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6 Smart Ways to Invest in Your Silhouette CAMEO Small Business NOW

Whether you're looking to start a small handmade Silhouette business or grow the one you have, there are some Silhouette accessories and crafting tools that will help you take your crafting business to the next level pretty quickly.
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Never has there been a better time to start a Silhouette business to help supplement your income or invest in the one you have to help grow it into a more substantial source of revenue.

So what do I know, anyway?  I'm not formally trained in business.  When I started I didn't even have a craft business plan.  I'm what I like to call an accident entrepreneur.  This wasn't the plan - I was supposed to just be using it for crafting after I got my Silhouette Portrait for Christmas 2013.

Now I run the largest free Silhouette educational resource on the Internet and two successful businesses that 100% support our family.

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So basically, what I know is what I've learned through running small businesses online - including a successful Etsy shop - for 10 years.  Many of you know that I had to close my Etsy shop a few years ago because Silhouette School Blog became a full time business and I had to pick where to devote my time. < Lesson number one: Don't spend time on things that only take time away from higher ROI areas of your business.

Over the years, I have learned a ton about how to successfully market using social media. It's way too much to jam into this blog post, but it's all laid out in Cutting a Profit  - my instant download ebook on running a successful Silhouette business.  Everything from how to deal with difficult customers to how to take attractive product photos to how to figure out balance (hahah) using time blocking.  So Cutting a Profit is where I suggest you start because it will save you a lot of trial and error learning from my mistakes.

While mine is not one of those conventional successful craft business stories...I truly believe that's why it works. And it's why I can't stress enough how important it is to think outside of the box when coming up with your craft business ideas.

Keep in mind when trying to figure out what Silhouette CAMEO projects to sell - you are not the only one looking to grow your Silhouette handmade business right now - a lot of other former hobby crafters are doing the same. This means you want to be strategic about the direction that you go in and you need to be willing to invest both time and money into your business as you form your craft business plan. 

You also need to look for the best Silhouette CAMEO business ideas for you! No one can tell you what that is. Best selling craft items aren't necessarily the ones that are trending right now - they're the ones that stand out for their uniqueness, quality, customization, marketing, customer service, and how they're presented in photos.

My suggestion is to make a few samples 1) to make sure you can make the item at a quality high enough to be sold and 2) to poll your personal friends and family and ask then which they would order from your shop then focus your efforts there.  Even just putting them up on your own personal Facebook timeline with a "look what I made" is sure to generate comments and engagement which will give you an idea of interest.  And just like that you may have the start of your craft business on Facebook!

So while your Silhouette CAMEO or Portrait is a great starting point, now it's time to invest in your business to take it next level or finally get it off the ground.  Here are my suggestions for 6 smart and strategic ways to invest in your small Silhouette business now!

6 Smart Ways to Invest in Your Silhouette Small Business

Heat Press

If you are selling anything with heat transfer vinyl a heat press is an absolute must for ease of use and quality of pressing and pressure. You need to be confident in the products you are selling beyond just the sale and for HTV that means getting the right pressure every time. An iron will not cut it.

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A heat press is also 100% necessary if you plan to add sublimation items to your shop. Sublimation requires high heat and pressure for longer periods of time and an iron will not work for sublimation.

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If you have room for it, I would recommend a 15x15" heat press. If you don't have room for a full size heat press, a 9x12" heat press is a great option and works just as well with a smaller pressing area.

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Sublimation Printer 

After a heat press, a sublimation printer is often the next piece of equipment crafters add. Unlike vinyl and HTV, sublimation printing allows items to be dishwasher and microwave safe and produces the highest quality results in a stunning, vibrant colors and maximum customization - all while using the cut files and designs you already own! 

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Sublimation printers use special ink that when applied to a polyester surface with heat and pressure, the ink turns into a gas and is infused into the surface becoming permanent. 

I have a Sawgrass SG400 - which is a now discontinued model replaced in February 2020 by the newer Sawgrass SG500 which can print 8.5" x 14" or up to 51" long with the bypass tray.  The larger model is the Sawgrass 1000 which can print 11" wide by 14" or up to 51" with the bypass tray.

Sublimation blanks are widely available and there are many that can be used with a standard heat press including socks, shirts, coasters, signs, pillow covers, keychains, license plates, and other flat items.

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Sublimation mugs, however, require a mug press. 

Mug Press

If you plan to offer mugs, you really need a mug press. You can apply HTV or vinyl to a mug, but it's not what I would consider shop-worthy if you want to be confident in your product because those materials require handwash only and lets be honest...most customers would rather not. 

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A three in one mug press will give you some flexibility allowing you to press onto several different size and shape drinkware.

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Back Up Silhouette Machine 

If you're relying at all on your Silhouette machine for your handmade business you need a back up machine - not just for faster production, but for when Miss CAMEO decides not to cooperate just because it's Tuesday.

You would not believe the number of emails I get from small business owners in a panic when their only Silhouette machine has an issue and they rely on it to make items to sell. As a small handmade Silhouette business, there's no faster way to lose business or go out of business than not having a working Silhouette machine.

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Don't forget you can cut with multiple Silhouette machines simultaneously so you get that added advantage as well!

Silhouette CAMEO 4 or 15" CAMEO 4 Plus

The Silhouette CAMEO 4 and Silhouette CAMEO 4 Plus both offer advantages over other Silhouette machines depending on how you are looking to grow your handmade small business.

The biggest advantages are the increased speed capabilities and the ability to use the Rotary Blade. I am not counting the Kraft Blade as an advantage at this point because I don't find it produces quality-enough cuts for selling.

However, if you want to cut 3x faster than the Silhouette CAMEO 2 or CAMEO 3 to cut down on production time or if you want to cut fabric, tissue paper, or felt with ease and speed using the Rotary Blade the CAMEO 4 is the answer.

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If, in addition to the ability for increased speed and the Rotary Blade, you also want to expand the size of your max cutting area from 12 to 15" to cut larger designs and decals without pieces them together  - the Silhouette CAMEO 4 Plus will be your best bet.

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The CAMEO Plus also gives you a larger print and cut area allowing you to print and cut twice as much in a single pass - of course you'd need to a wide format printer as well.

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Silhouette CAMEO Pro Update 

By the way, I keep getting asked about the 20" Silhouette CAMEO Pro as the May/June release date quickly approaches. Unfortunately, with the pandemic and the impact on worldwide manufacturing and production, the Silhouette CAMEO Pro release date has been pushed back with no exact info yet on a new release date or pre order time frame.

Sewing and Embroidery

If you want to add to your product line, an embroidery and/or sewing machine is a great great compliment to Silhouette crafts. With the ability to import embroidery files into Silhouette Studio (with Designer Edition Plus) and cut fabric applique with the Silhouette machines, it's a natural progressions. Again, if you plan to cut fabric, I would recommend the Silhouette CAMEO 4 or CAMEO 4 Plus so you can use the Rotary Blade.

You can cut fabric with the other machines, but it's not as easy, clean, or fast.

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Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I receive a small commission. That's what helps fund Silhouette School so I can keep buying new Silhouette-related products to show you how to get the most out of your machine!

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  1. Will this mug press do wine tumblers? TIA

  2. How long does Sawgrass EasySubli Inks - 4 Pack usually last for someone just starting out?

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