I have talked very openly about the highs and lows of running a sewing business while also trying to turn it into a viable income source. Since numbers are always interesting and I get a lot of questions and suggestions on this topic, I thought I should give you an overview of how I actually make my money from sewing.
It should be noted that most of the work I’ve done has been during evenings and on weekends since I also have a day job. Another piece of information that can help give you some context is that I became more focused on monetizing my work in 2017, but I started my sewing blog in 2008. So it has been quite a few years devoted to providing helpful content to fellow sewists.
I recently had a break from my job to work full-time on my sewing biz, which I talk about in my latest video.
As a companion to that video, I thought it could be useful to share exactly how I make money from sewing and what income streams are the most lucrative.
The print versions of my books Master the Coverstitch Machine and Sewing Activewear brings in the biggest chunk of my income, around 40% I think on average. Each sold book provides very little royalty for me, but since my books are doing quite well, it all adds up. BTW, the book links above are affiliate links, which I talk more about below.
The e-book versions of my books are also pretty popular, but I sell fewer copies of these compared to my print books. On the other hand, I get to keep a much larger cut of the e-book retail price. I would say that they provide around 25% of my income.
Since I still only have a handful of sewing patterns, mostly accessories with a lower price tier, I don’t make a substantial income from my patterns yet. Since I released the Aila leggings, this category is increasing as an income source, but still not a huge part. I would say that patterns provide around 15 to 20% of my income currently.
My YouTube sewing channel has around 33 000 subscribers currently, and some of my videos are doing really well.
I do have ads enabled on most of my videos, but YouTube decides when to show them. The ad revenue per 1 000 video views is however really low, especially when you think about how much views many YouTubers have. I would say that a regular, non-viral, video of mine makes around 4-5 USD a month. YouTube currently provides around 10% of my income, which is mostly due to a few viral videos, normally that number would have been lower.
So while I enjoy YouTube and it has been a great way to connect with sewists and also market what I do, I don’t see it ever becoming a major financial contributor to the bottom line.
Amazon has a popular affiliate program that bloggers and other content creators can join. So when you click on a link on my blog that has (affiliate link) next to it and then buy something off Amazon within a small time frame, it means I get a small commission (usually 4%) on each sale.
I also have an Amazon shop where I have collected some of my favourite sewing things, that gives me the same commission if someone makes a purchase. Since the commission is so small, this income stream is kinda nominal for me, around 3 to 5% most months. But it’s still something, and I think affiliate links are more useful and less intrusive for the readers of my blog, especially compared to display ads.
Other misc stuff
This year I’ve held some sewing classes, which meant bringing in another income stream. I’ve also had a few small freelance gigs, but nothing major. I might have forgotten some other small income stream, but I think the list above pretty much covers it all.
Moving forward, I might add online sewing classes to the list of offerings, creating detailed, well-produced online sewing classes, that focuses on specific techniques and projects, is probably what makes the most sense to me. And, of course, more books (jeans book coming this year!). I plan to make more garment patterns too, hopefully, I’ll be able to release one this year.
So now you know how The Last Stitch rolls. If I would give myself some credit, I would say that I’ve done a pretty good job of staying within specific niches and leveraging those rather than spreading myself too thin. I also think that I’ve done things with integrity and quality and not blasted out stuff just for the sake of it.
But that has perhaps led to a smaller growth? Especially since I’ve also spent so much time providing non-monetized content? But as a content creator, I think you need to have that mix in order to show what value you can provide, create connections and have those pathways spread across the internet.