Women and apparel entrepreneurship: An exploration of small business challenges and strategies in three countries

Nancy Hodges, Kittichai Watchravesringkan, Jennifer Yurchisin, Elena Karpova, Sara Marcketti, Jane Hegland, Ruoh Nan Yan, Michelle Childs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this study was to explore strategies used by successful female entrepreneurs to manage the challenges of running a small apparel business. Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative research design was used. Primary and secondary data were collected on small business in three countries: Russia, South Africa and Thailand. In-depth interviews were conducted with a total of 11 female small apparel business owners. Businesses ranged from tailoring and custom clothing shops, to small-scale design and production, as well as small apparel retail stores. Findings – Three emergent themes highlight the similarities and differences that surfaced across the participants’ narratives. Key issues within the thematic areas point to the need for these women to be creative in finding resources to start and grow their small apparel businesses, and to manage the competition that they face within this industry. Research limitations/implications – It is difficult to generalize the findings of this study beyond the sample. Implications of the findings for understanding the needs of female apparel entrepreneurs and small business owners are considered. Originality/value – Despite the significance of women to the apparel industry as well as small business ownership, thus far, the role of women as apparel entrepreneurs and small business owners has been under-examined in the literature. This study offers insight into what it is like for women seeking to succeed as apparel entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-213
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 8 2015

Keywords

  • Apparel industry
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Small business
  • Women

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