Do you want to start a maternity wear production business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a maternity wear production business with NO money and no experience. As long as women exist, have started getting their monthly period and have become sexually active, there will always be the possibility of getting pregnant and therefore having pregnant women.
Pregnant women usually wear a maternity wear from certain periods of their pregnancy till the end of it, and while some prefer simple maternity wear for everyday use, there are some that want something luxurious to put on during the period that they are expecting. In the end, what a pregnant woman wears boils down to what she can afford and how much quality she wants, especially for those that are looking to give birth again so as to be able to reuse the same wears.
The maternity wear production market is one that keeps buzzing as an average pregnant woman buys at least five new maternity gowns. As there are more than 4 million babies born in the united states annually, this then means that on an average, 20 million gowns are being sold in the United States.
There are many niches in this industry and an entrepreneur can make lucrative profit by going into the design, manufacturing and sale of maternity wears, while another way is to become a wholesaler by purchasing a large supply and reselling for profit. And while each option will generate revenue for the entrepreneur, the first option is likely to generate more revenue for him.
Even though this might look like a very lucrative business to start up, it is important that you conduct a thorough research about this business before going into it because even though there will always be pregnant women, they are also sensitive as to what they put on especially regarding the fabric, and therefore you should know which materials are going to be more comfortable for them.
Also, conducting the research will enable you know what niche you should go into, what potential customers to expect in that niche and if the niche will be very profitable for you. There is more information here that would be of immense benefit to you. Read on to get more insight on how you can start a maternity wear production business.
17 Steps to Starting a Maternity Wear Production Business
1. Understand the Industry
Previously, maternity wears were worn by women during pregnancy in a bid to hide their baby bump. However in recent times, more pregnant women are becoming more conscious of how the clothes they put on during pregnancy should fit them as maternity wears are now being considered as fashion clothing.
This change in how women perceive maternity wears comes from working pregnant women as well as fashion conscious women. This is what led to the steady growth that has been experienced by the industry not only in the United States alone but all over the globe.
Working pregnant women have particularly been a key driver for the industry due to the fact that their purchasing power has increased which allows them to be able to spend a considerable amount of money in purchasing maternity wears.
One factor that has contributed to the change in how women wear their clothes including maternity wears is the influence of celebrities as well as fashion models that have opened up possibilities for what women can wear during their pregnancy.
Even though the maternity wear market has been experiencing steady growth, on a global level this is not so as fluctuating birth rates are becoming a major hindrance to how the market can grow. For instance, Monaco recorded the lowest birth rate and had a ratio of 6.94 per 1,000 people.
Switzerland recorded 9.53 per 1,000 people, Bulgaria 9.32 per 1,000 people, Austria 8.67 per 1,000 people and Germany 8.30 per 1,000 people. This has had a negative impact on the industry. Another factor that contributed to the weak growth of the maternity wear market was the rate of unemployment.
However, there is an opportunity for growth in the industry as emerging markets have started springing up in developing countries. Also, it is expected that more pregnant women will work in the future allowing for more growth of the maternity wear market.
The maternity wear market based on types is classified into dresses, bottoms, tops, tunics, nightwear and undergarments. According to industry analysts, maternity tops which include business and casual wear is expected to lead in the market in the near future.
Regionally, the maternity wear market is classified into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East and Africa. Regions that are expected to lead the market based on more women being able to work due to economic stability are Europe, the Middle East as well as Africa. It has been shown that a high number of pregnant women do not mind working until the advanced stages of their pregnancy.
There is intense competition amongst players in this industry and some have adopted key strategies such as mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, geographical expansion, partnership and product innovation in order to be able to achieve sustenance and growth in the industry for a long period of time.
The maternity wear market saw sales dwindling due to global economic downturn as well as a general lack of interest in investing in maternity wear amongst mothers that were pregnant. However, all that changed between the periods of 2014 to 2019 as the industry has rebounded steadily.
While several countries have had fluctuating revenue due to their economic policies leading to low birth rates, the United States has remained the major market for maternity wears especially among developed nations as the average number of babies born per year is over 4 million.
The fact that maternity wears have started gaining popularity in recent years is due to celebrity pregnancies. Another significant factor is the growth of the eCommerce industry as well as the awareness that pregnant women can still look presentable and feel comfortable due to what they are wearing.
This has led to a number of modifications being done on the maternity wears available in the market and has also led to several new entrants into the industry. Also, big brands have started improvising on the maternity wears they produce so as not to lose their customers to new players.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demography and psychographic composition of those who wear maternity gowns are usually those who are pregnant. Also, departmental stores, boutiques and malls also demand maternity wears to sell to either women that are expecting or those that are looking to get the wears as a gift for someone who is expecting.
Maternity wear is usually worn by women to free their tummy areas and it doesn’t all come in one style. Therefore, if you are looking to define the demographics for your maternity wear production business, it should be for all kinds of women.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
When starting a business, it is important that a thorough market research be carried out as this will enable the entrepreneur know exactly what he or she is getting into and also what niche ideas can generate more revenue for the business.
Ensure however that you also make a thorough research on the niche areas so that you do not end up wasting time and resources in producing wears that no woman will want to wear. If you are operating the business on a large scale, you might offer more niche services in order to get a large number of your target market. Below are some of the niche ideas that are within this particular business and that you can specialize in;
- Maternity Dresses
- Maternity undergarments
- Maternity Bottoms
- Maternity Knit and Woven Shirts
- Maternity Outerwear
- Other maternity wears
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The level of competition that exists in the maternity wear production business depends on the scale of the business and its intended target market. Most pregnant women aren’t looking at labels when they shop as they just want something comfortable to wear.
One thing with a wear production business is that the business can be started in any location as all the manufacturer needs to do is to contact malls, departmental stores and boutiques all over the country to stock his or her maternity wears. All customers want when they shop for wears is that they would get something comfortable and affordable as well.
There are enough maternity wear production businesses not only scattered around the United States but all over the world as well. Therefore, if you are looking to start your own business, you will be sure to meet with competition not only within the country but outside it as well especially as the internet has made it possible for customers to buy maternity wears from other countries.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
In every industry, there are brands that stand out from others and the maternity wear production business industry is no different as brands jostle amongst themselves to be able to get the attention of their intended target market. Some brands that have stood out are those that produce quality maternity wears, have affordable prices, or have excellent customer care.
Below are some of the well-known maternity wear production businesses in the United States;
- Jojo Maman Bebe
- Liz Range
- Isabella Oliver
- Triumph Apparel Corporation
- Destination Maternity Corporation
- The Gap, Inc.
- Goddess Bra Company
- A Pea in the Pod
The population of pregnant working women is on the increase and this is the key reason why the maternity wear market has been steadily on the increase. Countries like india which has seen a rise in demand for maternity wears has also added to the increasing overall demand in the industry. It is predicted that by the end of 2019, the market value for the maternity wear market will have reached $13 billion.
It is expected that the maternity wear market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 2 percent over the periods of 2015 and 2019. Players in the industry most often have to compete on factors such as quality, basis of comfort, variety, quality, colors as well as design.
Fluctuating birth rates on a global level has really posed a challenge to the growth of the maternity wear market especially as countries such as Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Monaco, Singapore and Japan have had low birth rates during the recent years. Other factors that have had an impact on the industry include economic related ones such as unemployment rate and decrease in disposable income.
The trend regarding maternity wears are changing as women now prefer to wear something that shapes their body as opposed to wearing flowing gowns that hide the bump. This trend has led to high-tech fabrics being the top choice for such women due to the fact that it has a lot of elastic in it that will not make the clothes tight.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
Entrepreneurs starting their business usually have to decide which path they want their business to take as none is a guarantee towards them achieving their goals and intentions. And so while each option may have its pros and cons, it is usually best to weigh them thoroughly in order to determine which would best suit your overall plan.
While there are many franchising opportunities for the maternity retail wear business, the production aspect is a bit different as there are no franchise opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to start their business, which means entrepreneurs either have to start from the scratch or buy an existing business.
Starting a business can be overwhelming for an entrepreneur regardless of the scale of business and this is because starting the business from scratch leaves you in responsibility of all aspects of the business from getting employees and start-up capital, producing quality maternity wears, to attracting and retaining your customers.
One way an entrepreneur can have fewer hitches when starting their business is to have a comprehensive business plan in place as this helps make certain decisions and actions that will be taken and made during the course of starting the business easier.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
In every business, there is bound to be threats and challenges that will crop up either whilst starting the business or while running it and as an entrepreneur, you should be prepared for them. While some threats and challenges can really be easy to handle, others cannot be and so when this occurs, the best that you can do is wait it out and hope for the best.
Some of the threats and challenges that you are likely to face when looking to start your maternity wear production business are from already existing maternity wear producers, being an unknown name and brand, and dealing with economic downturns that will see pregnant women preferring hand-me-downs to buying new maternity gowns.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
One of the major decisions you will make regarding your business is what legal entity to choose as whatever entity you decide on for your business will go on to have a very huge impact on how your establishment cannot only conduct its business but how it can also expand if it wished to in the future. The wrong legal entity can cause your business not to grow the way it should, which is why it is advised to conduct a research about the business you intend starting so as to find out all there is to know about the business.
choosing a legal entity with which to run your business with provides a stamp of legality for your business and shows your commitment to starting a business. There are several legal entities that are available to entrepreneurs looking to start their business in the United States and while it might be tempting to go for a simple legal entity, you should be aware that the more complicated your business, the better it will be for you to go for a legal entity that protects you, and simple entities while they are good for simple businesses will not work for businesses that are not so simple.
This does not therefore mean that you cannot start your maternity wear production business as a sole proprietor but not only will you be limited as to how your business can grow and expand, you will also leave yourself vulnerable to liability issues as a sole proprietor kind of legal entity offers no protection whatsoever to the personal assets of the entrepreneur.
Legal entities like S Corporation, C Corporation and Limited Liability Company (LLC) offers an entrepreneur the right to run the business as a separate entity from their personal lives, which has allowed most entrepreneurs to be able to partake in risks that they would otherwise have not indulged in if it was a sole proprietorship or partnership.
It is always best to engage the services of an attorney to help in deciding which legal entity would be most appropriate for your business. This is because most legal entities vary depending on the state where the business is operating from and only an attorney will know which legal entity is likely to be suitable depending on the laws of state in which you are operating your maternity wear production business in.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
Your maternity wear production business may not begin to achieve legality except you give it a name that not only identifies the business and set it apart from others but also allows you to legally register it. naming your business is not an easy affair because you have to choose a name that is not only pronounceable and memorable but one that hasn’t been chosen before.
Below are some of the catchy business names that will be suitable for your maternity wear production business;
- New Mom Apparel
- Mother’s Care and Wear
- Baby Dust Apparel
- Sweet Motherhood Wears
- Diane D Maternity Wears
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
When starting any business in the United States, one of the things you are required to have are insurance policies regardless of the kind of business or industry that you are in. However, depending on the kind of business you are into, your insurance policies will be different from someone who is just offering a simple service. Having insurance protects you from spending more than you should, should anything go wrong to your clients or employees in the course of running your business. If you aren’t sure of what insurance policies to buy, then you might need to seek the advice of an insurance agent or broker to help you out.
Below are some of the basic insurance policies that you will need to consider purchasing if you are looking to start your maternity wear production business in the United States;
- General Liability Insurance
- Commercial Property Insurance
- Equipment Insurance
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance
- Casualty Insurance
- Product liability insurance
- Umbrella Policies
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
Because this is a manufacturing business, it is important that you apply for intellectual property protection as you will be producing your own designs which mean you are automatically covered by copyright protection under the constitution of the United States as well as Title 17 of the United States Code. If you are serious about your business, then it is essential that you get an attorney to register your designs so that, according to the U.S Copyright Office, you can have a public record of your copyright.
It is important for you not to treat your intellectual property protection with levity so that no one can steal your designs. Get an attorney that will tailor all that is necessary in order to suit your company.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Anyone can start a maternity wear production company as long as they have the funds as no professional certification whatsoever is needed before one can start this business. All an entrepreneur needs to do is employ those who are competent enough to design and produce quality maternity wears.
Also, if the entrepreneur so desires, professional certification can be attained in areas such as management, finance and marketing in order to be able to aid in running the business more efficiently; however none of these professional certifications are regarded as compulsory.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
In starting any business, you are expected to have legal documents in place in order to be able to run your business hitch free. Once you have decided to start a business, you must ensure that you get a name and the required documents. It is best to get an attorney to help you with the legal documents that you might need in exchange for a fee.
Some of the legal documents that you will therefore need to be able to run your maternity wear production business are;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Contract Document
- Business Plan
- Business License and Permit
- Insurance Policy
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Federal Tax Identification Number (TIN)
- Employment Agreement
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
The fact that you have a business idea does not mean that it will remain so forever as it is necessary that you make your idea to become a reality and this is only possible through finance. Finance is one of the major components that is needed to start a business and without the right amount, the business is likely not going to start off or fail along the way.
If you will be seeking for funds from external sources, it is best to have your business plan at hand because this is the only way you can show seriousness and commitment that will convince the investors to part with their money. Below are some of the financing options that you should consider;
- Generate part of your start-up capital from personal savings and revenue from sale of stock and property
- Sourcing for soft loan from wealthy family members and friends
- Apply for loan from commercial bank
- Get start-up capital from an interested investor or business partner
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
The location that you intend to use in starting your business is not really important in today’s world especially when it comes to maternity wear production because not only can you create a website to showcase your maternity wears, you can also strike a deal with several stores across the nation in order to get your wears to those who want to buy it.
However, the fact that you can locate your maternity wear production company from anywhere doesn’t mean that you should not take certain factors into cognizance. One thing that you should consider when deciding on where to run your business from is what scale of business you intend to run. If you are looking to run a small unique maternity business and you have enough space in your home, then you can run the business from inside your house.
If however you are looking to run a business that is of a sizeable nature, then you would need to look for a facility with which to run the business from. Ensure that the location where the facility is at, is easily accessible so that you do not spend too much trying to get your maternity wears to retailers.
One thing you should do when looking for a facility is to create a budget, this allows you not to cause a strain on your overall budget especially if you are going to be engaging the services of a real estate agent. Ensure that the facility you have chosen for your business is one that is conducive for those that you might be looking to employ.
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
There will always be pregnant women as long as there are sexually active females, therefore if you are thinking of starting a business that will ensure steady profit, then this business is as good as any. However, one major thing that pregnant women are after these days is the fabric they wear, the style and then the quality, so you must know all these before going into the business.
What you also need to have knowledge of is the type of maternity wears in existence and which niche will be more profitable for you. Your startup capital will be dependent on the scale you are looking to start on. However, despite your scale, if you are looking to become a national brand then you should expect to spend more money in making sure this happens.
Having the necessary equipment with which to start the business is very necessary as it enables you to work more efficiently to attain your goals and objectives. In getting the basic equipment that you will need to start your business, you will require sewing machines, shears, edging machines, different fabrics, patterns and threads.
Building a solid business structure for your business is very important as this will mean that you will focus on hiring only experienced and competent people to work for you and help you attain your intended goals and objectives. Some of those that you should therefore look to hire are production manager, designer, dressmaker, logistics manager, marketing executive, customer care executive, accountant, security guard, cleaner and driver.
Therefore from the above analysis, you will need at least 10 key individuals to help you attain your goals and objectives.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
The process involved in the production of a maternity wear has to do with the entrepreneur first knowing the kind of maternity wears he intends to produce as this will help determine how big a facility to get and what type of suppliers to approach.
Contacting the suppliers is very important so that you can determine their rates and choose which ones you will like to work with. Ensure that your suppliers are very reliable and consistent. Pen down the designs you have in mind or engage the services of a designer to help you create the designs you have in mind. Ensure that your designs are protected under copyright laws and then start producing the gowns you want.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
Marketing is one major way by which businesses pull in revenue for themselves and it is therefore a very important part of any company which is why a lot of companies take their time to plan what their marketing strategies should be. Marketing is one way an entrepreneur can to a certain extent predict correctly the wants of its intended target market and then strive to fulfill these wants by producing a product that will meet with the requirements of the target market.
However, before you can begin to write out what your overall marketing goals are and what strategies you can use to attain them, it is important that you first conduct a thorough market research about the business so that you have an idea of what you are getting into.
One thing that the market research will also help you to do is to point out who you will be offering your products to and what they are expecting from brands these days. It will also let you know who you will most likely be competing against and how you can best them in the industry.
Starting a maternity wear production business might be a lucrative business; however the dynamics regarding the business means that it can easily fail if all actors are not taken into cognizance. If you intend to produce maternity wears for pregnant women in your locality alone, you most definitely will not feel the pressure that someone looking to become a national brand will feel.
However, regardless of the scale with which you intend to run your business, it is necessary that you have strategies in place that will allow you reach out to your customers. You might engage the services of a marketing consultant to help in crafting marketing strategies for you.
Below are some of the marketing ideas that you would need to run your maternity wear production business;
- Empower your marketing executives to help in bringing the needed awareness for your maternity wears
- Place adverts in local and national newspapers as well as on radio and television stations about your maternity wear production business
- Ensure that your business is listed in yellow pages as well as online directories
- Use your social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin to promote your business
- Introduce your maternity wear production business formally to huge departmental stores, malls and boutiques
- Install billboards in various strategic locations all around the area where you intend to locate your business
17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
No one can deny the impact that boosting one’s brand awareness and also creating a corporate identity has on the growth and sustainability of a business. Every business in one way or another engages in activities that will push the business to the awareness of its intended target market. One thing that publicity therefore does for a business is it allows the business to penetrate its intended target market, to get a fair share of the market for itself.
Already successful and established businesses who know how important boosting one’s brand is do not mind setting aside a certain amount of money each year to ensure that it is able to publicize its business. Publicity can therefore be viewed as a double edge sword because not only does it bring awareness for a business, if properly cultivated, the awareness can generate a large amount or money for the business.
However, it is important to conduct a thorough research so as to determine who your target market is, what niche you should look into getting into, who your competitors are and what strategy will not only get your target market to be aware of you but also allow you to compete fairly against your competitors.
Prior to the internet, many maternity wear manufacturers had to depend on department stores, malls and boutiques to be able to get customers to be aware of their brands; however, the internet has changed all that as customers cannot only check out as many brands as they like but manufacturers have been forced not to compromise on quality and other factors due to the intense competition in the market place.
Below are some of the strategies that you can use in boosting the awareness for your brand as well as creating a corporate identity for your maternity wear production business;
- Ensure that you get a professional to create a website where you can showcase the types of maternity wears you produce and where they can be gotten
- Place adverts in several popular forums and blogs related to motherhood or women about your maternity wear production business
- Install attractive billboards around the area where you are operating your business in order to create awareness about your business
- Make use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to create awareness about your maternity wear production business
- Send articles to newspapers locally and nationally about trends in the industry and use that to promote your brand
- Create a distinctive and recognizable logo that your target market and the general public can link to your business whenever they see it