I have been thinking about starting a kinko’s type sewingstore, where a variety of different machines, serger, long arm quilting machine,….are set up and ready to sew for a rental fee. Would you go to such a plce. What would you be willing to pay per hour. What kind of machines would be most important to you to have?
hmmm- i see pros and cons.
the concept is great, but i think it all depends on knowing your market really well.
most sewers are going to have their own machines, even if not great ones, so most people wanting to make quick or rare repairs probably know little or nothing about how to use one, or even thread it.
it sounds like a nighmare of overhead, personnel costs, and repairs (jammed by beginners in a hurry).i could more readily see a store that rents out machines and has a few staff doing walk-in alterations, and sewing classes. possibly sell new machines too.
you are really thinking 'outside the box"! good for you!
Take a look at the Sew Stylish website here.
Scroll down to this date - Thu, Jun 28 2007 and read this entry.
Seamsters Become Lounge Lizards
It has some links to some of the type places you are considering and might give you some ideas. I don't know how to give you a direct link to this entry but hope you can find it with what is here.
I've read about these sewing "studios". I think the presence of an expert would be essential for the success of a studio, and I think, for what my opinion is worth, the idea might draw college students and other people who don't have room for sewing machines and all the paraphernalia at home, but who know how to sew and want to use their skills occasionally. Perhaps you could incorporate msm-s's suggestions, too. Good luck with the idea, and I hope you keep us posted if you decide to carry it out.
Edited 9/17/2007 2:28 pm ET by Josefly
Unfortunately I do not think myself or any of the sewers that I know would utilize a store like you are thinking of. Sewing utilizes so many little objects...think of how many times you have actually sat and sewed for an extended period without running to your supply stash for this or that. With the possibility of purchasing new basic sewing machines and sergers so cheap, I think that you will find that people will purchase them and do it at their leisure at home. And the majority of those who would want to do more and use your more high tech expensive machines would not have the skill to manage them and you would either be doing the work for them with them looking over your shoulder or watching them jam up your expensive machines. Think of how many times you have walked into a dealer and he imediately said "Sit here and play with my best machines ." while he disappears. When I use the internet at the library I do not have access to anything other than the keyboard...I suppose it is for fear of jamming printers, fooling with settings, as much as to collect for copies.
How about a coffee shop with plenty of sewing magazines and books to browse and maybe internet access for easy online shopping while your customers are inspired and eat pastries or chocolate.
Interesting idea. I might find such a place interesting to gather with friends to sew and chat. One of our local sewing shops offers monthly get-togethers like that and they're fun. You'd need to have basic notions on hand for when your visitors run out of thread mid-project, but that shouldn't be a problem. I think the suggestion by another reader to have an expert in-house is a great one. Her time could be booked separately on an hourly rate for help with projects or special problems. Take a look at The Sewing Workshop in San Francisco. I think they have something similar. Cynthia
are you going to have every sort of sewing notion that someone might need on hand? or will the customer need to schlep all their tools with them. What about coffee, Ott lights, pins etc, Who cleans up the mess? will you have cutting tables, I don't know about others, but my sewing room is rather messy (putting it mildly) but things are at my fingertips where I want them, and a project can be left in the middle of construction for another day when I get tired of it.I guess what I'm saying is that I don't think it would work. I would feel pressured to not waste my time (money), hence more mistakes,
One top notch, high-end Fabric Store I used to frequent, back in the 70s, offered something a little bit similar, to what you are talking about.
They had an area in the basement of the store, with tables, and several kinds of sewing machines available. Somebody MUST have been kept busy cleaning it, because it was always bright and well kept. The machines were in perfect order. Every notion, you could possibly want, was at hand for your use. (Or you could bring your own).
This was all available at NO EXTRA CHARGE, with a fabric purchase. If I remember correctly, you just had to show your store reciept (less than a year old). You could work on whatever you wanted, by yourself or meet with friends. If you didn't purchase your fabric from the store, there was an hourly "Studio Fee".
The store had a seamstress on staff. As I remember, the one lady, I knew, had been a costume designer for some famous theater company, at one time, or another. Here is where the costs came in. If you wanted help, advice, or lessons from the seamstress, there was an hourly charge for her assistance. As I recall, though, it was QUITE expensive. I'm thinking $30.00 an hour, back in 70's. Gail
I think if you found the right market you could be very successful. If I could bring my own machine I would love to visit one of these places just to sew with friends in a non-sewingclass type environment. I sew at home alone and would love the interaction. Forums are nice but are no substitute for human contact. Machines need not be high-end, but I'm sure you don't want clunkers either. I am sure there are ways to deal with the cost of employees. Perhaps there are students at a local college that need community service hours and would be willing to volunteer at your store in areas where they are knowledgeable. I would hope that visitors would be more inclined to pick up after themselves since they aren't at home. Seniors who love to sew would probably be willing to volunteer their knowlege as well.
I think your biggest considerations will be:
-space for the tables, machines, breathing room for the visitors, etc.
-oh, and insurance as we live in a litigation happy society.
Overall, if there is a market where you live and you carefully put together your plan you just might be a success. Just remember to think about every little thing that could go wrong and have a plan for such mishaps.
Here's a blurp I found last week totally by accident; it's old but relevant-
Love it! Can our local fine fabric stores be far behind? Gail
I like the idea, but I'm wondering whether it would work unless it was combined with another type of business in the same location-- like a laundromat or cafe or business services or tutoring center or packaging/mailing center. Fabric stores and yarn shops are going out of business all over the country; it's hard to imagine a sewing shop could make it on its own.
In our college town, co-businesses that have complementary busy periods work well: tax prep/carpet cleaning or laundromat/cafe, laundromat/video, store video store/coffee shop. One is a hot dog stand at fairs in the summer/on a corner near campus during the school year. We have a computer store that shares its extra space with a local congregation that needs a meeting space.
Let us know if you start something!
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