Recognized Supplier Guide ‘18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 01 8 O C T O B E R P RI N T W E A R || 191 or that set of patches that you don't have ti me to attach manually to a co mplicated unifor m. Provided the pricing is well handled, the capabilities of the crafter can expand your offerings or at least al- lo w us to of oad jobs that require those capabilities to a co mpetent soul who will treat our custo mers well and ful ll their needs capably. Though we may be concerned over co mpetition being the 'people who kno w people' is far better than si mply saying 'no.' Moreover, by exposing ourselves to the hand work, out-of-the-ordinary materials, and artistic techniques co m mon in the craft side of the e mbroidery world, we stand to be more creative in our o wn solutions and treat - ments as co m mercial e mbroiderers. The other unstated bene t is that establishing this relationship makes the prosu mer a conduit for increased conventional work. If your s mall-run expert co mes across work that would ll their single- head machine for days, particularly when a custo mer expects volu me pricing, they will be eager to outsource or hand off that work to your shop. Seeing as you are set up to pro t fro m those orders, and they have more to gain fro m running s maller, higher- margin or niche- market work, this reciprocation si mply makes sense. G O O D H EL P I S (L E S S) H A R D T O FI N D Working with a 'prosu mer' who loves e mbroidery and offering the m a little tacit training can bene t you directly in the long run as they can beco me fantastic additions to your cre w as you expand. In the case that your s mall-run partner is looking to make e mbroidery a full-ti me calling, the experience they have using equip ment si milar to that in your shop can mean less training in technical operation. Though you still have processes, docu mentation, and work o w to cover, even that may be helped by the earlier outsourcing of jobs that will have made the m fa miliar with your for ms, methods, and expectations of the nal product. Even if you only require occasional or seasonal help, a trained stitcher in the ho me market beats an un- tested hand who has never threaded a needle any day. A 'second- shift' worker may even be willing to pick up a couple hours at your shop to help with a critical rush. Besides, it's a chance for the m to pick the brains of the co m mercial workers and pick up a little experi- ence or to trade for access to the large- eld co m mercial machines for their o wn projects. The truth is that we are increasingly more alike than not. The level of design understanding, equip ment reliability, and quality in our materials has increased and attained so me parity. Everyone you meet is looking to produce the best quality possible and nds the mselves availed of the tools to make it happen. It's easy to see ho w we can beco me stronger as partners than strangers. Increasing the nancial stability and business acu men of the craft market while boosting the reach and creativity of the co m mercial market can only stand to make us all better e mbroiderers and give us all a chance to do the work we love longer, with more skill, and ulti mately with more pro t, as we gro w together. than to spend an equal a mount of ti me in setup on a single piece. Craft-to-co m mercial and s mall cottage shops may have issues with pricing or quality, but they are not unique. Co m mercial decora- tion shops adding e mbroidery to their portfolios go through si milar gro wing pains, but they are largely supported by the industry with infor mation meant to bring the m into line with professional modes of operation. If we in the co m mercial market reach across and teach in the ho me market, we can correct many of our concerns about business practices and e mbroidery execution, though the latter is of- ten taught just as well by those educators in the ho me market. That said, by actively sharing our experience, teaching beyond the co m- mercial sphere, and partnering with local prosu mers, we can help the m to create pricing strategies that maintain the value of our offer- ings and increase their long-ter m success. By helping the m under- stand the co m merce in co m mercial e mbroidery, the need to charge for labor, planning for do wnti me and repairs, and teaching the tech- nical details needed for digitizing and e mbroidering ef ciently for co m mercial production, we ensure fair pricing, enhance the overall trust in the mediu m, and create the cooperative environ ment that can dra w us together for the greatest bene t. T H E B E N E FI T S Taking it as a given that the prosu mer e mbroiderer isn't co mpetition for the co m mercial e mbroiderer and that the proble ms we have with the way that the less professional a mong the m work can be easily ad- dressed. Why should a professional care to reach out, teach, or take up co m munication with the m? This relationship can be mutually bene cial. Each group has needs that the other can address if the t wo sides can meet in the middle. We tend to think of outsourcing as ho w we handle huge jobs be - yond our capacity or ho w we offer a decoration method we don't have equip ment to execute. That said, you can just as soon outsource 'do wn' as you can 'up.' Co m mercial multi-head shops can e mbroider na mes on a fe w stocking cuffs at Christ mas, but it's a tireso me ex- ercise that many large-volu me shops undertake to keep regular cus- to mers happy, not because it's pro table. These sorts of jobs that re- quire specialty treat ment (faux fur is not the most friendly substrate) or that might tie up a valuable multi-head operator who could be attending to a larger order of corporate gifts would be perfect to outsource or refer to a single-head prosu mer- machine operator. A well-trained operator of a s mall single-head who has done the specialty work co m mon in the craft world would have no proble m securing and stitching the afore mentioned furry stocking cuff, per- haps even beating a co m mercial operator who had never done any work outside of co m mercial hoops and standard gar ments. More - over, many craft-to-co m mercial operators may have construction se wing or quilting experience, allo wing you to subcontract the oc- casional repair, that jacket that needs the lining opened so that you can e mbroider without leaving the reverse of the e mbroidery visible, E RIC H'S E M B ELLI S H M E N T S continued fro m page 26

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