There's No Business Like Sew Business
There's No Business Like Sew Business
There's No Business Like Sew Business

Last updated on 2015-01-12

About the Book

It all started with a crazy idea. Or maybe not that crazy after all. What if I were to move to Andalusia, Spain, and what if, instead of trying to find a job and continuing the way I was used to, I tried my luck doing what I love and set up my own business as a dressmaker?

There was only one way to find out.

In 2005 I accepted my first client order and created flamenco dance costumes for a group of students of a flamenco school. Of course I went to the theatre to see the performance and "my dresses in action". I didn't even see the group entering the stage. I fell asleep in my seat from utter exhaustion as soon as the lights went out and the show started.

In the years since then this litte business, still today a one woman show, has been the source of emotional moments of deep satisfaction, but not without its share of frustrations and stress. It has been paying the bills and taught me lessons I had no idea I needed to learn.

10 years after that first order felt like the perfect moment for looking back and taking stock. I review and share with you all aspects of my business (well, almost all - I won't go into tax and legal issues since these are vastly different depending on where you live), for each covering

  • what I have done
  • what, in hindight, I think I could or should have done differently
  • how things have changed over time
  • what, with today's knowledge and experience, I think is the best way of doing it

Topics covered include, not necessarily in that order:

  • Things to think about before you start or when things aren't going as expected
  • What to expect (and what not) 
  • Mindset you need
  • Equipment you need (and stuff you don't)
  • Knowledge you need
  • How to learn what you don't know yet
  • Much much money you need
  • Find your niche
  • Providing both - a product and a service: The art of making your client feel like a million dollars
  • How to get your first client
  • What about the competition?
  • How to price your work and not go hungry
  • How to get paid
  • How to deal with difficult clients
  • How to organize your work to make sure you get things done on time without working through the night (yes, that's happened on more than one occasion)
  • How to promote your business and get the clients you want
  • Pitfalls to avoid (stuff I learnt the hard way)
  • Language skills
  • Doing the books - harvest, invoicing, online payment, shopping carts
  • Working with clients
  • Garment design - mainly client: copy from photo, copy from existing garment, client's ideas, all with varying degrees of your involvement, OR your design - standard models or custom designs
  • Taking measurements
  • Remote clients - setting expectations, measurements, fabric choice and sourcing, payment, delivery
  • How to achieve understanding of the client's ideas, how to communicate, how to make recommendations or suggest design changes without making the client feel patronized, ideally they walk away thinking it was their idea
  • Fabrics - brought by the client or own suppliers
  • Zippers, notions, mercería etc.
  • Patterns - drafting individual or working off standard sizes, make or buy
  • Fittings - how to make sure you don't need many 
  • How to deal with indecisive and difficult clients
  • Fitting problems
  • Clients coming to the sewing studio or visiting clients
  • Sewing for groups
  • Sewing for children
  • Sewing for men
  • Payment schedules and payment methods
  • Pricing - pricing structures, how to give quotes that don't lose you money
  • To do or not to do - Alterations
  • Finding suppliers
  • Getting help - to hire or not to hire?
  • Website
  • Selling online
  • Social media (Pinterest!, facebook, twitter, instagram)
  • Email list
  • Things to consider for your growing business (how to grow - more quantity or higher quality)

So if you are thinking of earning money sewing, whether you are just starting out or want to take things to a new level, learn from my experience and save yourself time, money and frustration on the way to achieving your goal.

About the Author

Anke Herrmann
Anke Herrmann

Hello, I’m Anke Herrmann – dressmaker, programmer, translator, dog lover, with an addiction to learning.

I am from Germany and have lived in Australia and the UK before, in 2004, I decided to leave the corporate world behind, move to Spain and turn a dream into reality: to combine two passions of mine – sewing and flamenco – as a dressmaker for flamenco artists, creating made to measure outfits for professional flamenco dancers, singers and flamenco enthusiasts from Andalusia and all over the world.

Please check out my websites Flamencreaciones and Flamencodressmaking to find out more about my work.

You can also get in touch via Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Google+

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