An enjoyable and rewarding career

There are many things one can do in sewing. Therefore, the first step is to decide what type of sewing you enjoy most. Following are some of the sewing businesses one can choose from:

l Custom sewing: Also known as custom clothier or custom dressmaker, your job is to sew garments for individual clients.

l Custom designer: A designer is a step above the dressmaker, as you sew for individual clients using your own designs, rather than sew from patterns. A custom designer may have a wider market as you can sell your designs to stores and boutiques.

For both the custom designer and custom clothier, there are numerous areas of specialisation one can enter, such as formal wear, children's clothing, men's wear, dance wear, costumes, choir robes, women's wear, high couture clothing, intimate apparel, plus-sized clothing, sewing for the handicapped, etc.

lSewing for weddings: The bridal business is one big business you can tap into. Many seamstresses make a very good living focusing on the creation of wedding gowns and wedding accessories.

l Sewing for the home market:. Home decors and accents also provide a big market for the home sewing business. You can focus on sewing custom window treatments, including draperies and curtains, slipcovers, specially-made pillows, shower curtains, bed covers and other bedding materials.

l Sewing crafts: Here your creations range from shoulder bags to toys.

l Alterations business: Here your services range from sewing a seam to replacing a zipper. Alterations can be a profitable business as many people have something hanging in their closet that needs repair. They become your customers because they either have no idea how to do it or don't have time to do it.

l Sewing for pets: This is a growing segment, and you can create horse blankets, clothes for dogs and other pets.

l What are the starting costs?:

To launch a sewing business, you will need a reliable and versatile sewing machine and other sewing equipment.

If you don't have the equipment, you can buy the best you can afford, even if it is second-hand and upgrade as you gradually grow your business. Good equipment goes a long way in making work easier and assures good results.

Your major investment for this business is the sewing machine. Sewing machines prices vary, depending on the make and design. Check out the different brands and models, and what they can do and how well they function.

Other equipment you will need are measuring tape and rulers, shearing and cutting scissors, pattern markers, needles, threads, and others.

You also need to purchase a full-length mirror to check on an individual garment and to keep aware of what looks well and what does not.

Another important aspect in running a business is cash-flow, and if you cannot manage that properly, your business is more likely to fail. One way of avoiding failure is making sure your pricing is right.

Your potential earning will depend on tasks and garments. You must check out what your competition is charging or what the prevailing rates in your neighbourhood are.

You do not want to price yourself out of the market, yet you should strive to compensate yourself properly. Avoid giving your work away or pricing it too low. Charge enough in order to make a decent income for your time and also make profit.

The most important considerations in setting your price is the time you think you will spend to complete the project and the cost of materials.

Be sure to discuss all costs with your customer prior to beginning work, from the kind of fabric to be used, to the buttons and zippers. You won't like to find yourself financing a customer because you did not price correctly.

Some clients provide the fabric, while in some cases you will be tasked to choose the material. Consult with the client every step of the way to avoid conflicts and unsatisfied clients. Draft contracts for costly jobs and don't start working until it is signed.