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Where Was Your Thread Born?

30th May 2008

Where Was Your Thread Born?

Buying products that were made in North America or manufactured using American made materials has always been important to a lot of American consumers.   When it comes to machine embroidery thread it is often hard to know where your thread first came to life.   A lot of the companies that are considered “American” thread manufacturers aren’t really based in America at all.  A lot of the manufacturing process has also moved overseas, where labor is cheaper.  Given all that, how do you really know where your thread actually comes from? 

Obviously, we can’t speak for the other thread manufacturers.  We can only tell you what we know about the thread we sell, Iris thread.   All Iris thread is NAFTA certified.  To become NAFTA certified a product has to be created of materials that come only from NAFTA nations.  The NAFTA nations can only be Canada, the United States, or Mexico.

Iris thread is manufactured in Mexico.  The raw materials for Iris polyester thread are made in the United States.  All Iris thread is manufactured in North America.  The machine embroidery thread is, of course, sold by EnMart, which is owned by an American based company with 5 plants in the United States. 

If you are looking for a high quality thread with a great sheen and high tenacity and durability, you can’t go wrong buying Iris thread.  As an added bonus, you’ll also be buying one of the few threads on the market that is manufactured in North America.   Any way you look at it, Iris thread is a great value.

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29th May 2008

Rayon to Polyester Conversion Chart

For years, many machine embroiderers have used rayon because it has a better sheen.  Rayon wasn’t always an ideal choice, it tends to break more than polyester thread, and it has a higher cost, but some embroiderers felt that the luster of the rayon thread was worth it.   In the absence of a polyester thread that had the same sheen, what other choice was there to make?

One of the things people tell us most often is how hard it is to tell Iris Rayon and Iris Polyester thread apart.  We’ve done blind tests at trade shows, so we’ve seen this reaction many times.  We place two samples, a cone of rayon thread and a cone of polyester thread, in front of our audience and ask them to tell us which thread is which.   If you did this test with thread from most other manufacturers, detecting the difference would be easy.  With Iris thread, 9 out of 10 people will tell us they can’t see any difference between the two.

Because we think many people who now use Rayon thread could benefit from switching to Iris polyester thread, we’ve developed a Rayon to Iris Polyester Thread Conversion Chart.   This chart will help you convert from the Rayon thread you are currently using to Iris Polyester Thread.   Our conversion chart allows you to convert to our polyester thread from Madeira, Robison-Anton or Sulky Rayon thread. 

If you’ve been searching for an alternative to Rayon thread, Iris Polyester Thread may be the answer you’ve been seeking.  If you would like more information, or to discuss the possibility of receiving a sample of the thread,  feel free to contact us.

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28th May 2008

Business Tips Wednesday: Purchasing an Embroidery Machine

The decision about which type of embroidery machine to purchase can be one of the most important decisions you make for your business.  If you choose one that’s too small, you may not be able to keep up the volume you need to produce to make a profit.  If you choose one that’s too big or expensive, you may not be able to generate enough business to afford the machine.  You also need to consider things like reliability,  production capability and ease of use.  No one wants a machine that breaks down constantly or is very hard to make work properly.

Most embroiderers who are planning to go into business will probably want to purchase a commercial embroidery machine.   Commercial machines are made by manufacturers like Tajima, Toyota and Barudan.  These types of machines are generally larger and can handle the demands of high production more easily than smaller machines can.  Many of them can also run multiple garments at the same time, depending of course, on the number of heads the machine has. 

Embroidery machines also come with a variety of features which can make your jobs run faster and more easily.  Computerized machines can store designs and offer a wide array of features.  There are a wide variety of hoop sizes and styles which can be used to hoop various garments.  Some machines can be hooked to scanner or your home computer so you can create and upload your own designs. 

The main thing you need to know before purchasing a machine is what it is you want to do with that machine.  Simply answering “embroidery” is too vague.  Do you want to embroider caps or capes?  Do you think you’ll do a lot of very small items like patches, or do you imagine most of your embroidery will be on golf shirts?  How you think most of your jobs will be a few dozen pieces or do you expect to be doing jobs that require embroidery on thousands of garments?  The answers to these sorts of questions will help you determine which machine is right for your business.

Once you’ve figured out what sort of machine you want, it might be wise to investigate used machines.  Buying a quality used machine is a great way to save money when you are just starting out.  There are a variety of places where used machines can be found.  The sites listed below are just a few of the possibilities.

posted in Machine Embroidery Tips | Comments Off

22nd May 2008

We’re Doing Some Redecorating

We are in the process of developing a new web site.  Anyone who has done this sort of thing knows that there are a lot of questions that need to be answered.  How should the web site be set up?  What’s the most important thing to put on the home page?  What will help our customers make the best buying decisions?  Obviously the best people to help us answer some of these questions are those of you that read this blog.  So I thought I’d ask you a few things and hopefully get some input that can help us make our new site better and more useful for all of you.

The first thing we know we will be doing is rearranging the order of the site.   On the current site the information pages are first and you have to click a button to get to the store.  On the new site, we want to have the products front and center.  That doesn’t mean we’ll be eliminating the informative portion, it will still be available if you want to learn more about any of our products or about the company in general.  The new version will just require that you click a link to get that information. 

Another thing we are considering is a “Monthly Specials” or “Featured Products” section.  We do have such a “Featured Products” section on the current site, but we’ve never done much with monthly specials.  If you see a product listed as being on sale are you more likely to consider buying that product?  Does seeing a product listed as “Featured” or “Top Selling” influence your decision about whether or not to purchase that product?

We’re also contemplating changing the design of the cart.   Right now the front part of our site (which is purely informational) has a bit more elaborate design, while the back part of the site is more straightforward.   While I like the current design that is being used for both portions of the cart, I’m leaning toward the more straightforward design for the new cart.  We may do something similar to what we’ve done with this site, which is keep the product pages plainer, and add a bit more design to the informational pages.   I’m just wondering how much a more elaborate design adds or detracts from your shopping experience.  Do most of you, in general, prefer a well designed simple look over an equally well designed but more elaborate look?

These are just some of the issues we’re considering as we work at redesigning the site.  The one thing we know for sure is that we want to create a site that will make your shopping experience as stress free and easy as possible.   That’s why feedback from all of you is so valuable.  The best way for us to make sure your EnMart shopping experience is enjoyable is to ask you what would make your experience enjoyable. 

Thank you in advance for any feedback you care to provide.

posted in Shop EnMart | 1 Comment

21st May 2008

Business Tips Wednesday: Do You Need an Internet Presence?

In today’s world it seems that everyone and their brother has a web site.  That’s probably mostly true.  It’s certainly true for almost every business.  These days businesses that don’t have a web site tend to be the exception rather than the rule.  A lot of people think that, if they have a business, they have to have a web site, otherwise everyone will think their business isn’t viable.

For a lot of businesses, having a web site makes sense.  Having a web site or a blog like this one can help your customers learn more about you.  Having a web site that allows people to purchase your merchandise can certainly expand your reach and your customer base.  There are a lot of valid reasons to have a web site or a blog, unfortunately, having a web site or blog because everyone else does isn’t one of them.

There is a difference between having a web site or a blog and having a successful web site or blog.  Successful websites and blogs are created after a lot of thought.  They usually have an original look that harmonizes with the company logo.  Content is updated frequently.  The site changes often so that customers feel encouraged to come back and see what’s new.  The site is designed so customers can easily find the items for which they are searching.  Navigation is clearly marked and easy to use.  Overall, the site creates a harmonious look and feel that presents your business in the best light possible.

Having a web site doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but it does require a lot of time, at least when it comes to creating new content and maintaining the site.  No one wants to come back to a site that always says the same old thing and features the same old designs.  If you want your site to be a big draw, make sure you add original content frequently.  The more new things there are to see and learn on your site, the more likely it is that your customers will make a return visit.

If you decide a web site or a blog is the route you want to take, make sure you fully understand the amount of time and effort that is required to create a site that is successful.  If you just plan to slap up a page and simply leave it there, you may be doing your site more harm than good.  An Internet presence is only helpful if it presents your company in the best possible light.  Make sure you take that into consideration before you make your final decision.  

posted in Making Your Business Grow | 1 Comment

20th May 2008

Three Down, Four to Go

EnMart has been to three ISS Shows so far this year.  We were in Long Beach in January, Orlando in February and Atlantic City in March.   We had a lot of fun at the first three shows, and got to meet a lot of great people.  It was also a terrific opportunity to talk face to face with our customer base, to hear what they had to say about what we had to offer, and to listen to any thoughts of suggestions they might have. 

We had so much fun at the last three shows we decided it might be fun to do the next four shows as well.  If you want to meet some of the EnMart personnel or you need more information about any of the products we offer, you can find us at the following shows:

If you would like a free pass to visit us at any of these shows,  please let us know.  We currently have passes for New England and Schaumburg.  Passes for Atlanta and Fort Worth should be available soon.

posted in Trade Shows | Comments Off

19th May 2008

Marketing Monday: What’s Your Elevator Speech?

Here at EnMart we’re not generally fans of marketing buzzwords.  We are fans, however, of anything that allows us to get our message about our company across simply and easily.  That’s why we’re particularly fond of elevator speeches. 

An elevator speech, for those who may not know, is a short speech that can be made in the time it takes an elevator to get from the top floor to the ground floor of a building.  Usually elevator speeches are just a few sentences long.  The goal of such a speech is to sum up what your business is about in as few words as possible, while still making a intriguing pitch for your business.

Think about it, if asked, could you sum up your business in just a few sentences and still make it interesting.  When asked what you do, is there more you can say beyond “We do embroidery” without saying so much that your listener tunes out halfway through your explanation?  What are the qualities or areas of expertise that make your business stand out, and what would you want potential clients to know about your business if you only had a short time to speak to those clients? What’s the most important thing you would want to say?

When developing an elevator speech, the biggest thing to remember is to make it all about what your business can do for your customer.  Saying “We create embroidered garments” probably won’t capture anyone’s interest.  Try saying “We help our customers publicize their businesses with our premium embroidered garments”.   The first version simply says what you do.  The second version shows your customer what the value of working with your business is for them. 

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15th May 2008

EnMart Spotlight: New and Interesting Products

EnMart is always adding new products to our inventory, but it may not always be easy to know what’s new or what’s been recently added.  To help you find the latest and greatest that have been added to our site, we’re going to institute the EnMart Spotlight.  These posts will go up whenever we add a new group of products or substantially alter something that was already on the site, and will help alert you to new products that could be of use for your business.

The first product I want to mention is Super Poly Mesh Backing.  This backing is soft, sheer and translucent and is ideal for use with lightweight knits.   It is perfect for use with sheer fabrics and minimizes stabilizer show through.  You can find this product in out Backing section.

 The next group of products I want to mention are our Sprayway Sprays.   If you need to keep your equipment running smoothly, we offer Sprayway Silicone Spray.   Spots on your embroideries can be lifted with Sprayway Spot Lifter.   Sprayway Lint and Dust Remover is perfect for getting thread ends and fuzz out of your machines.  You can find these Sprayway products, and others, in our Accessories, Tools and Maintenance section.

I also wanted to let all our customers know that our Thread Palette section has been updated to show the colors of thread included in each palette.  Pantone color swatches have been added to give a representation of the thread colors included in that palette.  As always, for the best color recommendation possible we recommend you purchase a thread chart.  Due to variations in color representation by computer monitors, having an actual thread chart is the best way to be sure you’re seeing the thread colors accurately.

posted in Machine Embroidery Supplies | 1 Comment

14th May 2008

Business Tips Wednesday: Business Start-Ups

If you are contemplating starting your own embroidery business, the range of options may seem overwhelming.  One of the first and most important decisions you must make is how your business will be structured.  Will you incorporate your business as a sole proprietorship, will you have partners, or will you enter into a franchise situation?  Each type of business structure has benefits and drawbacks.  Those benefits and drawbacks will be our topic for today.

First of all, let’s talk about franchising.  Franchise organizations like Embroidme can be a great way to get your business off the ground while reducing some of the risk to you.   Choosing the franchise option means you will most likely get help with site selection, training on machines, marketing materials and a network of your peers with whom you can trade referrals and exhange information.   Franchising can be a great way to start a business without taking on all the risk yourself.

While franchising has many great qualities, it also has a few drawbacks.  Most franchise companies have pretty strict rules about what their franchisees can and cannot do.  You most likely won’t have much leeway when it comes to developing marketing materials, or in regard to what products you sell.  Franchising works best when all the locations are similar and people know what to expect.  If you’re looking to express your individuality, a franchise might not suit your needs.

 Another option for starting a business is a partnership.  Partnership can encompass two or more people, and can be a good way to spread the risk.  You should always have your partnership agreement drafted by a lawyer, and that agreement should clearly spell out the responsibilities of all parties.  A partnership is may be a good fit if you want a bit more freedom in how your business is managed and portrayed, but you don’t want all the responsibility.  

Probably the biggest drawback to starting a business with a partner or partners is that their thoughts and theories about how a business should be run have equal weight with yours.  Partnerships have been known to dissolve into turf wars if partners disagree too much.  A partnership also requires splitting the profits from the business.

A third option for forming a business is to fund the start up on your own.  If you put in all the money than all the rewards and profits are yours.  If you’re the sole owner of the business than you are the only one who needs to be consulted when there are decisions to make.  

Strangely enough, the pluses of being a sole proprietorship are also the minuses of this form of business ownership.  If you put all the money up to start the business, than the entire risk of starting that business rests with you.  If it fails, you will bear the entire brunt of any lost money.  You will also bear the brunt of the work.  If you’re the sole boss and sole decision maker, than you’re responsible for every garment that gets embroidered and every decision that gets made.  That can be overwhelming at times. 

Each type of business start-up has both benefits and drawbacks.  The best way to decide which method will work for you is through self-knowledge.  If you can truthfully look at your own strengths and weakness and accurately assess your comfort level in regards to responsibility, decision making and monetary risk, the right start-up choice for you should become readily apparent.

posted in Making Your Business Grow, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

12th May 2008

Good News for Amaya Users

In case you missed this in the 5/9/08 EnMart NewsBites e-mail newsletter:

If you like the sheen and quality of Iris thread but have an Amaya machine, you may have thought that it would not be possible to use Iris thread with your machine.  Thanks to an alert customer, we now know that isn’t the case.  If you want to use Iris thread with your Amaya machine, you just need to make one simple adjustment.   The base of our thread spools is slightly larger than Melco’s spools, and their spools are shorter than ours. To reduce vibration/wobble of the spool, simple cut out a strip of puffy foam (pipe insulation would work) and insert it under the spool.  That should eliminate the wobble.  If you have any questions about this procedure, contact our customer service representatives for more information.

We recently had an e-mail from another EnMart customer who told us of a slightly different solution.  Instead of pipe insulation, this company uses a disc of heavy felt.   This also reduces the wobble and can be left on the machine when other spools are in use.  According to our customer, this method works very well.

If you have any tips about ways to adapt equipment or to make your machine embroidery more profitable or efficient, we would love to hear them.   You can leave your tip as a comment on any EmbroideryTalk blog post, or you can e-mail us with your tip.   If we collect enough tips, we’ll do a round-up post so that all our customers can learn this valuable information.

Also, if you are not currently receiving the EnMart NewsBites e-mail newsletter and would like to be added to our list of subscribers,  please e-mail us with your request to be added to our subscriber database.  We would be happy to add you to the list.

posted in Machine Embroidery Tips | 1 Comment

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