How to start a sewing business in South Africa

How to start a sewing business in South Africa

This is a guide on how to start a sewing business in South Africa.

South Africa has 11 official languages, this means we are a very diversified nation with many different cultures. A lot of people like to wear traditional clothing from time to time. This creates a very broad market for a sewing business.

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Here is what you need to do to start a sewing business in South Africa.

1. Get training

Sewing clothes is not easy and you will be met with very complicated design requests from clients from time to time. The training is not supposed to teach you how to be creative but rather the technical aspects of how of sewing.

This training doesn’t have to take long, you can spend about 3 months learning how to sew and you will be fine.

2. Buy machinery

You should know which machinery to buy if you have been to training. However, here is some of the recommended gear to have:

3. Register your business

Registering your business only costs R175, you can register your business through the CIPC. You will automatically get a business card when you register through FNB.

4. Operating premises

You will need operating premises, fortunately, this is a business you can operate from home. You don’t need that much space to get started, a cleared bedroom or garage should be fine. I recommend working from home before going out to lease operating premises.

5. Marketing

Marketing is the most important department of any business. It’s often difficult to make a business successful without proper marketing. Proper marketing requires you to have money, this where the bottle neck is for most people.

The other important thing to know is just how much money you need for marketing in order to get your business to be successful. For a sewing business, most clients usually come through word of mouth, you will likely get friends and family for starters.

But in order to fast track this process and get a lot of clients, you will need a lot of money, you will need to invest at least R20 000 in the marketing department. The break down of the use of the money is as follows.

  • Website – You will need to build an eCommerce website that will allow people to buy your designs. You can start sewing them after your client places an order. This will set you back around R6 500 on the low end and around R30 000 on the high end. You can get an eCommerce website for only R6 500 from Promta Web Services.
  • Photo shoot – You will spend around R3 000 on a photo shoot, the purpose of the photo shoot is to create high quality images of your work. These images can be very attractive and appealing.
  • Ads – you will spend roughly R10 000 on the actual advertising. R10 000 should be enough to get you a few clients.

6. Dealing with clients

Clients can be very difficult sometimes. Sometimes a client doesn’t know what they want, he/she only wants a beautiful end product that he/she will like. You will have to be creative and design something that they will like. Other clients might return the product multiple times citing things they are not satisfied with. Limit the number of times a client can bring back t-shirt or dress for fixing.


This was a guide on how to start a sewing business in South Africa. Do you have any thoughts or questions? Comment below.

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