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Fast Start Your Sewing Business

Lesson 2 of 5

Free Preview: Business Overview

Kari Chapin

Fast Start Your Sewing Business

Kari Chapin

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Lesson Info

2. Free Preview: Business Overview
Not sure what to name your business? Kari has some guidelines for you.


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Lesson Info

Free Preview: Business Overview

Somebody had a question about deciding on their business name and so this is a really common question that I get quite a bit, and while I don't have the exact right answer for you, I do have some guidelines that you can apply tio your decision process as you go through trying to figure out what you want to name your business so we'll sort of started the top and if you have a aa, if you think that I'm forgetting something that would be helpful in determining your business name than just just let us know in the chat as we go along. But first of all, don't box yourself in if you are trying to determine the name of your business don't call it something very specific that doesn't leave you any room to move around in the industry. If you decide down the line that you want tio, change your focus or introduced a new kind of product if you have called your business carries baby quilts and now all of a sudden you don't want to make baby quotes anymore you want to make of, you know, little house ...

on the prairie reenactment costumes that's going to be confusing nobody's going to look further? Laura ingalls wilder costume from a shop that's called baby quotes because it's just not going, they're not going to be able to make a connection and there had for that, so also, I'm not really sure why I thought of little house on the prairie with that, but I did so you need tio give yourself room to move around in the freedom to change your mind and to let your business grow as your particular interests grow. So if you box yourself in with a name it's going to make it, you're going to have to do a re brand. If you decide to change up your line or you want to change your mind down the road and that's just going to make things a lot harder on you, so get that out of the way, right at the beginning if you decide to name your business after yourself, which a lot of people do. For example, anna did and there's anna right there, working hard at hand, painting her fabric on her on this photo here she called her business, anna joyce design and that's because surfers name is anna, and her last name is choice and she designed she designed fabric. She designs the product, she makes them, she sells them. She does all of that. But that's. Given her a lot of room to move around, she can make purses, bags, pouches, tops, belts, clutches, table runners. Placemats napkins you know the works and I can do anything in her business without limiting herself by by her name or by having to explain to somebody like yeah, I know it says baby quotes but I really am now I'm really super into place mats like that's just would make a disconnect for her customers so she was smart when she did that but the downside to that is also is that now if somebody has anything that they want to say about yemen joyce design if she if she doesn't if what they're saying is maybe not ideal for her ears to hear it's hard not to take that personally and that's that's one of the downfalls to naming your business after yourself you can feel bad if you hear something that you don't really like about it and you can internalize that as a person which most likely you're going to do anyways because it's your product and so if you designed a you made a and you created it that's going to feel personal to you no matter what but it's really important to try to separate yourself from your business if possible because you are not your business if somebody says I don't like carrie shape in books if that was the name of my business then you know I would it would be hard for me to remember like, well, that doesn't mean that they don't like me carry cheapen but I would try really hard to do that as a business person, and I encourage you to do the same thing to figure out how to separate the emotional side of your business with the, um, with the business part of your business, and the same thing goes if people really love your books of somebody said, I love carrie chafin books like it would be something I would need to keep in mind is, well, that doesn't mean that they love me, they don't really know me, so it works both ways with praise and with feedback that you might not be so into hearing. But s so it's really important to keep that in mind when you're naming your business to you also want to make sure when you're choosing a name for your business that it's available so it's not going to do you any good to pick fantastic hats if fantastic cats has already taken, if you can't get that on social media sites that you're going to need to use to promote and market your business, if you can't get to the debate for that, if you can't register that when you go to get your business license, whatever it is, then fantastic cats is not the business name for you, because it's the business name for somebody else, and they got their prey. For you. So you need tio make sure that the name is available. If you need to make sure that it gives you some room and some flexibility to move about your career, to change your mind, to grow, to expand all of those good things. And you need to make sure if you call it after yourself that you're going to be comfortable with that. If you, uh, when you hear good things about it and when you maybe hear things that are less than then good. So hopefully that helps you choose a name for your business. And I would love to hear what you come up with. So be sure to let me know, because I would be interested to know what you decide to go with when you choose a name. People got some sort of more general questions you want to take? Sure, yeah, way good or better saying, how do you balance making a businessman that is specific so that people get what it is about making two specific so you can't change it? Well, I would like to say that there's there's two layers to that question. First of all, why do you feel like it has to be very specific, not every business you goes you go to says what it is. For example, if you were new to town if you came to my town and said I want to go to the grocery store, then I would say, ok, here's, how you get to friends and what I would mean by that is fred meyer because that's the name of the grocery store in my neighborhood but you wouldn't really know that they sold food based out of that if you weren't from where I am, you can choose to name your business anything that you want if you feel like the name of your business is going to be in an important detail of how your marketing then you might want tio really decide what it is if you are absolutely making something very specific and you don't see yourself branching away from that, then feel free to add that in which would be what you make or you could do something a little trick that I like is call your business whatever you want and then have a tag line so if you wanted tio say that your business was, you know, coffee cups are us, you know, maybe a your tag line would be handmade coffee cups are so that would be if your business was like blue sky, then you could call it, you know your tag line could be him made coffee cups or whatever, so you khun dio you khun create a lot of room for yourself to move around if you have a good tagline that uses your business demand that tug line could go on all of their social media profiles that can go on your business card, it can go inside your packaging. It can go on your tags you mean you can do whatever you want with that but that's one way to call your business fluffy bunnies and then also have a tagline that specifically says what you're doing accessories for children, so that means you could sort of make anything you wanted for children or pet accessories. If you wanted to focus in on henman leashes and pet beds and things like that so that's one way you could figure out how to get your niche into your business name without actually calling your business pet beds this's officer someone is troubling. A lot of people are presumably there are just starting out, which is why the name is so important to them. Another viewers saying my businesses by my hand, he says, cause that's how everything is made that does that set me up in a bad way? Well, let's, let's get some other people in the chat room to give some feedback on that what do what does everybody think about that by my hands? So when I heard that I thought your hands were for sale yes, e for exactly the same thing. Yeah, guys in purchase. But it is actually be why, but that's for the connection I made too. So when when j k o said by my hands, I thought, oh, they're answer for sale and then I had to take a be in my head to think, oh, I they probably meant by my hands be why so that's something to consider too. And another thing that is important when you, when you have a name, is how does it sound when you say it out loud if you were to answer the phone and you said by my hands, you know, maybe it's captain hook calling and he wants to know if you have a hand for sale that could replace his hook, but, you know, are so when you say it out loud, it could mean something different to somebody else. Also, is your name going to fit on your business card? What is your name on ly work? If there's a logo or something attached to it? You know, if you're really really committed to whatever your business name is, you're going to make it work and there are loves of examples throughout history of people who called their business something really silly and nothing by my hands a silly if somebody mean but something unusual and that it's definitely caught on and help them to stand out in the marketplace. So you would really just when you choose your name full on commit, but is anybody in the chat rooms saying that they liked by my hands? It happened yet, but I'm sure way love to hear you just remind me of something because I I should've friend too. Well, this is this is going to date me who actually ran a record shop remember those years before you even had cds? But he called the shop licorice pizza because he thought that's what a record of what looked like and I thought it was brilliant, but nobody else got it. So he had to change the name within a year because nobody understood that it was a record shop. Anyway, the naming is very, very important absolutely. Is that what is the tagline to your business? Carry I of the might so as and it hasn't come out yet, but I'm launching an online store really soon and it's called keep your focus and focus so my my direction of my business is changing. Someone and I am actually starting to become more keep your focus and focus that will be the name of my shop on most of the products that I put out in the future sort of go back to people's motivation mindset in productivity and that is for a lot of us are focus so that's my tagline but had I started with that it had nothing to do with handmade business and here I am six years later in my career I'm doing different things now, which is fantastic because we all change and grow, but if I had named my business the handmade marketplace which is how a lot of you probably know me it really would have limited me and I actually experienced that in my business early on facebook was pretty new when I wrote my first book will like new to the public it was like old news to college kids but I was definitely not in college and the handmade marketplace was about to come out and my publicist said start a fan page that's what they were called so I called my fan page they have made marketplace how to sell your crafts locally, globally and online which takes a flake three minutes to say three lines to type it's a big long title because that's the title of the book in the subtitle and now that pages is not very useful to me because facebook it really is, and as useful as a marketing tool for me as it used to be, and when I tried to start a carried shape and author page that would include my business books, my craft books and now my paper goods line, I really wanted tio combine the two accounts, and facebook won't let me. So right off the bat, I named a really important piece of my marketing puzzle after the product itself rather than myself, which was a, which was a mistake that I didn't realize I was making when I did. And now I think about getting rid of that facebook page sometimes because there's over five thousand people there, which if I post something to them, like, hey, watch my creative live fast are on sewn accessories out of five thousand people like for we'll see it, so but, you know, I like the number it's good for good for my ego, so I keep that going, but, you know, that's, a classic example of not not wanting to stick with a name for the long term we'll buy my hands has had a very mixed reaction. People said yes, they thought it meant purchase their hands, they also for him that they were selling gloves eso maybe do want have a rethink on that one. And a lot of people saying what they actually annoys them more than maybe a noise the wrong word but irritation is when they used the word so in a clever way within the title said that that actually really is quite it's that zahra's getting a whole separate conversation going on now I know it's so tiresome ladies and gentlemen she's way still um that's what I said in the beginning is that so he has a lot of puns built into actually keep a list of wacky her salon names I see because when you travel there's so many like we still live near hair force one anyway I really like puns but back to business um get choosing the name is a really big deal but if you're allowing choosing your name tio hold you back from starting your business than that is a form of procrastination on I wanted to stop that immediately you were putting an imaginary obstacle in your way that is putting off your future your success in your dreams choosing a name is a big deal but sometimes you just have to plunge in and do it if you just start out with a default name which would be your own you can always change that on down the line sir slowly as you figure out what your niche is going to be who your customer base is so if you started out calling your business if I had a sewing business and I started out calling it carried shape and designed like anna has done, you know that would allow me to design and sell patterns that would allow me teo so what I so that would allow me to design fabric like that it would really take me different places than if I called it out something very specific, but if down the road I decided I am specifically going to make pet beds forever. I am always going to want to make it but this particular business, this particular sewing business is really all around selling pet beds after a while I could start rebranding myself is carried shape and perfect pet beds or whatever and then slowly, slowly slowly dropped the carried shaping off of things and integrate dead in with my customer interactions so that it became normal for them and easy for them to understand what was really happening. So if you need to find a default name that you start with but that you gradually phase out, you can absolutely do that and you are most likely born with that. So just go with what you've got. You have more at your disposal than you know and stop procrastinating on trying to choose the name, put it, take a poll, put it out to your friends and family that you really trust and let them do the work for you there's lots of things I can't decide on for my business namely colors so I just ask other people to do it for me and so far it's worked out so the courage part we're going to touch on often on throughout this course but really like it it'll take courage just to choose your name and put it out there and buy my hands I don't think that there's really I don't think that you made a poor choice I just think it's a really great example of looking at your name from all of the different angles that you might what does it sound like how does it look when it's written down how does it fit on a business card? Is it already taken you know you could choose to name your your business something else and incorporate that into your tag line if you want to include yourself and you want to make it clear that your product is handmade so I think that you can still get the same feeling across with a couple of tweaks on I would love it if you would be in contact with me if you decide to change your name if you would let me know what you decide to make it so owning a business is hard work we've already discovered how hard it is and so far we've really talked about trying to choose the name and we were already something by that um a starting a business, owning a business, maintaining a business, keeping up with the business. All of that is not easy, it's a lot of hard work, and I want to really remind you that when you decide to start a business, you decide to give yourself a new job, whether it's part time employment that you're hiring yourself for or full time employment, it doesn't matter. When you start a business, you are creating a job and you are hiring you, and I hope that you're super good employees and I hope that you're super good, boss, because both of those things are really important. There are a lot of different aspects to consider when you're starting a business. Everything from do I have enough time? Do I have enough money? Do I have enough skills? Do I have enough support? Do I have enough? Dr jo, I have enough motivation. Do I have enough courage? All of those are things you're going to think about things that are going to let things that you might let hold you back. Things that might stop you from getting started. Things that might make you want to quit or things that might make you feel like zooming ahead, maybe thrive on a challenge, maybe you maybe you really love to work in your additional extra time. Maybe you've really planned and thought this out. If so, that is fantastic. You're really well on your way, but there is absolutely no getting around it. Owning a business is hard work, and the most important part to know about that is that you can do it. You can absolutely make it happen if you were committed. And if it's something that you really want to dio on the sewing community and one of the really best things about you, the sewing community, I think is that when times get tough for you, man, you guys air tight knit group, there are so many great resource is and communities for people who love to so because you guys, whole shops devoted just to you, where people hang out, where people get together, where people spend a lot of time, you can go into a fabric store and find a kindred spirit enough flash, and usually that person is going to know something about the business side of sewing. So it's really going to be easy for you if you reach out to find like minded people, you're in some of your in its chat room. Filled with like minded people right now that you can connect to it in my private face. But group there's a lot of people there who so and cell phone accessories, and I see them talk into each other all the time and offering support and tips and tricks there. So many places for you to go there. So many sewing podcast. Better than niche down to, like, quoting children's clothes. I mean, it's, just amazing, the community that people who love to so have created for themselves. And speaking of that, I'm going to give you. I talk about this, and the faster your fester you're selling business action guide. But one of my most favorite community resource is for people who want to have sewing businesses are for people who are interested in the sewing industry, in general, is the amazing, talented. Lovely, fantastic abby glass enberg. She has a website called while she naps, which is her business name on. I've actually heard abby say that if she was naming her business now, she would choose something different, but that's what she chose when she started. And this is very interesting because abby happens to make stuffed animals, and she writes books and she makes patterns, and she has one of my absolute favorite podcast, that's actually called while she naps, too. But when abby first started out, when I first became aware of her in the handmade community, she was making these beautiful, fantastic sculptural bird pieces that I would see an art galleries that had so much character, so much personality. So much design went into these birds that she actually went to write a book about them called the are full bird, I believe. And if I get that title wrong, it might have the subtitle than somebody please correct me in the chat room. But abby wrote the artful bird and I was just in. Enamored with her business immediately, she's somebody that want that made me want to be a better sewer, but she really does a lot of deep investigative reporting about the sewing industry. She just had an article that I'm going to say was sort of viral in our community, which was behind the scenes of being a fabric designer, which is a direction that I know a lot of you probably are interested in going in with your sewing skills in your design skills, and it was just a really great article jesu fantastic podcast that would be really good to listen to while you're sewing, and I just can't say enough good things about abby is a resource for you as a business person because she is really passionate about the business of sewing and pattern design and all of that her newsletters great she's, great! Check her out because you will find a really good community for yourself there if you're feeling like things air hard or not worth it, or you're just looking for some like minded people to connect with over the joys and the frustration it's of owning a business and that's really important to your longevity into your success, this arounder to surround yourself with people who who get you so please answer these following questions. These questions are important because they want to help you want to help you develop a mindset that is conducive to you owning or starting a successful sewing this nest. So I want tio give a couple of things some deep thoughts. What do you already have that you need or that you think you mean how much time can you invest in your business? How much money can you invest in your business? How solid or your ideas? And what do you need from a bit business? If you could start by answering these questions and having a really clear having a really clear sense of what all of these things means you in the form of starting a business, you're going to start off on a really good foot if you have already started your business. But you're looking tio regain your footing a little bit than these air some great places to start. And I think it's really important to keep these things in mind. So what do we mean by you already? Have you already have what you need? What do you already have that you need this could be if you were thinking that your business is going to need really beautiful photographs, why, but you already have a camera of some. Sort it maybe on your phone and maybe in your whole closet but I bet that you already have a camera of some sort or you have access to one um if you're thinking that you need a faster, better fancier computer, chances are you don't if you think that you need a lot of high end design software we learned from a guest in another one of our fast start classes that there's open source additions or versions of things like adobe illustrator or photoshopped that you can find online and access if you want tio designed patterns or do things like that that there is going to be a resource that exist for something that you think you need um your community probably has things that you can borrow advice that you can find you probably know a person a place or thing that already exist in your world that can help you enhance your business and make things easier for you it's important for you if you feel like there's something in particular that you don't own are that you're lacking for you to try to look at it from every single angle is this something that I can borrow is this something that I can buy a high quality but by used is this something that I think I might have laying around somewhere and haven't used for a long time? Is this something that's available to me somewhere else and it's really it's a really good idea to take a really hard look at what you have if you think that you need a very fancy table to go to a crafts show and you just can't invest in a tent or a table is that something that you could rent? Is that something that you can get some other way? Can you re purpose a table from your drum piss room and just put a great piece of fabric over it to make it more usable for you? You probably already have a lot of what you need if you were just clever about repurpose ing or looking at things with new eyes or being willing tio work with what you've got how much time can you invest in your business? This is really important because I think a lot of us make a to do list that's a really very popular procrastination how about that a lot of us have is to make a list of the things that we want to get done and sometimes we'll make a list for the things that we want to do today or tonight or the weekend or the month or so things that we need to do to get our business going and started there's all different kinds of lists that you can distract yourself with and I should know because I feel like I'm an expert at making less particularly for the purposes of procrastination and distraction but one of those things that you need to think about when you're making all of these lists is does your list actually match up with the time that you have? So if you put forty things on your to do list it's going to be probably pretty hard for you to get forty things stand during the day and that's just a fact check because after nerveless are way too ambitious for either the amount of time that we have are the energy level that we have are the other commitments that we have are actually just what's humanly possible. So when you think about how much time you have to invest in your business, I want you to be really, really honest about that because it's going to determine what your actual output is and that's going to determine how successful you feel because if you have business expectations that match up having forty hours in a day in an eight hour week but what you have in reality is two hours a day, eight hours a week that's going to feel very different and you're going to get very different results from what you actually have available to you to what you actually want to dio so what you want to do is a part of your big vision and then your plan is the actions steps that make your vision our reality the same goes for your time so it's really important to figure out how much time you can invest, how much time can you save by choosing to do your work a certain way? All of those things are really key factors in making sure that you have the time to make your business the business that you wanted to be. So one of my best tricks for figuring out how much time you have or how much time you can invest is to make something that I that I refer to is a time map and in time that is where you would actually look at how many hours you have in a day that are extra on by extra I mean it's really easy for so many of us to see say we have extra time our we have extra this or we have extra that when really none of our time is extra because it's not like there's a bonus our thrown in there that's just a smidge time as you have. And just so you know that's twenty four hours, which is the same amount of time that I haven't and the same amount of time that martha stewart has and it's the same amount of time that everybody has, the only thing that gives us an even playing field in business is that we all have twenty four hours it's the only thing that I have in common with bill gates it's the only thing that I have in common with martha stewart, or whatever, as we all have twenty four hours, we all start with the same amount of time to get our work done. So if you wanted to try to make a time out for yourself, you would simply plan out all of the hours that you plan to be awake. So if you're going to wake up seven o'clock in the morning and you're going to go to bed at ten o'clock at night, you would make a list that has from seven a m to ten p m and you would block that out by hour increments. What you would do next to get a really realistic view of how much time you have, as you would cross out the time that, you know is guaranteed spoken for. If you have to tend to your family between the hours of seven and nine, make lunches, take people the school, wash your car, do whatever it is that you need to do between seven and nine, you would cross that out. Those hours are off limits because you're busy. If you need to walk your dogs five times a day, you would cross out all of the time that it takes you to walk your dogs, you know, that they generally go out at seven they go out again and eleven, you know, whatever the time frame is that you need tio maintain that particular chore, erin that's a repetitive tasks that you have to your day you would cross that out if you know that today you have a meeting at eleven o'clock with somebody, then you would cross that out if you know you're going to be lunch and dinner than you would cross that out. If you know that you need to do an errand that day. It's going to take you a little bit longer than you thought you would cross that out? If you know for sure you're gonna watch nashville than you would cross that out, he would get all of the things that you know for a fact you're going to do that day and you would cross them off of the chart that you made that listed the hours that you have available today that you are not asleep or whatever you have left sort of your extra time and truthfully then we can all find ways to fill that time we could do our laundry, we could mop the floor, we could be folding our fabric we could be, you know, ironing we could be doing any thing you want during those extra two hours do you really want to devote them to your business? It's something that you need to be really honest and clear about yourself with from the get go because it's really it's really interesting to me how in today's world there's a lot of pressure for us to want to be entrepreneurs if you're good at making something, or if you have a specific skill that you really like one of the first things that people say when they notice that is you should have a business, you should be in business, you could make a business out of that. We hear it all the time, and it it's actually pretty interesting because the internet, I think, has really made that possible unlike now, we're living in this time of, like, entrepreneurial go, go, go that I think a lot of people actually feel that if they're not sure how to fit, being an entrepreneur into their own life, I just want to take a little tiny pause here and say, if you're not positive that you actually want to be in business or that you want to start a business, I want to give you permission to know that you don't have to. You can think about it all you want, but as you go through these questions, if at the end of this course, you find out that, well, maybe having a business, this isn't feeling quite writes you, or maybe it's, not something that you really want to commit yourself to. I want you to know that just because you're talented, just because you make things that people are crazy for, doesn't mean that you have to be an entrepreneur. You could just become the world's best gift giver. You could just become someone who makes things that donates them to charity. You could do anything you want with your talent or skills, and if you're not sure if starting a business is the right thing for you, then you just don't have to do it. And that's, something I think that we don't hear often enough.

Class Description

Handsewn accessories have so much more charm and personality than their mass-produced counterparts. And stylish ladies love them! Learn how you can use your sewing skills as a foundation for a thriving handmade business – join Kari Chapin for Fast Start Your Sewing Business.

This course will cover everything you need to know to turn your knack for making crafty accessories into a viable, vibrant business. You’ll take a behind-the-scenes look at a thriving sewn accessories business as you learn the ins and outs of selling online and in stores. Kari will teach you how to forecast trends so you are prepared to give customers what they want, when they want it. You’ll learn new ways to:

  • Make your crafting process more streamlined
  • Store and organize your product
  • Meet the challenge of custom orders

Don’t waste another day wishing you were selling your unique sewn accessories – get the skills and inspiration you need to bring your business to life!

Check out Kari's other Fast Start Classes:
Fast Start Your Jewelry Business
Fast Start Your Beauty Business
Fast Start Your Paper Goods Business



Kari is incredibly personable, charming and knowledgeable. So easy to listen to and so inspiring. She makes you feel like you can succeed if you take the time to follow some easy steps.


FINALLY, information for CREATIVES! Looking forward to her books & forms! LOVED the references given & the ideas for diversification WITHOUT going nuts! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

a Creativelive Student

Fantastic! I thought this class would be a bunch of information I already knew. I was only able to watch the first hour and there was an abundance of info just in the first hour. I bought the class and am excited to see the rest of the video!