8 July, 2006
Janome 1600P high speed sewing and quilting machine
Dianna Grundhauser of www.quiltingspirit.com
Sliced Pineapple quilt by Dianna Grundhauser and Joan Davis
One of the hottest "new" ideas for a home-based business actually got its start around the time of the Civil War. By the 1860s, sewing machines had become affordable for the average family. Because these machines reduced the time it took to sew a garment by up to 80%, enterprising women had time to sew for extra money.
A century and a half later many women, and men too, are earning a living with home sewing. Sewing machine manufacturers have responded by producing "prosumer" models--machines with professional performance but consumer-friendly ease-of-use. These new machines are making it possible for even more entrepreneurs to start home-based sewing and craft businesses.
Dianna Grundhauser ran her own quilting store on Maui, Hawaii. After five years, she decided the long hours necessary to run a retail location weren't worth the compensation. She decided to bring the quilt-making portion of her business home, using the spare bedroom in her condominium.
"To do the kind of work I do, you really need an industrial machine," she says. "But I didn't have the room." Instead, Grundhauser purchased a Janome 1600 Professional , a high-speed, straight stitch machine with the performance characteristics of an industrial model--speed, power, and durability--and the size and convenience features of a home machine.
"It's much quieter than an industrial," she says. "And I love the automatic needle threader and auto thread cutter." Grunhauser now has a successful home business and sells her quilts online. The growth of the Internet has made it possible for home sewing business owners to attract customers, display their wares, and keep overhead costs low.
How can one person with a sewing machine hope to compete against the cheap clothing and decorating items in Target and Wal-Mart? In a world of mass-produced products, shoppers value custom-made items more and are willing to pay a premium for them. To succeed, the home-business sewer needs to carefully choose a niche.
Home sewing businesses don't always stay small. Scott Jones didn't even know how to sew when he decided to make a custom-fit fleece jacket for himself as a college junior. His company, Beyond Fleece, now sells to serious outdoor enthusiasts around the world.
Sharon Burnett developed a new kind of dog collar, which she then produced on an old sewing machine at home. Her company, Premiere Pet Products, now employs more than a hundred people.
The government's Small Business Administration estimates that as many as 14 million Americans make their living from home. Sewing has a proven track record as a home-based business in dozens of niches: upholstery, bridal wear, crafts, quilts, and many more. All an entrepreneur needs to succeed is a good idea, a willingness to try, and the right sewing machine.
In addition to the 1600P, Janome's Professional Series includes the 6600P full-featured sewing machine and the CoverPro coverstitch machines .