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Ntrans: Unique Screenprint Transfers

30th November 2007

Ntrans: Unique Screenprint Transfers

Everyone who sells things wants to offer products that other companies cannot offer.   For most companies, unless they invent the product or service that they offer, selling something unique is a pretty tall order.  At EnMart, we pride ourselves on offering products that few other companies offer.  One of those products is Iris Thread.  Another is our Ntrans Screenprint transfers

The process that creates an Ntrans transfer was developed by and is proprietary to our parent company, Ensign Emblem.  Employees with years of screenprinting expertise experimented with a variety of methods and inks until they hit upon the combination that allowed the creation of the NTrans process.  These transfers are created with a specific mixture of inks, which are mixed according to our own unique method.   The result is the creation of screenprint transfers that have a depth of color other transfers just can’t match.

Ntrans can be used anywhere that you would normally screenprint a design.   If you can direct embroider, place an emblem or screenprint a certain location on a garment, Ntrans would work in that location as well.  Ntrans designs can also be created in any number of colors.   The designs can be as elaborate or as simple as you need them to be.  Ntrans transfers can also be created in a wide range of sizes.   You can learn more about size and color specifications here.

Applying an Ntrans transfers is surprisingly easy.  All you need is the transfer, the garment and a heat press.   We offer complete instructions for applying Ntrans Transfers on our web site.   We also sell heat presses, should you need one.  Unfortunately, EnMart does not yet sell garments, so you’ll have to get those from somewhere else.

If you are looking for an easy way to add screenprinted garments to your product offerings,  EnMart has the solution.  Our Ntrans transfers offer a quick and easy way to screenprint garments, and save you the trouble of buying ink and screens and learning to create the screenprinted designs yourself. 

posted in Garment Decoration, Uncategorized | Comments Off

28th November 2007

Tips for Attending Trade Shows

EnMart will be exhibiting at 5 Imprinted Sportswear Shows in 2008.  We will be in Long Beach in January, Orlando in February, Atlantic City in March, New England in July and Illinois in August.  We’re looking forward to meeting a lot of you and telling you about EnMart and the great products we offer.

For those who haven’t done so before, attending a trade show can be pretty overwhelming.   Today, I thought I’d give you a few tips that will help you get the most out of your trade show experience. 

Tip 1:  Make a list before the show.  Trade shows are huge with lots of things to see, and lots of people who want you to come to their booth and listen to their sales pitch.  To make sure you see what you want to see, visit the web site for the show or get an advance program for the show.  Go through and make a list of the companies you want to visit, and mark on the trade show map where those companies are located.  This will ensure that you don’t spend time wandering, and that you get to visit the companies you want to visit.

Tip 2:  Think Comfort:  Wear comfortable clothes and layers, so you can add an item or take something off depending on the temperature of the building.  Comfortable and supportive walking shoes are a must.   Many trade shows are huge and a lot of walking may be required.  Also make sure to bring a tote bag or backpack for carrying samples and brochures.   This will save a lot of wear and tear on your hands and arms.

Tip 3:  Bypass Booths that Don’t Interest You:  People who exhibit at trade shows are there to show their wares to potential customers.  They want to spend time with people who want what they have to sell.  If you’re not interested in the items being offered by a particular vendor, don’t be afraid to say you’re not interested and move on.  This will benefit both you and the vendor.  You’ll have more time to see the things you want to see, and the vendor will have more time to talk to people who do want to buy his product.  By being direct about your lack of interest, you’ve saved time for everyone.

 Tip 4:  Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions:  Vendors at trade shows are there to sell product, and to gain new customers.  Any vendor worth his or her salt will always take the time to answer your questions completely.  If the vendor is busy with other customers, you can always arrange to come back later when the vendor will be available to discuss things in more depth. 

If you take the time to make some plans in advance, trade shows can be a very valuable learning tool.  Spending a few minutes determining what interests you and what doesn’t will save you hours once you attend the show.

posted in Trade Shows | 1 Comment

27th November 2007

Why Quality Thread Matters

Most every machine embroiderer knows that the thread he or she chooses to use can have a great influence on the success of the finished design.  Given the impact that thread can have on a design and on the timely and successful completion of an order, choosing a good, quality thread makes sense.  The question is, how do you know whether or not a thread is good quality, and what are the warning signs that a thread might not be what you need?

 One sign of good quality thread is its texture.  Thread that is of high quality will be smooth, have a uniform thickness, and will run smoothly through your machine without excessive breakage.  Poor quality thread will often have an uneven texture, with lumps and bumps and thin spots which will be vulnerable to breakage. This sort of thread will jerk when run through your embroidery machine and will cause uneven stitches.  It will also be much more prone to breakage.

When determining the quality of thread, simply unspooling a length (about 18 inches) and visually examining the thread can tell you several things.  If you see lint or fluff on the thread it is probably a sign that the thread should not be used.  Lint and fluff can gum up your machine and will certainly necessitate cleaning it more often.  Another clue that the thread is not high quality is if you see patches of thick and thin thread.  Quality thread will be of uniform thickness.  Uneven thread will cause your tension disks to tighten and loosen as they adjust to the thickness of the thread. This may lead to uneven stitches. 

One of the best ways to determine the quality of a thread is to run a test design.  Using a scrap piece of fabric, stitch out a design on your machine.   Make sure you stay and watch while the design is sewing.  Take note of any problems that may occur and try to determine whether the problems are the result of a setting on your machine, how the design was digitized or if the problems are a result of the thread you are using.  You can always make changes to the settings on your machine and to how the design is digitized.  If those changes fail to eliminate the problem, then you can be pretty certain that the issue lies with the quality of your thread.

Of course, here at EnMart, we believe our Iris Polyester Thread is one of the highest quality machine embroidery threads in the business.   It is a true 40 weight thread, with uniform thickness and density, which ensures it will run smoothly in your machine.  Iris Thread also undergoes a unique dye process, which creates a sheen similar to that of rayon thread.  If you’ve been using rayon thread because you like the luster that it gives your designs, you might want to give our Iris Polyester Thread a try. 

 For more information about our thread or any of the products EnMart offers, please contact us.  We’ll be happy to tell you more about our thread, and will even supply a sample upon request.

posted in Machine Embroidery Supplies, Thread | Comments Off

21st November 2007

Color Matching Machine Embroidery Thread

Color matching thread can be a tedious and time consuming business and is one of the biggest reasons that many people resist switching thread suppliers.  Converting your designs from one thread manufacturer to another requires figuring out what threads from the new manufacturer coorespond to the threads you currently use.  It can be a lot of work and require a lot of trial and error.

One way to convert between two manufacturers is to get thread charts, with swatches of thread, from both manufacturers and do the conversion by hand.  This is time consuming, but is one of the best ways to ensure that your matches are as exact as possible.  If you do choose to do your conversions yourself, remember that one of the most important things to do is to make sure that you view your thread comparisons under three different light sources.   One source should be outdoor light, on should be room light and one should be ambient light.  Viewing your threads under all three sources will help you to find the most accurate match.

Another method of matching thread colors is to use Pantone Matching System (PMS) colors.  Many thread manufacturers, including Hilos Iris, use PMS numbers so that thread can be matched easily.  There may still be slight variations in shades among the different threads, but you can usually be reasonably certain that a thread ordered by PMS number will be a fairly close match.

There are also companies that offer software that will help you match thread.   MyThreadBox is one.  Easythreads is another.  The advantage to these programs is that the work has been done for you.   The thread matches are already calculated and all you need to do is enter the thread you wish to match and options from other manufacturers will be presented to you.   The thread matching for these programs is done using different methods, so make sure you know how the thread matches were made before you purchase the program.

posted in Machine Embroidery Supplies, Thread | Comments Off

20th November 2007

Secure Sites Make for Secure Shopping

Some people, myself being one of them, love online shopping.  I don’t like crowds and I’m not overly fond of random shopping.  I want to go to a store, find what I want, buy it and move on.  Online shopping suits me perfectly, and I shop quite a few online sites without any concern about the safety of my information or the security of the web site.

For every person, like me, who enjoys the convenience of online shopping, there are probably three or four people who are more tentative about shopping online.  After all, we hear stories all the time about someone who provided information in response to an e-mail request, or who bought something from an unsecured site, and as a result had their identity, or at the very least their money, stolen.   I’m not going to try and tell you that doesn’t happen, but I will give you some tips for making sure that such a thing is less likely to happen to you.

The first thing to remember is that you should never enter more information than would be required to charge your credit card.  Things like address, phone number, credit card number, expiration date and e-mail address are generally accepted and required information when making a credit card purchase online.   If you are asked for your Social Security Number, mother’s maiden name or other personal information, you probably should not make a purchase on that site.

Another way to make sure the site from which you are making a purchase is secure is to look for the “s” and the padlock symbol.  The “s” will show up after the http in the site address.  Https indicates that the site is secure, and has protocols in place which will safeguard your information.  Many of the sites that have the https heading will also have a small padlock symbol, which indicates the site is secure.  Depending on your browser and the version of that browser, the padlock symbol will either show up in the lower right hand corner or be near the bar where the URL is.

Something else for which you should look is contact information.  It should be easy to find and give you more than one way to contact the company should something go wrong with your order.  If the only method of contact available is an e-mail address, you may want to reconsider ordering from that site.  Sites that want you as a lifelong customer will also want to talk to you if you’re dissatisfied or if something goes wrong.   They’ll make it as easy as possible for you to get in touch with them if there is a problem or a concern.

At EnMart, we provide online ordering for our customers because we know that many of you are busy and can’t get everything done during normal business hours.  Our secure online store gives you the convenience of ordering whenever you wish, and the security of knowing that your credit card and personal information is protected.   When you visit the shopping cart portion of our store, you will see the URL has an https at the beginning, indicating a secure site.  The padlock icon also appears when you visit the cart.   Our contact information is also clearly visible and we provide multiple ways for you to get in touch with us. 

Our goal is to create customers for life, not just for one or two orders.  That’s why we do all we can to make sure every experience you have with us is convenient, comfortable and secure.

posted in Shop EnMart | 1 Comment

19th November 2007

EnMart NewsBites

A few weeks ago, I sent out the first of what will be a series of twice monthly e-mails.  These e-mails, called EnMart NewsBites, are designed to give you information about our company and our products in short bursts.  NewsBite e-mails generally contain three items, and will direct you to different aspects of this blog, our store and our website which we think will be of interest to you.

Today’s EnMart NewsBite e-mail contained the following information:

  • Links to a blog post about working with metallic thread.  The e-mail also directed those who received it to a blog post about selecting the right needle.  If you have questions about how to use a particular product, or would like tips on how to get the most from the products you buy, please contact us and we will get a blog post written on the subject.
  • A question referencing a post I wrote earlier in the month asking what magazines people read.  I expanded it in the e-mail to include the web sites that people visit as well.
  • A link to an article on our web site detailing how Hilos Iris and EnMart are setting the benchmark for other thread manufacturers.

If you did not receive this e-mail and would like to be included in future mailings,  leave a comment here or contact me, and I will add you to the list.

posted in EnMart News | 4 Comments

16th November 2007

Should Your Company Have a Web Site?

Recently it seems every company has a web presence.  Many people will tell you that you must have a web site to compete in today’s marketplace.  The companies that get the business, these advisers will say, are the companies that have web sites.  If you don’t have a web site, you’re no where and no one will be able to find you.   Or so you’ll be told. 

Starting a business and growing  a business is hard work.  You’ll get lots of conflicting advice from your family, your friends and from people who are supposed to be experts.  Some people would say you should absolutely, positively always do X.  The next piece of advice you get will tell you just the opposite.  It can be very confusing.

When it comes to having a web site, I would never say anyone should never or should always have one.  It largely depends on your business, and I won’t presume to make blanket judgments.  What I can do is give you some tips on how to decide if having a company web site is right for your company.    If you’re considering creating a web site for your business, here are some things you should consider.

  1. Where does most of your business originate?  If most of the people with whom you do business are local, and if most of your business comes by word of mouth and referral than a web site probably isn’t necessary.  People who shop locally will still refer to the phone book or go to places that family and friends recommend.
  2. Do you want to expand your market? If you want to expand your market beyond your city, a web site can be a great help.  As long as you have a method for shipping, and an easy way for people to contact you, a web presence can greatly expand your customer base.
  3. Do you have the time to manage a web site?  Many people think that all a company has to do is put up a web site and business will flow in.  That isn’t exactly true.  The web sites that bring business are well designed, well maintained and updated often.  Driving traffic to a web site requires time and effort as well.  The rewards of a well designed and well managed web site can be many, but you have to be committed to devoting the time and effort your web site requires.

Currently, we maintain a web site and a forum for Ensign Emblem, EnMart’s parent company and a web site  and this blog for EnMart.  Creating and maintaining these sites takes a combined effort from a lot of people.  There is always updating that needs to be done to the site function, site design or site information.  Granted our sites may be more elaborate than what you’ll need for your business, but that really doesn’t matter.  The simple fact is that having a web site takes time and effort, and isn’t as simple as putting up a web page and leaving it be. 

posted in Making Your Business Grow | Comments Off

15th November 2007

Commercial Embroiderer or Home Sewer?

To many of you out there, the distinction between those who are commercial embroiderers and those who are home sewers may not be that distinct and may not matter.  To tell you the truth, it wouldn’t really matter to us, except for one thing.  Our agreements with some of our suppliers specify to whom we can sell.  Commercial embroiders are our target market.  Home sewers will be referred to another company which deals with that market.

Many people don’t really know how to tell the difference between someone who is a commercial embroiderer and someone who is a home sewer.  One of the main differences between commercial embroiderers and home sewers is often the type of machines they use.   Commercial embroiderers usually work with commercial machines, which are generally designed to sew on a wider field of material.  These machines are also designed for extended use, the sort of use an embroiderer who runs a business would need.  Although there are people who sew as a hobby who own commercial machines, the cost of these machines is generally prohibitive for those wish to embroider items to give as gifts or to use in craft projects.

Another difference between commercial embroiderers and home sewers is that commercial embroiderers will have a tax i.d. number, as they generally sell the things they embroider as part of their business.  This is usually the easiest way to distinguish between commercial embroiderers and home sewers.  It is for this reason that we will always ask if you have a tax i.d. number before we take your order. 

Oddly enough, even though one category is called home sewers, there are many commercial embroiderers who run very profitable businesses out of their spare rooms or basements.   Generally, it isn’t location that matters when determining into which category an embroiderer falls.  What machine is being used and the possession or lack of a tax i.d. number matter far more. 

So, if you are a home sewer, does that mean you can’t find anything interesting on this site or in this blog?  I don’t think that’s the case.  We offer a lot of information that can benefit all embroiderers in general, whether you’re embroidering 1000 jackets for the local football team or 1 table-runner for your dining room table.  We are also happy to direct home sewers to a company that will sell them Iris embroidery and sewing thread, the best thread in the industry. 

 If you are a home sewer and wish to purchase Iris thread, please contact:  YLI Corporation.  You can find more information about this company on our links page.

posted in About EnMart | Comments Off

13th November 2007

O.k., We’re Not Quite Victor Kiam

Those of you of a certain age, what age I won’t say,  probably will get the reference in the title.  For those who are at sea, allow me to explain.  Victor Kiam was the owner of several things, one of them being Remington Products.  He was, for a time, the spokesperson for the company, and the slogan he used was “I liked it so much I bought the company.”  In it’s time, this slogan and advertising concept was quite popular, and it has been used ever since to signify companies and owners that really believe in the products and services they sell.

In the case of EnMart, we can’t say we bought the companies that design and manufacture the products that we sell.  Some, like Hilos Iris, are companies with whom we have a close partnership.  Other companies for whom we distribute products are simply that, companies who make the products which we sell.  So, it wouldn’t be strictly accurate to say we liked the products so much we bought the companies.  It would, however,  be strictly accurate to say we like the products so much, we use them ourselves.  It may not be as catchy a slogan, but it does have the benefit of being the truth.

Ensign Emblem, our parent company, creates products using Hilos Iris thread.  We use the bobbins and needles we sell.  Were you to look, you could find the scissors and backings sold on the EnMart site being used by employees in all of our plants.  We sell the things we sell because we use them ourselves.  We know these products work.  They work for us every day.

As an advertising slogan “We like these products so much we use them every day” probably isn’t going to set the world on fire.   As a rationale for why you should purchase products from EnMart, however, it makes perfect sense.  Ensign Emblem has been in the embroidery business for over 30 years, and in that time we’ve learned a little something about what products work and what products don’t work.  Now, through EnMart, you can make use our expertise and be sure you’re getting products that will work well for your business. 

 After all, they work well for ours.

posted in About EnMart, Hilos Iris | 1 Comment

9th November 2007

Order Online Through the EnMart Store

Today, many brick and mortar stores  also have web sites from which you can order their products.  Other companies have dispensed with a physical store entirely, and sell all their inventory online.  EnMart is this type of company.  Although we do have warehouses for storing our products, we do not have any brick and mortar storefront to which you can go and make a purchase.  If you want to buy our product, you have two options:  (1) call one of our friendly and knowledgeable customer service representatives, or (2) place your order online through the EnMart Store.

Although talking with our customer service staff is always informative and pleasant, there are some advantages to ordering online.   One big advantage of ordering online is that orders can be placed 24/7.  Our customer service staff, although stellar, does occasionally like to go home to eat, sleep and see their families.  So phone orders are only taken during normal business hours.  The online store, on the other hand, doesn’t eat or sleep, and is available all the time.  If the urge to place an order strikes you at 2 a.m., the EnMart store will be ready and waiting.

Another big advantage is that, for most products, you can see a description of the product and a picture.  This is especially helpful when it comes to ordering thread.  Although we always caution people that monitor settings will have an effect on how a color appears, viewing a picture can at least give you a sense of the thread color.  A picture can also help you get an idea of what a product looks like before you buy.

Many of our online product listings also include a description of the product, and helpful information about the product.  If you are wondering what sort of thread to order, or  which heat press would work for your business, you can find information on our web site that will help you make your decision.   Product information is generally given in a few short paragraphs which quickly acquaint you with the basic features and benefits of the product. 

Another advantage ordering online can bring occurs when there are artwork requirements or other information that must be submitted to create the product you order.  Ntrans Screenprint Transfers require the submission of artwork before your design can be created and turned into a transfer.  The EnMart web site gives you step by step instructions on how to submit that artwork, and also gives you tips on how to apply the transfers once you’ve received your order.

Of course, we welcome any calls to our office, and will cheerfully accept your order if you wish to place one by phone.  We want you to feel free to contact us at any time. The EnMart website and the EnMart Store are just additional ways to inform our customers and to make placing an order more easier and more convenient.

posted in Shop EnMart | Comments Off

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