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I'm kind of a beginner sewer. I just got my first sewing machine a couple of years ago and I've been playing around with it a lot lately. I've been making simple tote bags and reversible fleece ponchos for children. I'm being told that I am talented and people really like my stuff. I'd like to start selling some of it on etsy or maybe my own website, but I'm not sure how to start out.<br><br>
What I'd like to know is, what are some supplies I'd need to start out with? I don't have a lot of money to start out with. I already have my machine. I need a basket or something to keep all my threads and bobbins and other notions, and I'm going to set up a large table and mark off measurements directly on the table for cutting fabric. Anything else that's really important? Thanks <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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1. high quality standards of excellence. Make sure that your produce is worthy of the price.<br><br>
2. price yourself realisticly. Cost of materials + operating costs + labor x 2/3 = price. Cost of materials is cost of fabric, notions, etc. Operating costs include cost of equipment, electricity, cost of website, generally everything that isn't materials or labor. Cost of labor is what you are paying yourself to make the item. Don't price your labor too low or it will wind up costing you money instead of making money. No matter how much your work is a labor of love, you still need to make money at it. At least charge minimum wage for your area. I'd use $10 an hour for labor costs. For every item you sell, you should be able to make 2 more.<br><br>
3. Keep records. Record what you spend as well as what you sell. You will need to account for your income at tax time. And you can deduct expenses and operating costs at the end of the year. Paying an accountant to do your taxes is worth it.<br><br>
Remember you are running a business and should operate accordingly. Check out small business classes in your area. There are books on running a sewing/craft business. See if your library has any. Here's what came up on Google. <a href="http://www.google.com/search?q=running+a+sewing%2Fcraft+business&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:eek:fficial&client=firefox-a" target="_blank">http://www.google.com/search?q=runni...ient=firefox-a</a>
 

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sewchris2642, thank you for your advice! very helpful <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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You're welcome. I've been sewing as a business for over 30 years. One of my pet peeves is wahms who price themselves way too low. It makes it hard for the rest of us to educate our customers/clients on why it costs more for custom sewing than buying it in a store. And there are wahms who aren't professional when it comes to costomer service. As a customer, I don't care that you (general you) decided to go to the park with your dc's. I want my order shipped to me in a timely fashion and well-made. At the very least, made better than I can make it and worth the price I'm asked to pay. The third pet peeve is a wahm who still calls herself a sahm even when she is running a business. It's not just a set of words, it's a mind set. Think of yourself as a business woman and you will conduct yourself accordingly.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">2. price yourself realisticly. Cost of materials + operating costs + labor x 2/3 = price. Cost of materials is cost of fabric, notions, etc. Operating costs include cost of equipment, electricity, cost of website, generally everything that isn't materials or labor. Cost of labor is what you are paying yourself to make the item. Don't price your labor too low or it will wind up costing you money instead of making money. No matter how much your work is a labor of love, you still need to make money at it. At least charge minimum wage for your area. I'd use $10 an hour for labor costs. For every item you sell, you should be able to make 2 more.</td>
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thanks for posting this, Chris. I am interested in doing this, too, and this "formula" will be REALLY helpful for me to keep in mind in determining prices, which has worried me until now. i don't have any idea, however, how i would go about determining a dollar amount <i>per item</i> for "operating costs." How do you determine this variable in the equation? please, if you don't mind sharing further....
 

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and, for the op-<br>
someone just gifted me a computer table for my sewing machine and this is AWESOME because there is so much room and the little slide out keyboard shelf thing holds my tin of machine needles and my pins and scissors, etc, right where i need them....also, for the first time i can sit my thread rack and bobbin ring right next to the sewing machine and reach the thread when i need to change it without having to get up.<br>
I set up my machine and serger and a little plastic drawer cart and my cutting table and ironing board into a little bay with a rolling computer chair over a piece of laminate. so now i can just roll back and forth between the machines or between the machine and the iron when i am doing patchwork or whatever. i have only been working this way for a few days but i am LOVING the efficiency of being able to move back and forth quickly and having everything i need stored neatly in reach in the work area.<br>
Good luck to you! I hope to make some money from sewing myself, too, soon.
 

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I set aside $25 a month for operating costs. That covers everything from thread and machine needles to office supplies like tape and 3-part statement books to internet costs. How much of that you need to take out of each item you make depends on how many items you sell in an average month. I don't set aside taxes. I have my other job take out more taxes to cover the taxes I owe on my at-home business. You could have your dh do the same thing. We also pay to have our taxes done instead of doing them ourselves. Well worth it to us.<br><br>
For example, when I was thinking of selling fitted diapers, I added up the cost of materials (fabric, elastic, and velcro; rounded up to $1), how long it took me to cut out and sew one (20-30 minutes at $10 an hour; $5), multiplied by 3 ($18), and added another $2 for operating costs. That made the diapers cost $20 each. With diapers on the internet costing as little as $8-$10 a piece, that made my diapers pricey. I realized that it would take me more time to educate my potential customers on why my diapers were twice as much as my competition than it was worth. So I dropped that idea and stick with what I do best--dressmaking and alterations for local clients.
 

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Are there any local craft fairs or such in your area? Typically during the holiday there are lots at places like community centers or churchs or such. These are a great place to "sell your wares" sort of speak. they allow you to actually put your product in consumers hands. As most people who attend these are looking for the handmade or one of a kind thing as opposed to more mass produced stuff.<br><br>
I've doen a few and was really suprised on the volume of sales i did. For instance I sold speciality little girl bows. On a website I would need someone to "google" me and actively be looking for hair bows but at the fairs I often had people who would see my items and get them as opposed to be specifically looking for them. They saw it liked it and bought it.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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You bring a good point. Have the sewing machine out at all times. That way you don't waste time setting up or putting away. And you have more insentive to sew if it's already out and waiting. I use a 6' banquet table and sterilite storage drawers to hold all my equipement. I hung up on the wall over the table everything that could. That way everything is within reach and reasonably out of little fingers. I do unplug the foot controls from the machines. That way they don't get accidently turned on by curious fingers.
 

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Depending on what you make, you might want to look into getting multiple machines. Like an old cheap refurbished machine to just do straight stitching that you never change, or one for buttonholes, or one for ruffles.
 

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Depending on what you make, you might want to look into getting multiple machines. Like an old cheap refurbished machine to just do straight stitching that you never change, or one for buttonholes, or one for ruffles.<br><br><a href="http://www.fashion-incubator.com/" target="_blank">http://www.fashion-incubator.com/</a> might be a helpful resource too.<br><br>
And be aware that there are sewing tools to turn practically anything you like to do into either a 1 step process, or a process that involves only straight stitching. Browse here <a href="http://www.atlatt.com/apparel/EQUIPMNT/folders/index.asp" target="_blank">http://www.atlatt.com/apparel/EQUIPM...ders/index.asp</a>
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><a href="http://www.fashion-incubator.com/" target="_blank">http://www.fashion-incubator.com/</a> might be a helpful resource too.<br><br>
And be aware that there are sewing tools to turn practically anything you like to do into either a 1 step process, or a process that involves only straight stitching. Browse here <a href="http://www.atlatt.com/apparel/EQUIPM...ders/index.asp" target="_blank">http://www.atlatt.com/apparel/EQUIPM...ders/index.asp</a></td>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/jaw.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="dropjaw">drop HOLY MOLY! I have no idea what most of those attachments are; had never heard of a"folder"- so this is a new world of possibilities to look into <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> Thanks for so much good info on this thread! off to read at the first link <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ms.shell</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15422905"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/jaw.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="dropjaw">drop HOLY MOLY! I have no idea what most of those attachments are; had never heard of a"folder"- so this is a new world of possibilities to look into <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> Thanks for so much good info on this thread! off to read at the first link <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"></div>
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I know! Aren't they awesome? The only purpose for them would be to cut the time spent making items so that the labor costs go down, but some of them I want for my own casual sewing. (For instance, after we move, I'm getting a ruffler.)
 
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