Becoming a children's clothing designer is the culmination of a dream for many would-be designers. The aspiration can begin with a mother who can't find exactly what she wants for her child, so she decides to design and sew it herself. She gets a lot of compliments and some purchasing interest, and business ideas start filtering in. It does take time, money and a lot of effort, but designers who have the desire can succeed.
Learn the necessary techniques to become a successful designer. Many employers will require a two- to four-year degree from designers they hire, and many colleges offer some sort of degree in fashion design. In this course of study you will learn about color, fabric selection, pattern making and computer aided design. You will also learn about different types of design. A degree is not a requirement to get started in children's clothing design, and many designers begin by speaking to young mothers and watching what kids are wearing.
Open your business. Entrepreneur Magazine estimates startup costs for a children's clothing design business to be $10,000-$50,000, but if you're starting small you just need the necessary sewing equipment and enough money to buy fabric to make your samples. After you get orders you'll spend more money completing them, but you'll also be making sales to recoup those funds.
If you are finishing a degree, instead of opening up a business you may look for a job. Many new designers will start out working below the head designers in more technical jobs like pattern making and sewing, in addition to some design.
Design and sew a prototype, which is a sample you will show to potential customers. Designers spend a lot of time researching fashion trends and predicting what will be in style, either though their own research or through purchasing textile fashion reports. You can also attend trade shows and purchase fabrics, which are often designed during the time that designers are sketching their newest collections.
Market your products. When a collection is approved, the designer shows the collection at fashion shows or in a showroom, where she takes orders from retailers. A small business designer can bring her collection to trade shows and craft fairs, or show them to local children's boutiques. She can also open up an online shop or sell through online marketplaces such as Ebay.com and Etsy.com. Another marketing idea is to host a fashion show in your home and invite neighborhood parents. Get their children to model the fashions.
Take and complete orders. This is where production begins and the collection moves into the sewing phase. Merchandise is usually ready to ship about six months after orders are taken, in time for the new retail season. There are usually two market dates--around August for the spring line and around March for the fall line. As production begins, the designers will already be completing their collections for the next season. Small business owners may take orders and complete them immediately for friends and neighbors.