How to start a sewing business?

How to start a sewing business?

If you are thinking of generating an extra income or even dedicate yourself to sewing as a business, this is of interest to you.  

To start a sewing business, whether you dedicate yourself fully to it or it is a parallel project to your current job, you don't need to have a big place, you can start it from your home, which is a great idea if you are just starting.

All you need is…

SEWING MACHINE

As we told you in the post "How to choose a sewing machine", you should consider the fabrics you are going to be working with. The machine doesn’t need to be expensive to meet your needs. 

OVERLOCK MACHINE

Consider this machine if you want a very professional finish to all your work. Keep in mind that you are going to charge for your work, and there is the possibility that customers have expectations not only for how the garment looks from the outside but also for the quality of the finish.

CAMERA

If you are going to promote your new business on social media, you should have quality photographs that show off your work. You can use your smartphone, which allows you to add filters and use editing apps. Also, depending on your budget you could buy a professional camera.

Rather than spending on lights and on setting up a big studio, you can get amazing pictures to promote your business only by using your imagination for setting a good background and having natural light. 

MANNEQUINS

You should consider it if you decide to work on the confection or arrangement of clothes, as it will be useful to perform the work as well as to photograph the garments.

PRESSER FEET

They are designed to make sewing faster and more efficient; you can buy them individually or in kits of machines. Most machines come with several basic presser feet.

SEWING PATTERNS

Whether you buy them or purchase them online, always contact the creator to confirm if you can upload them to your site just mentioning the author for free or not. Remember, buying the pattern doesn’t mean that you can publish it on your social networks and allow it to spread for free.

NAME AND IMAGE

If you are thinking of turning your sewing skills from a hobby to a business, you probably have most of the things you need to start, so you can spend some time thinking about the name of your business and the image you want it to have.

Once you have this defined, you can start opening social media accounts for your business.

Start selling

Now that you have samples of your products and the image you want to show, you will need a website or/and a profile on Facebook, Instagram or TikTok, to publish your products.

You can also go to sites like Etsy or Amazon Handmade to create your online store, occupying safe platforms for both you and your customers.

In addition to selling online, you can also go to nearby bazaars to find out how you can set up space in that bazaar. The best thing about selling in person is that you can instantly know the feedback about your products, such as if the customers find them too expensive or if they think that is a good price for good quality, or if there is room for improvement.

You must decide in which market you will focus more, there are goods and cons of each one:

Market

The good

The bad

Online stores like Etsy or Amazon Handmade

The large number of visits, you can compare prices with other similar stores.

There is a lot of competition.

Social Media

The cost is very low, you have more control over what you publish.

You have to generate your visits or even pay for advertising.

 

Own website

 

You have total control over the page, posts, and comments

You must generate your visits or even pay for advertising; if you do not have much knowledge, although there are platforms that make it very easy to create your page, you must invest time in learning how to take full advantage of the page.

Bazaars

 

You are in front of your customers, all questions are answered immediately, the feedback is very fast and you can get to know your customers better.

If you are not a good salesperson, you don't like to socialize much, selling in bazaars can be very complicated.

 

Always encourage your customers to tag you in the pictures they upload with your products; word of mouth is the best advertising you can have.

Important considerations for getting started 

If you establish yourself at home, set aside a space dedicated to sewing, remember that you are working, and coordinate with your family to respect that space and work time. It will not always be a set schedule, because the advantage of working at home is flexibility, but if you do not start with a time and organization plan, as your business grows it will be more difficult to have that order and routine.

Set fair prices

You must set your prices while maintaining a balance between being competitive and not undercutting your work.

A formula that is often used is: add up the price of the material, the time invested, overhead costs or general expenses and profit. 

The material price is everything you used, fabric, thread, buttons, labels, zippers, etc.

For your time invested, set three hourly rates according to the complexity of the product; easy, intermediate, difficult. And depending on the type of work, add the time invested according to the difficulty of the project.

General expenses are the costs for your business to function, such as electricity, Wi-Fi, if you are on a platform that charges for your sales, etc. 

Profits, you can establish it as the rate of the time invested, in the same three categories and with percentage, for example for an easy job 30% of the total price of the material, the time invested and general expenses; for intermediate jobs 60%, and for difficult issues from 80 to 100%. 

It is important that you make market research for businesses similar to yours, leaves aside the big chains or franchises because they will not be your competition; since you are entering the business of handmade products.

Establish and respect your terms and conditions of sale.

It is important that before your first sale, you establish terms and conditions that all customers must consider and that you always have to respect.

If your sale will be only of finished products, establish whether or not there will be any kind of guarantee, also how you will prove that it was your mistake and not the buyer's if you accept returns, etc. 

If you are going to make work to order, always ask for at least 50% in advance, or the amount that covers at least the cost of the materials you will be using.

Specify deadlines for delivery and waiting days, that is, you commit yourself to have the work finished on the 10th of the month, how many days after that date the client can go to pick it up, what happens if he does not come on time, etc. 

Payment of taxes

If you want to have more clients, go to an accountant for advice and you can give receipts or invoices for your work, many people feel more secure when they can request an invoice. Many customers look for well-established businesses; you can also access credits with banks to grow your business.

We know this is just a shortlist of ideas, but we hope it will be of great help to you so you can start your sewing business with the greatest success!