- In October 1996, I had a vision to start a home based sewing business while I was employed and able to fund the business. I wanted the business to be stable by my retirement years, so I would have engaging and creative activities.
- I went to the local library and collected data from the census reports for 1990. At the time, census data was not easily listed on- line, so I spent several days in the library’s reference section. I went to Atlanta, and met with a Small Business Advisor, attended SBA meetings and web development seminars. I purchased several books on entrepreneurship and how to start a business. I also made dresses for my granddaughter and sample dresses. For lack of an appropriate business name, I purchased sew- in labels that said “Made by Grandma.”
- In the summer of 1998, my daughter’s friend visited us, and she had two beautiful daughters. I took them to my sewing room and they found matching dresses and they quickly put them on. Parading in front of their mother, the youngest said, “Aren’t I Adorable?” I immediately named the business, Adorable Kids and went to Cobb County Business Office, and registered the name and registered a sales ID number for collecting sales taxes. I also met with my accountant for advice on managing the financial reports of the business and discussed the importance of a dedicated sewing room in my home.
- October 1998, I developed a business plan. For me, a business plan is essential for a home-based business even if you plan to self-finance your business. The plan has several sections: the executive summary, goals, marketing analysis, target market, internet market, the competition, marketing strategy, and finally a description of your products. I decided that my primary products were, christening outfits, communion dresses, flower girl dresses, mother and daughter dresses. A business plan also serves as a yearly review analysis, and an opportunity to plan for new directions.
- At the time, the area fabric stores had bulletin boards. So I marketed business cards at fabric stores, and distributed them at work and the local gym. I made several customized flower dresses, bridesmaid dresses, Mother and Daughter dresses, and Christening sets.
- I decided to sell at craft shows, and shopped for used display stands, and new plastic shopping bags. I safety pinned my business cards to each item, noting the prize and size on the cards. I entered local school sponsored craft shows as well as several sponsored by the local Junior League. A craft show given by Jewish women resulted in more dress orders.
Featured fabric image “Sewing Notions” designed by M’Liss Rae Hawley