How to Start a Sewing Business at Home
Sewing businesses have dwindled over the years although the demand may have not.
If you are skilled at sewing and repairing damaged garments, you can really do well in the at home sewing business niche.
If you enjoy sewing and perhaps already pursue it as a hobby, you may want to consider turning it into a full-time business.
Sewing businesses have minimal startup costs, especially if you already have all of the equipment, and you can start off as a part-time business until things pick up and you gain more clientele.
If this sounds like something you might be interested in, keep reading.
We are going to talk about how to turn your sewing skills into a viable business.
How to Start a Sewing Business at Home:
Write a Business Plan
A business plan is something that many small business owners overlook when starting out but, it is actually a key component to success.
A business plan helps you narrow in on the focus of your business, your target market, your business strategies, and most importantly – how you plan on being profitable.
If you plan on obtaining any sort of financing, many banks require a business plan for companies that are just starting out.
So take some time to sit down and write a business plan.
Form Your Business Entity
Before getting your first customers, you will need to legally form your business.
The first step in forming your business is coming up with a business name.
Once you have a name, you’ll need to decide on a business structure, also know as a business entity.
There are several business structures to choose from including sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), Corporation, etc.
You will want to consult an attorney if you are not sure which business structure to choose.
You can also use a formation service that will handle the entire process for you.
Many small business owners choose an LLC because it provides limited liability protection to you as the owner and it benefits from pass-through taxation.
Here is a quick checklist of things you need to complete to form your business:
- Select a business entity type: Sole proprietor, LLC, Corporation, etc.
- Obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS – once your online application is complete, you will receive an EIN instantly.
- Register your business locally in the State in which you will be conducting business. This is done with the Secretary of State in the State in which you will be doing business.
- Obtain any business licenses or permits required in your State to operate sewing business at home. These can also be found at your local Secretary of State website.
Set up the Business
The following things will help you finish setting up your business:
- Open a business checking account (you will need an EIN to do this)
- Setup a way to manage your accounting whether it be a software program or spreadsheet to begin. This will help you track your income and expenses.
- Create a “media kit” that outlines your rates and services. This is something you can hand out or post online.
- If you plan on having employees work for you, setup a payroll system or a way to pay your 1099 contractors.
You can learn more about setting up a business in our step-by-step guide here.
Decide on your Target Market
You may decide to be a one stop shop for all things sewing and garment repair or you may decide to stick to a specific niche like wedding dresses.
Whatever you decide, you will want to setup your business in a way to cater to your target market.
After all, you are going to be trying to attract this target market for business.
Starting a sewing business isn’t as expensive as other business ventures.
You should plan to spend about $2-3,000 if you don’t already have the basic items needed.
Here are some of the common startup costs for a sewing business:
- Sewing machine
- Inventory of fabric, thread, buttons, zippers, etc.
- Sewing tools such as needles, scissors, measuring tools, etc.
- Larger furniture items such as a sewing table, mirror, fitting room setup, work tables, etc.
- Shipping supplies if you plan on shipping any customer items
- Other startup costs include setting up your business, business licenses, and marketing costs.
Setup Your Work Space
Clients will be coming in to drop off and pickup garments that need to be repaired or altered.
Some clients will need to try clothing on for measurements, etc.
You will want to make sure you setup a work space that is inviting and makes customers feel comfortable, especially if you are running the business from home.
Consider a room with an external door so customers can enter directly into your at home office without having to walk through your entire house.
Also setup a private fitting room for items to be tried on.
Keep the space clean and free of clutter so you look professional.
Some at home sewing businesses convert their garage by adding better lighting and perhaps some sort of heating/cooling system to maintain a comfortable temperature.
If you don’t have an ideal space in your home, you can rent a workspace or, as your business grows, consider a storefront.
Wherever you choose to set up shop, make sure it is somewhere that people would want to come back to and make sure it appeals to your target market.
Believe it or not, many businesses do not get the proper business insurance coverage.
A sewing business may seem harmless, but you never know what could happen or what a disgruntled customer might do.
The following are the types of insurance a sewing business should consider:
- General liability insurance – should a customer be injured while on your property, this will cover any costs as a result of that injury. It also covers costs for property damage claims against your business and advertising injury claims as well, among other things.
- Commercial property insurance – if your business inventory or equipment should get damaged or stolen, this will have you covered. If you are working from home, most homeowners insurance policies won’t cover business inventory or equipment, which is why you need this additional coverage.
- Workers compensation insurance – this is only applicable if you plan on hiring employees to work for you. Workers Comp Insurance covers the business should an employee be injured on the job.
In order to get customers through the door, you will need to market yourself.
While word of mouth is great, it can be a slow process for growing.
Common marketing techniques include handing out flyers and business card to local fabric shops, put ads online, and market yourself on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Also consider attending conferences like Wedding conferences and conventions, fabric events, crafting, events, fashion related shows and events, and anything that could draw potential clients.
You can also create a referral program where a customer can receive a certain discount or reward for referring someone.
Creating a website is also a good idea so that you can share your work, rates, and business information with potential clients.
If you are just starting out, you may not need to hire employees quite yet.
Many non-medical home businesses start with one person until they gain more clientele.
So if you are not ready to hire staff, you can skip this section.
When hiring staff, you want to decide if you will hire employees on payroll or independent contractors who will receive a 1099 form.
Spending time interviewing potential candidates is important as well as doing extensive background checks.
Hiring a bad employee could be detrimental to your reputation and raises the concern for liability issues.
You can work with a recruitment agency to find qualified talent or perhaps even ask around in your network of friends, family and professional contacts for referrals.
Always ask for at least three professional references when possible.
For sewing, you can even have them demonstrate their skills and abilities before bringing them on.
Sewing is something that will always be in demand and with the right skills and business setup, you can be really successful doing something you love.
Just remember to build a strong foundation from the beginning by forming your business and preparing your work space for success.
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