May '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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• Do they ship the machine for you to unload it and set it up, or do they de- liver it and install it for you? • How much training is provided? • Can you get more training? • How do you get the machine serviced? • What comes with the purchase of your machine? • What software works with it? • If you know your business has a ready- to-go customer base that will place or- ders of more than 24 pieces right from the start, consider starting with a small multi-head machine so that you can complete these orders in less time. EMBROIDERY SOFTWARE There are lots of embroidery software op- tions available. Again, there is no clear cut, "You should definitely get brand X soft- ware," answer. Just like there are people that love Apple and people that only work on Windows systems, you may find that you feel more comfortable using one software over another once you experience it. Make sure that whatever equipment you decide on is compatible with the software you like before you make the purchases. Here are some things to consider as you compare and evaluate your software options: • How much training is provided? • Can you get more training? • Are there training CDs available? • Are there online communities for that software? LOCATION AND SPACE Nearly half of this industry is made up of home-based businesses. But there are also those retail and commercial/industrial lo- cations, mobile operations, kiosks, and all sorts of other configurations. That said, your success hinges on how well you use the space you have, so you should design your space to fit your current needs. Accordingly, maximize the use of your space. Walls can hold threads and hoops on pegboard. On the floor you will need a place for your computer; file space for cus- tomer files and catalogs; flat surfaces where you will do the hooping; a place for threads, hoops, scissors, and stabilizers; a place to collect the goods as they come off the ma- chine; and a spot for incoming orders and inventory and a place for completed orders. If you find yourself walking in circles or back and forth in your workspace, move things around or duplicate them until you have what you need, where you need it, and when you need it. We wore our nippers on lanyards so that we always had access to them. Waist aprons work great to hold scissors, pens, and capped nippers. Laundry carts on wheels can help to move inventory around easily. TOOLS AND SUPPLIES Tools are the backbone of your business. Here some essentials to get you started: • Get a selection of embroidery needles and stabilizers so that you are set to work with a variety of fabrics and products • Invest in a hooping device so that your designs are in the same location and are straight on the garments • Buy good scissors that are just for fabric and your embroidery business • Request thread charts from your thread suppliers and order a basic range of threads including the most commonly used primary colors as well as threads in the school colors of your surrounding communities. INVENTORY AND PRODUCT SELECTION Control the amount of inventory you keep on hand. It is guaranteed that if you have 25 navy T-shirts, the next customer will want red ones. That is why this industry operates on a 'just in time' inventory mod- el. This is good news, because it means that you do not need to have that deep of a product mix or inventory. Pick your favorite wholesale suppliers based on their variety of products, their promotions, and how close they EMBROIDERY STARTUP Tools are the backbone of your embroidery business. Essentials include needless, stabilizers, thread, nippers, and a good hooping device. (Image courtesy Stitch It International) 5 2 P R I N T W E A R M A Y 2 0 1 9

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