Dressmaking Classes & Workshops, How to Teach by Collette Costello – How to Start a Fashion Company Series

16379663172_60c644a3a7_z.jpgTeaching dressmaking classes and workshops is a great way for fashion designers to make money to support their fashion clothing business.  I did exactly this teaching dressmaking courses at my studio in Salford Quays, Sugar Junction, Airy Fairy Cupcakes, The Lowry Outlet and at the Creative Recycling Gallery.  My classes were always fully booked, making around £700 per two day course, charging £99 per customer including materials and equipment.

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To teach dressmaking classes you need to be organised, this means you deliver good sessions and customers go away happy.  Here is my guide to teaching dressmaking classes and workshops.

  • Set-up Costs – To teach seven people, the machines and equipment costed just over £500, costs were £490 for sewing machines, £35 for scissors, tape measures, chalk.
  • Prices – I started out charging £110 per course, I found however £99 worked better for getting session fully booked.
  • Profit – Per person I aimed for costs of no more then £50 including my own wage, so I still made £49 profit.
  • Numbers – I could teach in one session 7 people maximum, so my profit per course was about £350, not bad for two days work.
  • Beginners Courses –  Dressmaking courses for complete beginners sold best, such as an introduction to using a sewing machine and learning to make a simple “A” line dress.  More advanced courses such as jacket making were classes I offered to returning customers.
  • Venue – Find a well priced venue such as a room at a local library, vintage cafes give me free room in exchange for buying tea and cake for my workshop members.
  • Advertisement – Show on your advert the price clearly and a photograph of exactly what workshop members will make on the course.
  • Marketing – Put course posters in your host venue, I advertised my courses on Google Ads, Gum Tree, places like The Sewing Directory and local events sites such as Skiddle gave me a mention.
  • Booking – Customers booked in advance through my web-site, you could use a events ticketing web-site like Event Brite.  Always get customers to pay at least a deposit in advance so you can buy materials, the few occasions I allowed booking without, I had no shows.
  • Materials – Include fabric in your price, people new to dressmaking will struggle with buying the correct fabric.  I found customers liked to make the dress shown in the advertisment.
  • Equipment – I supplied simple sewing machines from Argos and all equipment at the workshops.  It means investing in machines etc, however I knew the sewing machines would work well and customers could just turn-up at the session ready to start.
  • Patterns – Customers wanted to make a dress they could wear, so I also supplied a simple shop bought pattern so they could measure their own body and cut it to their size.
  • Timing – To cut and make a simple dress, the dressmaking courses lasted two days, 12 hours in total.

Remember every customer wants to go home with a finished dress, good customer services is key to getting more dressmaking course bookings.  To learn more about “How to Start a Fashion Company”, check out the rest of my blog section.

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