Printwear

April '20

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 P R I N T W E A R A P R I L 2 0 2 0 2 0 P R I N T W E A R A P R I L 2 0 2 0 Finding your Machine(s) TO UPGRADE OR NOT WHEN TALKING HOBBY TO BUSINESS EMBROIDERY Erich's Embellishments E r i c h C a m p b e l l the time allotted for production to provide profitable results at a reasonable price? De- pending on your market and the type of items you'd like to sell, your machine may suffice. That said, if you are already suffer- ing or working around shortcomings before going into full-on production, you need to look at a better solution. BUYING THE 'BIG MACHINE' If you've decided to upgrade, whether that's from prosumer equipment to commercial or from a single-head to multi-head ma- chine, you have a lot to consider. Embroi- derers obsess over equipment. It's expensive, and it's undeniable that machine embroi- dery needs machines, but the first question I s this enough?" If you are asking, you likely already know the answer. Though hobbyist machines are more capable than they have ever been, hobbyists turned pros find that standard, non-tubular machines have undeniable drawbacks for production, particu- larly for those stitching on finished apparel. It's much harder to hoop finished goods that can't open flat. Moreover, tight areas like sleeves and constructed items like finished hats, while potentially possible to stitch, are difficult to address. With multi-needle 'prosumer' machines, you may have similar capabilities to a commercial machine and features that make operation simpler like enforced hooping limits, automatic angle correction, and auto-threading. That said, prosumer single-heads may run slower and have smaller decora- tion areas than their commercial cousins. Evaluating an existing machine ultimately hangs on three qualities: • Ability • Ease of Use • Production Capacity Can your current machine stitch the items desired by customers in your intended market? If so, are they simple to stitch, or do they require difficult and time-consuming behavior to 'work around' machine capabilities? Lastly, can your machine output enough pieces in Left: Some companies may have started with small, prosumer machines like these. Though more traditional commercial offerings might offer more needles and larger sewing fields, machines like these are more than capable of becoming personalization stations. (All images courtesy the author) Right: Beyond the obvious utility, in-house digitizing proves engagement and investment in the client as well as shows a technical capability not common to every shop. '' Editor's Note: This piece is the second in a series aimed at hobbyists or small-scale embroiderers considering going commercial. Head to http://printwear.ly/richpt1 to brush up on part one before diving into this piece.

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