Printwear

Recognized Supplier Guide ‘18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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24 || P RI N T W E A R O C T O B E R 2 01 8 Erich Ca mpbell is an award-winning co m mercial e mbroi- dery digitizer with more than 15 years of experience as well as a long-ti me e-co m merce manager, currently the partner relationship manager for DecoNetwork. A con- stant contributor to the industry's content landscape through webinars, podcasts, social media, and more, Erich is an evangelist for the craft, a stitch-obsessed e mbroi- dery believer, and r mly holds to constant, lifelong learning and the free exchange of technique and experience through conversations with his fellow stitch-workers. As a current industry and ber-arts blogger and once medievalist-in-training turned tech-obsessed e mbroidery designer, Ca mpbell brings his varied experience and in- terests to bear as an editorial author for nu merous industry publications, a me mber of editorial boards, and a consultant for product support groups. E RIC H'S E M B ELLI S H M E N T S B Y E RI C H C A M P B E L L W e are in business. As co m mercial e mbroiderers, we must do co m merce. Jobs need to co me in the door, the ma- chines have to stay in production, and we have to get paid. So meti mes, though, the desire to keep that cycle running can cause us to make poor decisions about the jobs we are willing to undertake. We take on unpro table work that isn't suited to our business model or that we are less than entirely equipped to han- dle, si mply to maintain the o w of work, both busying ourselves and our machines and reducing the ti me we can spend searching out and servicing the clients most pro table to the way we work. What might be surprising to those of us dyed-in-the- wool profes - sional e mbroiderers is that we can nd allies in an unlikely place: the legion of 'hobby-to-professional' boutique e mbroiderers. Though so me professionals may see the s welling ranks of 'pro - su mers' as a threat, treated correctly, there's an opportunity for a sy mbiotic relationship bet ween traditional, established shops and the host of s mall-capacity decorators entering the market today. By exa mining the pheno menon of the cottage machine e mbroidery in ux and nding the ways that this ups well can bene t (and ben- e t fro m) the co m mercial e mbroidery world, we can outline a plan that increases the pro le of e mbroidery as a whole and gives us all roo m for progress and pro ts. T H E RI S E O F T H E P R O S U M E R Any co m mercial decorator who has attended a recent trade sho w can see the undeniable in uence of the cottage decorator mar- ket. You'll nd subli mation printers making mugs in post-day job second shifts with desktop printers and countertop convec- tion ovens, or toner transfer printers paired with specialty papers to allo w for hard goods and ad specialties to join the ranks of 'spare-bedroo m' production. Though we've al ways had a dedi- cated group of single-needle e mbroiderers that did so me co m- mercial work and beco me used to se w-and-vac shops peddling s maller- eld multi-needle machines, within the last season we've found hybrid hobbyist-sized e mbroidery equip ment appearing on professional trade sho w oors, even including offerings hail- ing fro m well-respected co m mercial manufacturers. Moreover, there are increasing nu mbers of fully co m mercial machines at prices within striking distance of those paid in the ho me mar- ket, with brands readily sho wing at both ho me and co m mercial events. We can't ignore the truth: there are more decorators with capable equip ment in our world than there has ever been. It's up to us ho w we interact with the m. A Helping Hand This design was created for a co m mercial machine and ran, unaltered, on a ho me machine with si milar results. Properly trained, prosu mers with even more capable equip ment can be leveraged to do co m mercially viable work. ( All i mages courtesy the author) It's easy to understand ho w those who worked to learn these machines and paid dearly for soft ware and supplies might nd the entrance of more auto mated processes as a loss of pro- fessional skills, but we seek to auto mate and increase ef ciency wherever possible.

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