July '20

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9 0 G R A P H I C S P R O J U L Y 2 0 2 0 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M For instance, if you use thin threads that allow for crisper details and smaller letter- ing than your competition, your work looks different, and thus may have a higher value for a client that prefers precise renderings of their logo. If you master the use of metallic threads and can provide a shiny, glittering effect that your competition didn't offer, that perception of rarity and cost discussed previously causes your work to stand apart. If you can produce decorations that look handmade or appear seamlessly beside existing vintage decorations without the time and cost of manual embroidery, you can command a higher price than those whose work isn't offered in those finishes for a customer who requires a vintage or historical look. The versatility of specialty threads creates a perception that your shop is creative and versatile, and that your work carries a higher value, allowing cus- tomers to justify paying more for your pro- duction. Even if a customer never orders these threads, your shop looks more expe- rienced and your work more skilled simply because you swapped in less-conventional threads in your display sampling. INDULGING IN PLAY AND PROFIT Embroidery attracts creative souls swayed by the allure of solving problems and ex- pressing themselves in the medium of thread. Unfortunately, our desire to play, test, and try new things can outstrip our business sense, finding us well into project planning before plotting for profitability. Specialty threads give us a chance to learn new techniques and expand creatively, while providing value we can use to trigger sales. The world of promotional products trades in novelty and utility; these threads are an easy way to add delight in discovery when customers first see the features of a new thread. As shops look to differentiate them- selves, having a signature look that defines their work grants top-of-mind awareness and recognition. Trying out specialty threads is an inexpensive way to expand your offerings. No equipment is neces- sary beyond your machine, and though it takes some education, what you must learn and test is based solidly in an un- derstanding of the stitching you already do. For once, you can follow your creative whim without a huge outlay of capital or effort; what reason could there be not to give it a go and see what new markets you might attract? GP ERICH CAMPBELL has more than 18 years' experi- ence as an award-winning digitizer, eCommerce man- ager, and industry educator. He empowers decorators to do their best work and achieve a greater success. A current educator and long-time contributor to industry trade publications, Erich takes every opportunity to provide value to the industry. Top: Whenever a customer brings in art with chrome elements indicated by stark graphic high- lights and shadows like the ones shown here, my tendency is to head for metallic thread. The cus- tomer wanted to see the design with these elements intact, but on the small left-chest design, I didn't like the concept. Above: This shows the chrome border in both a standard rayon thread and in a metallic silver, but it didn't quite sell the customer until I sent a quick video showing the thread reflecting light in motion. (Images courtesy Erich Campbell) continued from page 85 SPECIALTY THREAD Fine metallics are a great way to increase your value proposition. This design stitched surprisingly well in a 50-weight metallic thread, allowing for small, clear lettering. (Image courtesy Erich Campbell)

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