You might be wondering how you can turn your sewing into a side business and start earning money from the sewing skills you’ve learned? You may have a knack for repairing the kids’ clothes, creating costumes, making alterations and adjustments to clothes that don’t fit quite right. You might be really creative and sew your own clothing or design new ways to sew home decor together. If you’re skilled at sewing and you have a solid sewing machine, you can certainly turn your sewing into a side business and earn some extra cash! Here are five key things to think about to turn your sewing into a side business.
Figure out what your customer wants to buy
Use your skills to create products that you love, but also products that people will want to buy. You may have a certain skill set in making an item that may or may not have a demand. You can transfer your skills to make other items that people will want to buy, and maybe it’s exactly what you love sewing already.
In order to sell what you sew, having the flexibility to create something that aligns with what the customer wants can make an impact on your business. If you sew just what you want, you will need to test the product in the commerce channel of your choice to see if it sells. If it doesn’t, you may want to consider using a different commerce channel, using multiple commerce channels, tweaking the product design or scrapping the product altogether and starting with something else that you know your customer is willing to purchase.
Researching where your ideal customer shops can also give you an idea about what types of products they are willing to purchase. Will your customer want a unique pillowcase, upholstery, protective sleeves for iPads or handmade designer clothing? Or maybe, your customer will want alterations for their clothes, or they may want to buy patterns or supplies from you. Getting focused on what will be your product offering will definitely help you.
As an example, the Zibbet shop below at ShadowBoxHome focusses on home decor and pillows.
Is it worth it to create what customers want?
You’re going to need to price your items accordingly with the work that you put in. You’ll need to account for the cost of your supplies, how long the item will take you to make, the effort in marketing your product, how long it might take you to sell the product, how much shipping will cost and how long restocking your product will take.
For a detailed analysis of this including a handy costing calculator, please review our popular article entitled: Selling what you sew — how to price your work
What can you make and sell?
There are a variety of options you can make, and depending on what your skill level is and what your target customer wants, you can make a decision on what to create with your unique flair. You can make pillows and pillow cases, stuffed toys, protective sleeves for electronics and journals, tote bags and messenger bags. Learn as much as you can to increase your skills from online forums and blogs like using resources here at So Sew Easy. We have a terrific list of ideal projects that would be perfect for sewing for profit.
Just make sure that you’re using your creative talents to come up with original products and that you’re not infringing on someone else’s copyright on a design or pattern.
Where to sell your craft
Once you’ve created your items that you’re going to sell, the next challenging part can be advertising and making the sale happen. What you’re going to need is a focused, yet diverse strategy for getting noticed. Set up an e-commerce shop with your own website so you can promote your own brand and keep the traffic coming to your site that you may lose to other e-commerce shops if advertising in an online marketplace. Some e-commerce website builders you can use that are great and affordable for small businesses and creatives starting out are Zibbet, Shopify, Big Cartel, IndieMade and Wix.
You will also want to figure out what other ways you plan to sell your products or if you want to sell just through your website. Getting exposure in online marketplaces like Zibbet (is a website builder and marketplace), Etsy, Amazon Handmade and ArtFire can help you get additional exposure. While setting up shop in an online marketplace can drive traffic to your shop and result in sales, don’t just rely on an e-commerce shop in a marketplace to sell what you sew. You ultimately risk losing traffic to other shops when you have an online store in a marketplace, so it’s still important to have your own website and advertise with your own brand. Also, consider local in-person events where you can sell your craft. Local markets and farmer’s markets, festivals and trade shows are great places to get a lot of foot traffic.
Advertising what you sew
To elevate awareness to your brand, exposure in online marketplaces can help, so setting up shop in more than one online marketplace that suits your needs and doesn’t give you too much of a headache managing inventory can bring more visibility to your products. Get active on social media channels that your customers are on so you can get your products in front of them. Depending on what you plan to sell, channels like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are great for promoting your products and engaging with customers (you can even set aside a small budget for advertising). Get involved in communities and forums around crafts and sewing to get more exposure and also learn from peers and experts. Some communities include Craftsy and Kollabora.
If you’re skilled at sewing, there is no reason why you can’t sell something creative and unique. You just need to prepare with the right planning and tools to set yourself up for success. Make sure you do a little research, put in the work to create something special and advertise it. Keep learning from people who have done it before, read forums, engage in communities to learn more and read about new ways to launch your craft.
Zibbet T-shirt Giveaway
Nisa and the good folks over at Zibbet have graciously sponsored this giveaway for three lucky winners to receive a Light Marble Green t-shirt as a way to introduce our users to their new service.