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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: Sewanddairy
Date: 06-28-2006, 10:18 AM (1 of 2)
I have a question. I have wanted to start a design buisness. Designing and sewing custom made clothes for individuals. I have a few things I need to learn yet, and was wanting to take courses in these few things. I contacted the local college that offered what I wanted. They asked what my goals were, I told them and they told me not to even think about their school and that if I wanted to do that I would have to move to New York. That is the only place in the world that people do what I want to do.

Well, I do know better than that. But I do live in a small town where there are tons of alterationist. I have a hard time making money at that because they are a dime a dozen here. I am the only one that I know of to hold a associates degree in tailoring. Even members of my own family have started doing alterations and stuff just to try and put me out of business.

Anyway, I was wanting some ideas on this. This is what I really want to do and I do live fairly close to four large major cities, so traveling to there for a client is no problem. Getting my name out is the hardest part, but I think I can handle that once I am a little more confident with what I am wanting to learn.

My largest thing right now is not knowing what to charge for things. I have been told that I am way to cheap, to be as good as I am. But one I'm not sure about that, I have read tons of books on how to charge for your work, but all my figures come out way to high, and then another is that I don't have the overhead that most of the people around here have. I am doing this out of my home where most of the people in business around here rent. All my equipment is paid for, supplies and electricity is the only bills that I have for the business.

My ultimate goal eventually is to design clothes by using wool or cotton, what ever that I have spun and woven myself. I have got a few people wanting things with my llama wool, but have yet to come up with what they want. I have another person wanted a woven design, but have yet to get back with me on color details. I don't really think they care. :-)

Thanks for your suggestions.
User: Sewanddairy
Member since: 02-17-2006
Total posts: 5
From: Carol in ME
Date: 06-30-2006, 01:14 PM (2 of 2)
I work from home and have kept a day job. I live near one big city, but haven't yet found a customer base willing to buy custom-made clothes.

I have found that supplies, electricity, phone, advertising, heating my home when I'm here instead of "at work," travel to meet prospective clients, travel to buy supplies, amounted to about half of what I billed my customers. You should be looking into depreciation on your equipment, too. If you buy supplies over the internet, vendors charge S & H to you.

I once spent two hours consulting with a client who ultimately decided not to have anything made. Sometimes fittings "run long," sometimes I make mistakes, sometimes a fabric will be much harder to deal with than I expected, and I've already provided a good faith estimate to the customer, so I can't charge for the time it really took. Those high prices help mitigate these situations, so you can still make a profit.

Do you actually have llamas? Are they fun to have?
User: Carol in ME
Member since: 01-27-2003
Total posts: 105
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