February '23

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7 8 G R A P H I C S P R O • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 3 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M S T I T C H S O L U T I O N S | J E N N I F E R C O X Jennifer Cox is one of the founders and serves as president of the National Network of Embroidery Professionals (NNEP), an organization that supports embroidery and apparel decoration professionals with programs and services designed to increase profitability and production. You can contact her at What is Your Time Worth? Your efforts are much more than just the time you spend during production H ere we are at the beginning of the new year. 2023 stretches out before us, full of possibili- ties and, ideally, full of profits. is is an excellent time to pause so that you can evaluate 2022. Did you hit the profit goals you had set for your busi- ness? If you did, do you know why? If you did not, do you know why your numbers fell short? If you do not take a beat to look over what has been, it is challenging to make the necessary adjustments to your business to create a different outcome. ere is one thing that mystifies me about our industry. Whenever I talk with an embroidery and apparel decoration business owner about pricing or profits, the conversation seems to pivot around their cost per 1,000 stitches. ere is a very old (as in from the early 1990s) pricing strategy that is still floating around, and actively being used as a pricing model: charging $1 per 1,000 stitches. I swear I break out in hives whenever a busi- ness owner says their pricing method is to charge $1/1,000 stitches. First, because that's what I was told when I got into this industry in 1991. What can you purchase today at the same price that it was more than 30 years ago? I am pretty sure the A P P A R E L D E C O R A T I N G answer is nothing! Second, if you are basing your pricing on stitch count alone, I suspect that you have very little profits in the bank after any orders you complete. ird, not considering your time as a cost is hurting your business. When I talk about time, I don't just mean the time the product is flopping around on the machine getting jabbed by needles. I am talking about every little detail that takes up your time for every order you handle. Let's just think about the process for a single order. You have to: • Interact with the customer in person, online, or via a mobile device. • Once the customer determines what product they want and what design they want embroidered on that product, you have to create a price and pro- vide that to the customer. • Once the customer places the order, you have to find and order the blank inventory. • Once the inventory arrives, you have to make sure that you received the correct quantities, col- ors, styles, and sizes of the products. • You have to digitize the design, or get the design digitized. • You have to sew out the design to make sure it runs as expected, and that the color sequence is set correctly. • You may need to get approval of the sew out from the customer before you can run the products. • You need to stabilize and hoop the products. • You need to embroider the products. • You need to tear away or trim the backing, snip any thread tails, and possibly remove any toppings. • You need to fold, possibly label, and possibly bag the items before they are packed. • You need to create an invoice for the customer. • You need to let the customer know the order is complete and ready to be picked up or shipped. • You need to get paid. • The order has to be shipped, delivered or picked up.

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