How lucrative is the school uniform business in Nigeria? Is it a business that can really make enough money if it is solely focused on? After reading this article, you will be able to know this for sure and be pushed to start a school uniform business especially if you are passionate about the clothing and textile industry in Nigeria.
Asides from the public schools in Nigeria, there are thousands of private schools and as of now many of these private schools are importing their school uniforms from majorly China. And if these schools are not importing their school uniforms many of them have outsourced the making to foreign sewing companies based in Nigeria.
What these non-Nigerian companies do is import the clothing materials into Nigeria and now do the sewing and finishing in Nigeria. I am not saying this is a bad thing after all Nigeria cannot produce clothing and textile materials for now.
But I really feel if we are talking about developing our country Nigeria it’s time this job and business is solely given to Nigerian tailors – Nigerian youths that are really passionate about changing the face of school uniforms in Nigeria. Because really if we think about it there’s no difference between a foreign sewed school uniform and a Made in Nigeria school uniform if both tailors.
I am a witness to this because I have checked both out at a particular time when my boss the head teacher of my school showed the uniforms of our school one made by a foreign company and another made by a Nigerian tailor.
According to her, the school management had to drop the foreign uniform-making company because their price was becoming too expensive. However, they were still able to get a local uniform maker that could still get the same uniforms made at that same quality yet at a cheaper price.
For those of us that don’t know probably, it’s your first time on the blog I’ve been teaching for a while now and it is with this experience I’ll be writing on this business topic. I’ll be talking basically as an insider – telling you what many schools will not tell you as regards uniform business in Nigeria.
Due to the overtime, I spend in school there have been a few times I have been in the office with the headteacher and the uniforms maker especially when she comes to deliver uniforms. I will be sharing some of the mistakes I saw her make from the complaints of my boss so that you will not know how to start this business and not make the same mistakes she made when you finally get your first contract from a school. But before we go into that let’s look at how profitable the school uniform business is in Nigeria.
Is it a lucrative business on a scale of 1 – 10? Can you truly create wealth from the business without adding any other kind of sewing business to it or a side hustle? Well, I will start with this. First off, school business generally is a lucrative business in Nigeria. Let me rephrase that! Private school business in Nigeria is a lucrative business but many school owners might not tell you this.
What’s the use if this makes every single person go into the business? But this doesn’t hide the fact the business is a profitable business year in, year out yielding massive turnover based on these good factors.
1. Due to the fact, there is currently overpopulation and the Nigerian government cannot provide good schools with quality education many rich parents have decided to take their children to private schools instead.
2. And even if the government tries to bring these schools to standards many rich elites in Nigeria will still prefer private schools for their children as a show of wealth.
3. The private school does not bear any loss as regards teaching children because parents pay for everything in school even down to the pencils their children use.
4. The private schools even use money gotten from these parents (tuition fees) to also pay teaching and non-teaching staff.
Is School Uniform Business Profitable?
First off, it is a lucrative business because we have thousands of private schools in Nigeria and all these private schools (both primary and secondary) wear school uniforms and asides from this they charge big for them. A pair of uniforms from any private school in Nigeria can go from 5k – 25k depending on the area you are in and the kinds of private schools there.
You might see this as small but imagine each of these schools in your area has at least 300 pupils and you’re able to win the contracts of all these schools after writing a proposal to them. Of cus, the school will want to take its own share (maybe 10% – 20% per pupil) but you will make your massive profit as long as you produce on a large scale. The major aim in this business is producing on a large scale not sewing for 2 to 3 pupils.
So if possible win the entire contracts of all the private schools in your area. How can you do this and build wealth? I’ll be sharing with you step-by-step as well as moving on in the article.
How to Start School Uniform Business in Nigeria
Here are steps to start a school uniform business in Nigeria.
1. Learn How to Sew
When it comes to sewing school uniforms for schools in Nigeria there are many things you need to learn because so many schools wear different cooperate wears. While some schools prefer to wear suits and trousers with a shirt or pinafore some other schools may just wear shirts and short knickers with a tie.
So in order to make sure you don’t lose any uniform contracts from these schools based on styles you need to learn how to sew all the major cooperate wears for schools in Nigeria. And to do this and do it successfully you need to learn from the pros – professionals in the business. You might not get these people in your area so you will need to move to where they reside or where their business is located and learn.
Your money will also come into play here especially if you want them to teach you everything they know. Depending on the individual, company, or fashion house and where they are located they might charge you for a registration of N20,000 – N50,000. But you can get them to help reduce this if you’re good at bargaining price.
One on one kind of learning cannot be ignored in uniform business in Nigeria except of cus you are not interested in the sewing part just the winning of the contract.
How Long It Takes to Learn School Uniform Sewing in Nigeria?
Normally, it takes a duration of 6 months to 1 year but then again it all depends on how fast you are or slow in learning. If you’re able to grab everything from making the right measurement, cutting materials, sewing suits, shirts, knickers, pinafores, and also the ability to attend to customers’ complaints your boss might release earlier but if you’re not it might take much longer.
But note, do not be pressured to hasten your learning no matter what. It is always advisable to follow your own pace. It doesn’t matter if you take time and learn for 2 years. It’s all for your own good. My aunt who is a tailor always registers this to the hearts of her apprentice and anyone willing to learn every time.
2. Buy Sewing Equipment and Materials
After learning from your boss and it’s time to start on your own you should make a budget of the tailoring tools and materials you can afford immediately and proceed to the market to buy them. The cost of these equipment depends on quality. The higher the quality, the more expensive they are but you also have to be on the lookout for sellers that will want to sell substandard equipment all in the name of quality.
3. Equipment for the Business
Below are the equipment needed to start a school uniform sewing business in Nigeria. These are:
1. Sewing machine
3. Tape rule
4. Marking chalk
6. Packaging nylons
7. Pressing Iron
8. Pressing Table
10. Measuring book
4. Get your First Sewing Contract
Now is the time for you to win your first contract and to do this successfully you need to first believe in yourself and secondly start small. It’s not necessary when you’re just starting off to chase the big schools. I am not saying it is impossible to win contracts from these schools I am just saying here that the chances are slim.
It is always better to start small first then after building a good reputation you can now send proposal letters to the big schools using the small private schools you have worked with as a reference.
5. Write School Uniform Proposal Letter
Just in case you have not written a proposal letter before there are many templates on the internet on how to go about this but here is some important info you must not leave out when writing.
- Your business address
- Experience (how long you have been sewing uniforms and schools you’ve done business with)
- And finally – amazing offers you are willing to give if they do business with you. This could be in the form of discounts and trustworthiness in terms of the use of quality clothing materials.
I must state here that it is very important you fulfill all that is written in your proposal letter when they later awarded the contract because this is all part of your branding. Remember branding is not the name of your business or company. It is the opinion your customers have about you.
One of the biggest mistakes the uniform maker of our school made is to use substandard materials in sewing our school uniforms and still charge the school management for the regular price per uniform. Apparently, she thought school management would not know but the school withdrew their contract with her upon discovering her dishonesty.
6. Increasing Patronage for Uniform Business
How to Increase Patronage in Your Uniform Business in Nigeria
A. Build Customer Trust
Trust is one of the major factors in how successful your uniform business will be in Nigeria this is why you should not joke with it. Schools will not hold you by the little mistakes you make while sewing as this can be adjusted from time to time. However; they will hold you by your unfulfilled promises. And if you’re not careful these promises will be your downfall.
A tailor promising she would deliver school uniforms at a certain date and later bringing them 2 – 3 weeks later after so much pressure from parents was one of the complaints of my headteacher. As a uniform maker in Nigeria do not promise to deliver school uniforms at a certain date when you know full well you’ll not be able to meet up. All these paint your brand in a negative manner.
B. Make sure your Uniforms are Perfect
In as much as no one is perfect or near perfection, try as much as possible to sew the uniforms you are given well. Don’t leave any stone unturned.
C. Packaging your Uniform
After sewing the way you deliver your school uniforms to the schools also matters. Do you just rumble everything into one big bag or do you iron them properly and fold all shirts into delivery nylon also all knickers, ties, and pinafores? If you do your packaging well schools will refer you to other schools around them.
Yes, these schools connect with themselves despite the existing competition between them. They will spread the good news of your business on your behalf due to the quality services you give.
D. Be Consistent in the Business
Every business has its ups and down even nature itself. As we have rainy days, so we have dry days and so we have harmattan. No matter what not give up because all the dreams you dreamt to happen when you start the business are not coming to pass rather brainstorm on what you can do better and believe there will be better days.
Finally, submit proposal letters to all the schools in your area and pay them a visit telling them about your amazing offers and why they should award the uniform making of their school to you. Do this within your locality and also any other city you know your chance of patronage will increase.
Decide, map out your plans, and follow them through. Ask for wisdom and everything will go well. Send me an email if anything in this article looks confusing and you do not want to share in the comments.