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Embroidery: Let's Get This Party Started
Feature: 25/3/2010

n these days of economic gloom it is understandable why some businesses would want to add to their existing business but, in fact, this is nothing new and whilst the recession may have made it a more popular venture, diversification is something businesses have been doing for years. The secret is to find the right “additional” business and the answer may be staring you in the face – embroidery.


Many of you reading this will already have a customer database that will lend itself to embroidery. Just think about the number of businesses, sports clubs, institutes, schools etc that you already serve and then think how many of them have a use or a need for embroidery. The fact is that most organisations have a need for it although this sometimes needs pointing out to them. Your problem however is that you know next to nothing about how to produce (and market) this product.

First of all let’s look at what you will need to fulfil the orders that you will (quickly) get. The obvious one is an embroidery machine and the range to choose from is, to say the least, massive. Next you will need to produce the patterns and/or logos that your customers will want so embroidery software has to be on the shopping list. Finally, you will need support devices and consumables and we’ll say at this early stage that you should give these just as much attention as the more expensive stuff.


Let’s start with the most expensive item, the machine. Ironically the first thing we would point out when buying a machine is not to look at the machine, but rather at the company you are buying it from. Check out their reputation and ask for references. At Your Embroidery Services Ltd. (also known as 'YES Ltd.') they go to great lengths to match the machine to the customer’s needs. You may think that your business needs a 4 head machine, when a single head such as the SWF-E-1201C is quite adequate. At this early stage it is important to match the investment to the potential and a good supplier will help with this.


The chances are that a single head machine will be more than suitable to start with. It is also worth mentioning that most who start with this type of machine keep it when they increase their capacity. A single head machine is always useful to have around to produce samples and small orders.
You may think that choosing the machine will present you with the most headaches but you would be wrong. With machines, they all produce embroidery and all, to a degree, operate in a similar manner. You choice is the supplier and any particular feature that is unique to that model. For instance SWF make a dual function machine that will allow you to embroider two different products/patterns at the same time. If this is something that will suit your business then your choice will be limited as this machine is unique to SWF.

With software though you enter a forest of products that all have one aim, to produce embroidery patterns and you know what they say about forests – sometimes you can’t see the trees. All embroidery software is made up of code that will do the basics and code that will do all the fancy stuff – the bells and whistles. It is this that you initially need to ignore. There are three important considerations with embroidery software:

i) How easy is it to learn
ii) How good is the training and support
iii) What is stitch quality like

Once you get past these three then you can start looking at bells and whistles. A fancy bit of code won’t encourage a customer to give you repeat business - only quality and service will do that. It is also worth asking just how much the software supplier knows about how an embroidery machine works because this sort of knowledge will enable them to support you better. Some software also comes in modules such as WINGS Modular as supplied by 'YES Ltd.' It is imperative that you have the right modules and, as you will be new to the industry, you will have to rely on the demonstrator or salesman so, once again, we are back to knowing your supplier.

Apart from these two basics of the industry there are other items that will ease your learning curve. One such item is the Flexible Framer (FF1) which de-skills the operation of framing. This activity is widely recognised as being one of the most difficult things to learn about embroidery and yet it is something that will determine the quality of the finished product.


The final parts of the jigsaw puzzle are consumables such as backing and thread. In comparison to the capital outlay you have just committed to, these are penny items and yet they are an area that many concentrate on to reduce their costs. One word – don’t. If you have invested thousands of pounds to get the best machine and software the last thing you should be thinking about is, to be blunt, penny pinching on items such as these. These are just as key to the finished quality as the machine and software.


Hopefully by the time you reach this stage you will have formed a good relationship with your supplier so talk to them. After all, if anyone should know what works best on their machines it is the company that has supplied it to you. Naturally Your Embroidery Services Ltd. can only comment on the products that they themselves supply and by their own admission, there are others out there. One thing they can boast about though is their commitment to “getting it right”. They have been instrumental in helping to start many new embroidery companies as well as expanding existing businesses to include this service. They also have spent time, money and effort in investigating the most cost efficient routes for customers to travel.

 

For further information on starting a new embroidery business or adding it to your existing one please contact Your Embroidery Services Ltd. on 01623 863343 or e-mail them at sales@yesltd.co.uk You can also visit their web site at www.yesltd.co.uk

Author: Catherine Christie
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