Embroidery Talk Has Moved!

Marketing Monday: Low Cost Ways to Market Your Business

31st March 2008

Marketing Monday: Low Cost Ways to Market Your Business

Today we start another new feature here at the EnMart EmbroideryTalk Blog.  We’re calling it Marketing Monday.  Every Monday we will deal with a different aspect of marketing yourself and your business.  As always, we are open to suggestions for future topics, so if there is some aspect of marketing you would like us to discuss, please leave a comment or contact us with your suggestion.

This Monday I want to discuss some low cost ways to market your business.  A lot of people think that effective marketing is expensive marketing, but that isn’t always the case.  Sometimes the least expensive forms of marketing can be the ones that have the most impact.   If your funds are tight, there are still several things you can do to get your business noticed.

Tip #1Wear Your Own Work – It sounds simple, but it is something that many business owners forget.  In the course of your day you may go many places.  Wearing your own work gives you a chance to display your best product, and always opens the possibility that someone may ask who designed or embroidered the garments you’re wearing.  Once they’ve opened that door, it is a perfect time to hit them with Tip # 2.

Tip #2: Always Carry Business Cards:  Like a lot of marketing tools, business cards don’t have to be expensive to be effective.  If you take the time to shop around online, you can find some very reasonable prices on business cards.  Always make sure you have a supply of your cards with you where ever you go.  Also make sure the cards are easily accessible.  Keeping people standing around while you dig through your purse or wallet for a card is not good marketing.  You should be able to quickly and easily hand a card to anyone who asks about your work.

Tip #3:  Send Press Releases to the Local Newspapers and Magazines – This method will depend somewhat on the size of the area in which you work, but most local newspapers and magazines run a new business section or will run press releases when they need filler.  There may also be a local business newspaper in your area which might be willing to do a feature on your business.  Investigate the local publications and get to know the editors and writers.  A little time invested up front can pay off in lots of free publicity later.

Tip #4:  Barter, Barter, Barter –  Maybe the local theater group needs shirts advertising their next performance.  Make a deal where you make the shirts for an advertisement in the program for that performance.  If you know someone who writes, make a deal where you trade shirts for press releases or articles that you can submit to local magazines.  Of course you want to make sure that the value of what you’re getting is equal to the value of what you’re giving out, but there are a lot of ways to creatively obtain services if you’re willing to barter.

Tip #5: Become the Local Expert – If you have a certain area of expertise, become the local expert for your area.  Speak at seminars, write for local publications, give classes after business hours.  Customers tend to give business to those people whom they perceive to be skilled.  Sharing your knowledge with others costs you nothing but time and can have big payoffs when it comes to reputation and recruiting new customers.

Marketing your business doesn’t always require glitz and glamour.  Some of the best ways to market yourself and your business are also some of the easiest and most inexpensive.  If you don’t have much cash to spend, try spending a little time thinking up creative ways to market your business instead. 

posted in Marketing Monday | Comments Off

27th March 2008

MyThreadBox Conversion Software

EnMart is proud to introduce My ThreadBox, a unique software program that gives you the ability to color match and cross reference thread colors.  The thread color palettes of most major thread manufacturers are included in this software package.

EnMart offers two versions of My ThreadBox.  The first version is called My ThreadBox Free for Iris Thread.  This version of the software is completely free of charge and can be easily downloaded from our web site to your computer.  My ThreadBox Free has been customized so you can easily cross reference any of the major thread manufacturer’s thread brands to the Iris Thread colors.  In order to use the software, all you have to do is click the link and follow the instructions.  Once the software has been installed on your computer, all you have to do is enter the color number and manufacturer of the thread you want to match and My ThreadBox Free will provide the closest Iris matches.

The second version of My ThreadBox  is the full version of the software.  This version of the software cross references all major thread manufacturers thread against each other.  If you are looking to cross reference Madeira thread against Robison-Anton thread, this is the software for you.   To order, simply click the add to cart button, and pay for your order as you normally would.  A CD with the full version of the software will be sent to you.  Once you receive the CD you can install the full version of My ThreadBox on your computer.

The beauty of both versions of My ThreadBox is that you don’t have to try to match thread across thread charts, in uncertain light, or when your eyes are already tired.  To get a match, simply select the manufacturer and color number of the thread you currently use.  If you’re using the Free version , the software will supply the closest Iris matches.  If you’re using the Full version, you will have to select the manufacturer to whom you want to convert as well.

Take the strain and time out of making thread matches by allowing My ThreadBox to do the work for you.   Download or order your software today. 

posted in EnMart News, Thread | 2 Comments

26th March 2008

Business Tips: Why Small Businesses Don’t Succeed

Today we’re going to be starting a new feature on the EnMart EmbroideryTalk Blog.  Some of our readers have been saying that it would be helpful to have a reference for ideas or tips about starting a small business and making it grow.  Given that information, we’ve decided that Wednesday should be Business Tips day. The plan is that, every Wednesday, if possible, we will write a post on some aspect of starting, building or managing a business.  If you have any questions you would like answered, or suggestions for a post topic, please let us know

The first Business Tips post will cover a subject that no one likes to think about, but which many small businesses face, failure.   Depending on where you look, you can find statistics that claim that 90% of small businesses fail in the first five years.  Some articles or web sites will tell you that starting a small business is an extremely risky venture and, at times, those articles or sites would be right.  Many small business owners fall victim to common mistakes which end up causing their businesses to fail.  Avoiding those mistakes can help make sure your business succeeds when others are failing.

Mistake #1:  Poor Money Management:  A lot of business owners think only about the freedom of owning their own business, they don’t consider they will also be responsible for making sure the business is profitable.  Make sure to keep careful records of all money that comes in and all money that goes out.  Have an emergency fund that can keep your business going should you have a few lean months. Make sure you have a qualified accountant who can review your record keeping and tax forms. 

Mistake #2:  Growing Too Fast: The big company down the street wants a huge order so you hire two more people.  Your best friend says you would make more sales if you had a storefront, so you rent space in a local mall.  Wanting to grow your business is a great thing, but you need to have a considered, measured plan for doing so.   Make sure you have realistic goals and that you are structuring your business around real world needs and not around your dreams for what your business could be. 

Mistake # 3:  If I Build It, They Will Come: Everyone who starts a small business begins with the rock solid belief that there are customers out there for the services they offer.  The business owners who prosper are those who actively go out and recruit those customers.  If you own a small business, part of your job is sales, whether you feel comfortable with that or not.  Just opening a business isn’t enough to get customers to spend money with you.  In order to succeed you have to provide great product, superior customer service and, most importantly, you have to keep reminding potential customers you’re out there.  Just having a business isn’t enough to convince people to buy from you, it is up to you to provide a compelling reason for them to do so.

Mistake #4:  Failing to Learn From Mistakes:  Everyone likes to think they will start the only business in the world that will move from success to success.  It is a nice fantasy, but the reality is that you will make mistakes along the way.  You’ll underbid to get an order which will cost twice what it should have and eat up all your profit.   You’ll buy a piece of equipment that turns out to be a lemon.  You’ll hire a new employee even though your instincts tell you not to make that hire.  Every businessperson makes mistakes, the ones that survive are the ones that learn from the mistakes they’ve made.  The trick is to not be afraid to make a mistake, but to realize that mistakes are part of growing and that you will survive them and go on to additional success.  If you can master that thought pattern, your small business will be one of those that is likely to succeed.

posted in Making Your Business Grow | Comments Off

14th March 2008

Sharing Our Experience

I’ve said this before, but I think it bears repeating.  One of the reasons we know EnMart offers the best products in the industry is because we use those products ourselves.  The people who selected all the products we sell have other 30 years of garment decoration and machine embroidery experience.  Our parent company, Ensign Emblem, has run millions of miles of thread, stitched closets full of garments, and created enough blank patches and screenprinted garments to fill a warehouse several times over.   We know what works and what doesn’t because we’ve had to face all the decisions and difficulties every other machine embroider has had to face.

 One of the things we knew we wanted to do early on was to establish an educational portion of the EnMart website.  Creating this blog was the first step in meeting that goal.  The EnMart Newsbites e-mails are another way to share what we know. We’re now planning to move further into the education phase of our plans by devoting an entire portion of our website to helping our customers learn about machine embroidery, running a business and whatever else we think is relevant.

It goes without saying that any company that has successfully stayed in business for over 30 years has to be doing something right.  The education portion of our site will allow us to share what we’ve learned, both the positive and the negative with all of you.   Our hope is that sharing our knowledge and expertise will help our customers to become more successful, as well as providing a value added service that can’t be obtained from every supplier.

The question remaining before us is what do you, the people for whom this portion of the site is being developed, want or need to know.  Obviously, we have a variety of ideas about what the content could be, and we intend that it will be a mixture of written content and videos.  Still, it would be helpful to know what all of you would find helpful or educational or interesting.  If you have any suggestions for what should be included in the educational section of our site, please leave a comment here or contact us with your suggestion.  

posted in Machine Embroidery Tips | 2 Comments

13th March 2008

West Coast Warehouse Update

I just wanted to take a moment to update those of you on the West Coast about our plans for a West Coast shipping facility.   Originally we had planned to ship both from our California and Reno locations.  After plotting the logistics and examining inventory and staffing levels, we determined that it would make more sense to use our Reno location as the central shipping point for the Western half of the country. 

 We are currently in the process of stocking the Reno facility with product and developing procedures for filling and processing orders.  This phase of the operation should, hopefully, be concluded fairly quickly.   Once that is done, we will put the Reno facility online and ship the majority of the West Coast Orders we receive from that facility. 

All thread and assorted products will ship from the Reno facility to our West Coast customers.  Blanks and Ntrans orders may ship from the Michigan facility, and will have a longer ship time, as those items must often be created.   Our goal is to turn around all orders for thread and other supplies on the same day.  Items that require more work than simply being pulled from the shelves will require a longer shipping time. 

If you would like to be notified when the Reno facility is online and ready to ship, please contact us  and we will be happy to e-mail you when shipping from that facility is available.

posted in EnMart News | 1 Comment

5th March 2008

How Did You Find Your Current Supplier?

As I’ve noted before, your choice of supplier can have a major effect on the success or failure of your business.  Given that the choice of a supplier can be so important, it is certainly a choice that should be made with care.  The problem is that there are a large number of machine embroidery supply companies out there.  Do a Google search for “machine embroidery supplies” and you come up with 211,000 results.  How do you know, among all those possibilities, which one is the right one for you?

One way to find a supplier would be to ask friends or acquaintances in the same business what supplier they use.  Often the best way to find out how well a supplier performs is to talk to those people who do business with that supplier.  That is one of the reasons why so many businesses run testimonials on their web sites.  These companies want to let potential customers know that they are already successfully serving the market.  

Another method of researching potential suppliers is to visit forums like T-shirt forums.com.  There are a wide variety of embroidery and machine embroidery forums available on the Internet, although some are much more active than others.  If you do choose to take this path, please keep in mind that every answer you get may not be an informed one.  Forums can be very helpful places, but there are also people who will post information based on hearsay or gossip.  If someone does have a definitive opinion, positive or negative, about a particular supplier, probe a little more to see if you can find out how that opinion was formed.

Search engines may be a way that some people use to find a supplier.  You could simply type in your search term, say “machine embroidery thread” for example, and elect to buy from the company that appears at the top of the list.  Keep in mind, the top company may not be the best company, as sites are ranked according to complex search algorithims, not according to quality of merchandise or customer service expertise. 

 Some embroiderers may elect to choose a supplier based on that suppliers ability to provide a particular item.  Say, for instance, you were interested in purchasing Iris Thread.  There are very few suppliers in the United States who can supply Iris machine embroidery thread so, if you wanted that thread, you’d have to make a purchase from the companies that offer it, like EnMart.

In the end, the choice of a supplier is a very personal one.  It is about more than simply finding the cheapest price.  It should also be about quality of merchandise, expertise and responsiveness of support staff, and a commitment to excellence.  At EnMart, I believe we have all those things.  If you’d like to see for yourself, place an order and give us a chance to prove it to you.

posted in Machine Embroidery Supplies | 2 Comments

4th March 2008

How to Get The Most from Iris Thread

Here at EnMart, we send out samples all the time.  Most people who ask for samples usually request a sample of Iris thread.  We recognize that the decision to add a new thread to your inventory is a major one.  After all,  the performance of the thread you choose to use can determine the success or failure of each job you undertake.

Iris Threads, both polyester and rayon, are superior threads, and we’re sure they’ll work extremely well for any project.  As we said in Iris Thread: Resetting the Benchmark,  EnMart and Hilos Iris have worked together to establish a new level of quality and utility for embroidery thread. 

Because we are concerned that your first experience with Iris Thread be a good one, EnMart has developed a couple of tools to help you as you test and evaluate the thread.  The first tool is our Test Run Instructions.  There are a lot of factors that can effect how well or poorly thread runs on a machine, and the quality of the thread is only one of those factors.  The tensions on the machine, how the thread is loaded, what sort of needle is used, and what sort of fabric is being used for the test run can all have an effect on how the thread ultimately performs.  Our Test Run Instructions will help you ensure that your machine is set so that Iris thread gets the most accurate test possible.

Another tool EnMart offers is our polyester thread conversion chart.  Unlike many of the conversion charts available, our conversion chart was developed by hand, and the matches were made by people who have had decades of experience in matching threads.  We know how important color continuity is to you and your customers.  That’s why our conversion chart gives you the best matches possible across thread manufacturers.

As always, if you have any questions about our thread or any of the products we offer, please contact one of our knowledgeable customer service staff or leave a comment here on this blog.  We’ll be happy to provide any assistance you need. 

posted in Thread | Comments Off

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Blogroll