The Latest Home Business Trend is 150 Years Old
One of the hottest new ideas for a home-based business got its start in the Civil War era. By the 1860s, sewing machines had become affordable for the average family, and because these machines reduced the time it took to sew a garment by up to 80 percent, 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. The 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, including upholstery, bridal wear, crafts and quilts. Sewing machine manufacturers have responded by producing "prosumer" models, such as the Janome Professional Series, with professional performance but consumer-friendly ease-of-use, making it possible for even more entrepreneurs to start home-based sewing and craft businesses.
In a world of mass-produced products, shoppers value custom-made items, and many are willing to pay a premium for them. 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 it and began running the quilt-making portion of her business out of her home. "To do the kind of work I do, I needed an industrial machine. But I didn't have the room," said Grundhauser.
She 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. Grundhauser now has a successful home business and sells her quilts online, which helps keep overhead costs low. But 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. In addition to the 1600P, Janome's Professional Series includes the 6600P full-featured sewing machine and the CoverPro coverstitch machines.