Buying a sewing machine can be a challenge. I’ve got some advice that can help with your decision. Because I sew a lot and own several sewing machines, people ask me fairly often for advice in choosing a sewing machine for themselves. Usually the questions are concerning the brand of sewing machine, the price of the sewing machine, and the features that I consider necessary.
I’m happy to offer my opinion on any or all of those questions, but my #1 word of advice for buying a new sewing machine has to do with WHERE to buy a sewing machine. My advice is always that same. Buy your new sewing machine from a sewing machine dealer.
Recently, I decided to buy a new basic sewing machine so that I would have a back up machine for my “good” sewing machine that is getting older. I wanted a Janome sewing machine so that all of the accessories would be interchangeable with the sewing machine I use most. You might expect that since I knew what kind of machine I wanted and what features I would need, that I’d just log in to Amazon and have this machine on its way to me with that famous Amazon two-day free shipping. That is NOT what I did! Not only would I never buy a sewing machine from Amazon, but I also never recommend that you do that.
Instead of clicking that “buy now with one click” button, I drove to my local Janome sewing machine dealer.
Here are three reasons why I always recommend buying a sewing machine from a sewing machine dealer:
1. At the dealership, I can see the sewing machine in person. The dealer, who was trained by the sewing machine company will demonstrate how to use the machine. I can sew with the machine myself, just as I would test drive a potential new car.
2. Sewing machine dealers offer repair and cleaning services to their customers. Once a year when my sewing machine needs to be professionally cleaned, I take it back to the dealer where I bought it. I can also return to the dealer if my sewing machine should need to be repaired.
Last year, while working on a sewing project, I accidentally sewed over a straight pin. My needle broke, and I could not get my machine to sew properly. Because I depend on my sewing machine for my small business, this was a crisis. I immediately called the dealer who is also known as The Sewing Machine Doctor. He advised me of a few things I could try to get the machine working again. None of those suggestions worked, so he agreed to take a look at my sewing machine that same day! Would I have gotten that kind of service from Amazon? No way!
3. I am supporting a small business in a nearby community. As a small business owner myself, I know how important it is to support other small business owners who can sometimes feel that we can’t compete with Amazon, Walmart, and other huge businesses.
Buying a sewing machine locally, just makes sense. If you find yourself in the market for a new sewing machine, I hope you will consider shopping at a local sewing machine dealership. I can guarantee you’ll be glad you did!
Do you have a local sewing machine dealership in your area?
What’s in a name? If the extent of my agonizing over whether or not to change my online business name is any gauge, then a name is pretty darn important!
Last month, I made a big change in my online business. I made the decision to re-brand my business using my own name, and I hired a graphic designer to make a logo that suited my business. I’m very pleased with the work my designer did for me, and I’m pleased that my business name is consistent locally and online.
I have three main reasons for changing my business name, and here they are:
My official business name, the one that I use on my tax return and on any official paperwork is “Elaine Searer, Sewing & Alterations”. I chose that name, not because it’s cute or catchy, but because it’s free. In Pennsylvania, I do not have to pay a fee to use my own name as my business name. If I choose a fictitious name (like My Grandma Sews), then I have to pay to file that fictitious name with my state.
Because I never paid to use the name My Grandma Sews, it wasn’t really mine. I had no legal claim to it, and if another businessperson wanted to go into business using that name, I would have no recourse to stop them or to protect my use of that name. I considered it highly unlikely that I would ever get into a business fight with anyone wanting to use that name, but just the same, the possibility was there that I could work to build a brand and then have it snatched from me. Some people might ask why I didn’t just register that name. I could have done that, but I’m already operating a successful local sewing and alterations business under a different name…you guessed it! Elaine Searer Sewing & Alterations. What are the chances that my local customers would ever begin to refer to my business by a fictitious name? Slim to none.
The last reason is just that the word “grandma” was not the image I wanted to portray to my online customers. I like being a grandma, but I was concerned that the using the word “grandma” would make potential customers think “old-fashioned”. While I do consider my choice of patterns and projects to be classics, I do not consider them old-fashioned!
My other concern is that while the word “grandma” seemed cute to use for a business that makes children’s items, it would not suit me if I decided to list items in my shop that are not for children.With the help of my graphic designer, I made the decision to brand myself with the business name that I already own and use: Elaine Searer Sewing & Alterations.
Some people have mentioned that they miss My Grandma Sews, and I miss that name a bit myself. I am, however, convinced that I made the right decision for me and my growing business.
If you’d like to see the rest of my new graphics, please visit me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/elainesearersewing and www.facebook.com/groups/elainesearer and my Etsy shop at www.elainesearer.etsy.com .