Did you know you can start a business exclusively in embroidery? Well, yes you can, and that is my focus in this article – how you can start such a business. First off let me define what embroidery is for the benefit of those who might not be familiar with the term. Embroidery, according to the Oxford dictionary can be defined in two ways. ​One, it is uncountable or countable patterns that are sewn onto cloth using threads of various colours. Two, any piece of cloth that is decorated in this way is referred to as embroidery.


Understand that embroidery can be done either by hand or using machinery. Obviously operating by hand entails low startup costs but has the downside of low production capacity. Using machinery requires significant startup capital but production capacity will be sky-high. However, a witty approach can be to start by hand and gradually transition to using machinery. Using hands brings up yet another issue which is that of skillset. Not everyone is skilled or cut out to acquire the skills required to do embroidery by hand. Appreciate though that even if you do not have the skillset or the capital that is not an excuse to not start the business.

I have noticed that most businesses that do embroidery do not solely focus on that. They are usually into branding as their business focus – embroidery will be one of the options from which clients can choose from. I would advise you to adopt the same approach as that would lure a broader pool of prospective clients.

Key Requirements

Doing embroidery by hand is a workable approach but only for small scale. Once you set your eyes on going big you will need machinery. An embroidery machine will be needed. The type of embroidery machine you must buy will be informed by the items you will be focusing on. One machine might not be able to do other tasks so carefully consider your options – ask experts. To work with that you will need a personal computer (PC) – desktop or laptop, whichever you prefer. There will also be a need for things like specialized software for designs and what nought. You will need a website and social media accounts to make your business online.

You will require a working area that is spacious enough. You can operate from home if space is available. If that is not the case you will have to find a place to rent. One conveniently large room can be partitioned and adequately cater for your business. Not forgetting that there will be accessories and supplies necessary for the smooth running of the business. I am referring to things like needles, threads, and so forth. Packaging material will also be handy in handling finished products.

Human Capital

Running an embroidery business will entail marketing and sales, financial management, and operations. You can have someone for each of those key areas. However, in business, you are always seeking to keep operating costs as low as possible. This would mean you can run this business with as low as 2 or 3 individuals. This will largely depend on your scale of production; types of machinery used, and so on.

Financial Capital

The biggest chunk of startup costs goes to the embroidery machinery. That is of course if you intend to operate on a substantially big scale otherwise you can just do it by hand. For instance, a commercial-grade embroidery machine would cost something like US$12000. However, a single-head embroidery machine can be anything from US$6000 upwards; the more the number of heads the more costly it will be. It can be strategic to purchase clothing items so that you are ready when clients make orders. This would require money – buying things like caps, hats, t-shirts, and the like. You must exercise caution here as some clients might bring their own clothing items.


The market is there but it needs you to carve it out. This is because you will most likely be competing already established players who are big and have more than enough equipment. The type of clients is infinite – spanning from individuals to institutions and so on. Actually businesses and other corporate, academic, religious, civil society, NGO entities, just to mention a few, tend to be the biggest consumers of embroidered items. It comes as no surprise especially considering how long-lasting embroidery is compared to other methods.

Important Things To Consider

One of the most crucial parts of this business is pricing. How do you effectively price? There are several options to choose from. Some just place flat fees or prices e.g. a particular amount for embroidery on the pocket of a t-shirt. This might not always be the best approach since the area to be covered and the level of sophistication may vary from client to client. A more encompassing method is to use the stitch rate. For instance, you can charge a certain amount for every 1000 stitches. Another way is to factor in the amount of time used to complete a task. All in all, you must incorporate various pricing regimes that cater for all possible scenarios.

That is about it; things you ought to know in starting an embroidery business. As we get ready to step into 2021 this could be your time to seriously take steps towards making your dream of such a business a reality.