Five Big Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Your Sewing Business

Some of our most popular articles on So Sew Easy relate to sewing for profit, selling what you sew, or how to start your sewing side business –in other words the Art of Sewing and Selling.  So I know the topic of starting your sewing business must be of interest to many readers.  In this article, I wanted to take a quick look at some of the common mistakes sewists make when they try to start a sewing business and some thoughts on how to try to avoid them.

Starting Your Sewing Business

If you are a very creative person, and you possess the basic skills for making clothes, sewing business may just be the perfect fit for you. Although honing your skills and being very creative would prove helpful towards the success of your sewing business, much will depend upon how well you manage your business as an entrepreneur. Before getting started with your sewing business, here are some things you must bear in mind.

Mistake #1: Seek Advice from People in the Business

Starting your sewing business should begin with this step. Before you plan on starting your sewing business, you want to make sure you get advice from people who already own established sewing businesses. Their advice would go a long way towards providing you with a business insider that can help you really succeed. Take note, when seeking advice, you should make sure not to seek advice from your local competitors since they would not be more willing to open up to a potential competitor.

Mistake #2: Choose a Niche

Before you venture into your sewing business, you want sit back and ask yourself what niche you would love to venture into. There are a lot of niches one could focus on in the sewing line of business; ranging from sewing repairs, home crafts, children’s clothing to adult’s clothing. You cannot be the jack of all trades, and be master of none. You want to make sure you take out time in considering the niche you would want to focus on. One helpful way to go about this is to try to also think about the other things mentioned in this article, such as local competition when considering the niche you want to focus on.

Starting Your Sewing Business

Mistake #3: Assess the Competition

This is another very important thing you must bear in mind before even thinking of starting your sewing business. You want to make sure you dutifully assess the local competition in the area you want to locate your sewing business.

You should begin this assessment by first providing answers to these questions, ‘Who are my competitors, and how many are they?’ ‘What are their pricing systems?’ The answers you give to these questions will help you in drafting out how you will be able to conquer the competition.

Mistake #4: Promote your Art

One helpful way you could promote your sewing business is through word of the mouth and interaction with others. It is very important as a sewing business owner, you be your own product model. You must find interest in dressing well, and clothing yourself with your own art. In fact, what better way is there to promote your art if not by being a walking model of your own art? When people see you wear nice pieces you have made, and they ask ‘who made this?’ you should be very proud to tell them you did. Let people know how creative you are, and your sense of style and keen attention to detail.

Mistake #5: Be Patient!

As the saying goes, “Rome wasn't built in a day“.  No great business just springs instantly to life.  You hear a lot these days about “overnight success” stories.  What they forget to tell you is the months or even years of effort that went into making an overnight success.

Starting Your Sewing Business

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24 Responses to Five Big Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Your Sewing Business

  1. katie peterson says:

    I worked for a tailor for some years before I opened my own shop. I watched what he did and didn’t do that worked. Make sure you are good with Money/numbers or you need an accountant that you trust. And as Oprah said, sign all the checks so you know what is going on. No surprises. Check around and see if where you would like to be has a place that the owner might be retiring soon. Get on their radar, be available, be friendly. That is how I got my shop, he was retiring after 30 years.
    I retired after 34 years and that is how the man after me got his shop.

  2. Karen says:

    Order wholesale to get the best prices on fabric and supplies.Listen to your customers needs and wants. Seek a sewing coach to get you from your talented ideas to your own business.

  3. Terry Freeman says:

    Thanks ladies, I’ve been thinking of doing some sewing for craft shows to help make ends meet. This advise will help. In my area, they do them 3 or 4 times a year, and I noticed that the vendors seem to keep their products seasonal. What do you think of selling all seasons at all events? Like Easter items along with Christmas, etc.

  4. Debra De Shazor says:

    Thanks for the advice. Needed it since I decided to go back to sewing full time.

  5. Diana says:

    Put all agreements and policies in writing.
    Charge fairly for your time. Don’t work for minimum wage.
    Do your best work possible.
    You can’t please everyone. If the customer is happy with Walmart prices and quality, then God bless them, and send them on their way. High quality craftsmanship is not for everyone.

  6. Seeds to Sew says:

    Greetings “So-Sew-Easy”,
    It took me almost 5 years to become known and without spending any $ on advertising. Mine is word of mouth. I have 4 jobs. I am doing so well, I am giving up working at a local restaurant.
    A little advice, put $$ aside for the servicing of your machines. It is up in the $100.

    • So Sew Easy says:

      Wow! Congrats on your success. Thanks for sharing with everyone especially the tip on creating what you might call a maintenance reserve to service your machines. That’s great advice.

  7. Butterfly Rose says:

    Thanks so much for the timely advice. ?

  8. cynthia says:

    Price your items/service fairly (to you). Your time is valuable. You probably can’t be the least expensive store out there and that’s okay. There are people who still pay for quality.

  9. Liz says:

    Thank you! This goes for starting any business… right now hubby is starting his own business and I am ending up helping him ( not on purpose but due to necessity) as I went to school for accounting along time ago and now I’m knee deep in the books! And the design aspect as well ( sending all that stuff to niece who is graphic designer!) but getting questions that I can’t answer and trying to get answers out of men is like pulling teeth! Good luck ladies

  10. Robin says:

    Great Advice. Very timely for me as I am venturing into my own sewing business.

  11. Agness says:

    Thanks for the good advice, I love sewing your advice is helpful

  12. Lou Anne says:

    Thank you for these suggestions. They make a lot of sense.

  13. Linda says:

    So far from what you have said I am on the right track. I have done all of the above.

  14. Wanda Ballard says:

    What do you do with an overnight success that can’t be produced in a reasonable time.

    • So Sew Easy says:

      That’s a great question for which I’m not sure I have the answer. My sense is that you just need to keep trying. You’ll get there eventually.

    • Jan W White says:

      Hit up the mothers in the local playgroup and employ some help. They love it if you teach them at the same time. I did chorus costumes for Miss Saigon world-wide this way. The whole community profitted!

    • Frances says:

      Definitely ask friends for help if it’s a large order, I have had friends turning and stuffing stuffies, tooth fairy pillows and all sorts

  15. Joy says:

    Thanks for this points

    • So Sew Easy says:

      You’re very welcome Joy. Hope they help. Have a look at the other articles listed at the start of this post. They are useful too. Happy sewing! Mayra

  16. Eslom Mafidi Hananda says:

    Nice piece keep on providing

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