This Episode

Mark Stephenson & Marc Vila

You Will Learn

  • How to start your own embroidery business

Resources & Links

Episode 154 – How To Start An Embroidery Business

Show Notes



How to Start an Embroidery Business

In many ways, it’s just like starting any other custom apparel business. Or any business at all. But we DO suggest that you look at your business backwards, or at least in a kind of reverse order from what many experts suggest.

Some suggest you start with buying an embroidery machine – and that seems just wrong, though we do have some very high quality embroidery machines for sale 🙂.

So here are our inverted steps to How to Start an Embroidery Business:

What do you want to sell or make? – because that’s where your business idea started.

– Is it embroidered shirts and polos
– Athletic wear and letterman’s jackets
– Do you want to make gifts and keepsakes
– Wedding favors
– Linens and specialty draperies
– Custom blankets or baby accessories?
– Uniforms?

List the people, companies you’ll be selling to – which is important, because you’re going to base a lot of decisions on what you’re customer will want, expect and pay for. And different people want, of course, different things.

– Service company owners will want something very different from high schools
– Expectant Mom’s will not be keen on buying from someone that specializes in uniforms
– Wedding planners may pay more or less for quality goods than someone wanting to but embroidered car mats

Imagine the products those people will buy, and what they’ll pay for them:

– What do company polos go for in your area?
– How much will a hair salon pay for custom aprons?
– What is the going rate for a letterman’s jacket
– Or a horse blanket?
– Or a wedding table runner?

In other words, the first 3 things you need to know are:

1. What do you want to sell/make
2. Who are your customers going to be
3. How much will they typically pay for what you’re going to do

Next you’ll want to do the Math to make sure you’re business makes sense.
You already know what your product(s) will be and how much you can charge.

What will it cost you to make and sell them? Or = How much can you make?

– How much does the blank item cost, wholesale? In other words, the pillowcase, table runner or polo you’ll be embroidering on.
– How long do think it will take you to make each one? Which leads to how many can you make per hour.

Now subtract your sale price from your materials price and get your gross profit number per item.

Example: If you sell something for $25 and it costs you $12 in materials to make, that’s a $13 gross profit.

The fun part you can do next is to figure your potential income, but multiplying that gross profit by the number of the items you can embroider in an hour. In this case, we can imagine it’s 5/hour.

So the potential gross profit in THIS business is $13 x 5 = $65/hour.

Sales and Marketing Plan to execute the above

– Word of mouth
– Local outreach
– Online sales

Administration Planning

– Taxes
– Bank accounts
– Legal stuff

Art Creation:

– Who is the artist?
– If not you, then who / where?
– If you, should it be you?

Supply Partners:

– What are you going to buy
– Who are you going to buy it from


– What do you need to do all this?
– Do you need more than just embroidery equipment?

Run your numbers

– Does it all work out?
– What might you need to improve?
– If not, go back and rework things.

Do it!

Resources and Links:

Avance Embroidery Machines –
ColDesi Graphics & Digitizing –
Colman and Company Wholesale Apparel –

Top Shopping Cart Options for Embroidery Businesses – ColDesi:

CAS Mini Cast – Marketing In Facebook Groups – Custom Apparel Startups:

Episode 29 – Make More Money Next Month – Creating Active Word of Mouth – Custom Apparel Startups:

Networking for Custom Apparel Podcast Episode Video:

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