Don’t Buy the Machine, Buy the Dealer

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With sewing machine stores closing at an alarming rate, sewing machine owners are getting left high and dry without the classes and service they were promised.

This is HIGH TIME to do your research before purchasing a new sewing machine before you find out the store closes three months later.

We have had a large rash of e-mails of upset people complaining that their sewing machine stores are not keeping up with product training, don’t know how to answer questions on the new machines or have just closed.

As an industry, sewing machine dealers and quilt shop owners are reaching retirement age. They want to spend time with their grandkids and travel the world just like you. They have the right to close their store when they are done. Don’t get mad if you did not do your research.

So what should you look for from a store before spending $10K + on your next sewing machine?

It’s time to interview your next potential sewing machine retailer!

Here are 10 things you should ask or look for from your dealer BEFORE making a large purchase.

Take a Class

Watch how the staff, teachers and sewing machine technicians interact with students who have questions during the class.  This can help you decide if this store is the right fit for you.

Full Product Range

This is a BIGGY! If a store does not carry the full product line it is sometimes because they are not up-to-date with their trainings. Sewing machine companies do not allow stores sell top-of-the-line models if they are not certified to sell or service that machine. Even if you wanted to purchase the machine from that store, they can not order it for you.

Some stores only display 30-40% of the sewing machine line to sell. Is the right machine for you missing? You would never know.

The Staff is Happy to See You

A good dealer has team members excited to be there. They are usually sewists themselves and can’t wait to help you with any sewing question you might have. (Side note: Remember not all customers are polite. This can take a toll on any sales person. Always give someone a second chance. You never know who they had to deal with before you.)

The Best Deal is Not Always the Best Deal 

If the price seems too good to be true, ask why. What are you not getting with the discounted price? Are you sure you know what you should be getting? Is the machine a new or a demo? Has it been refurbished? Could you even tell if it was a refurbished machine? Some stores sell refurbished machines as NEW machines.

Don’t Believe Everything You Read on the Internet

If all your research is via the Internet, you will never want to buy a machine – EVER! People are more apt to complain online verses sing praises. Those that are enjoying their machine and their sewing machine dealer are not online…THEY ARE HOME SEWING!!!! Get off the Internet and do your own research.

One-on-One Classes VS Group Classes

I have never been a fan of individual or one-on-one classes. The difference is like going to kindergarten verse college. Yes, I can teach you what you need to know to run the machine properly with a one-on-one class. But there is so much more to learn. Group classes open up conversation, questions asked by others you never know to ask and much more hands on experience.

A Current Website

Websites cost money – both to host and to pay someone to keep it updated. Products and class calendars are a great way to learn if a store is investing in the education of their customers. Stores that only have a Facebook page verses stores that have an up to date website can be the difference between staying open and going out of business.

What is Included With Your Purchase?

Does the store you are interviewing have a list of everything that is included with a sewing machine purchase? Never assume that just because you think something is included that it will be included. Each store can offer different items to their customers based on their own choosing. Stores are independently owned. Yes, sewing machine manufactures require their dealers to offer certain items with a sewing machine purchase but they don’t always do a good job policing who does what. Find out before you buy instead of just assuming.

On-Site Service Technician 

Or better yet…TechnicianS! PLURAL! Having a technician and having a certified trained technician is also a big difference. If a store has to send your sewing machine away for service, this should be a big factor. How long you will be without your machine can be a big mystery. A good store that invests in training and certification of their technicians is worth of your business. This should be top of your list when looking for a good dealer.

Knowledgeable Long Term Employees

A good store has team members that have been in the sewing industry more than a year. Tapping into their knowledge base is PRICELESS. They understand the sewing world, they can help with older models, they know which bobbin fits a Bernina 1008 (BTW – a it is standard Bernina CB bobbin), and they can help make sure you purchase the RIGHT machine for the type of sewing you do.

A Good Sewing Machine Retailer Has Used Machines

Whether you like to buy new or used, stores that offer used machines prove that their customers come back to upgrade and get bigger and better machines. Buying a previously owned sewing machine from a good dealer takes the headache out of the equation. Trust me. A store would not sell a used machine if they thought it was going to be a problem. No good store has time for upset customers.

Stop Supporting Stores That Disappoint You

In conclusion, it is not hard to find sewing machine stores that will take care of you. There are many wonderful stores in every state that offers superior service and support. Do your research before you get burned.

Yes, you might need to drive PAST a few stores to get to them, but trust us, the drive is worth it!

  1. Sis says:

    You have forgotten one very important thing in my mind here – do not be wedded to a specific brand. The dealer is more important than the brand of machine. I switched from one brand of machine to another just because of the dealer and I have not looked back – from sewing being stressful due to a machine the dealer could not make sew/embroider problem free to a blissful time with a machine that another dealer made sure was in tip-top order even before it came home with me. Friends thought I was out of my mind changing brands when I had what was in their minds supposed to be the very best of the best to a brand no online shows was sponsored by. A chance visit to get embroidery thread at a dealer selling different machines and who took time to have a chat made me realise that brand isn’t everything. Customer service and a commitment to make sure that a buyer gets the very best help is far more important than the brand of machine.

    1. Sara says:

      Hi, I wanted to include this topic but coming from you makes it much more powerful. Thanks!

  2. CJ says:

    I wish it was that easy. Where I live in Canada, there are very few dealers. The worst part is that the staff are sadly lacking in training and sewing knowledge. The staff are even less knowledgable with regards to the machines, especially the higher end models. I have been sewing for a long time and thankfully don’t have a problem figuring things out on my own. If I’m looking for any tips, I look to your videos! I have been considering upgrading my Pfaff to either an Icon or Epic. I wish I could come to your store for advice as to which one would be most suitable for me.

    1. Barbara Godfrey says:

      I agree with you! I’m also in Canada – Toronto area, and when I upgraded my Pfaff this spring, I bought the lowest price because no one in my area stocked the 720 (so no classes). I got the sales info from a shop in Florida. Unfortunately, guarantees don’t work crossing borders and the US dollar made the machine too expensive.
      I would have liked classes – I’m on YouTube a lot trying to figure the machine out.

      1. Sara says:

        Hi Barbara,

        Thank you for sharing your experience. Thank goodness for YouTube!

        We just released our new online course to help students master their sewing machine in the Husqvarna Viking Stitching Cosmos online course. I hope you will check it out. There are 10 videos you can preview for free including how to make the Ultimate Stitch book.

        Hope you will join us!


  3. Jean says:

    I could not agree more about checking out your dealer. I am in Canada, which appears to sadly lack the enthusiasm for sewists among dealers. The dealer I bought my 770qee from treated me so badly I actually advertised my machine for sale, it did not sell, so I investigated dealers close to me and found an amazing dealer. My 770qee just would not work well, continuous errors regarding software. The dealer I purchased it from insisted I did not know how to use the machine. My new dealer investigated everything and found a circuit board that needed replacing. Guess what, it runs perfectly. I cannot tell you how one bad dealer can humiliate and demean you to the point you just want to throw in the towel. Now I am embroidering daily and creating beautiful things. All of that credit goes to the new dealer for fixing the problem, and you Sarah for all your wonderful video tutorials. I cannot wait for you to finish cosmos for the Bernina, I am going to try hard to afford that course. Wish you were her in Canada!

    1. Sara says:

      Hi Jean,

      Thank you so much for writing your experience. We are so glad you found a store that was able to help you through the issue. I would love to have you in our Bernina Stitching Cosmos online course when it comes out. We are shooting for a September 30 launch…maybe a little be sooner. 😉

      In the meantime, you can start working on gathering up your fabrics and stitching out your stitch book. Watch the first 10 videos for free here:

      Don’t mind that this is the Husqvarna Viking course, the first lesson will be the same for all brands of machines.

      Please reach out with any questions you have. We are here to help! Thanks for finding all our videos.

      Sara Snuggerud

  4. Margaret Tyree says:

    I wish I had read this before I bought my last embroidery machine. It’s a complete lemon and now the dealer is gone! I tried emailing Viking corporate but nothing…

    1. Sara says:

      What area are you in? We might be able to help. So which embroidery machine model do you have?

  5. Melinda Pepper says:

    I made the huge mistake of buying from the Bernina dealer in town who just closed their doors. Luckily, the Brother dealer in town will service my machine and I won’t have to drive 70 miles for maintenance and I have your beautiful website. Thank you!

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