Start Here October '22

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Page 36 of 103 31 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 2 2 commercial embroiderers. ey usually run on slower, single-needle machines, chang- ing colors manually throughout designs, running one piece at a time, spending ded- icated hours as entertainment rather than employment. ey dedicate themselves dil- igently to self-education and experimenta- tion, mainly focusing on the look of the work. eir early work is more concerned with what they can make their machines do rather than how it was achieved or how long pieces take to create. In short, commercial-only embroiderers tend to be efficiency-minded and produc- tion-focused, but that focus can sometimes lead us to standardize settings and materi- als. Home embroiderers tend to be experi- menters and mavericks but may spend more time on a piece in the name of its appear- ance than a commercial job can afford. Let's take the best of both worlds. We can make ourselves embroiderers who relish experimentation and creativity but know how to make it efficient and easy to pro- duce, all while making the money it takes to keep us doing what we love. To my commercial contemporaries, my greatest tip for you is to keep playing. Take at least one hour, if not a few hours, to try something new, experiment with a wild idea, or even lurk in some home embroidery and fiber-arts circles just to get inspired. For my crafty converts, your tips are a little more explicit. As a writer and educator, I've been privy to hundreds of questions from erstwhile embroiderers making their way from a love of stitches to a lifetime in the busi- ness. ose Q&A sessions reliably bring out some of the same tips. Take them to heart as you start your commercial adventure. BE READY TO DO BUSINESS If you don't like talking about or handling money matters, can't stand sales or marketing, don't like serving people, and never take a second glance at the cal- endar, you'll either need to find out how to enjoy this vital work or find and pay a partner who does. Making money means shuffling some paper in the process. You may not need to Mounting a sample on a multihead machine. At the intersection between the work you love to do and the money you need to survive, there's a blessed state of existence. 1

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