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Sewing Lessons?

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Eranda posted 5/14/2014 19:40 PM

I am thinking about starting a sewing studio, where I can give lessons. I have 40 years of experience, in every area including women's, men's and youth apparel, interior decorating, costuming, tailoring, bridal, alterations, custom sewing, patternmaking, draping, etc.

I can teach beginners to advanced, kids and adults. I would have machines available and all the basic tools you would need.

I'd also like to set up a recurring "open studio" time when students (or anyone) can come and work on their projects for a small hourly fee.

I'm thinking about ongoing beginner to advanced classes, special workshops for things like zippers and pockets, single classes for holiday themed projects, kids' camps, etc.

There is nothing like this anywhere near my area, so I would have no competition.

However... I have no idea how to gauge demand, without diving in and trying it a little. And I have no idea how to set pricing, except based on how much I need to make to cover costs and income requirements.

I'd love to hear any thoughts on A) whether this even seems like a feasible idea B) how do I go about setting class fees? Advertising?

Let 'er rip...

Pentup posted 5/14/2014 19:41 PM

I think it is a great idea! Contact your local Small Business Administration. They can help you with all of the things you listed and mentor you through the process.

tushnurse posted 5/14/2014 20:03 PM

Your local Jr College should have classes for starting a small business. My MIL took a couple of these and opened her own business which ultimately gave her the ability to D her H.

She opened a stained glass shop. She was profitable in 2 years which is evidently what they tell you to plan for. She ran it for another 15 years and then sold it when she and her spouse were ready to retire.

Classes were a big part of what got her into the black. She loved it too.

We run a beekeeping business out of our home and do ok making a small profit. My H has a business degree and has set everything up. Im just a worker bee. Lol.

So if you know someone that has started their own business talk to them. Decide if you want this in your own home or need to find another location. Do you need start up finds how much would that be? Then do you need a loan to Start up?

MinorBee posted 5/14/2014 21:50 PM

There is a shop where I live that gives sewing lessons, quilting lessons, and self-design help.

They also sell high end fabric, sewing machines, and brag they have one of the last remaining factory-trained technicians in the US for a now discontinued line of fancy sewing machines for repairs.

Unless there is an untapped market for your type of classes in your area, you might have to be open to some type of expansion that involves selling more than just classes.

[This message edited by MinorBee at 9:51 PM, May 14th (Wednesday)]

tushnurse posted 5/15/2014 08:11 AM

Oh yeah, one other thing with my MIL. Her classes were taught in conjunction with the Jr College and the students received college credits. So see if you can arrange something like that.

cayc posted 5/15/2014 09:46 AM

God I would so be a customer of yours if you did this.

There's a community college near me that offers sewing lessons (it's a 12 week class) and the lady that teaches it has your background.

When I was a teen, I took sewing lessons at the local Singer store. They had a classroom in the back and me and all my friends went every Saturday.

Maybe to gauge demand you could approach a community college in your area and teach a class or two? That'd get your feet wet and give you ready audience.

lost_in_toronto posted 5/15/2014 11:09 AM

Check out the websites for two stores in my area to get an idea of what they offer. One is The Workroom in Toronto, Ontario; the other is Needlework in Hamilton, Ontario.

Both stores offer high end fabric, notions, classes and machines that you can rent. The Workroom has been around for four or more years. I am sure there are other places that operate on this model successfully, those are just the ones I know of.

I took a class at Needlework last year to brush up on my sewing skills. I have friends who take a lot of classes at the store in Toronto. There is a huge resurgence in sewing, some great blogs, and independent designers producing great patterns. If you can tap into that I think you've got possibilities.

Eranda posted 5/16/2014 20:53 PM

Well I've thought about this a lot, and the start-up costs wouldn't be terrible. I'd need some machines and a cutting table. Almost all of the rest of the stuff I already have.

I checked the local CC and they do offer some classes, but they are of the *extremely* rudimentary variety. I checked out the Etsy page of the teacher and let's just say... it was very home-sewy and not the highest quality work. But then... she really only teaches beginners. I would be able to offer much more advanced and varied instruction, I know that for sure.

MinorBee, I also thought that I could sell tools and materials that students would need, and perhaps also some used sewing machines that would be good for beginners.

I've had my own home business before, doing alterations and custom sewing- so I'm at least basically familiar with the protocols of business finance, taxes, etc.

I work weekends with a young woman who runs her own martial arts school. We work together tomorrow so I'm going to pick her brain about how she finds students, how she decides on curriculum, etc.

Also I've gotten in contact with another woman who runs a very similar business on the other side of the state. She's offered to talk to me about how she got started, how she runs her business, etc. That should be helpful.

I'm considering trying it out evenings and weekends for a while to see if I can build something- and then deciding if it's possible to go into it full time.

I don't like the idea of renting machines, but I do like the idea of opening up the studio for people to come use them there. So... sort of like a rental, just under my supervision LOL.

There's a lot to think about.

lostinthesouth posted 5/16/2014 23:16 PM

I would totally come to your class!! We don't have one in our area and I really wish we did! I think its a fantastic idea!! We have the local community section of the paper that lists all the classes offered for like stained glass, cake decorating, photography, etc but no sewing. So you could look to see if your local community center advertises for it. They list classes for Hobby Lobby and Michaels, etc here

Random thoughts posted 5/17/2014 17:20 PM

Check out for ideas and inspiration, they have patterns that you can download and a forum there too for questions and info.

Good luck with this ... I would also take lessons from you too.

Nature_Girl posted 5/19/2014 00:21 AM

My kids would probably spend their allowance to take lessons from you! LOL All three of them truly want to learn to sew as well as design their own clothes. All I'm good for is sewing on buttons or a raggedy hem.

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