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Work From Home Success Story – Embroidery Business
In 1995 my wife decided she hated her day job. The pay was meager, the commute was terrible and most importantly she felt she could achieve more with her life. At that time I was a salesman of weaving machines. I sold serious industrial textile equipment that ranged from 3 ton, 15 head embroidery machines to smaller single head embroidery machines that you can easily run out of your garage. So one day I suggested she buy a used single head machine and our business was born.
We scoured the neighborhood for local businesses, schools, police and fire stations for people who wanted to have their custom logo embroidered on shirts, hats and polo shirts and we found it was pretty easy to find a business. Within a year the business began to grow steadily and it became clear that our single head embroidery machine could not keep up with production.
At this point we had to make a strategic decision. Do we invest more money and grow the business? Well, we bought a 6 head embroidery machine for $50,000.00 (which barely fits in our garage). The business grew and our new machine could do with it quite well. We hired an employee to help run it as well.
I know what you are asking. How much money did you earn? I can tell you that there were months where we were making $9,000.00 a month, but that was working pretty hard and we started to lose the work-life balance. Then my wife gave birth to two children and had to make another strategic decision about how hard we wanted to work. I had my own day job and worked with my wife late at night to help her get orders out the door. Something had to give, so this is what we decided to do.
We fired about 20% of our customers, starting with the customers who demanded online 30 and 60 day terms, and to be honest we also fired customers who were too demanding (and a bit needy). I’m a nice guy, but I have to admit I took pleasure in firing some of these clients. The end result was that we were still able to net about $60,000.o0 a year working an average of 4 hours a day for some really nice companies that treated us with respect and paid their bills on time.
Flash forward to the present, we sold the 6 head and bought a newer, faster 4 head Barudan Embroidery Machine. We bought it used for about $30,000.00. I know that seems expensive, but remember we bought the first machine, a single head, for about $8,000.00. If the barriers to entry in this business seem to you… that’s a good thing. It also prevents everyone from being able to enter. For example, you can start in the screen printing business for $1,000.00. However, take a look around your neighborhood and you will quickly discover that screen printers outnumber embroidery shops 5 to 1. Second, you may also notice that embroidered goods command a much higher price than screen printed items.
The decision to stay small so as not to be too big will become a great decision. China crushed the big embroidery shop in this country. I’m talking about a business that I sold machinery to that had 10 or more 12 head embroidery machines and did significant production. That business was all shipped overseas, which eventually forced me to find a new day job (I no longer sell embroidery machines). But the small local shops remained alive and flourished. Think about it; if you need 50 embroidered hats for you small business or high school team, will you arrange shipping from China when I can turn that order around in 3 days for the price of $8.00 per hat? By the way the hats cost me $2 -3.00 a piece and take me about an hour to complete the order.
Let’s do the math on that. $5.00 profit per hat x 50 hats = $250.00 gross profit.
If those hats cost $3.00 each that’s a cost of $50 x $3 = $150 dollar cost of goods.
The net profit is $100.00 for one hours work. I will work for $100.00 an hour anytime.
So that’s my wife’s work from home story. It was a rewarding career for her that enabled her to earn money and continue to be a mother. There is another point to make here. Not every work from home opportunity has to be an online opportunity. There are still honest to goodness businesses still doing something in this country. God Bless America and the opportunity to earn a dollar in this great country of ours!
That was 1995, today her business is still going strong (although the recession has slowed it down a bit). The greatest thing about it was she was able to work from home, make money and raise two wonderful children at the same time. If you would like to ask questions about getting started in the embroidery business please leave a comment on this post. I am happy to tell you all about it.
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