May '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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5 4 P R I N T W E A R M A Y 2 0 1 9 even if it is just a free business page on Facebook. If someone cannot find your business on their smartphone, you may as well not exist. You will also need a system to handle the bookkeeping and finances for your business. The success of your business should not be based on an "If I have the machine, they will come" type of approach. You need a marketing plan to help you get in front of people that need decorated apparel and products and you need to be able to com- municate with them in order to win the sale and ultimately get paid. If you do just one thing a day to build awareness of your business, you'll make a minimum of 365 impressions on your market. It can be as simple as pinning your busi- ness card to bulletin boards or updat- ing social media with a photo of your latest order. Even the little things count and add up over time. And finally, when it comes to in- teracting with customers and taking orders, it is essential that you develop a consistent sales process. Every or- der should have written documenta- tion, a sales agreement that includes your business name, the customer's name, and their phone number and email. On this agreement, you need to specify the products that are being ordered by brands, styles, colors, sizes, and quantities. Note the payment terms of the agreement, such as 50 percent deposit, balance due on deliv- ery, etc. List the price of each unique item based on a specific quantity. In- dicate the due date and how the cus- tomer will receive the goods. At the bottom of the agreement, have the customer sign and date it. Note the deposit and payment details right on the agreement. If the customer con- tacts you to make any changes to an order they have already placed with you, request confirmation of that change in writing by email and add the change orders to their agreement. RESOURCES One of the best things you can do to jump start your business is to connect with other embroiderers and apparel decoration pro- fessionals. It is not likely that someone else in your hometown will want to mentor you, but what about in communities a bit farther away or online? Attend at least one industry trade show a year to see what is new, what is changing, and to find trends that you can bring back for your custom- ers. Subscribe to and read industry maga- zines like this one to stay current. Your suppliers and sales reps often have a wealth of knowledge that is helpful. Take the time to develop relationships with them. You will succeed more quickly when you think of yourself as a business owner/en- trepreneur, not an embroiderer or apparel decorator. The difference between think- ing like an owner or a product producer is often an early indicator of how successful you will become. People are not walking into your busi- ness naked. They need more than a shirt to wear with some colorful threads in it. Learn to discover the customer's 'what,' or 'why,' and you will never have any real competition. Stop selling stuff and start of- fering solutions. PW HERE ARE ALL THE STEPS IN AN ORDER FOR A SINGLE EMBROIDERED SHIRT: • Chat with the customer about their order, take the order • Order the shirt • Receive and unpack the shirt • Check the shirt for right style, color, size; and check that it is stain and flaw free • Program or load embroidery design on computer • Send design to the embroidery machine • Thread colors on the embroidery ma- chine • Program colors on the embroidery machine • Sew out a sample • Stabilize the shirt • Hoop the shirt • Attach the shirt to the embroidery ma- chine • Embroider the shirt • Remove the shirt from the machine • Unhoop the shirt • Trim the embroidery thread and stabilizer • Fold the shirt • Create an invoice for the shirt • Notify the customer that shirt is ready • Chat with the customer when shirt is picked up • Get paid EMBROIDERY STARTUP Set your pric- es so you're earning a rea- sonable wage for the work you do. (Image courtesy Melco)

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