing business. However, we are not ruling out the fact that some leather belt manufacturing companies also engage in some or all of the following;
- Manufacturing luggage pieces
- Manufacturing and designing handbags
- Manufacturing neckties
- Manufacturing hats, caps and other headwear
- Manufacturing and designing belts and other leather goods
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The competition that exists in the leather belt manufacturing business goes beyond competition in your city or country as it is both national and international.
This is so because major leather belt manufacturing brands in China, Germany, France, Italy, United Kingdom and in any part of the world can be found in boutiques and stores all across the United States of America. So, it will be right to say the competition in the leather belt manufacturing business is tough.
The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you brand and promote your products or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure you have what it takes to churn out quality products (leather belt and other related products) and you know how to reach out to your target market.
But over and above, there are several leather belt manufacturing companies scattered all around the United States. So, if you choose to start your own leather belt manufacturing company in the United States, you will definitely meet stiff competitions amongst leather belt manufacturing companies in the United States and other countries of the world.
Besides, there are larger leather belt manufacturing companies that determine the trend in the industry and you should be ready to compete with them for customers.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
It is the norm that in every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than others.
Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long time, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years. These are some of the leading leather belt manufacturing companies in the United States of America and in the globe;
- PM Belts USA, Inc.
- Moonshine Leather Co., Inc
- Thomas Bates Belts and Accessories
- SOLESU Belts
- Natural Reflections Quality Leather Products
- J Michael Ashland
- Cellar Leather Cape Cod Belts
- Bullhide Belts
- All Union House Apparel
- Traveller Trading Co.
- Torino Leather Co. LLC
- ASW International
- SR Fashion
- Tandy Band Accessories
- Softline Brand
- Ashland Leather
- Allen & Bradley Leather NYC
- Buffalo Jackson Trading Co
- Colonel Littleton
- Davos Leather Works
If you are looking towards successfully launching a business and maximizing profits, then you need to ensure that you get your economic analysis right and try as much as possible to adopt best practices in the industry you choose to build a business in.
Leather belt manufacturing business is not a Green business as you will come across several brand names in your local stores when you go shopping. So, if you are mapping out your economic analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey and costing of the required raw materials, branding and other equipment needed to successfully run the business.
Over and above, if you are considering starting a leather belt manufacturing company, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of setting up the business and churning out quality leather belts, but also on branding and on how to build a robust distribution network.
The truth is that if you are able to build a robust distribution network, you are sure going to maximize profits in the business.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
Unfortunately, you can hardly find the franchise of a leather belt manufacturing company to purchase meaning that if you want to own a leather belt manufacturing business, then you must be ready to start from the scratch. This is because the business is still pretty much thriving and there are loads of opportunities available to aspiring entrepreneurs that are interested in the industry.
The truth is that it will pay you to start your leather belt manufacturing company from the scratch. Starting from the scratch will afford you the opportunity to conduct thorough market survey and feasibility studies before choosing a location to launch the business.
Please note that most of the big and successful leather belt manufacturing companies around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand.
It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success and of course you can build your own leather belt brand to become a successful brand with your products distributed all across the length and breadth of the United States of America and other countries of the world.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to start your own leather belt manufacturing business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established leather belt companies whose products can be found all across the United States and the global market. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market perhaps by producing customized belts.
So also, just like any other business, one of the major threats that you are likely going to face is economic downturn and unfavorable government policies.
It is a fact that economic downturn affects purchasing power. Another threat that may likely face also is the arrival of a new leather belt manufacturing company or even leather goods and luggage manufacturing company that also manufacture leather belts in same location where yours is located.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
When considering starting a leather belt manufacturing company, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow; some leather belt manufacturing companies design their business and products for regional market, some for national market, while others for international market.
You can either choose a general partnership, limited liability Company or a sole proprietorship for a leather belt manufacturing company. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small scale/customized cottage leather belt manufacturing business especially if you are just starting out with a moderate startup capital.
But if your intention is to grow the business and have your leather belt 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. It is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships.
Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholders meetings and other managerial formalities.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
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. Usually it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.
If you are considering starting your own leather belt manufacturing company, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Michael Smith® Leather Belts, Inc.
- Y T K® Leather Belts, Inc.
- Lades Leather Designs, Inc.
- Tim Jason Leather Work Line Company
- Perfect Waist® Leather Belt Brand, Inc.
- Sleek Signature® Leather Belt Manufacturing Co, Inc.
- James Stone® Leather Belt Production Company
- Ivan & Tyler® Leather Belt Manufacturing Co, LLC
- Browne Loop® Leather Belts, Inc.
- Lance Captain® Leather Belt 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 leather belt manufacturing business.
Here is some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own leather belt manufacturing 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 are any businesses that require intellectual property protection, then the leather belt manufacturing line business 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 free making money off your brand name.
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. The final approval of your trademark is subjected to the review of attorneys as required by USPTO.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Although you do not need any special professional certification before you can successfully start your own leather belt manufacturing line business, but you will do yourself a whole lot of favor, if you study leather works or a related course before starting this this type of business.
It will afford you the opportunity to truly maximize the business; you will be able to have full grasp of the business from start to finish especially as it relates to producing trendy leather belts and other related leather works.
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 leather belt manufacturing company in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Non-disclosure Agreement
- Employee Handbook
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Consulting contract documents
- Apostille (for those who intend operating beyond the United States of America)
- Franchise or Trademark License (optional)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting a leather belt manufacturing business can be cost effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale making customized leather belts based on demand.
Securing a standard and well – equipped production facility is part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital, but if you choose to start the business on a large scale, you would need to go source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard large scale leather belt manufacturing company.
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 leather belt manufacturing business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell of 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 choosing a location for your leather belt manufacturing business, the rule of thumb is that you should be guided by the demand for such product and easy access to labor and raw materials in the location you so desire to start the business.
If you are able to secure a central location for your leather belt manufacturing business, it will enable you cut the cost of transporting your raw materials and finished products to and from your production facility and warehouse.
It cannot be overemphasized that the location you choose to open your leather belt manufacturing business is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people with the required purchasing power and lifestyle
Before choosing a location for your leather belt manufacturing company, 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.
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your leather belt manufacturing company;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for leather belts in the location
- The purchasing power of the residents of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of leather belt manufacturing companies and leather goods and luggage manufacturing companies in the location that also produce leather belt
- The local laws and regulations in the community/state
- Traffic, parking and security
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
If you are considering setting up a leather belt manufacturing company, it means that you should be prepared to purchase equipment and machines such as industrial leather belt sewing machines, filling/grinding machines, gumming and polishing machines and industrial cutting machines.
These are the basic machines needed to launch the business. If you don’t have enough cash, you can start with fairly used equipment/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 or warehouse facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standing, 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 but if not, then move on and source for other ideal location/facility for such business.
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard leather belt manufacturing company, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer (you can occupy this role), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Sales and Marketing Manager, Belt Designers, Quality Control Officer, Machine Operators, Accountant, Distribution/Delivery Van Drivers and a Client Services Executive.
On the average, you will need a minimum of 10 to 15 key staff members to run a small – scale but standard leather belt manufacturing business.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
When it comes to the manufacturing of leather belts, the first step to take is to come up with a design and then have the design approved by the board. After that, the next step is to determine the quantity and types (male, female, children, colors and sizes et al) of the leather belt to be produced.
Other steps involved in the entire process are cutting the lather materials, sewing the materials, gumming the leather belt component parts and then filling, polishing and putting finishing touches. The next step is to pass them through the quality control department before properly packaging, labeling and branding the products (leather belts) for sale.
It is important to state that a leather belt manufacturing company may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
Running a business requires that you should be proactive when it comes to marketing your goods or services. If you choose to launch a leather belt manufacturing company, then you must go all out to employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well-known brands that determine the market direction for the leather goods and luggage manufacturing industry.
Customers will purchase and make use of your leather belts if they know that they are going to get the best in terms of quality and value for their money.
As a matter of fact, your marketing strategy will center on quality and pricing, and above all excellent customer service. The truth is that if you are able to put the above stated in place, you won’t struggle to retain your old customers and at the same time win over new customers.
Businesses these days are aware of the power of the internet, which is why they will do all they can to maximize the internet to market their services or products.
In other words, a larger percentage of your marketing effort will be directed to internet users; your website will become your number one marketing tool. These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your leather belt manufacturing business;
- Introduce your products by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to corporate organizations, businesses in retail industries, boutiques and key stakeholders throughout the United States and Canada.
- 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
- Engage in roadshows in targeted communities from time to time to sell your products
- Join local leather belt manufacturers associations for industry trends and tips
- Provide discount days for your customers
- Advertise our 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. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portray your business to be.
If your intention of starting a leather belt manufacturing company 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.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create a corporate identity for your leather belt manufacturing company;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and fashion magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your business
- Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
- Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to retail your leather belts
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Contact businesses in the retailer industries, boutiques and key stakeholders throughout the United States and Canada informing them about your leather belt brand
- List your leather belt manufacturing company in local directories
- Advertise your leather belt manufacturing company in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and distribution trucks/vans are well branded with your company logo.