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The Friday Blog Round-Up 7/30/10

30th July 2010

The Friday Blog Round-Up 7/30/10

Wow,  I can’t believe July is over.  Time has just flown this year.  It seems impossible that Fall is almost here.

First up this week is a new series on the Black Duck Inc. blog.  They’re showcasing some of their past e-mail ads from a campaign that ran a few years ago.  I love this idea for two reasons.  First, it allows them to show off their work again.  Second,  it shows you that humor and a little whimsy does have a place in advertising.  Read the text of the ad.  They picked a theme and committed to it,  and it works.  It’s a great example for other businesses to follow.

Second on the list today is a great post by Kathleen Fasanella on choice and why the American way of the person who is affected by the choice making the choice may not always be the best way.   The second to the last paragraph is a great commentary for those who run a business and try to give good customer service.  Sometimes the best customer service is the kind where you tell the customer they’re wrong.  There’s a lot to think about in this post.

Third on the agenda today is a twofer for Erich Campbell (I mentioned his Black Duck Inc blog earlier).  This time I’m mentioning a great post about creativity he wrote for his Stitches blog.  He spotlights the fact that you have to experiment and play to keep your creative muscles sharp.  He also mentions EnMart’s colored metallic thread which he recently used to create some designs for a Stitches photo shoot.    Given that,  how could I resist mentioning the post?

Fourth on the list,  we have a reminder that the holidays are coming,  and we all need to be ready.   Although the tips from the Retail Minded blog are intended for brick and mortar stores,  they are also useful for those who sell online.  The main thing to remember is that the holidays will be here before we know it,  and we all need to be prepared.

Fifth today,  we have a post from Seth Godin’s blog about being first and why it isn’t always best.   Sometimes we get so caught up in being first that we don’t stop to think about how much value there is in being first.  If you rush a product to market so that you get to introduce it,  but the product has issues that you didn’t stop to consider,  have you really done the best thing for your business?  If you announce a new special or product offering before you’ve considered all the ramifications,  are you getting the most benefit from the announcement?  It’s certainly something to think about.

Finally,  I want to end this post as I seem to have ended most Friday Blog Round-Up posts lately, which is with a plea for recommendations for blogs.  I’d love to build a creative blogging community,  but it is hard to find blogs written fro those who are in business,  as opposed to blogs that deal with crafting.  If anyone has any suggestions,  please do share them.

posted in Around the Blogosphere | Comments Off

28th July 2010

Why Buy Sublimated Patches?

I’m sure most of you are familiar with our blank patches,  but you may not be as familiar with our custom sublimated patches.   Today I wanted to take a minute to explain what our sublimated patches are,  and how they can be useful to your business.

First,  let’s talk about what a sublimated patch is exactly.   Those of you who read our other blog,  SubliStuff, should already be familiar with sublimation.   If you’re not familiar with the process,  sublimation requires the use of special ink to print transfers.  The transfers are then pressed onto polyester fabric,  and the composition of the ink is such that it turns to a gas and dyes the fabric.  The result is a colorful print that washes well and retains its color.    When the sublimation process is applied to a 100% polyester patch,  you get a colorful patch that lasts and lasts.

Sublimated patches are a great alternative for anyone who wants to put an intricate design on a patch.  As anyone who embroiders already knows,  designs with small letters or lots of detail often do not embroider well.   Sublimation allows you to print designs with small details and intricate lettering  while ensuring that the details will show crisp and clear on the finished product.  Buying sublimated patches from EnMart also means that you have a wide variety of patch sizes and shapes from which to choose.    Whether you’re looking for circles, squares or rectangles,  or if you need something like a shield or a diamond shape,  we can provide the shape you need in a variety of different sizes.

EnMart’s custom sublimated patches are also cost effective.    It is relatively inexpensive to create a colorful patch that is also durable.  Sublimation also means that there is no limit on the colors that can be put on the patch or in the detail that the patch design encompasses.    EnMart also offers quantity breaks on our sublimated patches,  so the more patches you purchase,  the more money you save.

Last, but not least,  EnMart has experience in creating these patches.  Our parent company has been working with sublimation since 2001.  Since then we’ve created hundreds of thousands of sublimated patches for all kinds of companies and with all kinds of designs.   We’ve had time to perfect our process and our patch quality,  while also discovering ways to create patches quickly.  This means our turnaround time is measure in days rather than weeks.   Of course the turnaround time will depend on the number of patches ordered and our production schedule but, overall,  we can generally turn around orders in less than 5 business days.

If you would like to learn more about our sublimated patches,  or to request a sample,  please contact us.   We’ll be glad to help.

posted in Patches/Emblems | 2 Comments

27th July 2010

The Power of Pretty

Over the time I’ve been writing this blog I’ve talked a lot about the durability of Iris thread.  I’ve talked about the fact that it is colorfast and washfast.   If you’ve read this blog for a while,  you’ve certainly read about the strength of the thread,  how it has less thread breaks and has greater tenacity than some other threads on the market.   Iris thread is a quality thread,  made with the finest ingredients and created by a company that has over 50 years experience in making thread.   I’ve probably covered every aspect of the thread except, perhaps, for one, which is this.  Iris Thread is really, really pretty.

Our trade show booth design for this year features what we call the “wall o’ thread” smack dab in the middle of the booth.  The “wall 0′ thread” is simply shelves with cone after cone of thread on them.   We’ve never actually counted,  but in our average booth there are a least a couple hundred cones on display.  It’s quite a sight, and a huge attraction for people passing by the booth.

What stops the people walking by the booth isn’t the strength of the thread.  It isn’t the durability or the tenacity or the washfastness.  What stops those who walk buy is how gorgeous the thread looks.   In essence,  Iris Thread stops people in their tracks with the power of pretty.

Iris UltraBrite Polyester is known for its sheen.  In side by side tests,  many people can’t tell the difference between Iris Polyester and Iris Rayon.   Both have deep rich color and a brilliant shine.    When either thread is used in embroidery,  the result is a garment that pops with color and catches the eye.  What better advertisement for the work of the embroiderer than an embroidered design that makes people look twice?

To request a sample of Iris Rayon or Polyester thread and to put the power of pretty to work for your business, e-mail us at info@myenmart.com  or contact us through any of the methods available.

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16th July 2010

The Friday Blog Round-Up 7/16/10

First up this week,  AKDesigns is having a sale.   You can get 40% off their machine embroidery designs.   There are a lot of cute designs included in the sale, so this is definitely worth checking out.

Second on the agenda is this post about sharing product details from the Retail Minded Blog.   Having an educated sales staff, and being educated about your products yourself is vital whether you sell online or have a retail store.  I especially like the idea about having a reference spot.  EnMart has created binders for all our CSRs where they keep all the information about our products that they receive.  It’s an easy one stop reference and makes finding answers to questions easier.

Third on the list today is a post from Sewing for Cash that asks what is embroidery digitizing.   The post, of course, then proceeds to tell you.  It’s a decent overview of the digitizing process.   It also mentions free digitizing software,  like the Stitch Era Universal Software that EnMart offers.    If you’re interested in learning more about digitizing,  this post is a good place to start.

In the fourth slot today we have a discussion of kids, creativity and indie designing.   I love this post because it points out something that worries me as well,  the fact that kids don’t pretend like kids did when I was growing up.   When I was a kid, my bike was a horse,  a garage was a secret hideout and some blankets and pillows made a terrific fort.  Today, kids have video games and computers and action figures.  Why pretend a ruler is a light saber or a tennis racket is a guitar when you can buy a “real” light saber or play Rock Band on your X Box?    I think this post makes a lot of good points.

Last on the list today is a plea for information about any machine embroidery or sublimation blogs that are out there.   I constantly do searches,  and also watch Twitter and Facebook, but I’m not finding much information.  If you have a blog or know of a good blog that should be on our blogroll,  please share that information with me.

posted in Around the Blogosphere | Comments Off

13th July 2010

5 Reasons Not to Convert to Iris Thread

Reason 1:  Color conversion is not fun – Let’s face it,  matching your existing color card to a new thread can be a lot of work and hassle.   Even if the new thread supplier offers an online conversion engine you still have to select the color numbers of your old thread to get a match.   Plus, sometimes the conversion engine doesn’t supply a match,  and then you have to call the conversion experts who’ve been color matching thread for decades and ask them for help in finding a close color match.   It’s a lot of time and work.

Reason 2: You’ll have to find new uses for the money you save – Your budget for the year is already done,  why would you want to have to readjust all the numbers and columns to reflect the cost savings you’ll experience when you purchase Iris thread?   If that’s not bad enough,  EnMart’s mix and match quantity discount policy means that you can save additional money when you buy as little as 12 cones of thread. You’ll have to find something to do with the extra money.  That requires yet more research and decision making.  Who wants to deal with that?

Reason 3:  Reduced down time means more production time. - Iris thread is durable,  experiences less thread breaks, and runs more smoothly than many other machine embroidery threads.   These qualities make it likely that you’ll have less down time when sewing and experience an increase in production.   More production time means you’ll have to find more jobs to fill that time.   Do you really need more work?

Reason 4:  The thread attracts too much attention –  Whether it’s the vibrant color and sheen of the Iris UltraBrite Polyester or the dazzling glow of our  metallic thread,  Iris threads tend to attract people’s attention.  Really,  who needs more people looking at and admiring their work?

Reason 5: Your work will last and last – Provided it is cared for and washed correctly,  Iris polyester thread is colorfast, wash fast and durable.  It has survived an industrial wash and dry with its color and shine intact,  so it’s sure to survive a home wash and dry.   This means you’ll miss an opportunity to speak with your customers when they stop by to complain about color runs and color fade.   You’ll only be able to talk to them when they tell you how great your work looks,  and all that praise could inflate your ego.

posted in Thread | 4 Comments

12th July 2010

Miscellany Monday

Every once in a while I like to do a post where I tie up a bunch of loose ends that aren’t really big enough to warrant a post of their own,  but which are annoying me by hanging out there.   Monday always seems like a good day to do one of these posts (plus Miscellany Monday has a nice alliterative feel to it)  as it leaves the rest of the week clear to forge ahead with new topics.

First up today is something you may already know,  the Ricoh GX e3300N printers are back in stock.   I mentioned this in the Friday Round-Up post as well,  but I felt it warranted another mention here.   Now that the Ricoh 3300 is back in stock,  we offer a complete entry level printer solution array.  If you want to do wide format printing,  we offer the Epson WF 1100.   If you’re only interested in printing smaller transfers,  then the Ricoh 3300 should suit your needs admirably.  Either printer is a great option for setting up your sublimation shop.

Second,  I wanted to mention the Electric Youth article in Stitches Magazine.  Much of the embroidery for this article was done by our friend Erich Campbell of Black Duck Inc.   The colored metallic thread used in many of the designs Erich did came from EnMart.   Sadly,  some of Erich’s most spectacular designs didn’t make the magazine.  I’m hoping to have pictures of those designs to share with you later.  Erich did some awesome work and it deserves to be seen.

Third on the agenda of miscellany today,  I wanted to remind everyone that EnMart is on both Facebook and Twitter.  If you want to keep entirely up to date on what’s happening here,  and be the first to hear our latest news,  it would be a good idea to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  While the blogs are a great source of in depth information,  the Facebook and Twitter profiles get updated more frequently.

Fourth up on this Miscellany Monday,  I wanted to remind everyone where EnMart will be this Summer.  We have quite an extensive trade show schedule over the next two months.   If you’ve been wanting to meet our sublimation and embroidery experts or to see the entire array of what EnMart has to offer,   please take the time to stop by our booth at one of the shows we’ll be attending.  We always love meeting our friends,  fans and customers and stopping by our booth will definitely be worth your while.

Finally,  I wanted to ask a question,  what sort of topics would you like to see covered on this blog and on the SubliStuff blog?   EmbroideryTalk has been around for almost 3 years now,  Sublistuff is seven months old,  and there are times when I’m stuck for ideas or wondering if I’m covering the topics you all want to see.  If you have a suggestion for a post or a topic you’d like to see covered,  please leave it in the comments section.   All suggestions will be considered.

posted in EnMart News | 1 Comment

9th July 2010

The Friday Blog Round-Up 7/9/10

First up this week is a post from a blog that seems to show up week after week,  the Fashion Incubator Blog.  Kathleen writes good, thought provoking posts, and this post asking “Are You a Good Customer?”  is not exception.    The question works both ways,  do you know what your requirements are for a supplier who wants to work with you and do you know with what sort of customers you want to work?   Think about that,  an answer to those questions may take longer to formulate than you think.

Second on the agenda today is a great post about taking Twitter from the online world to the real world.  Erich Campbell from Black Duck Inc recently participated in a Tweetup in Albuquerque where he lives.  For those who are not familiar with the term,  a Tweetup is an event where people who follow eachother’s Tweets meet in person.  These events are a great way to translate online connections to real world connections.  You can read Erich’s post to find out how.

Third up this week is not a blog post,  but an article from Stitches Magazine.  The article, titled “Electric Youth”  features embroidery created by Erich Campbell from Black Duck Inc.  Some of the pieces also use EnMart’s colored metallic thread.   Please go check out the fabulous work done by Erich and Black Duck and also take a look at how our colored metallic thread can light up your designs.

Fourth up,  the blog Sewing for Cash points us in the direction of Loralie Designs.   I’m a fan of quirky and contemporary embroidery designs,  and this company looks like it has some unique products.    If you’re looking for some designs that stand out from the crowd,  it might be worth checking this company out.

Last up today I wanted to point out that EnMart has Ricoh GX e3300N printers back in stock.   If you’ve been wanting to get started with sublimation,  we now have two cost effective options,  the 3300N and the Epson WF 1100, which can get you started for a reasonable cost.   Of course,  we will also help develop a package custom designed to your needs as well.    Just contact us with any questions or needs you have and we’ll be glad to help.

posted in Around the Blogosphere | Comments Off

8th July 2010

From Both Sides Now

I’ve been seeing a lot of talk on some of the embroidery and sublimation forums lately about customer service.  Sometimes the post are written to compliment a company that has given great customer service or gone the extra mile to satisfy a customer request.  Other times they’re written to complain about a company that has gotten something wrong,  or that hasn’t resolved a problem in a timely and satisfactory manner.  A customer who has an opinion about a company, either positive or negative,  has a louder voice than ever before,  and a much bigger audience.   Complaints can also now be registered instantly,  and sometimes things are said in the heat of the moment that may be regretted later.  As always,  there are two sides to every story.

As Director of Marketing and Customer Service for EnMart,  I see both sides now.  On one hand I’m a customer and I get as frustrated as anyone else would when my order ships wrong,  ships late or arrives damaged.  I’ve paid my hard earned money for something and I want my order to arrive when I need it, where I need it and in the excellent condition.   When that doesn’t happen,  it upsets me.   That’s only natural.

On the other hand,  I also know all the things that can go wrong from the supplier’s end.  Computer glitches.  Bad product from one of the shipper’s  suppliers.   Incorrect delivery by the package delivery service.  Simple human error.  There are a million small things that can happen,  any one of which could keep an order from being filled and delivered smoothly.

Mind you,  I’m not making excuses here.  When any of us pay our money and make a purchase,  we’re placing our trust in the company from which we ordered.    We expect that our order will arrive in a timely fashion and will be correct, and in a perfect world it always would.  The problem is that we don’t live in a perfect world.

Mistakes will happen.  Errors will be made.  Murphy’s Law says that, at some point,  package A will be shipped to address B and someone will open a box of something they didn’t order.   As much as some people, including a sort of control freak like me hate to admit it,   we can’t control every aspect of the process.  All we can do is strive for perfection,    and work out how we’ll handle an issue should one arise.

With that in mind,  I wanted to ask what processes for handling problems do the rest of you have in place?  If you have your own story of an order that went awry, whether you were the purchaser or the supplier,  tell us in the comments how the situation was handled,  and if there was anything that should have been done differently.  Handling a problem can be one of the hardest things a business has to do,  and sharing our experiences here can help us all learn.

posted in About EnMart | Comments Off

2nd July 2010

The Friday Blog Round – Up 7/2/10

First of all,  I want to say Happy Almost Birthday to our country.  Even with our troubles,  and we have some at the moment,  I still believe that America is a great place to live and work.  Plus,  the three day weekend is awesome! I hope everyone will get their fill of food, fun, and fireworks this weekend while celebrating the birth of our nation.

Second this week, I want to point out this post about digital fabric printing on the Fashion Incubator blog.  This technique is actually something that EnMart has looked at a time or two, and which we may go back to at some point.  It is terrific for short runs of fabric,  or for creating a one of a kind fabric for a custom job.    People are finding more and more things to do with direct to garment printing every day.  Creating custom fabric is just one of them.

Third on the docket this week is this post that shatters some myths about publicity from the Retail Minded Blog.   A lot of business owners tend to be afraid of trying to generate publicity for their businesses,  either because they think they don’t know how to do it correctly, or because of some of the myths that are debunked in this post.  If you’ve been hesitant to use a press release or other publicity generating techniques for your business,  check out this post.  It may change your mind.

Fourth up this week,  I’m including a plea from EnMart’s other blog,  SubliStuff.  We are considering creating some instructional videos,  and I need to know what you all would be interested in watching.    If you have an interest in sublimation, please stop by the SubliStuff blog and let me know what you would like to see in a video.   Your input would be appreciated.

In the fifth spot this week,  we have a post from the ASI Central Blog – 7 Ways to Stand Out.    There is good advice here for almost everyone.  I’m especially a fan of the tip about teaching what you know.  People love to be educated,  especially if the education helps them be more successful in their business.  That’s why seminars at trade shows are so popular.

posted in Around the Blogosphere | Comments Off

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