Business Idea: Customized Martial Arts Uniforms

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Offer a service to customize martial arts belts, uniforms, or cloth weapons bags with embroidery. You could put the name on one side of the belt and their name in Korean (for Tae Kwon Do, for example) on the other side. You could also offer this service to the martial art’s dojo instructors by offering to embroider the name of their business and their tag line on the uniforms and other martial arts clothing items. You should be able to charge $50 for 25 characters or less.
You will want to decide whether you would like your customers to provide the uniforms and belts to be personalized. You may want to purchase such items in bulk and then you will be able to promise shorter turn-around times and deliver them their personalized items more quickly and with more profit. You will also want to decide how many different language and font options you would like to offer to your customers. The most common choices are English, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese.
folding_hakama1You will want to create a website to show customers the various forms of embroidery and items of clothing they can choose from. This will also allow you to create a price list and an easy to use payment system. Be sure to include a link to a free translation site, which will allow your customers around the world who speak languages other than English to easily read your site in their own language. It would also be a nice personal touch to include information on your website such as directions for proper belt tying.
If you do not currently own an embroidery sewing machine, they can be easily purchased at many locations around the world since they are growing more and more common and are much more affordable now than they ever were in the past. A single search online turned up resources for purchasing embroidery machines from HSN to Sears and every kind of company in between. EBay and other auction sites are good sources for purchasing embroidery sewing machines and digital embroidery software. They can be purchased reconditioned or new with a wide array of functionalities. You will need to decide whether you want to purchase a machine that can be used with pre-programmed symbols and fonts or one that will work with other kinds of software. Some are compatible with common designing programs and allow you to embroider any design that you can personally draw or design. This choice allows a lot more freedom in font style and decorative designs.
You may want to expand your business by offering to personalize more general types of clothing items with embroidered Asian symbols and words. Let them know that adding such designs will help to add an oriental mystique to their persona. For instance, you could sew on the Chinese blessing patterns of “Fu” and “Shou” character icons, meaning good luck and longevity. A Chrysanthemum symbolizes purity and longevity in the Chinese culture and is one of the four plants of virtue along with plum blossom, orchid and bamboo, the so-called “Four Men of Honor”. Offering to personalize items with these patterns might be a good way to add additional business while you are trying to make a name for yourself.
Lastly, your customers will need to know how to find you! You will likely want to advertise your services by running a visible ad in a local phone directory, list your business with an online business directory and by printing up flyers and posting them in places where people who would benefit from your services are likely to visit. Be sure to include elementary schools, popular lunch places, and coffee shops! Most post offices and grocery stores also have bulletin boards that they will allow you to place an advertisement on. Be sure to take advantage of any public bulletin boards in your immediate area to find the people who are looking for you and your services. In no time at all, you will have built up a large clientele base, many by word of mouth as they receive items with your quality embroidery on them and want more!