25th February 2010

Thread Conversions

Converting from one thread manufacturer to another may be one of the most stressful things an embroiderer ever has to do.   Some customers have certain colors they absolutely love and which must be matched.  Certain designs require certain colors to look their best and variations in shade could change the entire look of the finished piece.  Many embroiderers have stock thread cards which they show customers when an order is placed, and changing thread suppliers may require that the stock card be redone as well.    It can be a time consuming and laborious process.

EnMart understand the pain of this process because our parent company has been through it.  In the 36 years that Ensign Emblem has been in business, the company has switched thread suppliers more than once.    We have experienced the chaos that changing thread suppliers can cause,  and we wanted to do everything possible to eliminate that stress for our customers.

One way that we are eliminating that stress is with our thread cross reference engine.  Our color matching experts went through and matched our Iris thread colors with the colors of other thread brands.    Our conversion engine has thread color conversions for Madeira, Robison-Anton, Gunold and Isacord polyester and for Madeira, Robison-Anton, Sulky and Melco Rayon to Iris polyester.  While we can’t promise that all these matches are exact, they are as close as we could make them.

Our thread cross reference engine also offers conversions through Pantone numbers.  If you have a Pantone PMS number, you can use it to find the matching Iris Polyester thread.   You may also download our printed Iris ployester color card in PDF form.    Although a printed color card may include variations in color due to printer quality and settings,  this color card does include the Pantone numbers.

If you can’t find your thread manufacturer in our online cross reference and you don’t have Pantone numbers, you may always ask us to do a specific match.   All you have to do is send us a sample of the thread you wish to match.  Please do be aware that samples should be more than a few strands for best color match.  Once we receive your sample, we’ll do our best to find the closest Iris matching thread color.

Thread conversion can be a stressful process,  but it doesn’t have to be one.  EnMart is ready and willing to help you make the switch to Iris thread.  We’re prepared to provide all the support you need to make your conversion as smooth as it can possibly be.

posted in Thread | 1 Comment

22nd February 2010

EnMart’s March Trade Show Schedule

March is almost here, and with it comes EnMart’s most extensive trade show schedule ever.  We will be at four shows in March,  and we hope to be able to see a great many of our customers, fans and friends.  If you are thinking of attending a trade show in March, here is a list of where EnMart will be and what we’ll be offering in our booth.

ISS Atlantic City –  EnMart will be in booth 432 in Atlantic City.   We will be exhibiting the new Ricoh GX e3300N printer,  as well as showcasing the wonderful color and shine of our Iris thread.   We’ll also have a few new products to debut.

NNEP Embroidery Mart – EnMart has two suites, 326 and 327,  in Columbus this year.  One will showcase sublimation and ChromaBlast, and the other will highlight Iris thread and other embroidery supplies.   EnMart will be offering our Ricoh GX e3300N printer package at this show.   We will also be showcasing our thread palettes in an entirely new way.  If you’re an embroiderer who is interested in sublimation, or if you are just looking for a terrific new embroidery thread, stop by and see us at Embroidery Mart.

DAX Minneapolis and DAX Kansas City – March is our month for shows in the Midwest.  We will be in Minneapolis on March 12-13 and in Kansas City on March 26-27.    This is our first year exhibiting at the DAX shows and we are very excited about getting to experience a new show and meeting some new customers.   We will be in booth 108 in Minneapolis and booth 408 in Kansas City.  Please stop by and see us if you are going to be at either show.

We have a great crew working all the booths this year, and I’m even going to be at the NNEP show in Columbus.  Please stop by and say hello.  We love meeting our customers.

posted in Trade Shows | 2 Comments

19th February 2010

The Friday Blog Round-Up 2/19/10

For those of you who are new to this series,  I have started a weekly post where I spotlight posts that I like from machine embroidery blogs that I read.  I am always looking for new machine embroidery blogs, so if you have one, please do let me know about it.

The first post in this weeks round up isn’t necessarily about machine embroidery,  but it does feature an absolutely adorable black lab puppy, so I think we can forgive the lack of embroidery chat.    The puppy’s name is Jack and he belongs to Angie from AKDesigns Boutique.   I grew up with a black lab, so I’m a sucker for these adorable and sweet natured dogs.  It looks like Jack is a keeper.

Next up is your weekly dose of Erich Campbell.  I’m a huge booster of Erich and the blogs he writes.  He’s a great writer and embroiderer and has a lot of knowledge to share.   This week, I want to recommend that everyone who owns an embroidery business read his “Embroiderer, Decorate Thyself” post.   I totally agree with his recommendation that everyone who works for an embroidery company should wear samples of the work the company creates.  Your employees and the clothing they wear can be your best sales tool.

Another great post that everyone should read this week is from the Fashion Incubator blog.  The tips are aimed at those who might be thinking of becoming freelance designers, but a lot are equally applicable to those who run their own businesses.   Things like calculating your hourly rate, dealing with travel expenses and paying for health insurance are issues all business owners face, and this post can give you some solutions for these potential problems.

Finally, the blog Sadia Sews features some gorgeous Kashmiri designs.   I’m especially coveting the gorgeous shawl.   These designs are meant for machine embroidery and, according to Sadia, sew out quite quickly.   I also love the lace that Sadia is creating.  I have some lace doilies that my grandmother made and they are some of my most prized posessions.  I can just imagine some woman in the future treasuring the lace featured in this blog post.

posted in Around the Blogosphere | 1 Comment

16th February 2010

Sell,Sell = Bye,Bye

As some of you may already know,  I recently was a panelist for a Stitches Webinar on social media.  After seeing the interest in the subject of that webinar, it seemed like a good idea to go beyond the webinar and continue to share  some helpful hints about social media with those who read these blogs.   EmbroideryTalk and its sister blog, SubliStuff, are devoted to the disciplines and business of embroidery and sublimation respectively, but they’re also about helping our customers prosper.  Part of that help should include the lessons we’ve learned, not just about embroidery and sublimation, but about business in general.

Today I wanted to share one of the lessons I’ve learned in my time working with social media marketing.   This lesson is a simple one, but it can have a huge impact on the success or failure of your social media campaigns.   The lesson is simply this:

If you want your social media marketing campaigns to be successful become a part of the community.

It doesn’t matter where the community is, on a forum, or on Twitter or Facebook, or part of Google Buzz, this rule extends to all social media venues.  If you want to have credibility and to be thought of as trustworthy and reliable, you have to form relationships with others.  The best way to do that is through interaction.  If you’re on Twitter retweet and reply to other people’s tweets.  If you’re on Facebook, comment on other people’s posts and make some posts yourself that let other people get to know who you are.    If you write a blog get to know other bloggers who write about the same or similar topics,  comment on the blogs those bloggers write, and build a blogroll that will help spotlight your blogging friends.  Bring value to the table beyond the products or services your business offers.

No one likes to be sold all the time.  A Twitter feed or a Facebook page that is a constant litany of “buy my products, buy my products” and nothing else isn’t going to do for your business what you think it will do.  Social media marketing offers some great new ways to get in touch with prospective customers and publicize your business, but it also has some pitfalls, and the biggest one is this:

If all you’re saying is “Sell! Sell!”

All you”ll be hearing from those who follow your social media accounts is “Bye, Bye”.

posted in Making Your Business Grow | 1 Comment

15th February 2010

Iris Thread on Impressions Magazine Cover

It’s always fun when a product you sell gets mentioned in or spotlighted on the cover of a national magazine.  It’s even more fun when your product ends up on the cover because an embroiderer likes it so much, he or she chose to use it in their design.   That, marvelously enough, is exactly how Iris Thread ended up on the cover of the February issue of Impressions Magazine.

The first inkling we had of Iris Thread’s moment in the spotlight was a message on Twitter.  It came from our good friend Erich Campbell at Black Duck Inc.

@EnMartian Have you seen this month’s Impressions Mag? That eco-friendly sample on the cover is ours, but it uses your Hilos Iris threads!

Erich had become a good friend and supporter of EnMart since winning the 2009 Stitches Magazine Golden Needle Awards, Design of the Year – Artistic Corporate & Best Multimedia Design – Fashion.  EnMart put up the prize for that category and that was the start of a great relationship.  Erich and Black Duck Inc. design and create terrific embroidery, and EnMart, as was the case in the design on the Impressions Magazine cover, supplies the thread that helps makes those designs a reality.

When asked why he chose Iris Thread for use in the design that was featured on the cover,  Erich had this to say:

When it came time for me to select thread for my entry into the Eco-Friendly category of the Impressions Awards, I really didn’t know whose product really fit the bill. Kristine showed me the merits of the Iris line carried by EnMart, and I was sold. Here was a thread that not only came from a plant that was conscious about its usage of water and energy, but also used environmentally friendly dyes in their preparation.  The logo looked great and though I didn’t win the contest, Black Duck’s product still merited the February cover of Impressions. I couldn’t have done it without Kristine, EnMart, and Iris thread!

Besides working and blogging at Black Duck,  Erich is a member of the Stitches Advisory Board, and writes a terrific blog for the magazine.   He knows his stuff, and we’re proud he chose Iris thread to use in his design.

posted in EnMart News, Thread | Comments Off

12th February 2010

The Friday Blog Round – Up

I’m a big fan of reading the work of others, and I read a lot!  I try to spend at least a small part of each day making the rounds of our blogroll and my blog bookmark list reading what others have to say.   I always find at least one nugget of information that is helpful.  Today I thought I’d share a few of the fun and interesting things that I’ve found over the past few weeks.  Depending on the response I get to this post,  I may make the Friday Blog Round – Up a regular feature.

First let’s start with two from Erich Cambell.  He is the author of the Black Duck  Blog and the blog “On Links and Needles” which he writes for Stitches Magazine.   On the Black Duck Blog, he has a great post about the handshake distance and how it can be used to maximize the impact of your logowear.    On Links and Needles has a great post called The Chisel vs. the Silver Bullet which deals with the fact that technology won’t always be the magical cure for all the issues your business faces.  Both these posts, and these blogs are well worth reading.

Second, let’s move on to the NNEP blog.  If you’re an embroiderer, you really should consider joining the National Network of Embroidery Professionals.  EnMart is a supplier member.  They’re a great organization, and they offer some great trade shows, seminars and help to their members.     Currently they have a cute post on their blog about how the office cats spent a snowy winter day.    Those cats are adorable, and I’m right with the one who thinks that a cold winter day is a perfect time for a nap.

Third, let’s continue our pet theme with the Urban Threads blog.   They have a great series on their blog called “Crafty Mascots“, where they show pictures of the pets of people who embroider and create other artistic projects.  A lot of these pets, o.k. maybe not the iguana, are seriously cute.   This blog also features great tutorials and cool designs.  Personally, I love their design sensibility, it is unique and I think the designs are a lot of fun.

Finally, just in time for Valentine’s Day, we have the 10 sexiest Valentine’s Day Promotional Products.  Some of these I might not mind receiving as a Valentine’s Day gift.  Others,  for instance the Silhouette Girl Flashing Pin, I’m not so sure about.  I’m pretty sure I’d feel the same way, even if it were a Silhouette Guy Flashing Pin.   There are some things I just don’t need.

Well, that’s a few of the things that stood out to me this week when I made the rounds of the blogosphere.  If you know of an embroidery blog that you think we should be reading, please do share the information.  You can leave a comment here on the blog, or e-mail me at kristine dot shreve at myenmart dot com and let me know what I should be reading.

posted in Around the Blogosphere | Comments Off

11th February 2010

Free Digitizing Software from EnMart

Digitizing is something that a lot of machine embroiderers would probably like to do, but weren’t sure they would ever be able to do.   For some, the cost of the digitizing software is prohibitive.  For others,  the complexity of using the software seems daunting.  Some people just don’t care to digitize at all, and so hire expert digitizers to do the work for them.  If you’re in the last category, the new software EnMart has to offer probably won’t be of interest.  Everyone else, however, could benefit from ordering a copy of EnMart’s new offering, Stitch Era Universal Free Digitizing Software.

The Stitch Era Universal software is the first advanced software for the creation of embroidery designs that is free to end users.  It includes a large number of features, and performs all the functions necessary for digitizing including format conversion, pre-digitized letters, letters from true type fonts, advanced stitch editing, auto-digitizing, conventional digitizing, interactive digitizing and many more.   At a cost of $4.95, which covers shipping, handling and the creation of the CD,  the software is free to end users.   EnMart has also made a special offer, which allows buyers who purchase $30 worth of thread from our Thread and Thread Related category to use the code SEU2010 to get the software for free.

Stitch Era Universal is compatible with many major embroidery machines.  You can find a complete list of machines on which the software works on the Sierra web site.   The software also works with Windows.  The recommended and minimum configurations for your computer are available on the Stitch Era website.   Best of all, buying one copy of the software gives you the license to load it on to multiple computers, so you can use the software in your shop, on the road or in your home.

posted in Machine Embroidery Supplies | 8 Comments

9th February 2010

The Ricoh GX e3300N Printer for Sublimation

I know we’ve been talking a lot about sublimation on this blog lately, which is a little odd, since we now have a blog that is devoted entirely to sublimation. I promise that we will get back to embroidery topics soon. Before we do, however, I couldn’t resist mentioning the latest product that EnMart has to offer. I know some embroiderers are already sublimating, or are thinking about getting into sublimation. If you’re in either of those categories, you’ll want to read the rest of this post.

EnMart in association with Sawgrass Technologies, is proud to announce the launch of the Ricoh GX e3300N for sublimation. This is a game-changing breakthrough for the sublimation printing industry, offering a unique combination of price, speed, reliability and extended uninterrupted printing capabilities. The Ricoh GX e3300N easily ranks as the fastest entry-level sublimation printer in the market, producing up to 144 color prints per hour. It is also one of the most economical printers in the industry.

To allow our customers reap the benefits of this new printer, EnMart has created the QuickStartR Sublimation Package. This package, a $449 value, retails for $379. The package includes the Ricoh GX e3300N printer, 1 set (CMYK) of SublijetR ink, 1 pack of Mpress-II 8 1/2 x 14 paper, and 1 USB cable.

EnMart will begin taking pre-orders for packages immediately. Packages are expected to begin shipping on March 1, 2010.

posted in Sublimation | 7 Comments

4th February 2010

EnMart’s Pre Valentines Day Sublimation Special

Generally I write about sublimation topics on the other EnMart blog, SubliStuff.   Every once in a while, though, we have a special or an offer that is so great, I feel like I should share it on both blogs.  That’s the case with our latest special.

We know that there are a lot of people out there who are looking to get into the sublimation business, or who are already in the business, but want to add an additional system to their shop.    We also know that there are many embroiderers that are considering getting into sublimation.  That’s why EnMart has put together a Pre-Valentines Day Special on a sublimation printer. This special should not be missed.

The cost for the Pre-Valentines Day Special package is $650.00

The package includes the following:

This package contains everything you need for sublimation printing. Add some sublimation blanks and a heat press, and you’re ready to start creating sublimated goods. As an added incentive, we will take 10% off anything additional that you purchase when you buy this package. If you find you need any sublimation blanks or any additional equipment or accessories, you can save even more by buying those items when you purchase the package.

The $650 Pre-Valentines Day Special is available only until February 14, 2010. There is one package available and it will be sold on a first come, first serve basis. Package may not be ordered on the web site. Contact EnMart at 866-516-1300 to place an order. 10% discount on additional purchases will be entered by EnMart after checkout.

posted in Sublimation | Comments Off

3rd February 2010

The High Cost of Cheap Thread

Saving money and reducing the bottom line is a must for any business these days. For many machine embroidery businesses, one way to reduce costs is to reduce the amount of money that is spent on thread. The theory is that less money spent on purchasing thread will result in less cost for the business, which will then result in greater profit. Unfortunately that theory doesn’t always hold true.

The old saying “You get what you pay for” is an old saying for a reason. Inexpensive or “cheap” thread may seem like a good bargain on the surface, but when you add up the costs associated with running the thread, it becomes apparent that cheap thread isn’t always the bargain it’s cracked up to be.

Cost #1: Cheap thread may break more easily – Cheap thread may be redyed, making it more fragile. An increase in thread breaks will mean more time that your machine is idle. If you’re not embroidering garments, you’re not making money, so any time spent dealing with thread breaks is time that costs you profit.

Cost #2: Cheap thread may have uneven dye lots – If you’re embroidering multiple garments for the same business or organization, you want the colors of the design you embroider to be identical. Cheaper thread may be made with cheaper dye and with less exact dying procedures. This can result in uneven dye lots and uneven color. If the color of your thread varies halfway through the job, you may have to start again and count the items you’ve already embroidered as a loss.

Cost #3: Cheap thread may have uneven thickness – Uneven thickness can cause lumps and bumps in your design as well as uneven stitches. It can also cause your design to use more thread than necessary. Thinner thread also results in more thread being necessary to fill the design, which causes higher thread usage, which means you’ll go through thread faster and will need to replenish your stock more often.

Cost #4: Cheap thread may not be colorfast – You’ve sewn the design, given it to your customer and a week later they’re back because the thread ran after one wash. Now you have to replace the garment and re-do the embroidery, most likely at no cost to the customer. Whatever profit you made on the original job has now disappeared.

When you purchase a cheap thread, you’re really taking a gamble that none of the problems listed above will occur. You may get lucky and find that the thread works well, but you may also find that your “bargain” thread isn’t much of a bargain as you spend a lot of time and lose a lot of money adjusting to the problems the thread causes.

A solution to this problem would be to find a reasonably priced thread that is made to the highest quality standards. It probably would come as no surprise to anyone that we think Iris thread is that thread. Available in polyester and rayon, this thread is durable, colorfast, and runs smoothly. Hilos Iris also makes a metallic thread that is one of the best in the industry. If you’ve given up on metallic machine embroidery thread because of thread breaks and problems with the thread running smoothly, give Iris Dazzling Metallic thread a try.

posted in Thread | 1 Comment

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