A costume design business is a viable business idea, but you have to know how to start and grow your business. Whether you live in a rural area with little or no events or in a bustling city with large theatre groups, there are ways to make a living from your trade. Use the following tips to help you get started:
Tip #1: Gain Experience
You'll improve your skills, make contacts and be more competitive when you gain more experience. If you're having trouble landing your first customer, then use the time to volunteer on projects. Find other ways to make money while you're working on getting the experience that you need to be successful. You can sell books online, write articles for the web, conduct research, work as a virtual assistant or work as a freelancer in other areas from home.
Tip #2: Look Like a Professional
When you're out and about, you'll never know who you're going to run into. It could be your next customer, or someone who can refer a customer to you. In some peoples' minds, a costume designer is synonymous with a fashion designer, and they expect you to look a certain way. Right or wrong, when you don't meet that expectation, you may not be considered credible. You don't have to look like you walked off a fashion runway, but you should have a unique appearance so that you stand out as a designer. Your personal appearance is a part of your marketing tactic. Try your best to look like a professional designer when you meet prospects, but also when you're out in public.
Tip #3: Invest in Reliable Equipment
Once you make a decision to turn your passion for costume design into profit, you have to make sure that you have good equipment to work with. Working with a sewing machine that you got for free or bought cheap from a yard sale is not ideal. You don't have to buy the latest model, but you should buy something that will last as you work on projects. Buying equipment for your business is a capital expense, and you can deduct portions of the costs over time.
Tip #4: Build Your Library
The Internet is great for conducting research, but you'll also need your own book collection. If you want to design for certain historic periods, or base your work on clothing from particular countries, then you should get the books that you need to do your work. Your local library or bookstore may not have the resources handy. If you work on getting what you need, then you won't waste time when you land work.
Tip #5: Present the Best Portfolio
You can make or miss a sale based on your portfolio. With so much riding on it, you should do everything possible to make it the best that it can be. Get other professionals to review it to give you honest feedback. Pay a professional to take photographs if you need to.
Apply these tips to get started in the costume design business. Find a mentor to help you develop your craft and navigate the pitfalls of working in this field.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business.