December '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 9 D E C E M B E R P R I N T W E A R 1 7 LEARN WITH INTENTION You started your business because you decided you wanted to earn income by embroidering and deco- rating apparel and products. The skills that you have developed as a professional apparel decorator are probably not the same skills that are required to run a business suc- cessfully. Developing your business skills is just as important as devel- oping your embroidery and apparel decoration skills. Many businesses in this industry have failed even though the owners were passionate about and excellent at creating awesome embroidered and decorated goods. Invest the time necessary to develop and hone your business skills so that you can understand your financial state- ments, create and implement an effective marketing strategy, and schedule a work- flow so that deadlines are met. If you can- not do all this and still get the work done on time, you may need to outsource some of these aspects of the business, whether that is the bookkeeping, digitizing, marketing, or production, for example. Even when you outsource it, however, you still need to have the knowledge to manage those processes so that your business is going the direction you want it to. CELEBRATE AND KEEP GOING When success happens, it feels great, so take a moment and celebrate the win. Then take another moment to determine what went right. People often talk about learning from their mistakes, but you can also learn from your successes. When you build on suc- cesses, your customers will notice that you and your business are evolving and improving. Building on success and striving for ongoing improvement will grow your business. BE MAGNETIC Apparel decoration professionals create awesome products. We take pride in the quality of the work we do and the goods we create, as well we should. Build this into a strong marketing strategy to help you attract customers to your business. Be an engaging ambassador for your company. Encourage your family, staff, and even your customers and friends to become am- bassadors for the business. When they look good and someone comments on it, make sure they know to send people your way so that you can make them look just as good. Being a successful business owner requires you to survive a never-ending mix of marathons and sprints. Sometimes it feels like you are running both at the same time. With the right strategies and mindset, you will make it to through the race, whether it is a long or a short one, and make it to the finish line as a successful business owner. PW Jennifer Cox is the president and co-founder of the National Network of Embroidery Professionals (NNEP), a professional organization for apparel decoration business owners. NNEP supports the success of NNEP members with best practices, ideas, sources, solutions, volume-buying benefits, and services. Cox was recognized as a Top 50 Small Business Influencer and Community Choice Leader by Small Biz Trends in 2013, is recognized as one of the industry's "Most Creative Thinkers," and repeatedly ranks in the top 40 on the industry's "Power List." Reach her at jennifer@ or go to

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