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DAX Chicago – Day One

30th April 2010

DAX Chicago – Day One

9:45 a.m.  We’re in the booth, doing last minute straightening and organizing.  Always finding ways to display our products better.   Looking forward to a great day.

10:03 a.m.  Have to put in a plug for the staff and management at DAX.  They’ve been nothing but awesome.  Problems are handled quickly, check in was easy,  and they put on a nice breakfast spread.  If you’re an exhibitor, this is a great show.

10:22 a.m.  Doors have opened.  Already starting to see people.  So fun to watch Tom Paquette in action.  He’s a great representative for EnMart, and so knowledgeable about our products.

10:45 a.m.  It’s so fun to see people getting excited over our colors.  I’ve actually seen people walking by the booth be stopped and transfixed by the thread display.

11:40 a.m.  I love seeing people getting so excited by the products we offer.  It’s so great to be able to fill a need that someone has at a price that is less than what they expected to pay.

12:00 p.m.  Just had someone stop by the booth who was just starting out.  We gave her a thread sample and I thought she was going to burst into tears.  She smiled one of the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen.

12:54 p.m.  Lady just stopped by the booth and asked me a bunch of questions that I answered.  When she left she said “It was worth coming to the show just to be able to stop by this booth. ”  How awesome is that?

1:48 p.m.  So much fun introducing people to EnMart.  More and more people know who we are, but you do run into someone every once in a while who isn’t familiar with the company.  They’re so happy to find out we’re in the Midwest.

3:20 p.m.  Top two questions:  “Does your thread run without a lot of thread breaks?” and “Do you have a metallic thread that runs easily?  I hate metallic thread!”  So glad to be able to answer yes to both.

4:08 p.m.  You know you’re company is doing something right when customers hug you and tell you they came to the show specifically to see you.  I love it.

4:54 p.m.  Day one is winding down.  We had a good first day.  Saw lots of interested people and shared a lot of good information.  Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

posted in Trade Shows | 1 Comment

28th April 2010

Embroidering with Puffy Foam

EnMart is proud to announce that we have added puffy foam to our product offerings.  For those who are not familiar with this product,   it is a square of colored foam, generally 2 mm or 3 mm thick, which can be embroidered over to give a puffed look to your design.  Once the embroidery has been completed, the excess foam is torn away, leaving one section of your embroidery with a 3-D appearance.  Currently EnMart offers black, red, orange, blue and light blue puffy foam.   Other colors should be added in the near future.

Puffy foam is a great way to make your embroidery stand out, adding dimension and an additional element of interest.  It is great for baby bibs, sweatshirts, tote bags, Greek apparel and much more.

If you plan to use puffy foam in your sew-out, the design must be digitized specifically for use with puffy foam.   To sew out a design using puffy foam, first sew all the elements that won’t incorporate foam.  Once those elements are completed,  take your sheet of puffy foam and lay it over the sewn design.   It is recommended that the color of the puffy foam you use should be similar to the color of the thread you use to sew out your design. Your machine will then sew over the foam securing it to the fabric and incorporating it into the design.  Once the complete design has been sewn, excess puffy foam can be pulled away, leaving only the sewn over pieces as part of the overall embroidery.

To learn more about puffy foam and how it can be used, please consult these resources:

How to Create Easy Embroidery Effects – Impressions Magazine

Puff Foam Video – Embroidery Library

Tips for Using Puffy Foam – Deborah Jones

Puffy Foam Embroidery – Flying Needle Machine Embroidery

posted in Backing/Stabilizers | 2 Comments

23rd April 2010

The Friday Blog Round-Up 4/23/10

For those who are unfamiliar with this series, I try to do a round-up on Friday of blog posts I’ve found helpful during the past week.   Mostly I stick with the blogs on our blogroll.  If you have a blog you would like us to consider including on our blogroll, you can always leave a comment here, or e-mail me at kristine dot shreve at myenmart dot com.

First up, we have a great project called One Million Shirts for Africa, which I found out about through the Groupe Stahl blog.   There are people in many parts of the world who need a great number of things, and one of the things they need is clothing.   The One Million Shirts project is collected clean, gently used t-shirts to send to people who are in need.  It’s a great cause and a terrific way to give concrete help.  I’m thinking I have a few t-shirts I could spare.

There are many companies that I have affection for, but I’m really starting to enjoy Odd Guy Art.  Their blog is fun and it looks like there new web site, which goes live soon, will be fun as well.   Who wouldn’t love a company with the slogan “where art and wit meet cotton”?  If you haven’t stopped by their blog yet, please go take a look.

My fellow Stitches blogger, Erich, has a great post about procrastination and how to overcome it, on the Stitches web site.   I would bet this is a problem that plagues almost everyone, and Erich has some great tips for overcoming procrastination and getting things done.

This may not be all that relevant for most of us this time of year, but the snow and cold will be back before we know it.  If you’re looking to cash in one some Winter apparel dollars, you may want to check out this tutorial on how to embroider gloves.   This is from the Secrets of Embroidery Blog.

A new blog that has just been added to the blogroll is The Embroidery Coach blog.  There are a lot of great tips and ideas here, including some information on how to find a good digitizer.   If you run an embroidery business, this blog is a great resource.

Finally, before I close today, I want to ask a question.  I would love to pump up the blogroll on the SubliStuff blog, but I’m having trouble finding independent blogs about sublimation.    If anyone has a favorite sublimation blog, please share the link with us.   Thanks.

posted in Around the Blogosphere | Comments Off

22nd April 2010

Backing Basics: Eco Friendly Backing

Since Today is Earth Day, it seemed like a good day to include eco friendly backing in our Backing Basics series.   As has been explained in the past,  backing is made up of polyester fibers and viscose, which is the filler that holds the poly fibers together.   Environmentally friendly backing is made the same way, it is just the content that is different.    Eco friendly backing is made up of recycled plastic fibers and wood pulp or recycled cardboard.    The quality of the backing is still high, but the impact on the planet is much less.

If you are interested in reducing the impact of your backing use,  here are some backing options you may want to consider.

Biodegradable Tearaway Backing – This backing is designed using only natural fibers which are renewable, sustainable and biodegradable.   This backing breaks down into individual fibers when agitated in water,  alleviating the need to dispose of excess backing.   This backing has been engineered to been engineered to pass biodegradability tests NF U52-001 or ISO 17556 and ASTM D6094-97 test.

Hydro-Stick Adhesive Backing – This adhesive backing activates with water.  It eliminates the need for aerosol adhesive sprays,  and has an all natural adhesive.   This backing also virtually eliminates the gummy residue that can accumulate on needles and embroidery machine parts.

Badgemaster – This backing/topping is a translucent, water soluble, embroidery film.  It is ideal for applique and for embroidery on stretch fabrics like Lycra.    Embroidery can be sewn directly into the film, so no fabric is required.  Badgemaster is biodegradable and non-toxic.

EnMart is always on the look-out for products and methods that can help us be more environmentally friendly.  To learn more about we’ve been doing, please read our post “Eco-Friendly EnMart“.

posted in Backing/Stabilizers | Comments Off

20th April 2010

EnMart and Sales Tax

By law, we charge sales tax only on products shipped to California, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, and New Jersey.

When you place an order with EnMart, you’ll see the statement quoted above on your final order page.   We also mention the fact that we charge sales tax in our policies.  The information on how to legally avoid being charged sales tax is included in those policies as well.   Although we provide this information, we still often get questions about why we charge sales tax at all, how to avoid paying sales tax, and why we charge sales tax in the states where we charge it.   Today I wanted to create a sort of EnMart Sales Tax FAQ, which will hopefully answer many of the questions people may have about sales tax and EnMart.

Q 1:  Why do you charge sales tax?

We are required by law to charge sales tax on orders from those states where we have a physical presence.

Q2:  What are the states in which you have a physical presence?

EnMart’s parent company has facilities in Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, California, Illinois and Georgia.  EnMart charges sales tax in all states where our parent company has a presence.

Q3:  Is there any way to be declared exempt from paying  sales tax?

Sales tax rules vary from state to state.    Many states offer an option to resellers of providing a resale or sales tax exemption certificate to the companies from which they purchase goods.  Once the company making the sale has the certificate on file, they can exempt the purchasing company from sales taxes.   EnMart provides links to the relevant sales tax forms on our Policies page.

Q4:  I’ve already completed the relevant exemption form for my state.  Why is EnMart still charging me sales tax?

EnMart must have the relevant form on file in our offices prior to exempting any customer from sales tax.  Forms can be faxed to us at 888-946-7583 or e-mailed to info at myenmart dot com.   Please note:  it is not enough to tell us you have tax exempt status.   We must have the form on file in our offices before we can set a customer account to tax exempt status.

Q5: I’ve provided the relevant form.  Do I have to remind you I’m exempt every time I place an order?

No.  Once the form has been provided, the status of your account will be set to tax exempt.  Any orders you place from then on will not be charged sales tax.

posted in About EnMart | Comments Off

16th April 2010

Backing Basics: Why Backing Weight Matters (and Why It Doesn’t)

When you’re first starting to embroider and trying to figure out what supplies you need and what will work best for the type of embroidery you’ll be doing,  one of the mysteries you’ll need to unravel is backing weight.   At first glance, backing weight seems pretty simple, after all most people have some concept of what 2.5 ounces means.  Where it gets complicated is when you start to consider how the weight of the backing translates to the success or failure of your embroidery.  Does backing weight really make all that much difference when it comes to embroidery?  If you use a 2.5 ounce backing instead of a 1.5 ounce backing, is your job doomed to failure?  What exactly, does backing weight mean, and how much does it matter?

First of all, you need to understand how backing weight is measured.  The weight of a piece of backing is measured by the square yard.   So, if you have several types of 3 ounce backing in front of you, each type should weigh 3 ounces if you were to weigh a square yard of it.    Heavier backings, say a 3 ounce backing, will be stiffer and sturdier.  Lighter weight backings, a 1.5 ounce backing for instance,  will be more flexible and easier to see through.

The weight of a backing will have some bearing on how well the backing stabilizes the fabric into which you are sewing,  but what’s really important is how the backing is constructed.    Machine embroidery backing is typically made up of polyester fibers which are held together with wood pulp or viscose.   Higher quality backings tend to have more polyester fibers and less filler, lower quality backings will have less.    What determines the quality of a backing is the length of the polyester fibers and the amount of the polyester that is in the material.

If you want to determine the quality of a piece of backing, do a simple test, hold it up to a light source.    A high quality backing will have an even density and the surface of the backing will be smooth.  A lower quality backing will have high and low spots and uneven density.  Since the fibers are not evenly distributed,  a lower quality backing can contribute to a sew out that is uneven, or embroidery that is not uniform.

Another thing to take into account is the embossing of the backing.  As an example, let’s compare the standard Poly Mesh Backing with the Super Poly Mesh Backing that EnMart carries.    Both are designed for sheer fabrics.  Both are light weight backings.   If you hold both types up to the light, however, you’ll see that the Super Poly Mesh has an embossed pattern.   Even though both backings are the same weight, the embossing on the Super Poly Mesh makes it six times stronger than the regular Poly Mesh.

Backing weight can have an impact on the success or failure of your embroidery, but it isn’t the only thing that matters. How your backing is made, the quality of the materials used to make it, and any techniques, like embossing, used to increase strength can also make a difference.   The next time you’re choosing backing for a job, make sure you take all these items into account.

posted in Backing/Stabilizers | 1 Comment

15th April 2010

EnMart Introduces Colored Metallic Thread

EnMart is proud to announce that we have added colored metallic thread to our metallic thread inventory.  Available in 13 brilliant colors, this thread will add sparkle, shine and color to your embroidery designs.

EnMart Colored Metallics offer the same high quality available from our gold and silver metallic thread.  These threads have a nylon core,  use rice paper for better bonding and stability,  and are undercoated with a silver alloy film.  They are designed to stitch at 1000 stitches per minute.

Some people will tell you that metallic thread can be problematic when it comes to embroidery, and it is certainly possible that some brands of metallic thread can cause problems.   Obviously, we can’t speak for other brands, all we can testify about is our experiences with EnMart metallic threads.    We have seen, time after time, our metallic thread turn people who loathed metallic thread into people who loved sewing with our metallic thread.   If you’ve had problems with metallic thread in the past, give our metallic a try.  Odds are you’ll discover the problem wasn’t metallic thread in general, just the particular thread you’d tried in the past.

Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that metallic thread does require some special techniques if you want to have the best embroidery experience.  Here are some things to remember:

  • Use a needle that has been designed to be used with metallic thread
  • Be prepared to adjust your tensions
  • Slow your machine speed down a bit – Metallic thread is a bit more fragile and may have more issues when the machine is running at higher speeds.

For more tips for embroidering with metallic thread, check out these blog posts:

More Metallic Thread Tips

Tips for Embroidering with Metallic Thread

posted in Thread | 1 Comment

9th April 2010

The Friday Blog Round – Up 4/9/10

For those who are unfamiliar with this series, I try to do a round-up on Friday of blog posts I’ve found helpful during the past week.   Mostly I stick with the blogs on our blogroll.  If you have a blog you would like us to consider including on our blogroll, you can always leave a comment here, or e-mail me at kristine dot shreve at myenmart dot com.

First up this week, I love this post by Michelle Bell about guerrilla marketing and the history of the Google doodle.   It just goes to show that marketing doesn’t have to be big or showy or expensive to be effective.  There are things any business can do to get the word out that don’t take a lot of time or money.

Next up,  a great post on how to stabilize embroidery designs from the Common Threads blog.   I’m working on a backing guide for EnMart, so I love to see what other people think is important when it comes to backing.  This post offers a good, comprehensive look at the various types of backing available.

At number three this week,  a contest from the Fashion Incubator Blog.   In the blog round-up on 3/26 I mentioned a iPhone app that could calculate fabric yardage.  The Fashion Incubator blog is now giving that app away to one lucky person.  For details on the contest, visit Kathleen’s blog.

Coming in at number four this week, is the news that the National Network of Embroidery Professionals (NNEP) has improved their shipping program.    The NNEP is a great organization that does a lot to help those who own and run embroidery businesses.  They host three great trade shows and offer a lot of valuable services to embroiderers. EnMart is a Supplier member.  If you are not currently a member of NNEP and you own an embroidery business, I encourage you to join.

Number 5 (how appropriate) this week is a new feature on the GSSA blog, Friday FIVE.   The Friday FIVE is similar to this post, except it deals with four items that correspond to the letters in the word five, and then one wildcard item to actually make five mentions.   I think it’s a pretty cool idea.

Finally, I couldn’t let the Blog Round-Up end without mentioning the 4/1 post on the Urban Threads blog.  Unfortunately,  the blog won’t let me single out individual posts, so just scroll down to the 4/1 post which features the adventures of a traveling stuffed bunny.  It’s too cute and too funny.

posted in Around the Blogosphere | 1 Comment

6th April 2010

The Foundation on Which We’re Built

We have  always believed that every business is worthy of our best,  regardless of order size or business size.   This has been the guiding philosophy of the Ensign Group since 1974, when a man named Ed Benjamin created a company called Ensign Emblem.  Ed had been working in the emblem business for quite a while and he had noticed that there was a portion of the market that was being under served.   The companies that ordered thousands of pieces at one time were having to beat salespeople away from their doors, but the smaller businesses were being largely ignored.  Very few of Ensign Emblem’s competitors were interested in taking the time to work with the smaller businesses,  but Ed and Ensign were.  Working with those small businesses and helping them grow was one of the things that led Ensign from one plant to six plants and eventually from one company to two.

From the day EnMart was formed, our guiding philosophy has been the idea that all businesses, regardless of business size or order size, deserve to be treated like they matter.   That’s why we only have a $25 minimum order.   This philosophy is why we’re one of the few companies selling sublimation blanks that doesn’t require case quantity orders.   Our belief that size shouldn’t matter is also why our quantity price breaks for thread start at 12 cones in any mixture of colors.   We offer our price breaks and specials to everyone, not just to those who order hundreds or thousands of dollars of product at one time.

I know, for a lot of you, this may sound like the same song, different verse.   Telling small businesses that they’ll be treated like big businesses is a common marketing ploy and, if that were our game, we certainly wouldn’t be the first to try it.   What sets EnMart apart is the fact that we know the value of working with small business owners, and we’ve experienced how fast small businesses can grow, particularly if they have the right supplier partners.   We also firmly believe that every business and every business owner deserves the same respect and attention regardless of the final total on their order sheet.

The next step is up to you.  If you feel your current supplier isn’t offering you enough support, give EnMart a try.  If handling fees and processing fees are making your orders more costly than they need to be,   place an order with us.  Actions always speak louder than words, so put us to the test and see how we do.   I’m confident that, if you give us a try, you’ll find that EnMart gives your business the respect and attention it deserves, regardless of the size of the business or the size of your order.

That is, after all, the foundation on which we’re built.

posted in About EnMart | Comments Off

1st April 2010

Backing Basics: Types of Backing

To produce a high quality finished embroidered product, you need to begin with the correct backing.  There are different types of backing which are suitable for different fabrics and different sew outs,  and it can be hard to know which backing is right for your job.  Our Backing Basics series is designed to help you make the right choice when it comes to the backing/stabilizers you use.

The first thing you need to decide when determining which backing you should use, is what the requirements of the particular job are.  Do you need a backing that can be torn away after the design is finished?  Are you embroidering fabrics that are slightly sheer, and so need a backing that won’t stand out?  Is your embroidery going on something, like a towel, that has a tendency to absorb your stitches?   Once you’re got your criteria, you can then decide which category, size and weight of backing is right for you.

In this installment of backing basics, we’re going to discuss backing types.   Most backing falls into one of several broad categories.   Today I will give you a brief description of each category.

Tearaway

 

The most popular backing choice among embroiders is tearaway, allowing for jobs to be finished faster because the backing can be torn from the garment.  Tearaway eliminates any tedious cutting around the design with scissors.

Cutaway

 

Cutaway backing is most often used when an embroiderer is working with a light or stretchy fabric.  This type of backing is sturdier and provides more stability for lighter weight fabrics.  Once the design is done, cutaway backing must be trimmed with scissors.

 

Peel and Stick/ Press and Tear/Adhesive

 

Adhesive backing has a pressure sensitive coating and a release liner.  Once the design is sewn; the backing can be easily torn away.  This backing is ideal for use with hard to hoop items.

 

Cap/Hat Backing

 

Most backings of this type are tearaways.  This backing is used to improve the crispness of lettering and columns.

Fusibles

Fusible backing can be affixed to a garment with a hand iron.  The primary use for this type of backing is to stabilize extremely stretchy or hard to hoop materials.

Poly Mesh

Poly Mesh backing is ideal for lightweight knits and sheer fabrics.  This backing is soft and lightweight and can be used for jobs where minimizing stabilizer show through is a concern.

Water Soluble

Water soluble topping/backing is used with textured fabrics like terry cloth or fleece. This sort of backing prevents stitches from sinking into these sorts of material.  It is water soluble and will dissolve in water, so excess topping can easily be removed.

This is a brief sketch of the broad categories of backing.   In the next installment of Backing Basics we’ll discuss backing weight, what it means, and why it matters.

posted in Backing/Stabilizers | 1 Comment

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