How to Start a Successful Embroidery Business from Home | Embroidery Business Plan for Beginners
Curious how you can start an embroidery business from home? Are you a stay-at-home-mom who it's trying to develop a small business for an additional income? Are you wondering if embroidery is a profitable business?
We try to answer all these questions in this article by covering all you should do to start a successful embroidery business from home. You have to start by making a business plan.
So let's dive in!
#1. Understanding embroidery.
If you are a beginner in embroidery, watch videos and articles about embroidering with a machine. This is the first thing you need to do. Search for tutorials, opinions, see what embroidery is about. There are embroidery tutorials for beginners online like how to embroider a t-shirt, a towel, leather or even wood.
#2. What products to sell
If you already have a domestic machine or you worked in embroidery before but want to get to a new level, the first thing you need to decide is what products to sell. This applies for beginners too, after understanding what embroidery is and how it works.
Spend time researching in the market what sells best, what is trendy, what sells seasonally, what sells no matter what.
Think about what people actually search, what products you need to embroider.
Online, if you are just beginning, use search engines to tell you what people want. Think about an embroidery product and type it in a search bar. The search engine will suggest you what people search, related to what you type in.
Don't think about what you like, think about what customers like, because having a business and being successful is about identifying what people in your niche actually search for.
Be careful of trademarks and copyright. Normally you are allowed to digitize designs created by artists who offer commercial use but only for physical products. Also pay attention to trademarks, words that are registered for different products. Stay away from Nike, Disney and other big names. You are not allowed to use their names or their logos and cartoons. As a hobby you can use it for yourself or friends but to sell products you can have serious problems if you get sued or your online shop is closed.
#3. Where to sell
You can sell products online and locally.
Online you can sell products on Etsy and Amazon or any other big platforms.
Locally you can target schools, sport teams, businesses who usually buy in big bulk.
#4. What machine should I choose?
If you found a niche and what products to sell, it's time to think about the machine. What budget do you have, what projects do you intend to do, do you have the space to do it, who are your customers, are you selling locally, online or both?
Domestic embroidery machine
If you are just starting, investing a lot of money into professional machine might not be a good thing. Depending on what you want to do, choose a machine with a hoop size that will fit all your projects. For example, if you start with a machine that has the maximum hoop size of 5 x 7, later you cannot add a bigger hoop, you'll have to change the machine.
Professional multi needle machine
If you already sell a lot and just want to optimize your costs, then you need a professional multi needle machine maybe with multiple heads.
#5. Digitize yourself or paying for digitizing?
For embroidery business you will need embroidery designs. You can make these yourself, you can hire someone to make it for you, or buy pre-made embroidery designs.
Learn to digitize
Learning to digitize takes time and practice but it’s great, because you can learn many things about embroidery settings. You can adjust the designs exactly for the fabric to be stitched. But you need to spend time learning and practicing. And also need to pay for digitizing software.
Hire a digitizer
There are many great digitizers out there. Choose one that has experience and recommendations from other embroiders.
Buy premade designs
There are digitizers, including ourselves, that make embroidery designs ready for different projects. You need to choose digitizers with reputations, because not all designs out there are OK. It's a great and cheap resource of designs. But depending on the project you are making, take a look at how dense the design is, because you might like a design but it might not work for your project.Check how it's constructed. If not sure, ask the digitizer.
After you decide what niche you want to address and the products you intend to make, look for tutorials on how to embroider correctly. Buy supplies and make tests. At the end, choose what works best for you.
For example, for a shirt, you can use different stabilizers. Depending on what you want to stitch, you might choose differently for cost optimization. This is why it is very important to test your products until you find the correct settings.
#7. The space to work
Depending on the size of your business you might need space. Again, this can be a room in your house or it can be a big rented space.
#8. Time of work
When you master making the articles you want to sell, it’s time to calculate how long it takes for you to make one and more. Think about how much you would like to be paid for your time or if you have an employee calculate his/her salary.
Next, think about the profit for your business. How much money would you like to make in a year? Be realistic.
#10. Marketing for your business.
You need to understand that this is very important and you need to advertise your business so people find out about you and build trust.
There is a paid and organic advertisement.
The paid advertising
This is when you pay someone to advertise you, like an affiliate, influencer, google, facebook ads, etc
The organic advertising
You must be present in an online environment as well as local. Try craft shows to make yourself known. Create a website and blog with information that actually helps your customers. Blog about lists of gifts in your niche, how to take care of embroidery, how to wash it, etc
#11. How to sell to be profitable?
First you need to calculate the price for every item you embroider. Per individual and if you make more, in series. Usually bundling products for the same order is more profitable than making one. The price for embroidery will be lower, too. You win, but also your customer.
Offer multiple items, like a gift box, if you sell customized items online. Or, if you embroider shirts, make for mom and baby, dad and baby, family, etc. Or add a hat to the shirt and maybe a keychain or even a patches. And, of course, test what works best.
You need to know what the average price of your competition is. You don’t want to be lower, because lower, usually, is not profitable and your business won’t survive. Try to attract clients by offering original items, make them feel special and they will return and also recommend. But this doesn't mean to be cheap. The client who respects your work will pay what you ask for, because they value your work and expect to pay for it. Of course, this means that you must offer quality services.
#13. Have patience
A business is not going to grow fast. Or maybe you are going to be very lucky and it will. Usually it takes at least 1 year of hard work to see growth. You need to have money to cover expenses for that year. Then other years to be satisfied with the outcome. So be realistic when setting goals. But if you work hard and put your heart in it, you will surely succeed.
Business plan example:
So let’s say I will start an embroidery business tomorrow. What would I do?
First I would look at what embroidery is about and try to understand as much as possible.
After I am familiar with the concept of embroidery, multi or single needle machine, embroidery hoop size, stabilizers, needle types, density, etc I start looking at what embroidered items people are searching for.
Locally I can ask other embroiderers about their business, go to craft shows and look at what they are selling the most.
Online, I use the word “embroidered” and see what google recommends. I choose “embroidered patches' '. Next it gives me “custom embroidered patches”, “patch creator online” and “custom patches no minimum” . I check the first page and I don't see a patch creator where people can choose from different shapes and add elements and text. So why not making multiple patches shapes and sizes, then create elements that would work for different themes like outdoor, sports, teams, halloween, Christmas. With customers to be able to select different shapes and text to create their own patch? Something simple like a football shaped patch and a name.
Wouldn't that be something?
And who said to do this only with patches? Imagine shirts, hats, towels, coasters, sweaters, etc.
I am not saying that this is something I know for sure it would work. There are many things that could make this idea not working for you. I just saw that people search for those terms.
I can invest in a domestic embroidery machine, so I can use that just to test the market before making a big investment.
I will also need embroidery designs. I search for patch shapes. I also look for themed bundle designs, like golf or football. Elements that would fit in my patch. I would buy bundles because it’s cheaper. Then I would buy some cute fonts that work with the free version of Embrilliance.
I will need a website that supports uploading images and creating customizable designs by the client. In the process, I would master creating perfect patches combining texts and elements so I am prepared for actual orders to happen.
After I decide what to start with, I need to calculate my expenses. To do this I can use the Embroidery price calculator.
For now I choose a domestic machine that allows me to stitch patches as big as 8’. I know that I can make multiple patches in one hoop if they are smaller so I use this to cut my costs on time and supplies like stabilizers.
At first I will get a few orders. I would bulk them in one hoop to optimize costs. I can sell one for less by doing this. But I verify the competition to not price too low or too high.
I would use Amazon or Etsy to sell and promote my products especially in the first year as my website doesn't have any visits.I would use social media to promote my work, create videos about how to use the patches, how to iron them, and how to personalize clothes.
I would search to see what are the trends, I would make more and more themes for the patches.
I would ask for reviews from my customers, bad or good. This is how you learn.
In the long term, if everything works great, I would buy a professional machine, hire people to help me and start offering other customizable products like keychains, shirts, hats, etc.
As a conclusion:
- Learn about embroidery,
- Research for what products to sell,
- Choose a machine that has a hoop that will fit the products,
- Practice and master making the products you intend to sell,
- Find how much to price,
- Be smart and bundle products,
- Look at the competition,
- Have patience.
Of course there are many other aspects you need to think about yourself because every business is different. But this is the structure I would choose for an embroidery business, actually for any business.