Awards & Engraving

Start Here October '18

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S T A R T H E R E 2 0 1 8 I t's easy to love the creative opportunities that embroidery offers, despite the complications and frustration inherent to learning the craft. Starting a venture in commercial machine embroidery adds the difficulty of starting a business to this learning curve, leav- ing many erstwhile embroiderers stunned. Success as a decorator is determined not only by your mastery of decoration processes and the operation of equipment, but by dedicated attention to the clerical aspects of your business as well. One article can't cover everything you need to know to start operating as a commercial machine embroiderer, but the broad outline below covers critical steps to help you avoid pitfalls in everything from selecting equipment and the technical needs and knowledge of embroidery operation, to the tenets of doing business in this industry. Finding Your Machine New embroiderers obsess over equipment. It's expensive, and it's undeniable that machine embroidery needs machines, but the first question they ask is, "Which machine makes the best-looking embroidery?" Truthfully, among established brands, there isn't a candidate that won't produce a satisfactory result from well-digitized files and the right materials. Unless your work is highly specialized, most machines will suffice. The differentiators that affect your busi- ness most often aren't equipment features but the following qualities. Support: What training does your distributor or manufacturer offer? Will you be able to take advantage of it? What documentation or instructional materials are available? Is there an active user com- munity to help you when official channels fail? In short, how hard will it be to get the instruction and answers you need to operate? Repair: Are technicians and parts available to service your The basics of getting in the business By Erich Campbell Erich Campbell is the partner relationship man- ager at DecoNetwork, leveraging his more than 18 years of experience as an award-winning digitizer, e-commerce manager, and industry educator to create partnerships in the decorating community and empower decorators to do their best work and achieve a greater measure of success. A current educator and long-time columnist, Erich continues to take every opportunity he can find to provide value to the industry. For more information on Campell and his publications visit erich- Embroidery 101 72 Ask for samples from your supplier to test new materials; this fine 60wt thread sample came with appropriate needles and an infor- mation sheet to help you understand the right way to implement it for fine detail work. (All images courtesy of the author)

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