Sewing Business Advice for New Sewers

Hey, yall! I recorded a video yesterday based on lots of comments and emails I’ve received from you all about wanting to start your sewing business.

You all like these videos and I’m happy to share my thoughts on these topics, so there will be more videos to come in the series!I especially focused this video for my new sewers who have ambitions of opening your own business. Let’s make this a dialogue and share this video to your sewing groups and friends!

28 replies on “Sewing Business Advice for New Sewers”

  • Thank you Stylesewme, I needed a boost .I have a lot on my website because I get bored and I like to do special things for the aHolidays and occasions.

  • Hi Eryn,I love the video!

    You have been heaven sent. Your five day course is awesome!!

    You are helping me understand the business game better. This is my dream to start my business. I’m taking my time because I want to do every thing right.

    I make custom made clothing. Wedding dresses, prom dresses, just about every thing that’s fabulous.

    I look forward to your next video.

    Congratulations to you!!Thanks for sharing your knowledge!!

  • I have been watching your videos over and over for the past week. I have been sewing since the age of 13. Im now in my mid 50s. I’m self taught except for watching my aunt and father sew. Ive made everything from wedding dresses to suits to a 30 party wedding party. I made most of my daughters clothing, then life happened and sewing was put on the back burner. For the past five years ive been wantint to start a sewing business and you have truly inspired me. You have so many points that make sense. You have given me a lot to think about.

  • This is a really great guide. Starting a new business is a big task that requires a lot of hard work and dedication, but the results are often so worthwhile! Nicely put! Thanks so much for sharing this!

  • This was very helpful, please keep the videos coming. I’ve decided to push the launching of my business back. This is not a marathon.”

  • Another aspect that people starting a business don’t consider or budget for is the professional help they need to run their business (lawyers, accountants, tax lawyers, (like myself, and I run my own law firm so I get what it’s like to start and keep a business afloat) branding specialists, administrative assistance, etc. MSDEBORAH instead of trying to figure out IRS rules and regulations on your own, contact a great account or tax lawyer to help guide you through the process. I have too many new entrepreneurs who come to me with tax issues that could have been easily fixed with the proper guidance upfront. All of the services you will need also goes into your pricing, so when a newbie is considering undercutting that $85 skirt for $35, they can’t afford an accountant or a lawyer. Erin – love your blog and designs, great video.

  • Hey, Jamiee! Triplets, wow! I bow down to you! It sounds like you can do the basics, correct? Pinterest has tons of children’s DIY clothing projects that I would start with. The projects usually use minimal materials and cover the basic skillset. I would definitely start there.

  • Hey, Jackie! If you’re making something from time to time or regularly, you should have consistent pricing model you follow. As far as a contract goes, I am a fan of putting things in writing. A formal contract? Meh. But, at least a text message or email agreeing upon basic terms. All it takes is one bad client. I’ve seen too many stories of things gone wrong.

  • Girl, yes! This is why clients don’t appreciate custom. Because WE don’t appreciate or educate ourselves on custom business.

  • Hey, Deborah! Yes, I am aware that you’re considered a manufacturer if you make the goods yourself. A bit shocking, but it makes sense to me when you get down to the retailer vs manufacturer technical definitions. What I have learned from talking with a professional patternmaker and production seamstress is that many people come up in the industry under someone else, or they work in a factory first. So, they get educated in these things. But, remember this is before the Internet and when everyone who can sew a straight line wants to start a business!About your fabric comment…here’s the deal: you DO NOT want to use your personal stuff to produce goods you plan on selling. That is an accounting nightmare. When you are accounting for your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS), that is where your raw materials and supplies fall under. I have said and will continue to say that your personal finances should be separate from your business finances. Separate accounts, separate transactions. Period.

    Purchase the supplies, fabric, etc. you plan on using to produce a good you want to sell with your business money. It then official counts as your COGS. Then you sell it, you log that as your Sales income. All of these categories will have to be itemized on your business taxes so it is my personal no-no to cross those boundaries. I’ve been through business taxes and my accountant was so happy I didn’t mix the two or she’d be knee deep in some bull.

  • Hi Eryn. One topic not often discussed on the circuit is Federal taxes and accounting for inventory due to IRS standards. Under the IRS requirements, if you make something from/using raw materials, such as fabric, you are considered a manufacturer (really?), which opens your business up to a whole other matter of regulations. I truly wish the IRS, and, state officials for that matter, would host seminars explaining this to small business sewing entrepreneurs. I discovered this matter by accident when I was looking to set up my business. Did you know, per the IRS, you CANNOT use fabric and supplies you currently own to start a sewing business?? That is ironic and doesn’t make sense to me..why should I have to buy fabric and supplies to start a sewing business when I already have what I need staring me in the face everyday? Anyway, thank you for sharing your journey and experiences with us, who hope to one day do what we love without all the craziness and lack of support from the government.

  • Hello. Thanks for doing this video and for being honest. There are so many that are telling us we should just do it (start that sewing business) and not providing a lot of detail. I agree with you that the internet as it relates to starting a sewing business can be a blessing and a curse. Thanks so much for telling us to take our time to develop our craft.

  • Really interesting video Eryn. I do not sew but, as you know, I am interested in buying hand-sewn items to fit my tall frame. Your video gives me a great insider glimpse into what it’s like for the people who own these types of businesses…something I am always curious about. Keep up the good work!xo – Beth – Tall Fashion Adventures

  • Hell yeah!…I keep trying to tell folks this very same thing….the undercut” thing is what I try to drill in their heads….just don’t do it!….I feel you!!!

  • I’m not a big video watcher but yours caught me right away because of your truth telling. As an old timer watching how the Internet has changed and grown the sewing community, it is interesting to see how people are maneuvering. I really hope your business is thriving and evolving. Thank you for sharing this fount of information and I really hope that others take heed to your very wise words!

  • Hi Eryn! Great advice in this video. As so many others who have commented, I would love you to do a video on pricing. I’m not interested in starting a sewing business, but from time to time I do make prom dresses for a select few. Does making something once or twice a year make a difference in how much you charge? If one does not have a sewing business, should they still draw up a contract between them and the client? Thanks again for another great video.

  • I laughed when you said you hated to see your first ‘sold’ creation. I do too, when my client wears it, she loves it and brags to her friends. All I see is the flaws. It was a maxi dress–very good stitching and fit, but I didn’t match the print well and my serger thread was too dark. Lots of good points, especially about the pricing, selling only what you are skilled in making and building your skills in the background. Keep the videos coming. I want to start my clothing design business and have employees (I don’t want to be sewing all day). I appreciate your information.

  • Hello ErynI really appreciate your videos. I would one day love to start a sewing business. I am really at the beginning of sharpening my skills. I have triplets 2 girls 1 boy and I love to make them pieces. I usually can’t find the items I want to see them in so I have started making them. My grandmother made a lot of my clothes and taught me to sew a long time ago. I have taken a few more intro classes but am nowhere near opening a biz. Could you recommend some skills resources?

  • I also need to add, under pricing yourself is not benefiting you at all. These boutiques” “flash sale” “fast fashion” stores all outsource their production

  • Love this video. I hope that people realize it takes more than sewing in a straight line to start a business, and even business school doesn’t teach you the trials of owning your own business! Only experience will help with that, and that takes time! I’m over here cracking up.. summoning my filter”

  • Excellent job, Lady!! I too am coming into my first year of business! Congratulations to you!I think the subject of pricing your talents is one that’s DEFINITELY worth opening a conversation or doing a video on! That’s one of the hardest things I’ve struggled with this past year! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Looking forward to watching more!Best…Diana K.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.