If sewing has always been a hobby of yours, then there is no reason why you can’t turn this hobby into something more profitable and set up a small sewing business which you can run from home.
Firstly you need to think about what type of service you will offer. For example one of my neighbours used to make curtains to order and she always had a waiting list of customers. You may care to consider what you are best at; Alterations and repairs, knitting, bridal wear, costume design, baby clothes, beach bags, toys......Some seamstresses have even discovered a niche in the animal market and are busy making dog outfits and blankets for horses.
You must have excellent sewing skills. If you feel that you have scope for improvement then sign up for an adult education class and learn some new techniques or improve on what you already know.
How will you promote your sewing business and get customers?
Working from home means that marketing costs can be kept to a minimum. School fetes are a good place to start promoting your services. Hire a stall and sell some tote bags with the school logo for example. With each tote bag purchased give out one of your business cards or a promotion leaflet.
Visit craft fairs and get new contacts and meet potential customers, advertise in shop windows, contact local businesses such as dry cleaners and fashion shops who often offer their customers alteration services.
Word of mouth is an excellent way to build up a regular customer database. Once you have a customer, don’t let them forget you! Send out greetings cards for the New Year, this is a good way to keep in touch with your existing clients.
If you have a printer at home then business cards or leaflets can be printed at home on a small scale. If you don’t have this facility then business cards can be printed through the Internet, local printers and even supermarkets have machines from where you can create and print your own business cards. These are cheap and a great way to start marketing your sewing business.
Use the Internet to reach a much larger market. An extremely popular option for selling craft, vintage and hand produced products online is the website Etsy which is the the world's most vibrant handmade online marketplace. Etsy allows you to create your own shop for free.
Don't forget to use the social networks, which are probably the most influential marketing tools and its important to remember that you have immediate and free access to them! Facebook, Twitter as well as Pinterest.
When you start to get orders, now is the time to borrow or buy equipment.
You will need a reliable sewing machine. Second hand machines are a good outlay at the starting stage. Buy the best quality that you can to ensure both good results and an enjoyable stress free experience for you!
You will also need measuring tapes, rulers, cutting scissors, pattern markers, threads, needles etc. A full length mirror and dressmakers mannequin will also be needed if you intent to do alterations or create outfits from scratch.
How much are you going to charge? Check the classifieds and see what other seamstresses or dressmakers are charging. One of the biggest mistakes when starting a business from home is to under price yourself. Make sure that you don’t end up working for nothing and calculate your time, electricity, materials and make sure that you make a profit.
Avoid any misunderstandings with your customers and discuss exactly what they want and what you can offer. Some customers may provide their own fabrics, while others will rely on you to do this for them. Remember that deadlines are important so be realistic with your deadlines and make sure that your customers know when to expect their order.
How to turn your sewing hobby into a business
Has anyone already set up a sewing business from home ? If you have any tips or advice please leave a comment....