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USPS – Yes or No?

26th October 2010

USPS – Yes or No?

Lately we’ve been pondering the idea of adding United States Mail as a shipping option.  This has been mentioned several times in the past,  and we were always wary of doing it,  largely because of concerns about tracking packages.  We all know that packages can go astray and,  when that happens with a package delivery service like FedEx,  we have a resource.  We can track the package and at least have some method for determining what happened and why.   Sending packages via regular U.S. Mail didn’t offer that same level of support and security.

Upon further research, however,  we discovered that the U.S. Mail has some shipping options that would allow us to track packages.   Priority Mail is the option we are contemplating at present.   Before, however,  we start stocking supplies, and go through the necessary steps to set up the required shipping module for our online store,  I had a question.

If we did decide to offer Priority Mail or some other U.S. Mail service,  how many of our customers would use that service?

I expect that, for some customers,  adding additional shipping options would make no difference.  For others, particularly those who are far away,  like customers in Alaska and Hawaii,  Priority Mail might be a welcome addition to EnMart’s shipping options.

We would love to know your thoughts on this subject.  If you have an opinion,  whether you’re for or against us adding a U.S. Mail shipping option,  please share it in the comments,  send me a Tweet, or leave a comment on EnMart’s Facebook page.

posted in About EnMart | 2 Comments

25th October 2010

Where Can You Sell a Patch?

Most people probably know by now that EnMart sells blank patches at very reasonable prices.  Our turn around times and size and color options are among the best in the industry and, unlike some other patch manufacturers,  our patches are 100% polyester, which makes them ideal for sublimation as well as embroidery.   Many people know about our patches,  but they may not be sure where they could sell those patches in their area.  Today I thought I’d make a few suggestions about places to find potential patch customers.

One group that is always in the market for patches is motorcycle clubs.   From patches identifying club members,  to patches commemorating a particular rally or ride,  motorcycle clubs can always find a use for a new patch.   These groups also tend to buy bigger patches,  and unique patch shapes like rockers.

Another good market for patches is day camps or sleep away camps.  They may have a unique badge to commemorate each session of camp,  or they may offer a reward badge to campers who complete a specific task.    Almost any group or club connected with children may have a use for a unique or specific patch.

Any business that makes it a practice to identify its staff is also a good market for patches.   From mechanics to restaurant employees to security staff,  there are a wide variety of occupations that call for identification as part of their uniforms.  Whether it’s a name patch,   a badge that identifies their function,  or something that simply identifies the business for which the employee works,  local businesses are often great customers for patches,  and many will buy additional items as well.

Schools are another good place to find patch customers.   From the football team to the Glee Club to general school spirit,  schools are a great place to sell a wide variety of patches.   Students like to show their allegiance to their particular clubs or teams,  and schools like their students to show school spirit by decorating their jackets or backpacks with school related patches.

When looking at ways to sell patches,  you should also keep in mind that EnMart’s blank patches are 100% polyester which means they are not only ideal for embroidery, but for sublimation as well.   If you encounter a design that is too complicated or contains to many colors to be suitable for embroidery,  you always have the option, provided you have a sublimation system,  of sublimating the patches instead.    Buying blanks from EnMart not only is easy on your budget,  it also equips you with more decoration options and thus more avenues for selling the patches you create.

posted in Patches/Emblems | Comments Off

15th October 2010

The Friday Blog Round – Up 10/15/10

Anyone who reads this blog,  or our Twitter feed or our Facebook page knows that I’m a huge fan of Black Duck Inc.  Erich’s latest post illustrates one of the reasons why I’m such a fan.    Black Duck is consistently innovative and willing to stretch the boundaries of what can be done with embroidery.   Plus they do fabulous work!    Just look what Black Duck did with EnMart’s colored metallic embroidery thread.  It’s awesome!

Second on the list today is this pop quiz from the Fashion Incubator blog.   I have to say,  I didn’t know what all these symbols meant,  and I’m generally pretty careful about how I wash and care for my clothes.     I’m wondering if people who deal with fabric on a regular basis will have better luck than I did.  Just make sure you don’t look at the post with the answers before you take the quiz!

Third on the docket today is a post from the NNEP blog about creating an eye catching display in your shop.   Whether you have a shop or a trade show booth  creating displays that catch people’s interest and get them to stop and look is always a challenge.  Jenni offers some great tips for creating a display that will help enhance your store’s appearance,  while staying within your decorating budget.

Fourth this week is a blog post about an interview on ASI radio with Michael J. Fox.  I’m a huge fan of Mr. Fox,  and very much admire the way he’s coped with Parkinsons and the work he has done to help fight this disease and find a cure.   It sounds like the radio interview was a lot of fun.   If you missed the radio broadcast and want to listen to it,   you can listen to the archived show on the ASI website.

Finally, I wanted to point out that I have a new blog post up on the Stitches website.   This post is about the value, or lack of value, in celebrity endorsements.    I think there can be value in these sorts of endorsements,  but I think the value increases or decreases based on how much trust is placed in the endorser.   As we all know,  many advertisers and marketers place a lot of value on endorsements,  look at how many celebrities sell things on television.  My question is how much do these endorsements matter to the average person?  If you have an opinion, please leave a comment on the Stitches blog and let me know what you think.

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14th October 2010

Pick Up at a Location Near You!

As many of you already know,  EnMart has four locations across the United States.  EnMart East is in New Jersey.  EnMart South is in Georgia,  EnMart Corporate is in Michigan and EnMart West is in Nevada.   These locations were strategically placed in an effort to offer two day FedEx Ground shipping to most states.    The locations are warehouse facilities, not stores,  although we are contemplating adding showrooms so customers can come to view our products and learn more about EnMart.  Right now,  however,  the facilities are simply locations where stock is stored,   but they do offer customers who live close to one of our warehouses the opportunity to pick up their order instead of having it shipped.

If you live within driving distance of an EnMart warehouse,  and would like to pick up your order,  there are a few things that we ask you do.

  1. Please place the order first.  You can either place the order through our website, or call our toll free customer service line (866-516-1300) and place the order.  If you do place the order online,  select Local Pickup as your method of shipping.
  2. Once the order has been placed,  please allow at least an hour before going to go pick it up.  We need time to process and pull the order, and allowing an hour or more between the time the order is placed and the time it is picked up gives us the time we need.
  3. There will be a $2.50 handling charge attached to all local pick-up orders.
  4. Please be aware that not all things are in stock at every location.  If you place an order for pick-up and some of the items on that order are out of stock or stocked in a different location,  you will be notified.

Right now,  sublimation supplies are only stocked in Michigan.   Blank patches are made to order and shipped out of Michigan as well.   Ntrans transfers are made to order and ship from either the Nevada or Atlanta locations.   Stock is also always in a state of flux.   Our goal is to keep a sufficient quantity of the basic stock we offer on hand at each location,  but delays in shipments or an increased order volume for a particular item may cause an out of stock situation.    When that happens,  we will work with our customers to find a mutually beneficial solution.

If you are interested in picking up your order at one of our warehouses,  you can find address information and driving directions on our Locations page.

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13th October 2010

Thread Palettes: For or Against?

The subject of thread palettes is a tough one for many people who machine embroider.   Some people maintain that thread palettes, or thread bundles or whatever name you give them,  are constructed by companies that have left over or slow moving thread and want to get those particular colors out of their inventory.   Other people maintain that the groupings usually have one or two useful colors and that the rest are simply the boring or odd colors that no one wants to purchase.  There are also those who would prefer to be able to create their own thread palette rather than being limited by the already created palettes offered by the thread distributor or manufacturer.

EnMart has offered what we call thread palettes almost since the very beginning, and we do it for one simple reason,  thread palettes are a great way to offer complimentary shades of thread at a reduced price.   The palettes do allow us to promote certain colors,  and to encourage our customers to examine some shades they might not have considered,  but the threads offered in the palettes are by no means slow sellers.    We do, after all, want you to purchase the palettes,  so creating a palette with thread colors that were not useful or appealing would really be working against our own best interests.

Personally, I am particularly fond of our holiday thread palettes,  as I am also fond of holiday embroidery.   Our Halloween palette would be fun to use with some of the Primitive Macabre designs from Urban Threads.   EnMart’s Christmas palette is ideal for embroidering some of these Christmas embroidery designs from Windstar.   If you’re looking to give life to that cornucopia or turkey to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday,  our Thanksgiving palette is a must.

EnMart’s thread palettes also extend beyond the holidays.   If you do a lot of embroidery on baby clothes or on gifts for babies,  our baby gift thread palette should come in handy.    Our shades of color palettes  allow you to run the spectrum of hues in one particular color family,  whether it be grey or green.    There are a lot of different palettes from which to choose and all are composed of high quality Iris UltraBrite polyester thread.

Thread palettes may not be to everyone’s taste,  but they can provide a great bargain and be a terrific way to increase your thread inventory while sticking within your budget.    I would be interested to hear what our blog readers think about thread palettes.   If you have an opinion on the subject,  please leave it in the comments for this post.

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8th October 2010

The Friday Blog Round – Up 10/08/10

First up today,  if you haven’t seen this hilarious video from Odd Guy Art,  you need to watch it immediately.   There are some priceless moments here,  from Graham’s struggles to be understood (he’s British you know) to Marie making a deposit in the bosom bank and having her savings exit quickly via the bottom of her shirt.  I’ve always known these two had a great sense of humor,  and the video is certainly confirmation of that.  Definitely a fun way to spend a few minutes.

Second on the docket,  is a great post from Nicole Reyhle of Retail Minded about where and how to find sales reps.   Hiring a sales rep is a giant step for any business and it can be a confusing one if you’ve never hired a rep before.   Nicole explains the difference between the types of reps you can hire, which I didn’t know,  and then gives you some places where you can find reps who are looking for work.  If you’re thinking of hiring a sales rep for your business, check this post out.

Third on the list today is Robin Wilson’s latest post on Twitter and Facebook.  She takes on the whole idea that those sites are mostly about what people had for breakfast  or that they take a lot of time.    Robin also makes the very good point that you get out what you put in.  If you’re open to meeting new people and are responsive and constantly putting out good, interesting content,  you experience will be much different than if you are simply posting links to your latest product every hour.   If you’re not currently on Twitter and Facebook, read Robin’s post.  It may change your mind about those sites.

Fourth on the list is a good tip from Joyce Jagger about producing sew-outs for clients.  Some embroiderers do sew-outs on backing, which works,  but doesn’t really give a feel for how the sew-out will look on the actual material.   Joyce recommends saving old clothes and cutting them up to get fabric squares. Store the fabric squares in a labeled bin and you are ready whenever someone needs a sew-out on a particular type of cloth.  If you don’t have old clothes you could always visit a local thrift shop and pick up some items inexpensively.

Finally,  I wanted to point out a great post by Amber Naslund that was brought to my attention via The Wilson Edge.  Amber writes about trying to be something you’re not to please other people and how the most effective presenters are the people who are being themselves, warts and all.   I think this can be extended to anyone who does anything in the public eye.  If you’re a business owner,  give seminars,  speak at your local Chamber of Commerce or networking group,  or simply talk about your business to the guy next to you in line at the grocery,  you need to do so in a way that is authentically you.  When you try to be something you’re not,  you lose your passion.  It’s a great and thought provoking post.

posted in Around the Blogosphere | 1 Comment

7th October 2010

All the Colors of the Rainbow

I’ve often wondered why companies that deal with colorful items like, for instance, thread,  use the phrase “all the colors of the rainbow”  as a method of explaining how many colors they offer.  In reality,  all the colors of the rainbow would only be seven, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, or so most of us were probably taught in elementary school.

There have been arguments for centuries as to how many colors are actually in a rainbow.   Aristotle argued there were only three.  Seneca the Younger believed the rainbow contained a infinite number of colors.  Scientists through the ages have studied what causes a rainbow and tried to pinpoint exactly how many colors were in one.   Newton pointed out that all the colors of the rainbow combined,  however many that might be,  made white.   Other scientists tell us that the colors we see in a rainbow are limited by our vision,  and we can’t see all the colors that are actually there.

Despite the debate over how many colors are in a rainbow,  or over how many colors we can see when we see a rainbow,  it has become the accepted symbol for items which are very colorful.   It’s almost a cliche advertising slogan,  if you want people to know your product,  in our case thread, is very colorful,  reference a rainbow.  Everyone will instantly understand what you mean.

The problem with referencing a rainbow is that we can only see the seven colors and while red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet are beautiful when they span the sky,  they’re a bit limiting when it comes to Iris thread.   Red can be anything from neon red to brick red.  Orange encompasses a spectrum that extends from dark Texas orange to orange mistVery bright yellow is a much different shade than pale yellow, yet they are both still called yellow.

One of the great things about Iris thread is the number of shades of color that we offer.  Whether you’re looking for a soft baby blue for a baby shower gift or a vibrant pink that will stand out when you embroider your new black skirt,  we have a shade that will suit your needs.   Our thread charts give you a sample of each and every color available in polyester and rayon machine embroidery thread.     In addition to our 5500 yard king cones,  we also have 1100 yard mini king cones if you want to try a color before you commit to it entirely.

EnMart also has an online thread cross reference engine if you need help converting from your current thread manufacturer to Iris thread.   Our conversion engine contains the closest Iris matches available for most of the threads made by the other major thread manufacturers.   Please keep in mind that matches may not be exact,  but will be the closest Iris shade available.

If you’re just starting to build your personal rainbow of thread,  or if you’re looking to add more shades of color to a rainbow of thread that already exists,  we invite you to take a look at the many colors of Iris thread we offer.   We’re confident that our variety of colors,  coupled with the quality of Iris thread will convince you that your personal thread rainbow should always contain Iris.

posted in Thread | 1 Comment

4th October 2010

EnMart Shipping Policies

In the past I’ve mentioned, once or twice or ten times,  that EnMart has four locations.   EnMart East is in New Jersey.  EnMart West is in Nevada.  EnMart South is in Georgia.  EnMart Corporate (or if we’re continuing the geographical theme – EnMart Midwest) is in Northern Michigan.   We have worked to position our facilities strategically so that we are generally a two day ground shipment from most locations in the country.  Our goal is to get you your goods in a timely manner and with reasonable shipping costs.

As with any business, however,  our inventory is often in a state of flux.  This is great for us,  inventory going out means that people are buying things and that, after all, is the entire purpose of our company.  It does, however, sometimes throw a glitch into the whole shipping from the closest location to the customer thing.   We maintain stock levels based on past order history and try to project how much we will sell of any given item in the future.  Our goal is to have just enough,  too much means inventory sits on the shelves far longer than we’d like.  Too little means an item is not available when it has been ordered.

A lot of the time we get the balance right.  Sometimes,  we don’t.   This means that, on occasion,  when you order something it won’t be in stock at the location closest to you.  When that happens,  EnMart policy decrees that we ship from the next closest location that has all the items in the order.

We want to get everything to you as quickly as possible.  That’s why most orders, with the exception of things like blanks and transfers which must be created, ship the same day.   That’s why we have four locations,  and why we’re constantly tinkering with our stocking levels and locations,  trying to find the perfect formula.  The reality of the situation is, however,  that we probably won’t ever find the perfect formula and there will be times when your order might take a little longer to get to you.    We will do our best to make sure those times are few and far between,   but we know they will happen.

When these things do happen,  we ask that you bear with us,  particularly if this is your first order.   Inventory adjustments are made based on orders placed,  so it is likely that an item ordered once will be in stock in the closest location to where the order was placed when the next order rolls around.   Inventory is always a work in progress and we’re constantly refining how and where we stock our shelves.

posted in About EnMart | Comments Off

1st October 2010

The Friday Blog Round-Up 10/1/10

We’ll start today,  as we often do with the Fashion Incubator blog and Kathleen Fasanella.   The post I want to spotlight is about how to know whether or not your idea is a good one.  This is a tough thing for anyone who is starting or running a business,  and Kathleen mentions some good points to consider when you’re evaluating whether your idea is a good one or should be relegated to the scrap heap.

Second up today is a post from the NNEP about going beyond your own industry to help your business.   The post points out that you can learn things that can help your business from anyone,  not just from people who also run the same sort of business you do.    Even if you don’t do business locally, meeting other local business owners can be a great way to expand your knowledge base and spur your creativity.

Third on the docket today is a post from Robin’s Edge,  which is rapidly becoming one of my new favorite blogs.    Her post from Wednesday reminds us that we all are worthy and deserving.    This is something that a lot of business owners forget sometimes.  It’s so easy to focus on what went wrong that we often forget to celebrate what went right.  Robin’s post is a good reminder to do just that.

Fourth up is this post from Tim Andrews at ASI about how companies are commemorating October which is also National  Breast Cancer Awareness Month.    As many of you already know,  most of the professional sports community helps to raise awareness of breast cancer, and money companies do so as well.   If your company is doing something special to raise funds for breast cancer research in October,  let us know in the comments.

Finally, I wanted to toot EnMart’s horn a little and remind everyone that tomorrow is the 3rd birthday of this blog.  It’s hard to believe I’ve been writing here for three years,  but that is the case.  I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who reads and comments.  Your support in helping to spread the word about new posts and your kind comments about the content of those posts has really meant a lot of all of us here.   I appreciate all your support and I hope you’ll keep reading.

posted in Around the Blogosphere | 1 Comment

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