X Marks the Scot - An on-line community of kilt wearers.

   X Marks Partners - (Go to the Partners Dedicated Forums )
USA Kilts website Freedom Kilts website Scotweb websiten Burnetts and Struth website Celtic Croft website
Xmarks advertising information Celtic Corner website Xmarks advertising information Houston Kiltmakers Xmarks advertising information

User Tag List

Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 44
  1. #1
    Join Date
    30th November 04
    Location
    Deansboro, NY
    Posts
    3,312
    Mentioned
    5 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Starting a kiltmaking business

    Hi all

    An X-Marker just PMd me to ask advice about starting a kiltmaking business. I sent him a reply, but I thought that I would post my reply here both for the benefit of others and so that others could chime in where they disagree or where I have left something out.

    The first thing I would suggest is to have someone who is a really good kiltmaker take a look at one of the kilts you've made and let you know if you have things you ought to improve on before "stepping out" as a kiltmaker. I'm more than happy to give anyone a critique (although I won't do it from photos - I'd have to see the kilt "in the flesh"), and I'm sure that Matt or Wally would be willing as well, although I may be presuming! If you're going to make something other than a hand-stitched trad kilt, pick someone really good at making the kinds of kilts you make.

    The second thing I'd say is that, if you decide to make kilts professionally, you should do it professionally. Even though you might not be trying to make a living at kiltmaking, many others are. If you underprice your work relative to what professional kiltmakers charge, you not only undervalue your own work but you steal business unfairly from others. It might be OK with you to choose to make kilts for $2 an hour, but it's not OK from the perspective of community perception of what is fair labor for a kiltmaker. One way to offer a less expensive product is to offer customers a choice in tartan. Charge a flat, reasonable, professional fee for labor, and let a customer choose less expensive tartan (e.g., from Marton Mills) if they want to economize.

    Third, do you smoke, or is there a smoker in your house? If so, you shouldn't make custom-made kilts.

    And now some answers to two specific questions asked by the XMarker:

    What would you consider to be the best first steps in setting up kilt making services? You need to register as a business and get the necessary permits. Each state has a web site with the requirements for starting a business (New York's is at http://www.nys-permits.org/). You must do this for sales tax and income tax purposes. Depending on zoning requirements, you may need to file a zoning exemption petition to have an "at-home" business. It typically isn't difficult to get approval if it doesn't involve a storefront or commercial traffic, but you still have to do it in many places to be legal. Keep accurate records and consult with an accountant if you don't know what can be considered legitimate business expenses, etc. If you decide to do any work by the old-fashioned barter system, be sure that you understand your legal/tax obligations. Barter "sales" are, in fact, taxable and must be reported as income *at fair market value* to the IRS.

    What do the mills need in order to sell you cloth at wholesale price? Most will set up an account if it appears that you are a legitimate business. Letterhead helps, as does a clear business address. Some places (e.g., House of Edgar) have a formal application that requires a couple of business references. Lochcarron and Dalgliesh didn't used to, and I presume that they still don't. It's easier if you want to provide a credit card for them to have on file and charge tartan orders to, rather than asking them to ship tartan on credit to you. Unless you order a ton of tartan every year, don't expect them to send you samples/swatches for free.

    Where and how did you first reach your local customers? Local Highland dancers. They always need kilts, and the local dance teacher is a great place to start. You can also advertise with local pipe bands. Personally, I loathe making band kilts (boring - too many of the same tartan), but it can be steady work if a band is active and has a lot of turnover. Individual pipers in bands also commonly own a second kilt for solo piping, so that's another possibility that comes with advertising with a local pipe band.

    OK - those are my two cents. What do others have to add or disagree with?
    Last edited by Barb T; 17th December 10 at 10:45 AM.
    Kiltmaker, piper, and geologist (one of the few, the proud, with brains for rocks....
    Member, Scottish Tartans Authority
    Geology stuff (mostly) at http://people.hamilton.edu/btewksbu
    The Art of Kiltmaking at http://theartofkiltmaking.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    17th January 09
    Location
    The Highlands of Norfolk, England
    Posts
    7,015
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I agree with all you have said and would add only this.

    Any person going into business should have (must have ?) more than one string to their bow. If they can only do one thing, what are they going to do in the weeks and maybe months between kilts? It does not matter how good they are at doing what they do, if no one wants the product at that time. We are, after all, in the midst of a world-wide recession.

    The budding kilt-maker should look at the many and various kilt accessories, which could be sold as 'loss leaders' to draw a customer in.

    I have personally known too many businesses that have folded because in the end they were a 'one trick pony'.

    Regards

    Chas

  3. #3
    Join Date
    5th November 08
    Location
    Lynnwood, WA
    Posts
    470
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have been studying this myself for awhile. Getting it down now. There are several ways which to process, but the key is to figure out your niche. Also to figure out your own strengths and how to use them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    31st December 05
    Posts
    1,708
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    And have enough resources to support yourself until the business gets rolling. Enough money in the bank to eat and support your family, for at least one year.
    One should also have a well thought out business plan before starting any commercial endeavor.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    5th August 10
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    624
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank McGrath View Post
    And have enough resources to support yourself until the business gets rolling. Enough money in the bank to eat and support your family, for at least one year.
    One should also have a well thought out business plan before starting any commercial endeavor.
    This applies to any business, though, you really should make it 2-3 years. Most new business operate at a loss for the first year or two, as they ramp up. It may be best to start as a side job. That's how my IT consulting runs....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    7th February 08
    Location
    Abbotsford, BC, Canada
    Posts
    750
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Barb T said: "Third, do you smoke, or is there a smoker in your house? If so, you shouldn't make custom-made kilts."

    I think the Wizard smokes (a pipe?) - but I presume the point is not to smoke where the smell will get into/on the fabrics?
    waulk softly and carry a big schtick

  7. #7
    Join Date
    3rd March 10
    Location
    43*N 88*W
    Posts
    3,844
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by jhockin View Post
    Barb T said: "Third, do you smoke, or is there a smoker in your house? If so, you shouldn't make custom-made kilts."

    I think the Wizard smokes (a pipe?) - but I presume the point is not to smoke where the smell will get into/on the fabrics?
    Aye, but the Wizard has a workshop. If you're making kilts (or anything, really) out of your home, you shouldn't be smoking anywhere NEAR fabric/leather - basically anywhere in the home.

    I'd also go so far as to say that people should seriously consider the place of pets in home/work spaces.

    IF you've got a dedicated room you can keep pet smells and hair out of, you're probably okay, but nobody wants a brand new kilt/sporran/hose with pet hair on it!
    artificer Pronunciation: \är-ˈti-fə-sər, ˈär-tə-fə-sər\ : noun : 14th century :a skilled or artistic worker or craftsman
    Artificer Custom Sporrans
    *Home of the Original Kenneth MacLeay Sporran Project & Functional Brass Cantles*

  8. #8
    Join Date
    30th November 04
    Location
    Deansboro, NY
    Posts
    3,312
    Mentioned
    5 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by jhockin View Post
    Barb T said: "Third, do you smoke, or is there a smoker in your house? If so, you shouldn't make custom-made kilts."

    I think the Wizard smokes (a pipe?) - but I presume the point is not to smoke where the smell will get into/on the fabrics?
    Steve has a shop, where all of the kilts are made.

    My comment presumed that, if someone were starting a custom kiltmaking business, it would be in the home. I worked with someone a couple of years ago, and she was a smoker and making kilts in her home for a band. The stench of the kilts was unbelievable, and she didn't even know it.
    Kiltmaker, piper, and geologist (one of the few, the proud, with brains for rocks....
    Member, Scottish Tartans Authority
    Geology stuff (mostly) at http://people.hamilton.edu/btewksbu
    The Art of Kiltmaking at http://theartofkiltmaking.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    5th November 08
    Location
    Lynnwood, WA
    Posts
    470
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by artificer View Post
    Aye, but the Wizard has a workshop. If you're making kilts (or anything, really) out of your home, you shouldn't be smoking anywhere NEAR fabric/leather - basically anywhere in the home.

    I'd also go so far as to say that people should seriously consider the place of pets in home/work spaces.

    IF you've got a dedicated room you can keep pet smells and hair out of, you're probably okay, but nobody wants a brand new kilt/sporran/hose with pet hair on it!
    I was going to mention this. Making a kilt in my cat-home, turned out the cat hair got on everything. Have since made a cat-free room to work in.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    3rd January 06
    Location
    Dorset, on the South coast of England
    Posts
    4,197
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I knew someone who was allergic to cats, and he was unable to go into some shops in the town due to the cat hairs being brought in on high end goods made locally where a cat was allowed to roam through the workshops at the craft center where they were made.

    It would only take a single hair to set off a most unpleasant reaction, so there is a real need to ensure that fabric is stored and garments made in as clean an environment as possible.

    I have a couple of rooms for my work stuff and no food nor drink goes in there, as I have had so much ruined by chance encounters with things which stain.

    Anne the Pleater :ootd:

Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Starting on my first X-kilt
    By Protoncollider in forum DIY Showroom
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 3rd January 10, 12:01 PM
  2. Starting them young
    By Brandane in forum Kilt Advice
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 22nd May 09, 01:21 PM
  3. Just starting first Sgain
    By cwr89 in forum DIY Showroom
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 29th April 07, 02:36 PM
  4. Starting on my first kilt
    By Schultz in forum Kilt Advice
    Replies: 43
    Last Post: 10th April 06, 08:10 AM
  5. It is starting
    By Raphael in forum Kilt Nights
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 3rd August 05, 12:12 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

» Log in

User Name:

Password:

Not a member yet?
Register Now!
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v4.2.0