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How do you find WAHM / Cottage Industry jobs? And if you were opening a online shop - where?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I'm hoping for ideas - I desperately need to find more WAHM work so I can stay home with my daughter. Right now I'm doing surveys & product trials, but it isn't paying the bills. 


How do you find WAHM / Cottage industry work? I do sew well and own a machine, so something sewing would be great but not a must, KWIM? I used to be a sweater buyer for a major wool diaper cover company but had to quit a few years back to care for aging parents, and now it looks like they no longer offer the program. Would love to find something like that again - really liked doing it. 



I've also considered opening a shop online with my creations, as I do sew a lot and would love to sell my own stuff or stuff I found locally at the thrift shops. But I have no idea where to open one or what all is required. I know HyenaCart used to be big, but now it looks like Etsy might be the place to go instead. 

post #2 of 4
There is a gal in our city who sews felt cut outs of our state and a few other local-inspired images onto organic onesies. She sells at the baby boutiques, and even while foods carries them in the baby section of our local stores. Surely she also sells to the tourist and other local pride shops. The design is so easy and marketable. Perhaps this would be something you could try? Etsy, of course, would be another outlet.
post #3 of 4

I'm working on items to fill up my Etsy and I have a website with a portfolio (my "real" work is photography and graphic design) and blog. The idea is that one will hopefully drive traffic to the other, along with having a promotional page on Facebook and Twitter.


As for specific ideas as to what to make, I do a bunch of things... I'm sewing kids clothes and toys, and then I make a lot of weirder things for an adult audience (think bone jewelry, skulls and taxidermy-related items). I'm always on the look out for new things to test-run and see if there's a market for...I think that's important, especially since there's such a huge amount of people making kids clothes and toys. I also am going to add my prints and paintings. Not sure how much money "fine art" could really bring, but it is worth a shot I suppose.


Can I say I'm thrilled to see another single mom trying to WAH? It is hard enough with both parents in the picture, but being unmarried and trying to WAH is just...agh. Haha. For full disclosure, I have a boyfriend but we're not living together or supporting each other financially.

post #4 of 4

If you have very good sewing skills and live in a somewhat metropolitan area, you might want to look for piecework sewing jobs on Craigslist. I've had a small sewing business for about 12 years now, but I needed something a little more regular when my marriage ended 6 yrs ago and it was too emotionally painful for me to sew baby clothes at that time. I've worked for 2 clients in the last few years; it's really tested and improved my skills and I've learned a lot. I'm trying to transition back into only doing my own business - getting up the courage to take on an investor (my mom) and make the leap away from relying on outside jobs - but it's been a good experience.


Otherwise, if you prefer just making your own stuff to sell, I do like using Etsy a lot. I get most traffic to my shop through my existing website, or from word of mouth (I cater to the ECing community), so I don't know how it works to be reliant on Etsy users just finding your shop. My current client has a brick & mortar store that's had declining traffic so I helped her open an Etsy shop and she really hasn't gotten traffic there, either. I think you need to do some advertising, especially if you're selling a very common item.



ETA - I don't know how much cottage sewing it out there anymore. I've considered starting a program for my own biz over the years but it's really hard to work out something that's lucrative enough for the sewer and the biz owner, while guaranteeing quality. If there's a momma-owned biz already in your area, they might contract out sewing (I used to contract out to a friend to sew the padding into the linings of my underwear), but trying to ship materials back and forth is hard.

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