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Why Not Just Sublimation?

30th July 2009

Why Not Just Sublimation?

dry-iceOn Tuesday I wrote a post announcing that EnMart had added Sublimation and Chromablast supplies to our inventory.   As I was finishing the post, a colleague came into the room and noticed the post title on my computer screen.  He immediately pointed out my error, or at least what he thought was my error.  Why say Sublimation and Chromablast, he asked.    After all, they’re the same thing, aren’t they?

For those who may not know the difference between sublimation and Chromablast, I thought I’d take a few minutes to explain.  The main fact I need to tell you is that the two processes are not the same thing.   Sublimation is the process by which a solid converts to a gas without first going through a liquid state.  The example of sublimation that most people would be familiar with would be dry ice.

Sublimation as a printing method can be used only on polyester and polymer coated items.  When sublimation inks are heated to 400 degrees F they turn to gas and form a permanent bond with the polyester fibers.   The garment or item is actually dyed and the color will not peel, crack or wash away.

By contrast, Chromablast is used on cotton garments and items.  It uses a chemical reaction between the ink and the cotton substrate to create a nearly permanent bond.   Unlike sublimation ink, Chromablast ink does not pass directly from a solid to a gaseous state.   Heat and pressure are used to transfer the ink from the printed transfer to the cotton item to be imprinted.   Chromablast can be used on any cotton item that can withstand the heat of a heat press.

Where both Sublimation and Chromablast are alike is in the fact that both are great ways to expand your business and offer more decorated products and garments to your customers.  Sublimation and Chromablast have relatively low start-up costs, few barriers to entry, and it is generally easy to set up and run a sublimation or Chromablast system.

If you are thinking of purchasing a Chromablast or Sublimation system, EnMart will be happy to advise you on your purchase.  We also offer a complete line of Sublimation and Chromablast supplies and inks.

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29th July 2009

Website Workshop: Are You Ready to Go Live?

to-do-listI have to admit that when it comes to our web presence, I’m a perfectionist.  I want every t crossed and every i dotted.  I want pictures for everything.  I want every link to work perfectly and all the text to be descriptive, sparkling and present.  In a perfect world, I’d get what I want, but in the real world such things don’t always happen.  A web site is a complicated thing and a perfectionist like myself could tinker with one forever in a quest to get everything working and looking exactly right.  At some point you need to let go and let the site go live, if only because people can’t buy from a site they can’t access.

If you’re like me, and a bit of a perfectionist about your websites, I thought I’d share the checklist that I use before a site goes live.  This checklist, divided into the “must haves” and the “would be nice” categories,  gives me the assurance that all the necessary stuff is on the site while also reminding me that the “would be nice” stuff can be added later without the site or our customers suffering.

“Must Have” List

Easy to follow and understand navigation

Contact information

Clearly stated policies regarding orders, returns, shipping, privacy and security

Descriptions and pictures at the category level

Pricing for every item

A shopping cart that has been tested and is known to work

“Would Be Nice” List

Pictures and descriptive text for every item

Information and educational pages – usually PDF links

Crosslinks between relevant products and pages

Featured products or specials page

Let’s face it, a website is always a work in progress.  Good websites are always being updated and changing to better meet the needs of the people who visit the site.  Quality and attention to detail are always necessary when creating a website, just don’t let your desire for perfection stop you from allowing your site to do what it was designed to do.

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28th July 2009

EnMart Adds Sublimation and Chromablast

68EnMart is proud to announce we have added sublimation and Chromablast printers and supplies to our product offerings.  If you are searching for a efficient and inexpensive way (when compared to direct to garment printing) to decorate cotton and polyester garments,  sublimation and Chromablast are the perfect solution.

Sublimation is the process by which a solid converts directly to a gas without going through a liquid state.   Dye Sublimation is a full color digital decorative technology through which you permanently dye a blank, synthetic product by vaporizing ink under heat and pressure.  The sublimation process can be used on any polyester garment, or on any item, like a mousepad or mug, with a polymer coating.

If, instead of polyester, your decorating preference is centered on cotton, EnMart can be of assistance.  In addition to sublimation ink and supplies, we also offer Chromablast ink and supplies.   Chromablast is a unique patented ink and media system which creates the best cotton imaging system available.   The Chromablast ink and associated products allow businesses of all sizes to take part in the profitable garment decoration market without sacrificing image quality or going to an enormous expense.

EnMart’s parent company, Ensign Emblem, has been working with sublimation for several years, and was the first to bring inkjet sublimation to industrial laundries.  That experience is at the disposal of EnMart and its customers.  If you are interested in entering the world of sublimation,  the EnMart staff is more than qualified to be your guide.

Our sublimation experts have also put together a great sublimation combo package, which would be a perfect way to get everything you need to set up a sublimation shop.   If you are new to sublimation, a combo package allows you to get all the supplies and equipment you need at one great price.   Additional combo packages will be available soon, so keep an eye on our web site for the latest details.

posted in EnMart News | 4 Comments

20th July 2009

4 Customer Service Tips

customer-serviceI’ve noticed that I always seem to write a post about good customer service when I’ve experienced bad customer service from another company.  My guess would be that I write these posts because 1) I’m frustrated and want to vent a bit and 2) experiencing bad customer service makes me think about what constitutes good customer service.  Since I’m one of the people who is responsible for customer service at EnMart, I try to learn from the customer service mistakes of others.  Here’s what I’ve learned from my most recent experience.

1. Your web site should work – If you offer changes or returns or give your customers any ability to do things through your web site, make sure that web site works.  It is very frustrating when you’re attempting to do something simple and the web site won’t allow you to do it.

2. Your customer service representatives should have current, accurate information – The people who work for you are supposed to be experts on your products and your policies.  Make sure they have the latest up to date information.  Giving the customer the run around, or sending them to one person after another who can’t answer their questions will not make for a happy customer.

3. Tell your customers what they need to know up front – If your customers need to call a special number to cancel an order, or if there are special requirements they need to meet to be eligible for a promtion, tell them that up front.  No one likes to be surprised by restrictions and details after the fact.

4. Give your reps the power to go off script – Most customer service reps and clerks have a set script to follow.  Make sure your reps know they can alter or dispense with the script as the situation requires.  It is nothing but irritating when a customer service rep who wasn’t able to help parrots “I hope I was helpful” at the end of a call.   You want CSRs who think for themselves, so give them the power to do so.

posted in Making Your Business Grow | Comments Off

8th July 2009

Why Bobbin Tension is Important

621lh10wWhenever we talk about quality embroidery and/or troubleshooting embroidery problems, it always seems to come down to tension.  The tension is too tight.  The tension is too loose.  The tension needs to be adjusted.  The first question that is generally asked when someone says they’re having a problem with their machine is this: “Have you checked the tensions?”   Having the tensions set correctly can make a huge difference in the quality of your embroidery, the efficiency of your machine and the smooth running of your thread.

For those who may be new to machine embroidery, there are two types of tensions that can be adjusted.  One type is thread tension, which we’ll discuss in another post.  The other type is bobbin tension, which may also be referred to as lower tension.  That is what we’ll address in this post.

There are several reasons why having the correct bobbin tension is important.  One reason for making sure your bobbin tension is adjusted correctly has to do with the quality of your finished embroidery.  If your bobbin tension is too tight, you will get more looping, bunching and birds nests.  Having your lower tension adjusted correctly helps eliminate these common problems and allows you to create a polished finished piece.

If your bobbin tension is too loose, you may end up with bobbin thread showing through your embroidery thread.  Obviously, this is not the look you want, and will not in any way contribute to a quality finished piece.  Adjusting bobbin tension can be a balancing act, but finding the proper tensions is worth the work.  Once you’ve achieved the correct tension, your embroidery will run much more smoothly.

Another factor that can contribute to the success or failure of your embroidery is the bobbin case.  A bobbin case that is too loose may allow your bobbin too much movement.  You also need to be aware of build up inside the bobbin case.  Make sure you clean the cases often and switch them out when there are signs of wear.

One way to tell if your bobbin tension is set correctly is to check your thread ratio when you sew out a design.  There should be approximately 2/3 top thread to 1/3 bobbin thread.  This is a general guideline, but if you are seeing something close to this ratio than your tensions are most likely set properly.

You should also make sure that you have the proper size bobbin for your machine.  Bobbins come in Style L and Style M sizes.  Magnetic bobbins are also available.  Make sure to follow the instructions given in your manual when it comes to bobbin size.

posted in Machine Embroidery Tips | Comments Off

6th July 2009

What Do You Want?

people-questionOne of the best things about setting up a new store is the fact that it makes you examine how you’re doing things and points out some possibilities for things you could start doing or could do better.  Setting up our new EnMart store required that we examine all of our processes, from how we fill an order, to what we carry on our site.  It is a great exercise for anyone who runs a company.  You can learn a great deal.

Going through this process basically left me with one major question, what do you, our customers, want?  We’re currently reviewing a wide range of products with the view of adding them to the store, but it would be helpful to know what our customers need and would like to see us carry.  We have connections with a large number of suppliers which means we have a wide array of potential products to consider.  Sorting all these options out can be difficult.  Knowing what our customers need and want could make our decision making process a lot easier.  So, if there is a product for which you’ve been searching, or just something you use that you would like us to carry, please let us know.  You can leave a comment here on the blog, or e-mail me and tell me what you’d like to see. We would greatly appreciate the suggestions.

Another area where I could use your input involves the content of this blog. There are a lot of people with a great amount of embroidery expertise at this company, and I’d like to start tapping into that knowledge here. What I need to know from you is what tips or information you would like to see. There are a lot of topics I could cover, and having some guidance from all of you as to what would be most helpful would be terrific. Again, if you have a suggestion, leave a comment here on the blog or contact me with your idea.

We look forward to hearing from you.

posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

1st July 2009

New Month, New Store

open-for-businessEnMart is proud to announce that our store has a new look.  As of today, EnMart’s online presence has been remodeled and revamped for the convenience of our customers.

Some of the new features you will see include:

Monthly Specials – All of our monthly specials are now conveniently collected on one page.  Instead of hunting through the entire site to see what’s on special in any given month, you can just visit this one page.  All our monthly specials are neatly laid out for your convenience.

Shopping Cart on every page – When you add something to your cart you can see your total cost, plus shipping charges and tax, no matter where you are on the site.   There’s no more waiting until you start the checkout process to see what you’ll be charged.

Separation of menus – The menus on the site are now separated so it is easy to find what you need.  The left hand menu contains all the product categories for the site.    The top menu contains links to informational pages.  Finding what you need is quick and easy.

Handy drop down menus – Menus with secondary categories now drop down so you can go directly to the product or item that you want.  The new style of menu eliminates tedious clicking through to get to the information or product you need.

Over the next few months, we will be adding additional products and fine tuning the EnMart shopping experience.  If you want to keep up with all that’s happening at EnMart,  we would be happy to add you to our mailing list.  To be added to the list, simply contact us and ask to be added.

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