-Written by Connie Smith
“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together”
Chances are, you know of at least 1 other person that does embroidery for fun, we’re starting to see more and more people starting to embroider as a hobby nowadays. Fortunately for some, that hobby can become a means of making money! Sounds pretty incredible, doesn’t it? If you’re a passionate embroiderer the sound of making money while doing what you love probably has you drooling in aw! Starting a business in the home embroidery industry isn’t always easy and can be very challenging… but if you work hard and stay committed, it can be very well worth the efforts you put in!
Setting up Shop for Your Home Embroidery Business
One of the first issues one might face when just starting out is where do I set up shop? Unfortunately, when starting a business most of us are not loaded with cash! Leasing an office / retail space is almost always out of the picture… So in this article, we’re going to show you how you can easily set up your own embroidery workspace at home without taking up much space!
For many people starting out in embroidery, setting up in a spare bedroom is the most economical way to get a business up and running. If you don’t currently own the property you’re living in, you may not want to remodel a bedroom knowing that you will move into a new location sooner or later. Instead of remodeling an entire room we are going to be taking advantage of the closet!
Setting up an embroidery workspace in your closet can save you tons of space and help to keep a small area uncluttered. If you’re creating physical items that you plan on sending to your customers and making a profit with your embroidery, it’s more than likely you will have numerous embroidery tools and items to store. Keep in mind you will need a majority of these items close by as you will be using them on a regular basis.
Organizing Your Work Space:
Thread, stabilizers, hoops, orders to be done and ones ready for pickup are just a few things to find a place for. Most bedrooms have a two sliding door closet. You can remove the doors for easy access or keep them on to hide your work area while you are not working. This is a huge benefit behind setting up in a closet, unlike dedicating an entire room to your workspace, it’s easy to close the doors and keep out of view!
By dividing your work area into three sections you can have all the materials that you’ll need to fulfill orders close by. I would recommend using the first section for stabilizers, the second for items to be embroidered and some space for supplies, and the third for your thread stash (don’t lie, we all have one 😉). This is only my recommendation so feel free to organize your work area according to your own space and needs!
Let’s start with the stabilizers. When you’re embroidering to make profits it’s important to remember that every penny counts! You don’t have to buy lots of different sizes of precut pieces of stabilizer. Buying in rolls is usually a more cost-effective option, plus you can customize sizes yourself with the rolls!
Placing wooden dowel rods for hanging the rolls of stabilizers will keep them up giving you easy access to them and making them extremely easy to cut. Having both white and black in cut-away and tear-away is the ultimate way to go. A few precut sizes that you use all the time can be stored on shelves below the rolls.
As I mentioned earlier, when starting a business, you want to save as much as possible! Watch for local and online specials and buy your rolls of stabilizer when they are on sale. Sometimes buying a bigger roll is really the best buy. If you’re looking to order online, most online supply companies give free shipping for orders over a certain amount so why not wait until you have a large enough order and save on shipping? Here’s an example of a layout for the stabilizer portion of your workspace:
Materials to Be Embroidered:
Having a few different T-Shirts, hoodies, hats, among other items you can embroider on and sell in high quantities is going to be a big portion of how you make your money. Therefore it’s important to always have some on hand. Do your best to keep track of what items, sizes, and colors you are using the most of. Again thinking with your wallet and buying them when they are on sale saves you money and will also save you time when you need the items in a hurry! If you are purchasing shirts/hoodies in one color but different sizes, you can turn the shirts in a different direction so you know how many of what size you have on hand.
Now because we’re working in a smaller space, organization is key! You will need a designated space for machine supplies and items such as machine oil, spray adhesive, scissors, extra thread socks, stitch erasers, hooping stations, and other tools. I can’t stress enough how important it is to be organized! Misplacing items can really put a bullet in your productivity and workflow!
Having a space for orders waiting to be embroidered should always be out of the way so they don’t get mixed with the orders you are already working on. When all items ordered for a particular customer have arrived place them in a box with the order number or name of the customer and store them until you are ready to work on that order. Do the same with orders you have completed, keep them separate from items you are waiting to work on! You really don’t want to start mixing up orders as not only will it make your job a lot harder and more stressful, but if you mix up orders you won’t have happy customers! Make sure all boxes are marked so finding what you want when you need it will be easy to do. I’m sure you can agree not being able to find something, where it should be, can be quite frustrating!
Here’s an example of how you could set up this section of your workspace:
Now that we’ve covered the other two sections of the closet, all we’re left with is the thread!
Here’s a helpful thread tip for you: many people aren’t aware but the best way to store thread is hanging it in an area away from light and dust. If you have it where the sun hits it, it can cause your thread to dry and it will cause more thread breaks while stitching. Also keeping it as close to the same temperature consistently can add to the lifetime of your thread. If the thread warms up then cools down, it may not get completely dry before it gets hot again. This can leave the thread down inside of the cone damp and cause it to rot away. Try your best to keep your thread in a dry area free of dust and light.
A great way to keep your thread organized is by either purchasing or creating your own pegboard! Having a pegboard to organize your thread is incredibly helpful as it not only gives you easy access to your thread but also gives great visibility of your colors. I would recommend putting your “every day” threads on the pegboard board and store other threads such as metallic or rayon in a separate area.
These are just a few ideas of ways you can use your closet as an embroidery workspace. The best way to design your space is to measure your space then draw a “to scale” picture of the space and then divide that into the spaces you will need. This way you will be sure everything will fit before you place dividers and shelves. You may even be able to move your entire setup to your new space when you move.
Starting a business takes a lot of time, dedication and hard work. However, if you love the work you’re doing you’ll never work a day in your life. Want to learn more about how to make money with embroidery? Check out our Facebook live streams on how to make money with embroidery! To watch part 1 covering “how to price your machine embroidery for profits”, click the link below!
For part 2 covering “finding your embroidery niche”, the link below!
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Good luck with the start of your business! The next step of your Embroidery Legacy, starts here with ours.
**Please note: this blog was written by the newest Embroidery Legacy contributor Connie Smith! Connie is an expert embroiderer and has been both an educator at commercial shows and a contributing writer in trade publications for over 30 years. If you’ve enjoyed this article, have a question or just would like see more articles written by Connie, please let us know in the comments section below 🙂