Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What is FBI?
A. Fashion Business, Inc., or FBI is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing education, consulting, resources, and entrepreneurial training to our members, from startups to established companies. We work with a range of people, from designers trying to launch a line to large manufacturers looking to retrain their employees.


Q. Do I need to be a member to receive help or referrals?
A. Although FBI is membership based with discounted classes and seminars, plus many other important services, non-members are able to take classes and experience the benefits of most of the services without the discounted rate. For more information go to FBI Membership, email: trish@fashionbizinc.org, or call: (213) 892-1669.


Q. What will FBI do for me?
A. FBI has developed specific seminars and classes to educate and explain the many aspects of the apparel industry. FBI has resources and networking opportunities that introduce new and small business to consultants specific to their companies needs.


Q. What classes or seminars does FBI hold?
A. Please check the Education & Events section of our website. 


Q. What unique experiences do you offer?
A. We have a vast network of industry experts who provide our members realistic, current, top notch, industry specific education while providing them with opportunities and resources to further their success. We cover all topics pertaining to the business of fashion, to include product development, merchandising, costing, brand building, marketing, ecommerce, finance and business plans, legal issues, technical design and pattern making training. We offer a great deal of our education through online webinars for easy access across the country.


Q. What types of financial aid resources or paid work programs are available?
A. We offer free certified, technical training and resume assistance to displaced workers in the industry, helping them regain meaningful employment. We offer low cost membership and education for fashion companies as well. 


Q. Which career counseling services do your members find most helpful?
A. The one on one as well as group consulting sessions with our industry experts, the opportunities we provide  through industry partners, the ongoing education and resources, all pay a huge role in the success of our members.


Q. Do you hold FBI classes or seminars in other cities?
A. Yes, our Founder/President, Frances Harder, provides seminars in other cities. Check FBI News for seminars and workshops in your area. We also have our popular seminars available online.


Q. Can FBI find me a sales representative?
A. No, we do not find sales representatives for new companies. It will require investigating and networking to find the right sales representative for each company’s needs.


Q. What type of licenses do I need in order to start my own apparel company?
A. Each city and state has its own rules and it is best to call your local city hall and Chambers of Commerce to inquire about the exact licenses needed in your area. There are, however, certain licenses that will be necessary no matter in which state or city you intend to set-up business.

  • Resale License: From the State Board of Equalization. There will be an office in your local town and you can call and apply over the phone.
  • Taxes: The IRS and the state taxing agencies produce many free publications to help you fill out your tax returns, and to answer your tax questions. All publications and forms can be ordered from:

Internal Revenue Service
800 829 3676
FBT - Franchise Tax Board
800-338-0505, 800-852-5711

  • Business License: Business License from your local city hall. If you are working from the home, your fee will be minimal. The larger the company becomes, and the more personnel, the more regulations and licenses there are to apply for. When you describe the type of business you are operating from the home, remember to specify that it is to be used as an office or design studio, and that the manufacturing will be done elsewhere. It is illegal to sew from your home for commercial sales. You must have a Manufacturers license in the State of California and New York.
  • Employer Identification Number: All businesses must have an Employer Identification Number (abbreviated as an EIN). If you are the sole proprietor, and are the only employee, it is possible to use your own Social Security Number as your EIN. However it is strongly recommended to obtain a separate EIN, because your future activities may require one. For example; if you hire other employees, you must have an EIN. The EIN is free. To request an EIN application contact the IRS by telephone, mail or fax and ask for a SS-4 Form. 
  • Registration Number: The R.N. number is used to identify the garment’s manufacturer. www.FTC.GOV Garment Manufacturing License Obtained from the Department of Labor. This license is required of all apparel manufacturing businesses in California and New York State. They require an annual fee of $750 to $2,500 dependent on the size of the company. Proof of workers’ compensation insurance is also required. The owner of the company must sign this application, and must take a brief test on labor laws. It is law that a manufacturer must obtain this license before they begin to manufacture. If you have not obtained this license and you are a manufacturer you will be subject to fines and confiscation of your goods.
  • Public Health License: Obtained from the County Department of Public Health Services. All garment manufacturers require this license for employees. This license is renewed June 30 of each year with payment of an annual fee. Insurance Issues When doing business from the home, it is a good idea to talk to your insurance agent to inquire about special issues pertaining to a home office.


Q. How do I start my own company?
A. Starting your own company requires research and funds. Begin by understanding the industry. It is a very complicated and demanding industry with some amazing success stories that tempt people to enter it with their own designs. If you need basic information there should be some free help available in your area - SBA, SBDC has programs to help new companies. Useful place to start: www.fashionforprofit.com will explain the A-to-Z’s of starting your own apparel manufacturing company.