Running an Embroidery Business

If you love machine embroidery and you own an embroidery machine, embroidery software, and some supplies like thread and fabric, then you may consider launching your own embroidery business. You can create embroidered items like t-shirts, hats, bags and more in the comfort of your own home and make money while doing what you love.

But, the question you should really be asking yourself is… is running an embroidery business really right for you?

Why run an embroidery business?

Running an embroidery business is a dream for many passionate embroiderers. It’s something that takes creativity, skill, and dedication to make it work. But, it can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling. Not to mention, embroidery is a fantastic way to make money.

Many people run embroidery businesses out of their homes. This can be a great way to make a living, as you don’t have the overhead costs associated with owning and running a shop. Plus, embroidery businesses allow for flexible working hours and can provide a steady stream of income.

A lovely space for a home embroidery business.
A lovely space for a home embroidery business. Photo provided by Candice Leonard and used with her permission. Find her at: for quilt fabric and for embroidery designs

What are the potential downsides of running an embroidery business?

Of course, there are some potential downsides to consider before starting an embroidery business. Like any other small business, embroidery businesses come with some inherent risks. It’s important to be aware of these before you dive into the embroidery business world.

Firstly, you’ll need to invest in a quality embroidery machine (most likely a multi-needle) and embroidery software, which can be costly. If you are not able or interested in digitizing your own designs, you should have a go-to digitizing service at your read. You’ll also need a variety of embroidery thread colors, a collection of embroidery fonts and a comprehensive set of stabilizers, plus all the essential accessories.

Before you start promoting your embroidery services or selling your embroidered products, you should take the time to master your embroidery machine. You don’t want to be struggling with your technique with the added pressure of producing sellable orders.

Another downside are potential mistakes. Embroidery can be a delicate process, and it’s easy to make mistakes that could ruin an embroidery project. For example, if you allow a customer to bring in items to embroider, what happens if you make a mistake? How will you replace it?

Holidays can be another challenging time for embroidery business owners. When demand is high, you may be working long hours during the busiest embroidery season. You’ll need to prepare for these periods ahead of time by stocking up on supplies and hiring extra help if necessary.

Running embroidery machines all day, every day, can be a bit lonely as well as taxing on your body. This may not be a problem for some embroiderers, but it’s important to keep in mind.

How do you start an embroidery business?

There are many issues to consider before you start an embroidery business. The first step is to figure out what type of embroidery business you want to run. Do you want to focus on offering embroidery services for corporations or businesses, creating embroidered items for individuals or special events, or sell one-of-a-kind embroidered apparel online, at craft shows or in a brick-and-mortar store?

Selling embroidery services

If you plan on providing embroidery services for businesses or events, you need to decide how to price your embroidery work. You may start by asking people in different geographic locations what they charge and then basing your rates on what you learn. Of course, you can always adjust your rates if they seem to high or too low.

Next, you should think about your policies. Are you willing to allow customers to provide their items? Or will you order all the blanks? What is your turnaround time? Will you add a rush fee to orders that require expedited production. How will you handle drop off and pick ups? Should you invest in a lock box outside your house so that customer exchanges don’t slow you down?

How will you communicate your services to potential customers? For example, what font choices and thread colors will you offer? Some embroidery business owners present this information on a Pinterest board, a PDF document or even set up their own website to help guide their customers.

Take some time to assess your local competition. If you live in an area saturated with embroidery businesses, you will need to figure out a way to differentiate yourself from others. Ask yourself – what can you offer that they don’t?

Running a service business requires a steady stream of customers. So, in order to survive, it’s imperative that you market your embroidery business! Spread the word about your services through social media, online directories, or word of mouth.

Selling embroidered items

if you plan on selling embroidered items, consider launching an Etsy store. It’s a great way to get your embroidery business off the ground and start selling your creations. When you sell items through Etsy, you can quickly see what people like and what they don’t.

Eventually you may want to build your own e-commerce website, but I would definitely start with Etsy before investing in your own site. Etsy brings traffic to you, but you will need to do a lot more work to get traffic to your own site. Nevertheless, having your own site brings you much more legitimacy as a business.

You might also consider selling embroidered items at craft shows. This is a great way to get your embroidery business out there and let people know what you have to offer.

machine embroidered items at craft show
Embroidered items on display at a craft show. Photo provided by Wendy Finnings and used with her permission.

Other things to do before you start an embroidery business

Obtain at least one multi-needle embroidery machine

If you want to start an embroidery business, the first thing you’ll need is a quality embroidery machine suitable for running a home embroidery business. Most embroidery business owners run at least one multi-needle embroidery machine. You should make sure that whatever machine you invest in, you have someone who can service it nearby and you know how to perform basic maintenance on your machine(s).

Set up your space

You will need a bit of space to successfully run an embroidery business. If you plan on embroidering items yourself, you will need enough space for an embroidery machine, a computer and the necessary accessories. Before you commit to a space, make sure it’s somewhere you don’t mind spending a lot of time. An attractive space with a good organization system will make your work much more pleasant.

Invest in quality supplies

It’s important to invest in high-quality embroidery supplies so that your embroidered products turn out looking great. It’s not worth the cost savings to embroidery with cheap thread if it’s going to continually break on you.

Get the proper business licenses

Before you start an embroidery business, check with your local government to determine what kind of licenses or permits you need. You will need to register your business and collect sales tax on the income you earn.

Get organized

Organization is key when running an embroidery business. Keep your customer orders organized and make sure you have a system in place for tracking your inventory. Organize your embroidery designs and fonts so you can easily locate exactly what you need to produce your orders. This will ensure that you can quickly and easily access all the information needed to properly manage your embroidery business.

So, are you ready to start your embroidery business?

Overall, embroidery businesses can be very rewarding and profitable. However, they do come with some risks that you should be aware of before taking the plunge. With dedication, skill, and thorough research, embroidery could be a great way to make a living.

Check out some more tips for running an embroidery business