There are 2 main ways you can start an embroidery business from home and in this article I’ll walk you through what you need to know to get rolling with either one.
The Embroidery Industry: Then ==> Now
The embroidery industry has been around for over 2,500 years according to Wikipedia and to this day the quality of those originally hand crafted pieces are rarely surpassed.
Over the years this craft has been used to signify wealth and status in place like England, to produce folk art, strengthen Japanese clothing and even for religious purposes all over the world. This has led to quite a broad range of designs and purposes over the years using mostly wool, linen and silk depending on a persons location and available resources.
Today however, things have changed dramatically with the development of sophisticated machines and the use of many other materials. Some of the most common forms today are logos on business attire, sportswear, caps and blankets among others.
So whether you are creating your own ‘works of art’ or are looking to embroider for a more commercial purpose, it is possible to start a thriving business and there’s many different niches you could get into.
Pay close attention as I explain what you need to know and how to get your business off the ground.
Planning Your Business
There are many things to take into account when it comes to starting a business but I personally think it’s important to take a balanced approach when you are first diving into this. What do I mean?
If you don’t do any kind of planning and just do whatever seems right at the time, then unfortunately your success will be very limited. You’ll probably end up super stressed out, have a million different things racing around your head and not know which direction to go in.
I’ve been there before when I was ‘too busy’ to plan for growth and focussed on ‘working hard’. Hard work is essential to success but you’ll end up snowed under if you fail to plan.
On the other hand, if you plan too much you may encounter what is called ‘paralysis by analysis’ and stop yourself before you even start! Not to mention too much planning when you are only getting started could limit your imagination and bind you into a set way of doing things when creativity and change are what is needed.
Nothing can ever be planned perfectly as there are way too many variables to take into consideration.
So what’s the solution?
It really depends on what exactly you are trying to achieve with this venture in my opinion.
For example the bigger you want to start things, the more detailed your planning and analysis should be given the inherent financial risk and what is at stake. If you just want to start out small and build things up at your own pace then doing a 50 page business plan might prove overwhelming and unnecessary, not to mention impractical given a lot of these finer details can be worked out as things naturally progress and have a clearer direction of where you are heading.
Basics To Consider With Your New Business
Production: Give some thought as to where you will be producing your products. Is there enough room, is it a suitable work environment for a potential employee, where will you store finished products? Is it professional enough for your customers to visit and will the set-up you have be enough to meet the demand? As long as you have what you need to produce and it doesn’t hinder the customer experience then your home could be the best place to start out.
Finance: It is important to understand your numbers including the raw material costs, shipping, marketing, staff, insurances and other associated costs. Be meticulous in this area and know exactly what it is costing you to produce each product so that you can price them accordingly and actually make a profit. Knowing your numbers well is always a good idea regardless of what level you want to play at.
Marketing: Marketing does not mean advertising as many people think. Marketing encompasses a whole range of things to successfully bring your product into the consumers hands. Think about your brand and how customers will perceive you, what message you are sending them and what ways you will bring in customers. If you can keep this ONE monumentally important concept in your mind you will be much better off. Always give your customers the most value humanly possible. Marketing is all about communicating and delivering value to people. That is what builds a good marketing plan and overall successful business above anything else in my opinion.
Legal: I’m not a lawyer, but do some Googling and check out whatever licensing, insurance and laws you need to observe so you are doing the right thing by your business and your customers.
SWOT Analysis: This is where you look at your business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This is a good exercise because it allows you to objectively measure where you are and what unique value you can offer to people, along with what you should do more and less of.
For example: ‘Stitch Me UP’ has a very unique product range that a niche group of people really love (strength) but they don’t have a lot of money or experience (weakness). They see a clear gap in the market to add value to this currently overlooked group of consumers (opportunity). They also face the very real threat of competitive ‘giants’ with deeper pockets, more experience and more brand awareness (threat).
In this case the idea for Stitch Me Up would be to understand their limitations and focus on the unique value that only they can provide to that niche group. The value that the bigger guys are not giving them.
You might be surprised at what you learn about yourself and your business with such a simple exercise and I think it’s worth the time.
Free resources like the SBA can be of great help in developing a more detailed written business plan if you want to go that route, otherwise a super simple document with some of the fundamentals may suffice for the time being. Personally, I think somewhere in between those 2 options is a good place to start but I listed them here to give you more of an idea.
The bottom line is to understand your vision for this business and get some of the basics on paper so you have a guide and something you can refer to and improve upon as you go along.
Most of all, do your planning and get to work! After you’ve got the basics set up it’s time to get some customers buying…
Selling Your Own Products or Services
If you are selling your own creations then a good place to start might be your local markets and listing them on well known websites such as eBay, Amazon Hand Made, Etsy, Craigslist and other free websites.
If you are providing and embroidering service to people you might want to do some form of local advertising depending on your budget. There’s a lot of different options so get creative.
The most important thing you could be doing in conjunction to these things is getting your brand out there with your own website. Not only does this put you miles ahead of the competition but it allows you to tap into a constant stream of buyers coming straight to you. Rather than viewing your ad next to a thousand others in some of the channels I mentioned above you will have a chance to showcase your product or service in a much more favourable and direct way.
This builds your brand, limits your competition and drives targets buyers to your product or service every single day.
It’s also not as hard as you might think these days given how far technology has come. It’s literally a drag and drop process and there’s even platforms that help you get rolling for free and give you some training to get everything up and running.
An Alternative Business Model
This is where things get really exciting for those with more of a desire to start making money a lot quicker and easier. This still takes hard work and persistence, don’t get me wrong, but there are many advantages to this business model.
What exactly am I referring to?
I am talking about promoting other well established companies products and services for a commission doing what is known as ‘affiliate marketing’.
Companies like Amazon will pay you a commission for referring people to buy embroidered products, or any product for that matter. I had a look and there are tons of people buying this stuff on Amazon alone. The interest in this topic overall is increasing steadily and has been for the last 5 years as you can see in this is a screenshot taken from Google Trends:
Another company I found offering this kind of partnership is known as Aramark who specialise in commercial embroidery services within the United States. Every time you send a customer their way, you get paid.
There are millions of products you can promote and thousands of different companies you can partner with for free. There really is massive potential in this space for anyone willing to learn and take action and there are some very distinct advantages:
- No inventory
- No selling
- No staff
- Very little start up cost
- Earnings potential extends way beyond the embroidery niche alone
- Work from anywhere
There really is some great advantages to doing this but it does mean promoting other companies products, which some of you naturally won’t be keen on since you want to create stuff. This is for people interested in making money online as oppose to actually creating the products themselves.
But how on earth do you actually do any of this and where do you even start?
The way I personally got started building my first money making website promoting Amazon products was by following this exact process.
I hope this article has helped and if you have any questions or comments please let me know below!