Business Start Up

The Benefits of Starting your Own Embroidery Business!

Because we appreciate how important it is to have the right information when you’re looking to start up your own embroidery business, we have put together a comprehensive guide to assist you in the initial start-up stages of your venture:

Why start an embroidery business?

There are many reasons as to why someone might want turn their much-loved needle craft hobby into a business, like pursuing your passion of working with an SWF Embroidery machine!  But in reality, the main intention is to provide an additional source of income; the flexibility of working your own hours, from home – be that full-time or part time; or to simply to be your own boss. Many people continue to work or study while getting the business off the ground or use it as retirement income.

As a business venture, embroidery is undoubtedly an ideal start-up satisfying the criteria of low set-up costs and overheads. The venture can be operated from home or out of a small rented facility, and only a few staff are required at the outset.  However, any new business needs a plan, and the same applies for those wishing to enter the embroidery market. You can dedicate all the time and effort you choose but it is fundamental to get the foundations right before you start to build. With the right advice, the right machinery, and proper training anyone can start an embroidery business, so here a few tips to get you going.

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What you need to start an embroidery business

While starting a small business requires determination and motivation, it also unlocks the potential for financial security and allows you to use you own skills and knowledge in an inventive and stimulating way.

If you are looking to buy a new professional embroidery machine for business, it has to be lucrative. Embroidered garments made a big comeback on the catwalk in 2016 and it looks as though this trend is here to stay.  All types of businesses and organizations buy decorated goods to help build and foster brand identity or convey a message. Potential customers can cover all industries, including:

  • Small independent businesses and large corporate companies: Work wear, uniforms, gifts or promotional items.
  • Members clubs, societies, organizations and sporting clubs: Team jerseys (cycling, football, rugby etc), training kits, badges and promotional items.
  • Specials events: Sporting events, festivals, concerts.
  • Public Sector – Schools, universities, local authorities

In order to establish a successful business, you need to thoroughly understand your target industry before you start investing.  For that reason, we’ve complied a straightforward Embroidery Business Start-up Plan which will assist you through the thought process and help you to make informative decisions.

Embroidery Business Start-up Plan

You will need to:

  1. plan your embroidery business by setting your goals, researching equipment and software and planning your work space.
  2. price your embroidery, including the creation of an embroidery price list, production schedule and your projections and cash flow statement
  3. market your embroidery business firstly at local level, then by selecting your market niche and creating your marketing materials
  4. create your business plan and your 12 months marketing plan, adding your projections and cash flow statement
  5. learn how create delightful embroidery designs using DRAWings 8 Pro Design

How do I discover my niche market?

Consider your personal interests – think about what you are passionate about. Perhaps it’s wildlife, cars or sport. You may study astronomy.

Irrespective of your hobby, this approach could provide you with potential markets that could be developed based on your specific pastime. And while you probably won’t restrict your business to such a narrow market, it could make it easier to get your new business up and running. If you are enthusiastic about something, others will be too. People are not as price-sensitive when it comes to purchasing goods associated with their passion, so there are clear-cut advantages to adopting this approach. Developing an understanding of your customers needs will then allow you to move on from there.

Who makes all of these embroidered and printed goods?

While most of today’s embroidered fashion apparel that you find in retail chain or department stores is produced by larger companies, it’s the smaller local shops that tend to create the lion’s share of personalised embroidered items, including promotional products, school wear, work wear, custom-made furnishings.

Most local businesses would prefer to work with some they know and trust locally rather than outsource to a large out-of-town organisation, where the only interaction occurs over the phone or online, and this is where you come in!

Who will your embroidery customers be?

The key to establishing a lucrative embroidery business is targeting the market that best suits your skills, abilities and interests. In order to do this, you need to fully understand your business, the market your trying to sell to and most importantly, yourself. Maybe you already have a connection with your child’s school or local businesses in the area.

A lot of our customers have started by going after the business they are best-connected in: their children’s school, equestrian fans or even simply local businesses around their areas.

Here’s some potential markets to get you started:

  • Specialty Advertising Companies
  • Local Council
  • Schools, Colleges, Universities
  • Customised Fashions
  • Local Corporations
  • Emergency Services
  • Other Local Embroidery Companies

Identifying your niche market will help you decide:

  • Who the competition is and how you can you be different.
  • What you will need to sew – shirts, hoodies, tote bags, caps, etc.
  • How many items are you looking produce per day.
  • What type of designs you will use – digitizing, lettering etc.
  • What type of embroidery software will you need.

To locate potential customers, you could research

  • the library
  • the internet
  • social media platforms
  • local newspapers
  • sponsor events
  • networking
  • British Chamber of Commerce

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What skills and equipment are needed to run an embroidery business?

You don’t really need special skills to operate a commercial embroidery machine, just proper training. It will make it much easier if you have some familiarity with design software, not necessarily directly with      or       digitizing software, but a basic understanding of how applications like that work. As always, basic computer skills are a must.

With the new equipment on the market today and easy-to-use digitizing software, creating designs and logos are easy.  Producing high-quality, commercial designs that can be sold to anyone does take training, and that training that is provided in-house for YES customers!

What are my Embroidery Machine options?

  • SWF Single Head & Small Dual Head Range

All the Latest New Single Head Machines are available in 6, 9, 12 & 15 needles options, whilst our small head dual function could come with 9 or 12 needle options. With a model to suit every need, the SWF range of start off machines are second to none.

  • SWF K & KS Series Classic Tubular 1000spm & 1200spm Multi-Head Range

The K Series Classic Style Machines available in 9, 12 & 15 Needles. All models in this range can be used in either tubular or flat mode.

  • SWF DM Series High Speed Classic Tubular 1500spm Multi-Head Range

The World’s fastest Patented high-speed DM embroidery machine from SWF can run at up to 1500 stitches per minute. Not only does it give you superior productivity but this advanced machine also benefits from low vibrations and noise. This range is available in 2, 4, 6 and 8 heads.

  • SWF K & KS Series Dual Function Tubular 1000spm & 1200spm Multi-Head Range

This SWF World Patented Machine has all the New K & KS Series features of a Classic Style Machine available in 9, 12 & 15 Needles ONLY, together with having the ability to either stitch Caps, tubular or flat mode and are able to stitch either 1 or 2 different designs and or products at the same time making it up to 25-35% more productive than any classic tubular machine stitching at either 1,000 or 1,100spm!

  • SWF DM Dual 1500spm Dual Function Multi-Head Range

The latest embroidery machine from SWF takes two existing high production embroidery machines and combines them to make a single, highly specified model that will out-produce any standard embroidery machine in the world.

SWF General & Multi Heads 2

What’s the Right Embroidery Machine for MY Start-Up Business?

Start-up embroidery businesses normally start running their shop from home with a single-head embroidery machine.

SWF/MAN-12 – Single Head Embroidery Machine

This machine has all the features of the well-established single head range plus a catalogue of extras that make it stand out from the crowd, including 1000-stitches per minute high speed production, automatic tensioning system and high-resolution touch screen controller with network capabilities.

This system provides a real-time production management overview and quality control to maximize production and profit.

SWF/EN-T1501C Single Head Compact Machine

This ever-popular original SWF Compact machine has been completely re-designed to suit today’s exacting standards. With a wide array of features great pricing, this is a machine for today and the perfect single head machine for those not in need of over-large embroidery areas.

With 15 needles and a small footprint, this machine has all of the features of larger models whilst retaining the flexibility only offered by the compact style machine – ideal for a start-up or home-based embroidery business.

SWF/EN-T1501- Single Head Embroidery Machine

This is the latest “full size” single head machine is big brother to the 1501C.  With the same, extensive 15 needle head and a large screen control panel, the flat table embroidery area gives it that extra advantage over the competition and is able to satisfy most jobs.

The machine can be operated in either tubular mode for made up garments or with the flat table ready, for instance, for badge work. Easily converted from flat to tubular, the SWF/E-T1501 is a flexible workhorse that will accommodate most types of embroidery work, including curtains and leather jackets.

What else do I need to start my business?

  • Software – we recommend Wings Experience & DRAWings Pro which includes new features and enhancements that will make your work easier
  • Hoops – depending on what your business will focus on and the type of machine you buy, SWF hoops come in numerous shapes and sizes
  • Supplies – including backings, toppings, thread, needles, cap frames, etc.
  • Hooping Device – if you want:
    • more precise and faster placement of your designs
    • to help reduce the strain on your wrists and hands
    • to reduce the downtime between runs
  • Heat Press – if you want to:
    • say yes to screen print orders
    • number uniforms
    • offer embroidered patches
    • add bling – spangles and rhinestones
    • want to become a one-stop-shop

The average embroidery business start-up begins with a 15 needle single head machine because of their low entry price and the ability to do most small and large projects. The 1501C has the advantage of a very small footprint, so it’s especially convenient for a home office environment.

While single head equipment is usually perfect for the start-up embroiderer, you must again consider the niche you are looking to pursue. Will the volume require a single-head, 2-head, 4-head or an even larger industrial embroidery machine? Or will you need two or more single heads?

Compare Embroidery Machine Reviews

The market is practically brimming with a wide variety of brands and features. Therefore, it would be safe to assume that any first-time user will have some trouble locating the ideal machine that suits his or her needs, requirement and budget. By this token, it is recommended to carefully select your appliance beforehand. An educated decision will save you quite a lot of hassle in the future, while preventing you from spending an excessive amount of money on a machine that you can hardly use.

Many start-up entrepreneurs make the mistake of purchasing a high-end machine including all the bells and whistles, only to discover that they only needed the bells and never touched the whistles. If you’re just starting out, consider purchasing a budget-friendly, basic embroidery machine. If you’re more experienced, a more expensive machine might be a better option.

Buying New Versus Used

When assessing your apparel decorating business needs and objectives, the most common question is: “Should I buy a new or used embroidery machine”? For the price conscious, it would be simple to opt to buy a used machine because it will undeniably cost less than a new one. However, if you’re concerned about warranties, the latest features and start-up supplies, a new embroidery machine would be ideal as you don’t have to worry about how it was maintained.

When does buying a used machine make sense?

There are many factors that need to be considered when buying used embroidery equipment and the following provides a little insight into both sides of the ‘New’ versus ‘Used’ embroidery machine debate.

  • What are the differences in warranty and support?
  • What are the differences in construction and financing?
  • How old is the equipment you are interested in?
  • Are there new or used parts available in the market?
  • Do you currently own and operate an embroidery machine? Is it the same brand or maybe this is your first one?
  • Are you more or less mechanically inclined? Will the machine be installed by a factory technician?
  • Is it still under factory warranty and if not, is it being sold through an accredited agent of the brand?

What to look for when buying used equipment…

  • The unknown – what am I really getting? It looks good in the online description but can you really trust a third-party offloading their equipment?
  • Dated technology – i.e. business focusing on caps – used piece of equipment came with one cap hoop instead of the two promised and can only embroider the front of the cap, not 270 degrees as sold. Now what do I do?
  • Training – I don’t know how to run it. They said they would train me – paid for the service but no training has been given.
  • Support – don’t know who to ask
  • Warranty – no cover
  • Scarcity of parts – where do I buy from?

After asking yourself these questions, you may consider purchasing a used machine from a private party, with no warranty or set-up. If you are already in the embroidery business and are more mechanically inclined than most, and you have a source for parts for the machine it may make good sense. Otherwise you can reduce your risks by buying from a company that sells the same brand new or has a good reputation for supporting what it sells, offers set-up as an option and can give you a meaningful warranty. In addition, you can reduce your risk further by buying a used embroidery machine that has been gone through and warranted by an authorized agent.

With the new equipment on the market today and easy-to-use digitizing software, creating designs and logos are easy. However, producing high-quality, designs that everyone wants to buy requires training. Training that is provided free for YES Ltd customers!

YES Ltd, for example, offers used SWF embroidery machines for up to a 2-year warranty, sells the products new with a 5-year warranty and 7-year stitch guarantee and stocks thousands of pounds in embroidery machine parts.

When buying used, why choose a used SWF over other brands?

One simple answer: Automatic Oiling System!

SWF is one of the only manufacturer to offer this as standard. Whether it’s a single head or multi-head model, a used SWF machine will simply last longer than other brands due to the fact of consistent quality oiling.

In addition to the special oiling feature, SWF Used Machines can be purchased through YES Ltd with additional and optional warranties, software, designs and training, as if purchased with a new machine.

When to upgrade to an industrial machine

As your business grows, your needs will grow. There are three factors to help you determine when it is the best time to move your business to the next level.

#1 The size of your jobs – if you are trying to create a design that is outside the limits of the home machine’s hoop size, like a large sweatshirt or sewing a logo on a beach towel, you will be challenged to do this type of job in a timely manner.

#2 Time is an issue – if there’s simply not enough hours in the day to complete your orders you will need to upgrade or add new equipment to your business. If you’re working through the night, it’s time to seriously consider upgrading your machine or adding a machine to your shop.

#3 The types of Jobs – the diversity and size of jobs you can accept with a commercial machine can really make a difference in your income. If you’re thinking big, then you may need to buy bigger!

When does buying a new embroidery machine make sense?

If you are just starting in the business, it is wise to buy a new machine. This will include all the things you will need such as training, support, software, start-up kits, etc. However, if you decide to purchase a used machine, ensure that it’s from a company that can provide the same kind of start-up service.

Best Choice


If you need help getting started in the embroidery business, we are here to help! Please register your details here and one of our embroidery experts will get back to you:

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