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Home base business

peaches | Posted in General Discussion on

Hello all

First time on the  board. I have 20yrs of sewing experience doing alterations and custom sewing for family ,friends and other clients via word of mouth.I am living in canada and really want to start a home base business, but with the zoning laws ,taxes etc I often find myself wondering If I an ready to take the plunge. I have even thougth  about  making sample garments to  show to boutiques. Does anyone see where  i am going with this ? Need advice and lots of it. HELP


  1. FitnessNut | | #1

    Whether or not its worth starting a home-based business will depend, in part, on where you live. As you mention, taxes and zoning laws will govern if you can even have a home-based business. Where do you live? It should be fairly easy to find out the rules for your municipality on the web.

    FWIW, I just moved from Sherwood Park, Alberta, where I operated a custom design and sewing business for four years. To obtain a business permit, I was required to submit an application incuding a floor plan of my home showing my work area. There were rules about how many clients could visit at any one time and my operating hours. Applications were listed in the local paper and neighbours had the right to input their views. However, it was inexpensive....the fee of $150 covered my business permit for three years. There are income tax deductions covering the use of a home for business purposes. You will need the same square footage calculations to assess these.

    If you are serious about starting a home-based business of any sort, you need to do lots of research. You can't make an informed decision without it. That is the best advice anyone could ever give you.


    1. raven2run | | #2

      Peaches~I think I may understand what you want to do. I would strongly suggest finding others who are already successful at what you want to do and make an appointment letting them know why you want to see them, and pick their brains for starters. I think you will find there will be those happy and willing to make time for you and offer good advice with could be invaluable. Also be ready with clear questions, but don't be shy about what you don't know. That's why you'll be there. Also, at least in the states there are usually county small business groups set up to assest with much to offer in support in many ways. You should be able to find them online or in the phone book under state or county business under small business. I have found the magazine "the Crafts Report" to be an excellent resouce.

      I tell you this because I had a similar back ground as yours and tried to start off on my own many yrs ago (with no help) and fell on my face big time. I was very talented and driven and my work was popular. But I wanted to make a better living off my work and had great visions. Ultimately I lost all inspiration even to desin, much less sew..and I lost my muse in the process. I had no idea that was even possible and it was devestating.

      Thru the yrs I considered how and why this happened and what I could have done differently. So what I offer in talking to others is extremely important in finding out if it is really what you are ready for. I think writing down everything you want to accomplish in advance in detail would help. Also be such to take notes in these interviews or right after. Get a book on business planning. That can be a reality dash of cold water, or you may find it inspiring. But either way it will help you get clearer how you want to proceed. 

      What I was REALLY not ready for were the demands of the market and demanding individuals. For myself, that was the hardest to deal with in trying to go "professional" in a larger market and ultimately was what pulled the rug from under me. My biggest problem, which may not be yours, was I did many one of a kind pieces. Sewing was more than anything an avenue for my designs. I was not ready to mass produce the same design over and over for long. As well, many individuals who really didn't know me or understand my motivation would tell me what they wanted me to make..basically wanting me to be their seamstress. All in all it would eat up my time when I wanted to be designing other pieces and was less than inspiring.

      I also found many store owners and individual wanted to tweek my designs, ask for different cloth etc etc to their liking or ask for something I was not interested in making at all. There can be a strong lean to turning you into a seamstress..not a designer. It can be really difficult to deal with. Also what do you do with items that don't sell? Can you afford that? Utimately if you step into a bigger market and you have a popular design, if you want to be more than a seamstress, you have to hire one or more seamstresses..and ofcourse that costs and finding the right people can be a can of worms. Do they have their own machine, do they sew well, can they do what you ask in a reasonable time? If you decide to go that way, one possibility is to set your business up as a co-op. I always thought with the right people and ideas that could be a great way to go..on a more positive note.

      I tell you all this, not to stop you, but offer some thoughts you may not have considered. To get larger means you must become a "business woman". This is a whole skill in itself that may require a leap you may need to educate yourself about before taking, to see if you really have the head (and money) for it.




      1. raven2run | | #3

        Peaches~Hope you have looked at the "Home sewing business" above your post. Alot of good info I could have used and not so drear.

  2. soph | | #4

    Hello to all threads readers!

    This is a very interesting topic for me at the moment. I am a fashion design graduate with experience in boat making and upholstery. I have been making slipcovers as a primary business for almost two years now. I have recently received a contract to write a "how to" slipcover book, and it is my hope that it will be thorough enough so that an able sewer and fitter could start a business. I would love feedback and project suggestions.

    This book won't be due out until 2007. You can also visit my website http://www.tailoredslipcovers.com (must be typed in the address bar- not googled) and email me via the contact button.

    thank you

    sophia sevo

    Edited 12/30/2005 10:30 pm ET by soph

  3. KathleenFasanella | | #5

    I realize this is an old thread but I was fed a link to it so this is for anyone who ends up here like I did. Peaches wrote:

    "I have even thougth about making sample garments to show to boutiques. Does anyone see where i am going with this? Need advice and lots of it. HELP"

    There's tons of people starting clothing lines like this everyday. However, while basic business books are useful, none of them cover the science and process of manufacturing; it's a whole other animal. Not hard and you have skills so it'll be easier but you must know buyers expectations before you approach them. I recommend visiting Fashion-Incubator.com. There's over 1400 entries, nearly all about how to start a clothing line. That should be your first stop to explore your options before you buy anything.

    1. Gloriasews | | #6

      Ah, Kathleen - you're back!  It's been awhile since we've heard from you.  This has nothing to do with this thread, but I've been trying to find on your website the item you had in Gatherings several months ago (yes, I searched the archives) about the Minott pattern adjustment for knock knees.  You had diagrams posted on these threads, but I was in a hurry that day, so I didn't print it & meant to get back to it.  When I did a week later, I couldn't find it.  Do you have it on your website someplace where I couldn't find it?  :) 


      1. KathleenFasanella | | #7

        You know, I think those notifications about postings expire. I depend on those to remind me to come back. This forum is kinda quirky anyway, so 1995. Issue: I'm glad you missed me but I think you have me confused with somebody else. I have the Minott books because Robbie says I'd like them and she even put me in touch with the author but I just never "connected" with the material. Don't know why that was. I've never written about it on my site. Sorry! That reminds me, I wonder how Robbie Fanning is doing these days. She said she was retiring to start a third career (writing for parents to teach their kids to write better) but haven't heard anything about that. Maybe she's just taking it easy. She is prolific. I should call her.

        1. Gloriasews | | #8

          Thanks for replying, Kathleen.  I was SO sure it was you who posted copies of the Minott pages about the knock knee adjustment, but, since I've not been able to find it in the Threads archives, either.  I know that it was in a thread that had nothing to do with knock knees, so I checked them all from that time.  It was something about (I think) cutting the pants pattern at the knee & moving it 1/2" to the side, but I'm not sure which side.  Logically, it would be to the outside of the leg, as that is the way the knock kneed leg goes, then drawing the inseam  straight down & straightening out the side seam.  It's been bugging me ever since I saw it & I'm kicking myself for not having printed it at the time.   Maybe it was Robbie who posted it.  O well . . .


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