Are you the go-to seamstress for family and friends? If you’re one of those talented people who are sought out every time someone needs their pants taken-in or the one who always makes the killer costume every Halloween, maybe it’s time you took your abilities public by opening your own shop. Chances are you already have the basic tools of the trade right in your home sewing kit, but what else does it take to turn your part-time passion into a viable small business?
What You Need to Start
Once you have your business plan in place and have found an accessible location with plenty of exposure to foot traffic, it time to equip your shop. Even though you have probably bought things like upholstery needles, dress forms and other sewing essentials over the years, the trusty sewing machine you use at home probably won’t hold up under professional demand. Aside from an industrial sewing machine, there are other items you probably haven’t considered that you’ll probably need if you plan on doing any kind of volume, including:
- as serger to give those seams a professional edge
- a heavy-duty steam iron and board
- professional dressmaker’s scissors
- chalk, chalk pencils and measures in a range of lengths
- plenty of counter space
- good lighting
- office equipment
Buying Equipment or Leasing?
Since you’re just starting out in business, you may have to allocate your funds a little more judiciously than an established company. When it’s time to buy equipment, consider how often you will use it, how it will depreciate and how much it will cost. If a piece of equipment is expensive and will only be used for special projects, it may be more cost-effective to lease it as-needed. Items like computers, phone systems and printers will probably be used every day and are worth the investment.
Even if you’re fairly good with numbers and have a head for business, there are some jobs that are better out-sourced so you can have more time to create. A good accountant will help you manage your money more effectively, and a lawyer will help you with legal details like incorporation and long-range business planning. An insurance agent will be able to assist you with liability issues. Don’t overlook people close to you who may have expertise you need, like marketing or printing, and who are going to want to see you succeed.