Getting started working from home? (re: sewing) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 07-20-2009, 10:16 PM - Thread Starter
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So I've been wondering this lately... Can you really make money sewing from home? I don't have much experience sewing, other than sewing a couple costumes and blankets years ago and I don't even have a sewing machine right now, but it is something I'd like to be able to do. I'd really like to get a good sewing machine and serger and start sewing things, maybe little girl clothes or blankets, something? Is it worth it? Any ideas or suggestions about getting started?
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#2 of 8 Old 07-21-2009, 01:44 AM
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Check out Craigslist. I see a lot of jobs for work at home seamstresses on there.
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#3 of 8 Old 07-21-2009, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
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That's an idea, but it seems our craigslist is only looking for people who are very experienced. I'll keep my eyes out for ads. What about just making things and selling them on etsy or something?
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#4 of 8 Old 07-21-2009, 02:16 PM
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I sew things to sell on Etsy. It's a lot of work, but definitely the best way I've found thus far to sell handmade items.

I currently have two shops, with plans to close one. The one that will be closing is a shop geared with stuff for kids. I love my shop, but the CPSIA law is going to prevent me and a lot of other micro businesses geared toward kids from staying open. PM me if you want more info.

SAHM to DD (6/07) and DS (10/09); happily married to DH since 2/04 .
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#5 of 8 Old 07-21-2009, 02:19 PM
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People around here sew stuff and sell them at the Farmer's Market or local shops or on Etsy. I've seen lots of little dresses, aprons, pot holders and such. I don't know how lucrative it is though.

I love to sew but I only make stuff for our family. Good luck to you, though! I would think that if you worked hard you could make a go at it!

Erin caffix.gif , Happy wife of Honey Bearguitar.gif , mom of Curly Miss (11/04), Little Mister (10/06), Princess Abi (3/08), and The Bean (9/09) jumpers.gifadoptionheart-1.gif  <>< oh, and I blog.

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#6 of 8 Old 08-15-2009, 11:52 PM
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Yes, it is worth it. You can sell on etsy, have your own website, and even go to local fairs to sell what you sew.

Be careful with copyrighted patterns, organize to operate efficiently, and make time to sew.

Good luck!
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#7 of 8 Old 08-16-2009, 12:01 AM
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I've had a lot of success this year working as a sew at home mom, but you do need to build experience to get work; I had a few years of making many things for myself and mother (window treatments, baby items) to gain experience and build a portfolio, and then word of mouth from neighbors & friends (i.e., someone asking if I made the window treatments) kicked in and I had enough profit to upgrade my equipment. I've since moved from that network, but lucked into a neighbor who was burned out sewing for other people and gave me a few referrals (I asked if she had extra work to share, she gave me everything).

Now, most of my business is from craigslist, sewing for small WAHM businesses. Ads don't turn into a job most of the time, but the few that have have been steady work.

You definetely need to get at least a basic machine and a portfolio (mine is just an online photo album), and just start making things, for yourself, as gifts, ask around and see if friends need custom costumes, pillows, etc. I'm working on a cute little handbag for myself that I hope will generate questions to help me spread the word.

good luck!
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#8 of 8 Old 09-07-2009, 10:22 AM
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I'm not making a profit - yet! But I thought I'd share what I do.
I started by making some things to sell ready-made, and spread the word that I was available for custom orders. I made things I would use myself so people could see them, and it is easy, when people ask what you do, to hold up your purse and say "I make these"! I sold to my mother, my MIL, sent gifts to people (including my kids friends) and I went to a community craft and gift fair. At that stage, all I had was business cards. I took photos of everything I made, and kept an album as my portfolio. I since invested in a couple of signs for the booth, which I think were helpful, and I handed out lots of brochures and business cards, which I don't think were so useful, because although people stopped and looked as I was handing them the brochure, I don't think they have generated any subsequent sales.
Finally, people saw me at a couple of fairs (I've done 3 fairs in my community in 2 years) and started coming to check me out (especially after I plugged that if they were there they should come say hi!) and that led to more sales and lots of requests for my website. So, dh and I have worked on that this summer, and although it's only really an online gallery, it has links for sending me emails about products, so I'm hoping that will make it easier for people to order in-stock items, and to start a design consult for custom orders, with less feeling of obligation.
Another thing I worked on, to make myself different from the stuff people could buy in the stores, was to make my service very personal - I offer in-home shopping, free delivery in the local area, gift wrapping, etc, and I also meet customers at the fabric store for custom orders. I also do machine embroidery, and that makes a special gift because people can personalize things. Mostly I am trying to get business by showing how my stuff is different from what you can buy in the store.
I keep my range quite simple - 3 types of bags, 2 types of blankets, 2 types of towels and some small accessories, but focus on the uniqueness of the pricier items. I try to keep things at all different price points to attract more customers with different budgets, and people who buy the little washcloth sets are more likely to come back for a $50 big item.
I'm deliberately trying to stay small - I don't sell outside the country, and am trying to keep everything local - because I'm fitting it around my kids, but I'm in a big city, so there are lots of local customers, in theory!
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