4 Successful Ideas for Running Your Own Sewing Business

Every small business relies on hard work, but a few smart moves can help you earn more from your sewing with less stress. Keep reading for tips on finding profitable side income, how to court customers, and what to prioritize as a maker.

1- Purchase Quality Products

No matter how quickly or efficiently you work, no small business can sell products cheaper than mass-produced goods. The solution: don’t try to undersell. Instead, provide reliable goods made from quality materials. Don’t skimp on the little things. High-quality thread, for instance, supports a garment’s appearance, durability, and lifespan.

Court a customer base willing to pay a higher rate for better materials handled by a local craftsperson. Big box stores will always have affordable clothes, but you can make unique, sturdy, bespoke apparel that discerning shoppers can’t find off the rack.

2- Sell Services in Demand

Many sewing businesses make a pretty penny from alterations. There’s high demand for this dwindling talent, and if you have the skills, introducing yourself to local bridal and prom boutiques can lead to new business opportunities. Even if a shop doesn’t hire you for a regular position, catching freelance piece work from multiple sources adds up quickly.

As sustainability comes into vogue, people want to waste less by keeping clothes longer. Bodies change over time, and knowing how to take in or let out a good dinner jacket may be a route to repeat customers. Repairs fall into the same category. Vintage, designer, and custom clothing isn’t easy to replace, and the people who wear these clothes have the resources to maintain them.

3- Make Connections

Word of mouth is valuable, but it only carries as far as the voices shouting it. Networking gets your work in front of new customers. Attend local craft fairs, art shows, and events. The people you meet are as valuable as the sales you make. Take or lead community classes, and keep an eye out for local art collective meetings. You’ll start making connections with local shopkeepers who may have the perfect space for your original products, relevant local influencers, and other businesses interested in collaboration.

4- Cultivate Multiple Markets

Basic branding advice says to find your niche and stay there, but a small sewing business can rebrand for different markets with little more than a fresh business card. Examine your hobbies for opportunities to vend. Have tools to make some popular costume pieces? Sell at a local comic convention or Renaissance festival. Consider offering customizable gloves, aprons, and bandanas at a gardening fair. Just about everyone needs something you can make with a needle and thread.

Finding multiple sources of income doesn’t necessarily require new products for a fresh customer base. Sometimes, a partner does all the legwork for you. For example, you don’t have to chase down brides-to-be with an ad for your services when a bridal boutique hands the work directly to you. The same goes for any shop in need of alteration or customization services they can’t provide in-house, like a vintage apparel shop or a high-end laundry.

What does your success story look like? These ideas can help you work a stitch closer to your goals, but the final vision is as unique as the pieces you make.