Do you want to start an embroidery business from home? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting an embroidery business with NO money and no experience plus a sample embroidery business plan template. Embroidery has been a part of history for thousands of years; from embroidery on Egyptian Pharaoh’s robes to the Bayeux Tapestry—a record of the Norman Conquest of 1066 Ad.
Also from garment decoration in cultures around the world to today’s multifaceted use, embroidery has been there. But with the advent of computer technology, this particular styling process has become a profitable decorative solution for any fabric product. It is indeed true that venturing into the embroidery industry is a good business choice, especially based on the fact that over the last 20 years, the industry has grown steadily, and the growth continues.
If we look around us, we will note that embroidered goods are showing up practically everywhere, and their solid market appeal and durability guarantee their popularity for a long time to come. We believe that the embroidery market has a world-wide appeal, yet it has proven to be successful in even the smallest niche markets.
It is important to state that on a global scale, multi-national corporations use embroidery to adorn garments they manufacture, or to convey their company image on promotional items; while in the fashion world, embroidery brings beauty and value to men and women’s garments. Also on the local level, a bridal retailer may create a one-of-a-kind keepsake for a bride-to-be.
Embroidery business is one segment of the multi-billion dollar apparel decorating industry, and may be started from a spare room in your home if need be. From extensive research and knowledge, embroidery is simply the application of graphic designs to wearable goods and fabrics using a special sewing machine with multiple bobbins and needles for each thread colour.
In this business, Single-head machines give just a single garment to be printed at one time, while multi-head machines are used for larger production runs. Have it in mind that commercial machines are operated by computers with special design programs that guide the machines when embroidering patterns, and they need some skill to set up, operate and maintain before the work can be done.
17 Steps to Starting an Embroidery Business from Home
Table of Content
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
- 17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
1. Understand the Industry
This industry is made up of businesses that provide embroidery services to its customers. The embroidery process is just the use of a sewing machine that creates predetermined patterns on clothing and other textiles. It is important to state that these patterns can be designed using specialist software.
Research about this industry has shown that over the five years to 2017, falling unemployment levels and rising per capita disposable income have stitched away recessionary woes for the Commercial Embroidery Services industry. We believe that with a severe revenue reduction during the recession, businesses in the industry have experienced relief over the current period, as improving economic conditions have made unemployment in key downstream markets to soar.
We believe that despite their efforts, industry participants are expected to experience decelerated revenue growth over the five years to 2021. Analysis of this industry has shown that the Embroidery Services industry has a low level of capital intensity. Experts estimate that in 2017, for every dollar spent on wages, businesses in this lucrative industry will spend $0.07 on capital investment.
It is important to state that capital investment is mainly for replacement and improvement of machinery and equipment. But we believe that businesses in the industry are heightening their usage of leasing arrangements to finance greater capital expenditures. Reports have stated that over the past five years, capital intensity has increased, as businesses in the industry are increasingly attempting to stay competitive by investing in new technologies.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
Building a successful business that will stand the test of time takes motivation, desire and talent. It also takes research and planning. For you to succeed in a small business you need to start with decisive and correct opening moves; and although initial mistakes are not fatal, it takes skill, discipline and hard work to regain the advantage.
For you to become successful, you need to take time to explore and evaluate your business and personal goals. Then use this information to build a comprehensive and well thought out business plan that will help you reach these goals.
In this line of business, we suggest that you make it a paramount duty to dictate and make sure you develop strategic pacts with corporate organizations, advertising and branding agencies, and religious organizations et al. Outlined below is the list of sectors that are in need of or always need the services you are willing to provide.
- Banks, Insurance Companies and other related Financial Institutions
- Blue Chips Companies
- Corporate Organizations
- Manufacturers and Distributors
- Real Estate Owners, Developers and Contractors
- Research and Development Companies
- The Government (Public Sector)
- Schools (High Schools, Colleges and Universities)
- Celebrities, Politicians, Public Figures and Public Speakers
- Sport Organizations
- Religious Organizations
- Political Parties
- Television Stations
- Printing Press (Publishing Houses) and Authors
- Branding and Advertising agencies
- Aspiring celebrities
- Entrepreneurs and Start – Ups
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
Just by looking around, we can ascertain that individuals have taken advantage of today’s embroidery technology to create home businesses that are very convenient for them to manage. Indeed this can only be possible because we have a technology that greatly reduces the time it takes to embroider a material.
Also the advent of technology in this business has made it very easy, which means that the only time you will need to leave the house or workshop is when you need to buy supplies. Starting an embroidery business is a creative outlet and a fun way to make money, especially if you are retired or must stay at home.
If you are sure that you are ready to purchase a machine, then consider both new and used options. Most machines hook up to a computer and include some built-in software. Make sure the machine you purchase has a warranty along with training/support.
Consider your production goals and the types of materials you will be using. Finally, take your budget into consideration. You can always purchase a home machine now and upgrade to a commercial machine later. Niches in this business may include Free-motion machine embroidery, computerized machine embroidery, hand embroidery, sewing embroidery, Counted-thread embroidery, cutwork etc.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
This lucrative business is known to be among the major earners of any nation. Sewing machine embroidery designs help embroidery lovers a lot. When starting this business, it is advisable that you first of all go through the laws; we strongly advice that you check out for any laws regarding starting the business of embroidery in your local area.
The embroidery business is a high competition environment, and the key to attract more clients and achieve success in your business is to offer the latest technology to do the job. Embroidery digitizing allows embroidery companies to expand their possibilities and offer the best results to improve customer satisfaction.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
- Art Farm Embroidery & Design
- Hanneke’s Logowear
- Left Hand Promotions
- RR Donnelley
- Dai Nippon Printing
- Toppan Printing
We believe that the fabrics and yarns used in traditional embroidery differ from place to place. Wool, linen, and silk have been in use for thousands of years for embroidery. But in this our modern world, embroidery thread is manufactured in cotton, rayon, and novelty yarns as well as in traditional wool, linen and silk. Also note that Ribbon embroidery uses narrow ribbon in silk or organza, most commonly to organize floral motifs.
It is important to state that embroidery techniques such as chain stitch and couching or laid-work are the most economical of expensive yarns; couching is vastly used for gold work. Canvas work techniques in which large amounts of yarn are buried on the back of the work, uses more materials but provide a sturdier and more substantial finished textile.
Research has shown that in both canvas work and surface embroidery, an embroidery hoop or frame can be used to stretch the material and create even stitching tension that prevents pattern distortion. We have also noted that modern canvas work tends to follow symmetrical counted stitching patterns with designs coming from repeating one or just a few similar stitches in a variety of hues. This simply means that many forms of surface embroidery make use of a wide range of stitching patterns in a single piece of work just to perfect the work.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
For the sake of this article and from detailed research, there is more advantage in buying an Embroidery franchise instead of starting a new business from the scratch. Buying a franchise is not as easy as it seems, which is why we advise that you carefully evaluate the factors involved with buying a franchise, you need to do your research before deciding to commit yourself.
You should consider and verify that the business is the right fit for your personal and professional goals. Then when you believe the business rhymes with your life goals and vision, the assistance of a business broker will help the rest of the pieces of the process to fall in place and you might just become an owner of a Embroidery business without the stress of going from the scratch.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
One of the major challenges when starting this business is hoping you can make any kind of custom printed garments with computer generated heat transfers. A lot of new entrants in the industry often start with limited funds to purchase equipment and all necessary incentives. We have also noticed that a lot of heat press vendors and suppliers make it look like you can do just about anything with heat transfers and the truth is there are many things that can be decorated with heat transfers.
Also a lot of new entrants in this business tend to buy start up package without knowing the learning curve involved with the embroidery business. We believe that most people get start up kits with the promise of being able to raise extra income from home in their spare time. It can’t be denied that a lot of embroidery businesses started this way.
But you should also know that most of those start up kits end up lying dormant in storage without being remembered. This is the reason why we strongly advise that you take your time to learn from a professional in the industry. Keep calm and learn about the in and out of the industry and how best to navigate your business when you must have learnt it very well. Do not be in a hurry to start this business; you need to take your time for this business no matter how lucrative it seems.
Then the very third pitfall is to know how to begin a screen print. You need to create an artwork for embroidery, which is very different from other types of printing and if your art is not set up properly; indeed you will have a very difficult time getting the look you want in your printing. Have it in mind that artwork can make or break you in embroidery.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
After our extensive research, we have noted that when starting this lucrative business, you have just two legal structures that seem to suit the business squarely- sole proprietorship and the LLC. But have it in mind that the legal structure you choose out of the two should be based on the size and scale of your business.
Since your business is all about the income and interest of your clients, the LLC is the best legal entity for your business- be it small, medium or large. It is important to state that the advantage of creating an LLC typically outweighs any perceived disadvantages. They are;
- Protected assets
- Heightened credibility
- Limited compliance requirements
- Flexible management structure
- Few restrictions
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
- Everyday Embroidery Co.
- Best Impressions Company
- Thread style LLC
- Creative Shirts
- Custom Printing and Promotions
- Blue Sky Embroidery
- Favour Screen Company
- Southern Embroidery
- Embroidery Palace
- American Embroidery Co.
- Galaxy Embroidery
- Fire Embroidery
- Great Embroidery
- J Harding and Co.
- Manuel Designs Embroidery Co.
- JB T-Shirt Printing
- Design Express
- Pan Trading Co.
- Peerless Embroidery Co.
- Metro Embroidery
- Promo Vision Inc.
- Effective Play Designs
- Regal Originals Inc.
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
We believe that embroidery shop owners get to enjoy being creative while also blessing their customers with creative ideas and samples. Whether your shop does custom work on a contract basis or your sell embroidery supplies to customers, you have many details to keep track of.
Remember it is your duty as an independent entrepreneur to guide your shop, supplies, customers and employees by making sure you have the best business insurance to fit your particular business needs. The insurance your will be needing may include;
- Embroidery General Liability Insurance
- Embroidery property insurance
- Embroidery Equipment Breakdown Insurance
- Embroidery commercial auto insurance
- Embroidery umbrella insurance
- Embroidery Workers’ Compensation
- Embroidery crime insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
Imagine starting a business with your well thought out ideas only to have these ideas which serve as a bedrock for your business snatched from you. It will indeed hurt and move one into dubious means of revenge, which is why we strongly advise that you consider going for intellectual property protection to be able to protect your intellectual property.
Just like so many new entrants in the business world, you might think it is not important for your business, but note that filing for intellectual property protection for your embroidery business goes beyond protecting your company’s logo and other documents, but also protecting your investments, ideas, style and of course the name of your company.
If you want to file for intellectual property protection and also register your trademark in the united states, you have to start by filing an application with the USPTO. The final approval of your trademark is subjected to the review of attorneys as required by USPTO.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
There will always be need for you to show your customers how knowledgeable you are about embroidering; telling them and giving them the guarantee to trust you even without you asking for it. Have it mind that only professionalism coined from professional certifications can give you this platform, and each certification in this industry has its own set of rules and regulations and is granted by a professional career organization.
- ASPA Certified Embroidery
- Silkscreen Printmaking Training and Certification
- Certified Needlework Appraiser Program
- RSN certifications
- Certification Programs: Association of Sewing & Design Professionals
- Professional Embroidery Certification
- NANS Certification
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
When starting this business, we advise that you register yourself as a small business, and check with your Secretary of State about any licenses or registrations you need to have. The regulations are different in every state. Some legal documents you may need include;
- Articles of Organization
- LLC operating agreement
- Business license
- Business plan
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Financing is simply a set of monetary resources and credit that will be needed by a company, business, organization or individual for them to carry out a particular activity or materialize a project. From just the definition, we can ascertain the importance of finance in our business activities. We advise that you investigate reliable sources of funds which could be accessed. Possible sources include:
- Personal savings
- angel investors
- Bank overdraft
- Venture Capital
- Loans from family and friends
- Loans and grants
- Alternative funding source like Crowd funding
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Looking around our various residential or business areas, we will spot embroidery businesses or designing firms all around us. They can be noticed easily because it is hard to come across a business area that does not have embroidery business in modern America.
This business is a unique business that needs frequent human traffic to be able to succeed, which is why most embroidery businesses choose their locations using population density, average adjusted gross income (AGI) in that surrounding area, and proximity to their target market.
If you plan to be successful in this business, you need to make use of the same factors when choosing locations for your embroidery business. We also advice that you know the specific areas you are considering very well. At least knowing how many people have access to that location, what income level they belong to, their demographic and psychographic, and likely competition.
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
In this business, one of the biggest factors that will sure influence your success rate is your mind set. Having the mind set to solve every challenge on your own might not get you through in this business, which is why other business owners that look to outside resources for information and assistance will win when it comes to their profitability, success and growth. We also believe that when you remain isolated, you reinvent wheels that have been perfected by many other embroidery business owners.
This is important that you connect online, attend industry events, or check with the folks that sold you the machine and see what resources are available to you. Knowing how to manage your time will also go a long way in this business.
When you spend 45 minutes helping a customer decide on which shade of purple is “just right” for that baby blanket, you will quickly discover that you are losing money. Note that customers might want to take as much of your time as you let them, that is why you need to learn how to manage your time and ordering process so that you are serving their needs, answering their questions, and getting paid appropriately.
Also, if your business is small and you have a lot of time on your hands, you might be able to do it all on your own. However, you might want to talk with the following people first:
- IRS – Register your company and figure out if you need any licenses.
- Accountant – Make sure you know all about taxes, insurance and liability.
- Business assistant – Do you need to hire someone to manage marketing, customer service, orders and accounting?
- Suppliers – You need to know where you will be purchasing your materials and how to order quickly.
In terms of the equipment you will need for this business, you need to note that the size of your business will surely be a factor that decides the quantity of equipment you need. This business is unique and apart from just your embroidery machine and a computer, other things you will need may include;
- Computer software
- Stock embroidery designs
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
Note that no matter how hard or complicated you think an embroidery process is, it all starts with an idea or a piece of artwork. That artwork then has to be “digitized” which is the specialized process of converting two dimensional artwork into stitches or thread.
It is important to state that the digitizing computer software will allow numerous machines to embroider (stitch) the logo/design repetitively onto the various garments. Digitizing the image can be simple or very complicated (more expensive) depending on the size and detail of the image.
The process by which an image is digitized is when a technician uses a digitizing computer program that assists in accurately converting a logo or electronic artwork into a system of stitches that the embroidery machine can read. This digitizing process is a onetime process that is a science and also creative all in one stride.
It requires relatively clean artwork as a starting point; while, a business card, letterhead, or a decal will suffice as this artwork, camera-ready or computer generated graphics from a program such as Corel Draw or Adobe Photoshop may result in truer finished embroidery.
Moving to Production
While the digitizing process automates the machine stitching, a lot of the process continues to be hands on. We believe that before the sewing can begin, specific thread colours have to be loaded by hand into the machines. Not just that, a load of thread for each colour for each sewing head must be loaded too. Then the working machine is programmed by the operator to sew the design in a particular colour sequence and a particular sewing speed.
Even at that stage, the said garments must then be “hooped” individually, again by hand, and then loaded into the machine. Immediately the design has completed sewing, the garment is removed from the machine, un-hooped, and then sent to the next step in the production process. Note that the actual embroidery stitching consists of the following;
- Fixing the area of the garment to be embroidered in a device called a hoop.
- Attaching the hooped garment to the embroidery machine so that it can be embroidered.
- Removing extraneous stitches accumulated during the embroidery process and removing the backing material used to stabilize the fabric during embroidery (commonly referred to as “cutting, tearing, and trimming”).
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
A marketing plan is a document that gives a clear vision of what you want to achieve in your company, the time and the financial resources necessary to achieve the objectives and strategies of the company. It examines the current situation of the company, performs its analysis, studies the competition, and creates strategies and action programs to be implemented.
A well detailed promotional strategy gotten from the knowledge that was provided by the marketing plan, could determine the success or failure of your business. Ways to market your embroidery business may include;
- Building an attractive website
- Business networking and partnership
- Leveraging social media platforms and traditional advertising strategies
- Using marketing materials
- Using satisfied customers testimonies
17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
To succeed in this business, you need to be able to reach your potential customers so that they can access your services. Like it or not, this is vital, especially at the beginning. And then you will need a customer base to continue working, so it is essential to create an advertisement in traditional networks to capture the attention of visitors, promotion prospects or customers.
Creating a substantial advertising plan is the best and easiest way to boost your brand awareness. Advertising plan is a document that allows the dissemination of an advertising campaign in order to reach the target audience and ensure that it receives the advertiser’s message. Listed below are the factors you need to analyze in your plan to be able to have brand affinity that will take the industry by storm.
- Define the objectives
- Analyses the target
- Develop Strategies
- Establishing Communication Channels
- Determine Media
- Define formats
- Assign a budget
- Design a calendar/timing
- Analyse the plan-evaluation
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