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How To Start a Hat Making/Millinery Business – 14 Tips To Succeed

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Last Updated on by Buayifa Ojeogwu

Hey! If you are looking to start a hat-making business, and you are not sure how to go about it?

Keep reading because, in this post, I will share tips to succeed in a hat-making business and make money from your craft.

Hat-making or millinery is a lucrative business you can start from home and make money within a short time.

 All you have to do is be ready to get out of your comfortable place and be a crazy artist, and the clients will come paying.

Let’s begin.

How To Start a Hat Making/Millinery Business - 14 Tips To Succeed

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14 Tips to Help You Succeed in Hat-Making Business

These tips with hard work can help you make money from your hat-making business.

1. Enroll in a school for Hat-making

The first thing you need to do is to enroll in a school for hat-making.

If you can’t attend a craft school around your area, you can register for online millinery courses.

It is a matter of preference.

Hat Academy offers Hat-Making Courses online. Check them out!

2. Buy millinery supplies to start your hat-making classes

Millinery supplies are materials for hat making.

Once you are registered in a hat-making school, your instructor would give you a list of millinery supplies to buy.

These are the materials you would use to practice designing hats both in class and on your own.

So look around your area, your craft school, or even online for Millinery supplies stores and buy what you need.

3. Start designing outside the “hatbox”

Your teacher will teach you the basics of hat-making, but the rest will come naturally.

  • Do your homework (the one given to you by your teacher),
  • Design new hats on your own and try working with different materials and fabrics,
  • Use several shaped hat blocks to get out of your comfort zone,
  • Draw the designs you envision, so you don’t forget.
  • Design that hat you think no one will wear because someone would love it.

These are tips that will help you succeed in the hat-making business and set you apart from others!

Let it be unique.

4. Take pictures of your hats

From the moment you start making hats, take pictures of everything you design.

With these pictures, you’d see how you started and how you have improved over time.

Also, you need pictures to build a portfolio, show off your art, sell your hats, and make money.

Take pictures of your hats on mannequins, yourself, and even your friends.

Seeing how a hat looks on a real person also helps you make improvements in your design skills.

5. Price your hats well

As a new milliner, you may be wondering who will buy your hats.

Believe me, people will pay good money for custom-made hats.

Also, don’t underprice your hats because you are worried about no making sales.

If you are doing that, you need to stop now!

Read about Pricing Handmade: why you need to raise your prices to make an informed decision.

6. Wear your hats to events

When you are invited to special occasions or parties, wear your own hats.

It is a way of showing your creativity and attracting clients to your hat-making business.

Let people see that gorgeous hat and ask where you got it. Things like this can help you trust yourself in your craft.

How To Start a Hat Making/Millinery Business - 14 Tips To Succeed
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7. Share pictures of your designs and share them on social media

If you want people to see the beautiful custom-made hats you create, then share them on social media.

Also, encourage your clients to share and tag you in pictures of them wearing custom-made hats designed by you.

When you release a new collection, share pictures of them – on a mannequin, your friends, or even your little girl – on Instagram.

Social media is one of the best places to get clients for your hat-making business.

I got most of my clients from Instagram and word of mouth.

8. Open a bank account for your Hat-making Business

As you start getting clients and making money from your hat-making business, you would need to open a separate bank account for it.

A business account would make you look professional, help you keep track of money coming in and going out, plus your sales, profit, and spending.

Tip: If you haven’t seen the deposit from a client, don’t start working on their hat.

Make sure your client makes a full payment before you start designing their custom-made hats.

The payment would commit them and there won’t be any losses on your part.

I am saying this because some clients would change their minds after you have started working on the hat. They would try to choose a more expensive design, or say they are not interested in the hat anymore.

Meanwhile, you have used your materials to start work.

So make sure you have at least part of the money before you start making the hat, even if you have the required materials on-ground.

Tip 9. Open an online store to sell your hats

Etsy is a great place for selling handmade and custom-made goods.

It is also great for selling your hats off the rack.

You may want to explore it or open a website to sell your hats on your own.

Here are some reasons why you need to open an online store

  • Some of your clients don’t use social media, they search for hat stores on Google and shop from online stores.
  • Some don’t have the patience to check pictures of your hats on Instagram or Facebook.
  • Meanwhile, some would follow your pictures from Pinterest to your online shop.
  • Lastly, an online store opens your millinery business to a broader market and attract more clients.

10. Make branded hatboxes and bags for your business

Branding your boxes and bags give your business a professional look and reminds your customers where they got the hat.

Moreover, hats are quite fragile, so you need boxes to protect them during shipping so that they arrive in perfect form.

Your clients would feel special when their custom-made hats arrive untouched in a beautifully branded hatbox.

And do you know what happens when your customer is happy? They tell their friends about you, get you more business, and you would make money.

You can find affordable custom-made hat boxes on Etsy.

Tip 11. Collaborate with photographers and makeup artists for professional pictures

Now, it is not cheap to get professional photos, especially if you have just started a hat-making business.

So what you can do is reach out to professional photographers, makeup artists on social media, introduce yourself, and then inform them you would love to collaborate for a photoshoot.

Make sure you are following them, liking and commenting on their posts, and all that.

So they know you and must have seen your designs before.

Some would refuse your request, but eventually, you will get a positive response from at least one.

And that’s a win-win for everybody.

You would have professional pictures to build your portfolio while they would have a variety of pictures on their own.

So level up your game!!!

12. Network with other Hat-makers on social media

Networking with other milliners and other business owners has its benefits.

Little gestures like dropping nice comments or liking their pictures; can go a long way.

Some people need a little boost.

Plus, you would be in the know about fashion shows, photoshoots, fashion exhibitions, trade fairs, and even referrals.

Even if you don’t get any of the things stated above, you might make a new friend in the hat-making business.

13. Attend trade fairs and exhibitions to sell your handmade hats

Trade shows and exhibitions are places to sell your hats, meet, and network with other businesses.

If you have some money to spare, rent a booth at a trade expo.

Sell off the hats you have not been able to sell online, get some fresh air, and also check out what other milliners are creating.

You would also make some money from the hats sitting on your shelf collecting dust.

I attended a wedding expo some years back; I made a good amount of sales, ate free ice-creams and cakes, and had fun.

You may also love 12 Lucrative Crafts That Make Money From Home.

14. Partner with high-end stores to sell your hats

So my last but not least is to partner with high-end fashion stores to sell your hats.

These stores can even increase the price of your hats to match their clientele’s standard.

Get in touch with them and let them know you would love to sell your hats in their stores.

If they are interested, they would have a meeting with you and agree on how much to sell the hats and the percentage they take.

Make sure to write down the cost of each hat you are selling in the store so there won’t be any confusion.

And you know how much to expect after selling.

You may also enjoy 50 Easy Unfinished Handmade Items To Make And Sell.

How To Start a Hat Making/Millinery Business - 14 Tips To Succeed

Final Words

So this is how to start a hat-making business and tips to succeed.

  • Register in a hat-making school
  • buy hat-making supplies
  • design outside your comfort zone or the “hatbox”
  • Collaborate with photographers, and makeup artists to get professional pictures to build your portfolio
  • Open a bank account for your millinery business
  • Network with other hatmaker/milliners
  • Attend trade fairs to sell your hats and make money
  • Partner with high-end stores to sell your hats and make more money

With these tips and some hard work on your part, you will make money from hat making.

Reminder: don’t be afraid to design that crazy dramatic hat on your mind.

Free your creative spirit and enjoy it!

Have you started your hat-making business?

Let me know your experience in the comments.

Please remember to pin me.

Thank you for reading!

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Confidence

Sunday 23rd of May 2021

Hi my name is Confidence, just concluded a three months millinery training was about to start my own millinery business but not sure if I will be good at it, your post just inspired me thanks.

Buayifa

Monday 24th of May 2021

Hi Confidence, First, congrats on rounding up your millinery training program. And as for starting your own hat-making business, just trust yourself and create what you picture in your head. You can check what other hat-makers are designing to get more inspiration. I'm so glad my post inspired you. You just made my day. Thank you so much. Good luck starting your hat-making business. xx, Buayifa.

Uju umeh

Thursday 11th of March 2021

Hi, really found your post interesting, I am to hat making already , the creative director Bella jay designs but I want to go into selling of millinery essentials/materials but don't know how to go about it and where to get it cheaper for resell.

Note, I am not in lagos

Buayifa

Thursday 11th of March 2021

Hi Uju, So happy to hear that you enjoyed my post about How to start a hat-making business. As for selling Millinery supplies, you can either travel to Lagos and buy supplies at Nnamdi Azikiwe street in Lagos Island. That's where they call Eko, they sell wedding stuff there. There's a particular woman I used to buy supplies from in Eko, and her supplies are relatively cheaper compared to Trade Fair in Ojo, Lagos. If that doesn't work for you, try Etsy.com for sellers that do international shipping. I hope this helps. Do you offer virtual training? If you do, please send it and I'd attach it to this post. A couple of newbie milliners are asking where they can get virtual hat training in Naija. So if you do, let me know. Anyway, that's it.

Fortune

Wednesday 27th of May 2020

Hi, I am Fortune. I really enjoyed the write up. I just finished an online training on millinery but don't know exactly where to get the supplies at cheaper rate. I live in Lagos. I will be glad if u can assist.

Buayifa Ojeogwu

Wednesday 27th of May 2020

Hi Fortune. First, congrats on rounding up your Millinery training. I hope you had lots of fun while gaining knowledge. For affordable millinery supplies, you can get them in Lagos Island. I'm not sure where you live but if you are going to Lagos Island with a regular bus, take a bus to Eko. But if you are taking BRT, get off at Marina and cross to the other side. Try to locate the central mosque, that's very close to Nnamdi Azikiwe street where they sell wedding dresses. When you find the mosque, make sure it is on your right. Just to be sure you are going the right direction. Walk forward about 2 to 3 minutes from the mosque, don't turn left or right. The woman's store is on the left upstairs. She has fascinators and hats displayed outside. I think her name is Aunty Biodun. Ask someone to show you the stairs or call out to her, she would show you the way. It shouldn't be hard to locate. I hope this is helpful. Feel free to reply if you need more assistance. I am so glad you found my post about how to start a hat-making/millinery business helpful too. Good luck! Buayifa.

Delali Ayim Ofei

Saturday 23rd of May 2020

Hi Buayifa,

That's a great write up. Massive thumbs up! I'm Delali of Rare Pearl Millinery - based in Accra Ghana and I can so relate to almost all that you pointed out. Just to say keep the great job up? . . Love from Delali

Buayifa Ojeogwu

Sunday 24th of May 2020

Hi Delali, I'm happy another Milliner can relate to this post about how to start a hat-making business and succeed. Thanks for the encouraging words too. I appreciate. xx, Buayifa.

Tobi

Sunday 19th of April 2020

Hi Buayifa, Nice write up. well done!

I am a Milliner and creative director for Couture by Isemini, the award winning go-to afrocentric headpiece brand in Africa. I recently launched my Millinery book - Starting a Profitable Millinery Business. Where I share effective ways Aspiring and Startup Milliners can effectively run their business.

I can contribute to your blog as a guest write if you want. What do you say?

Cheers!

Tobi Oyebade

Buayifa Ojeogwu

Monday 20th of April 2020

Hi Tobi. I remember you, I have seen your designs on your Facebook page. They are gorgeous and unique. Also congratulations on the new Millinery book. I would be more than happy to have you contribute a couple of posts to my blog. Please use this link to check the requirements to guest post on Budget & Mom jeans Blog. See you inside, soon. Best regards, Buayifa.