February '23

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 3 • G R A P H I C S P R O 7 9 ese are the 15 steps to create a typi- cal custom-embroidered order. If you put a 10,000-stitch design on that product, and you charged just $10 for that embroi- dery, it is difficult to see where or how you made any profit. If each step above (other than actually running the design on the machine) took you only one min- ute, a mere 60 seconds, you would have invested 15 minutes in the order above and beyond the time it takes to actually embroider the product. If you ran your machine at 1,000 stitches/minute, you would also have 10 minutes in sewing time invested in this order. To throw a monkey wrench in the works, let's be a bit more realistic about the amount of time each of the steps above takes. • Meet with the customer — this can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the situation. • Create a quote — a few minutes if it is just for one product with one design. en there are those orders with many prod- ucts with a variety of designs on them. Quoting those orders will take consider- ably longer. • Order inventory — fingers crossed that you get lucky with the first supplier you try. • Verify the inventory — more fin- ger crossing here in the hopes that you received exactly what you ordered. • Digitize the design — this definitely takes more than a minute, unless you work with an awesome digitizer and you just need to pop off an email to them with the properly prepared artwork. • Sew out — a few minutes to load the correct thread colors and at least 10 min- utes to sew the design. • Sew out approval — hurry up and wait, and wait, and wait… • Stabilize, hoop, and sew — 10 min- utes per run at least, assuming you have no thread breads and no empty bobbins — like that ever happens. • Finishing — tear, trim, fold, tag, and bag the products as necessary. • Box the order — get it ready for pickup, delivery, or shipping. • Invoicing — pull up the quote and add in the digitizing, shipping, and any other extra services fees, such as tagging or bagging. • Contact the customer via phone or email once the order is complete. • Post payment — make the bank run — oh happy day. • Get the products into the hands of your customer. Every single minute working with a cus- tomer needs to be accounted for and built into your process. If this process takes an hour or more from start to finish, that needs to be factored into your pricing. Because I know that so many apparel dec- oration professionals overlook the amount of time that goes into each order beyond the sewing time, I am sharing some ways to help you track and evaluate the time that goes into each of your jobs: • Track your time in five-minute incre- ments. at will build in a bit of a buf- fer for you. • Track your time in three major con- tent buckets: º Consultations: All customer-facing meetings or calls, including time spent creating materials and samples. º Prep work: All emails, design creation, creating and updating order details, vendor communications, etc. º Production: e time you spend run- ning the order on your equipment and finishing the order, including packing. • Use a time tracking app to make it easy. I love the time tracking feature inside of Honeybook, but Toggl is a good free option! • Don't wait — start now! is is my biggest tip. Even if time tracking sounds overwhelming, I assure you that it will help you better understand if you are even pricing yourself for profit in the first place! As we move ahead into 2023, under- standing where your time is spent is going to be one of the most important parts of your business. And trust me, you will thank me later when your business is more profitable! GP 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. Not considering your time as a cost is hurting your business.

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