For those who have a bit of creative flair and love to work with a needle and thread, starting a sewing business can feel like an exciting proposition. You can work with a variety of clients, help people custom-design clothes, alter garments, or even create your own designs and sewing patterns.
We'll explore what goes into starting a sewing business and what you should understand to help get your business off the ground.
The Background Needed to Start a Sewing Business
Starting a sewing business doesn't require any formal education. However, that doesn't mean those interested in becoming a seamstress or tailoring clothes should skip formal training.
Those interested in working with sewing should focus on developing their skills. These skills might take a variety of forms, such as learning how to sew different types of seams by hand and with a machine, embroider, do applique, and measure people for clothing. You may also benefit from taking classes related to fashion and design, as they can help hone your skills on the creative side of the industry and build a stronger resume for finding clients. In addition to classes related to certain aspects of sewing, you may find it helpful to work with others in the industry.
Creating a Sewing Business Plan
Learning relevant skills and beefing up your resume is only the first step in the process of creating your new sewing business. You also want to take the time to create a business plan that will outline how your business will work. This plan will help you organize the rest of the startup process and can help clarify your vision and what you want to accomplish. If you need to take out a business loan in the future, you'll generally need a business plan for approval.
Start by Determining Your Services
First, determine the types of services you want to offer clients and how much you'll charge for different jobs. Some sewing businesses might focus on altering existing clothes while others might design custom clothes or patterns to sell online, such as on Etsy. You might even consider working with highly specific markets, such as opening a wedding gown shop and/or altering formal dresses and wedding dresses. You could also focus on home decor, such as making curtains. Some sewists might also choose to offer sewing lessons out of their sewing room to further supplement their business income.
Determine the type of work you want to complete and then set your pricing for these jobs. In the U.S., pricing for sewing services varies widely and typically ranges from a few dollars into the hundreds depending on the type of alteration. Jobs that require working carefully with fine materials, such as lace, will cost more than simple hems on pants. Look at your competitors' prices in the area. See how much they charge for different types of jobs and use that as a guide to set your prices.
You will also need to consider how much work you want to take on with your own sewing business. Some professionals might want to work full time while others might work part time, focusing only on creating goods to sell at craft fairs and related events.
Know How Much You'll Need to Spend to Get Your Business Started
You also want to carefully consider how much you will need to spend to get your business started. You will likely need to acquire some specialized materials, such as a sewing machine with the capacity to handle the amount of work you will need to do. If you plan on offering other services, such as embroidery, be sure to have the materials you'll need for that, as well.
If you want to have an office space where clients can come and talk to you about work in person, factor in the cost of office space and insurance for people visiting your business. If you're interested in a home business and will only work from your own home, you might not have to worry about this type of liability (though professional liability should remain a concern).
Similarly, if you plan on operating an online store, consider where you will store materials for your small sewing business.
Launching Your Sewing Business
Now that you have gone through the process of clarifying your business vision, you can begin to start the process of establishing your business as a legal entity and setting yourself up to bring in your first clients.
Creating a Legal Business
Legally forming a business is the first step. You have a few different options when it comes to registering, but many small businesses elect to become a limited liability company (LLC). To get through this step, you will need to figure out your business name and the rules and regulations that will govern your business. Make sure that the name you select is unique to your business. You can use the search directories in your area to see if the names you have in mind are already taken.
Once your sewing business is a legal business, you may want to open a business bank account to keep your finances separate between your personal accounts and your business account. This makes it easier to track your business finances and can help show the separation of assets if there are legal issues.
You will also want to take the time to get any professional insurance that's needed as you begin your business. Consider speaking with a tax professional to better understand the implications of your sewing business at tax time.
Helping People Discover Your Sewing Business
The time has now come for you to begin finding your first clients. You want to help people discover your sewing business and the products and services you can offer them. The best way to accomplish this is by having a clear, visible logo that people can remember and then building your presence online. When people search for seamstresses or tailors in your area, you want them to find you.
Design a Logo and Website
To help your business stand out from the rest of the competition, create a logo that captures your business and put it prominently on a website and any other marketing materials you create.
Your website provides an excellent opportunity to highlight your sewing skills. You can detail your services and prices and include a portfolio of work you're particularly proud of. A website can also be used to further sell products. For example, you can sell tutorials that offer step-by-step instructions to DIY crafters interested in making handmade items themselves. You'll want to make sure your website can accept payments like credit cards, though.
If you don't feel confident in your ability to design a logo and/or a website, consider working with freelancers from platforms like Upwork.
Build Your Local Presence
A number of your clients will come from your local community. Since you might be producing physical products, your clients need to be able to reach you for sizing and similar services. This means that, generally, you will work with local people.
To capture this local audience, make sure you claim your listing on Google My Business and Yelp. Fill out these profiles completely and use the opportunity to demonstrate your skills and work in photos.
Market Yourself Across Social Media Channels
Also, consider creating social media profiles. Profiles on sites like LinkedIn can help you network with other professionals and let them know about your services. Visual sites, like Instagram and Pinterest, can be especially helpful with showing your sewing projects and services. These platforms can make it easy to post and share images about your work.
As you talk to people, don't neglect the value of a referral. Hand out business cards everywhere you go. When clients report being happy with your services, let them know you appreciate word-of-mouth recommendations and positive reviews.
Daily Operations in Your Sewing Business
In addition to building your skills in sewing and bringing in clients, you also need to make sure you pay attention to administrative tasks. Managing your accounting books requires some insight into bookkeeping.
To begin, if someone is interested in hiring you for a particular project, you'll likely provide them with a quote for the job. Skynova makes it easy to customize quotes and get business faster with our quote template. By using professional software like this, you can have a better idea of when you need to follow up with potential clients and how many turn into paying customers.
Skynova's software products can also help you with:
Get Sewing Today With Skynova
As you begin your sewing business, you will quickly discover that it requires a careful balance between developing specialized skills, providing outstanding customer service, and maintaining the administrative and accounting sides of the business. To help you navigate this terrain, consider working with trusted small business accounting software like that provided by Skynova. Our software has been designed for small businesses like yours and can help you track your financial situation with ease.
Skynova offers customizable business templates for everything from estimates to invoices - helping small business owners like you focus more on their business and less on administration. Take your business idea and turn it into a reality with Skynova.