How to Start Your Own Sewing Business

With the economy and rising prices, most everyone is looking for a way to make some extra cash nowadays. Some people who are frustrated with “lining other people’s pockets” yearn to start their own business. While others who have been “downsized” or laid off are searching for a job period.

Of course, the most successful businesses fill a niche. That is, they provide a particular product or service that customers want or need. My friend Becky found a money-making niche when she started her own sewing business. Becky started out
by sewing clothing for her daughters and herself. She also repaired their clothes, and fixed and patched her husband’s attire. Her husband worked a full-time job, but Becky found their finances strained, especially when he was laid off.

So, she put the word out to her family and friends that she was now doing sewing repairs and alterations for hire. Did the work come? You bet it did! She was immediately hired to replace broken zippers, hem up pants, skirts, and dresses, sew up holes in pockets, reattach buttons and snaps, and more. Because Jean is a skeptic, she wondered if her business would amount to much. To her amazement, she got more and more work just by “word of mouth” advertising.

I wasn’t surprised by her success. In a world where both the husband and wife have to work full-time jobs just to make ends meet, who has time to make needed repairs on the family’s clothing? And if one has the time, not all women have the ability to sew.

As Jean’s business took off, I advised her, as a business owner myself, to give her company a name and apply for a business license. She also needed to find out if her workplace had to be zoned for business. As for the bookkeeping and tax ends of her business, Jean took my advice. She opted to let an accountant handle all that for her.

If you’re handy when it comes to sewing, and you’re looking to earn some extra cash, you can start your own business right out of your home as well. The start-up costs are minimal, especially if you already own a sewing machine and some basic supplies. Don’t worry if you don’t have a sewing machine. You can pick up a good-used model for a couple hundred bucks. Check the classified section of your local newspaper. Or, check out some of the online auctions to see what you can find there.

You’ll have to set up a price list and an hourly rate right from the start. You can charge a fixed amount for zippers – X amount per inch is the usual cost- and other repairs. But you’ll need to establish an hourly rate for large jobs like sewing a wedding dress, et cetera.

You may choose to take on all types of sewing jobs like Jean did, or, you may decide to specialize in one or two areas. For example, instead of doing repairs, you may choose to make clothes for your customers. Maybe you’ll decide to focus on sewing wedding dresses. Or maybe you prefer to make kids’ clothing. Since you’re the boss of your own business, the choice is yours!

Although sewing clothing is where the big money is at, you may also choose to make curtains, decorative pillows, cloth dolls, and other items using your sewing machine.

To help your fledgling business gain customers, besides using the “word of mouth” method of advertising, you can also use another type of free advertising. Start out by composing an ad on your computer. Then, print several copies out. Tack these ads up on bulletin boards at your post office, local grocery store, Laundromat, fabric stores, at styling salons, and anywhere else you can find!

You can also print up your own business cards on your computer and distribute them to the public as well.

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