We wish all of our friends, partners and customers a happy, prosperous and safe New Year.
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We wish all of our friends, partners and customers a happy, prosperous and safe New Year.
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As of this morning, I have written and published 389 posts on this blog. I don’t claim that all of them were stellar, but all of them were written, and that counts for something. Since this blog started in October of 2007, I’ve written about a lot of things related to the world of EnMart and machine embroidery. Since the last week of the year is traditionally a time to sum up the year that is almost past, I thought today would be a good day to point out some of my favorite posts from 2010.
I think one of the goofiest, and trickiest, posts I wrote this year was the Alphabet of EnMart. It started out as a joke on our Facebook page, and eventually I knew I had to try it. Poetry has never been my best talent, but it was fun trying to come up with rhymes and deciding what aspects of EnMart I’d spotlight. I think the end result is funny and unique.
One of the most fun, at least for me, things about 2010, was that I was able to spotlight other blogs and bloggers that I enjoyed. The Friday Blog Round-Up made its debut in February and became a regular Friday feature. I’ve always been a big advocate of helping other bloggers succeed, and the Friday Blog Round-Up was a way to expose blogs and bloggers I enjoyed to a new audience.
I also did a post in February about the fact that you can’t just sell when you use social media platforms, you have to interact. Although the title is a bit gimmicky, I’ve always liked what I said in the post entitled “Sell, Sell = Bye, Bye”. I still stand by the point I made in that post. If all you’re doing is pushing your own agenda at the expense of interacting, you most likely won’t find your social media experience to be a happy one.
Another fun thing I started in 2010 was live blogging from trade shows. It isn’t possible at every show, but it is a fun way to record the experience of working a show. I live blogged from NNEP Dublin in March and from DAX Chicago in April. It’s fun to go back and see a real time recollection of what was happening at each show. I hope to be able to do some more live blogging in 2011.
2010 was also the year of the blog series. I did one series on the basics of backing, which talked about the different types of backing, how to tell the quality of a backing and how different types of backing should be used. I also did a series on embroidering specialty fabrics. This series dealt with ways to embroider less than common fabrics. I like doing series because I think they’re good teaching tools.
Finally, 2010 was the year of spotlighting the great work that some very talented embroiderers did with EnMart products. We mentioned the Stitchin Chicks, and the awesome display of embroidered garments that they had at the NNEP shows. Erich Campbell from Black Duck Inc did an amazing embroidered falcon using our colored metallic thread that still takes my breath away. Seeing what our customers and friends can do with EnMart products has been one of the best parts of 2010. I can’t wait to see what gets created in 2011.
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We will reopen on Monday, December 27, 2010.
All orders placed on Friday, Saturday or Sunday will ship on Monday when we resume normal operations.
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Since we won’t be here tomorrow as we will be closed in honor of the holiday, I thought I’d do a blog round up today instead. Before I start on that though, I wanted to wish everyone the merriest of Christmas holidays. Thank you to all of you who read this blog and support EnMart. It is appreciated.
First up today, I’m plugging my own work, because I really like this post. I wrote a post for my Stitches Blog about social media, and why I think more isn’t always more. I’m an advocate of making connections on any social media platform with which I work. My theory is that connections will get you further than simply having tons of followers or fans. I’d love to know what you all think about this. Please feel free to stop over and leave a comment on the blog.
Second on the list today, registration is now open for the 15th Annual NNEP Trade Show, Conference and Garage Sale in Dublin, Ohio. EnMart will be exhibiting at this event and we’d love to see all of you there. It’s a great hotel, a great show and a great time.
Next on the docket is a post from a blog called Telling It Like it Isn’t. The post is about pimping your posts or tweets or whatever on social media sites and whether or not that is a good thing to do. It’s an interesting conversation about an subject that inspires a lot of different feelings. Some people feel it’s all right to ask for retweets constantly. Other people feel that sort of thing should happen naturally. If you have any thoughts on the matter, stop by and add them to the conversation.
Fourth up today is a post from Seth Godin’s blog. I’m a fan of most of what Seth says, and this post is no exception. Seth examines the meaning of the trappings of success, going to a “good” college, having an expensive car and so on, and posits the idea that the trappings aren’t necessarily a predictor of future success, but that having the drive and the will power to attain a level where you can have those status symbols might be a predictor. It’s an interesting idea, and one that I like.
Finally, we’ll close this post today with a shout out to a friend’s blog. I’ve worked with Steven Bradley on a couple of projects and I think he’s very knowledgeable and and easy person with which to work. He also writes a great blog. Currently, I really like his post on finding inspiration. While he’s addressing finding inspiration for web design, his tips could really work for any discipline.
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Anyone who reads this blog with any regularity knows I talk about the Iris thread we sell quite a bit. Lately, however, we’ve been working on some sales materials for next year, and it has reminded me that in addition to the Iris UltraBrite Polyester and Iris Smooth ‘N Silky Rayon, we also offer some great accent threads. Today I wanted to talk a little bit about those threads.
First, of course, is the metallic thread. The Iris Dazzling Metallic is available in gold and silver. I actually like to call it the “Miracle Metallic” since it has caused so many people who had sworn off metallic thread to start sewing with it again. The Dazzling Metallic is top quality thread, that runs smoothly with fewer thread breaks. If you’ve been a diehard metallic hater, give this thread a try. I’m confident it will change your mind.
EnMart also carries a line of colored metallic thread. This stuff is awesome and the colors are vibrant. As I’ve pointed out in previous posts, our colored metallic thread can add a lot of zing to your designs. It is also an easy thread with which to embroider. Best of all, the finished results are full of shine and color and really stand out.
Next on the list is our polyester variegated thread. This, like the colored metallic, is a thread with vibrant colors. From stormy greys to brillant yellows, from baby blue to petal pink, this thread runs the gamut of shades. Like all EnMart threads, it is a smooth running and durable thread. Our variegated thread is perfect for machine embroidery, quilting and embellishment of all types.
Finally, while it’s not strictly and accent thread or even an embroidery thread, I didn’t want to forget to mention our merrow floss. EnMart’s parent company, Ensign Emblem, uses this floss on the emblems they manufacture. We know this floss is colorfast and washfast because we’ve seen it subjected over and over again to an industrial wash and dry. If you create patches, this merrow floss should be perfect for your needs.
When it comes to blank patches, a lot of people might think that one is much like another. Some people might tell you that it doesn’t matter where the blank comes from because there isn’t that much variation in the materials and techniques used to create the patch. We, obviously, would beg to differ.
EnMart’s parent company has been making blank patches for 36 years. In that time, we’ve made a lot of patches for a very tough audience, industrial laundries. These laundries, quite literally, but the patches Ensign Emblem makes through the wringer, and through an industrial wash and dry as well. An average patch wouldn’t hold up under this environment. The patches that Ensign makes and EnMart sells do.
Our blank patches are made with 100% polyester fabric, which is durable, colorfast and can be embroidered, screen printed or sublimated. The merrow thread, used to create the colorful borders for the patches, is manufactured by Hilos Iris, and is colorfast and washfast. The heat seal backing on our patches is industrial strength, so the patches bond with the fabric and stay where they’re put. These patches are meant to last for the long haul, not the short term.
EnMart’s patches are also perfect for whatever user you have for them. The 100% polyester fabric makes them ideal for sublimation. The variety of colors and sizes available makes it easy to coordinate patch and thread colors to create a pleasing embroidery patch. Our blank patche sizes range from a tiny rocker, to a huge back patch, so you’re sure to find a size and shape that fits your needs. Best of all, you’ll get a blank patch with quality construction, one that you can be sure will hold well to whatever is thrown at it.
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First up on the round-up today is a post from Black Duck Inc about custom patches. Erich points out some great uses for these patches. I just wanted to point out the fact that EnMart sells blank patches, so if you’re looking for a medium on which to create a custom embroidered or sublimated patch, you know where to shop.
Second up today, is a product we don’t sell, but which I think is kind of cool. The Stahl’s ID blog has a neat video tutorial on personalizing socks with their Pebble Puff product. I think personalized socks would be kind of fun. At the very least you could put “left” and “right” on them and you’d never get confused.
Third on the list today is Odd Guy Art. It’s no secret I love these people and their shirts. They make great products and they have a great sense of humor. Today I wanted to point out two posts. The first is a post detailing a line up of their products. (I have all three of the historical events shirts). The second is a post that I’m told I inspired. Could I be the Odd Guy Art muse?
The fourth post on the docket today makes it a twofer day for Erich Campbell. He wrote a thought provoking post on his blog for Stitches Magazine. He discusses not only the fact that a lot of us have become enraptured by the status update, but the fact that some of us consume the stream of content that engulfs us, but don’t contribute. There’s a lot to consider in this post, both about where attention is being paid, and how we can put worthwhile content out there for others to view.
Fifth up today is a post by another one of my favorite writers, Robin Wilson from Robin’s Edge. Today she’s asking “why are you in business?” It’s an interesting question and, when I answered it, my answer turned out to be a little surprising. I’ll be interested to see what the rest of you have to say.
Finally, I’ll end this post with a plea for recommendations for the EmbroideryTalk blog roll. I love reading and sharing new blogs, but I’m having a tough time finding blogs about machine embroidery and/or sublimation. If you know of any blogs that are good (and not written by direct competitors of EnMart) please share them with me.
I’m sure anyone who has ever been on an embroidery forum has seen the following question asked at least once. “What machine embroidery thread do you use and why?” is a pretty common question. New embroiderers are often looking for advice on what thread to use. Experienced embroiderers may be dissatisfied with their current thread and looking for an alternative. Everyone likes to hear from those who have actually used a product before they try that product themselves.
One of the reasons that EnMart sells Iris thread, actually one of the reasons that EnMart was formed, is because our parent company uses Iris thread. Our parent company, Ensign Emblem, has tried pretty much every thread manufactured over its 36 year history, and has very exacting standards for the thread the company uses. Iris thread passed all our tests with ease.
Since I’m guessing some of you will have the same sort of tests that we have, I thought it might be useful to go into some of the reasons that we use Iris thread. Hopefully, our experience will help you decide whether Iris thread is right for you.
Reason 1: The color - Both Iris UltraBrite Polyester and Iris Smooth ‘N Silky Rayon are available in 300 vibrant shades. From stormy grays to pure pastels to a black and white that are really black and white, Iris Thread has a complete color palette available. All you have to do is take a look at an Iris thread chart, and you’ll easily see that Iris has a glorious selection of colors.
Reason 2: The durability – Our parent company creates emblems and garments for industrial laundries, in other words, primarily uniforms. The garments and patches are subjected to an industrial wash and dry, which is harsh. The thread has to resist fraying and hold its color. Iris UltraBrite Polyester passes these tests with ease. This thread is tough!
Reason 3: The price – Iris thread isn’t the cheapest thread on the market, but it’s not the most expensive either. The thread is priced reasonably, and with quantity discounts, like EnMart’s Dynamic Dozen program, you can save money on the colors you use most often.
Reason 4: The run test – Thread that breaks, snarls or birdnests is thread that slows down production. Iris thread is designed to run smoothly in all major embroidery machines. It is also designed to avoid breaks and other common thread issues. Provided your settings and tensions are correct for your machine, you shouldn’t have many issues that will cause production stops with this thread.
Reason 5: The customer service – Hilos Iris has always been very responsive to us and we, in turn, have extended that responsiveness to our EnMart customers. Most orders are shipped same day. When you call us, you’ll get a live person, not a recording saying your business is very important to us. We know there are a lot of places where you can buy thread. Our goal is to make sure that no one provides you the products and service you need better than we do.
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Many of you probably already know that EnMart has a Facebook page and a Twitter Feed. Like most companies who use these tools are part of their Marketing program, we’re always eager for more people who like us, really like us. While, I’m, not, and never have been, a participant in the social media popularity contest, I do want to reach as many interested people as possible. Plus, there are some advantages to liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter. Today I thought I’d explain what a few of those advantages are.
Advantage 1: Be the first to know about specials and sales – We do send out e-mails announcing specials and sales, but I like to reward those who follow us by giving them advance notice. Twitter and Facebook are also where I test out ideas for future specials or sales. If you want to influence what sort of specials EnMart offers, follow us on Facebook and Twitter and give me your opinion.
Advantage 2: Be the only one to know about a special or sale – We do occasionally do a Twitter only or Facebook only special. If you’re not following us, you won’t know when one of those specials is occurring and you’ll miss out on the savings.
Advantage 3: Talk to us in real time – If you talk to us on Facebook or Twitter, we talk back. It might not be right away, but we usually respond to most questions of comments within a few hours at the most. We are always interested to hear what our customers, fans and friends have to say, so we encourage all of you to talk to us. We do listen, and the comments you make can have an impact in our policies and product offerings.
Advantage 4: It’s educational – We talk about our products and how to use them. We talk about ways to save money and to expand your business. We point out other sites and businesses that could help you be more successful with your business. One of our goals is to help our customers grow and succeed, so we continually point the way to helpful information.
Advantage 5: We support those who support us – We don’t follow or friend everybody (and someday I’ll have to write a post on my Twitter and/or Facebook philosophy) but those we do follow and friend are also those we support. If you need a RT, someone to help spread the word, or an answer to a query about your business, we’re here to help. Facebook and Twitter are communities, and EnMart is always working to be a good citizen of those communities.
Finally, we have a special bonus advantage:
Advantage 6: You’ll learn more about us as people, and as a company – I’ll admit, sometimes I get a little goofy. Whether I’m talking about dark chocolate M&Ms (my favorite snack) or taking video with my cellphone of the blizzard going on outside our offices, you’ll get to learn more about who the people at EnMart are, and how we work. I think it’s a bit of a comfort to do business with people you know and trust, not a faceless company. I would guess I’m not the only one who thinks that way.
Let’s face it, no one likes converting from one thread brand to another. In fact, I’d guess that wanting to avoid thread conversions is one of the main reasons that people aren’t currently using Iris thread. The thread is, after all, strong, and color fast, offered in a wide variety of beautiful colors, and sold at a very reasonable price per cone. To us, it makes sense that saving money on a high quality thread would be a great motivator, but apparently the dislike of thread conversion is strong in some people. Given that fact, we’ve set out to make the conversion process as easy as we possibly can.
One way we make thread conversion easy is through our online conversion engine. This conversion engine converts several popular brands of polyester thread to Iris UltraBrite Polyester. It also converts several popular brands of Rayon thread to Iris Polyester. Because our Poly thread is so much shinier than standard polyester machine embroidery threads, and because it tends to be more durable than rayon, we created the rayon to poly conversion. If you would prefer a rayon to rayon conversion, we do have a printed rayon to rayon thread chart that we can e-mail or mail to you at your request. We also have printed thread conversion charts for thread brands which may not be listed in our online search engine. If you don’t see your brand, just call us.
Another way we make thread conversion easy is through our Dynamic Dozen program. We know that most embroidery businesses have a core set of colors they use the most. We call those colors the Dynamic Dozen (mostly because I like alliteration) but they could be the Terrific Ten or the Fantastic Five, or whatever number of colors you run through the most. If you have a core set of colors, EnMart can create a conversion chart specifically for those colors and keep it on file for you here in our office. That way, when you place an order, we can quickly tell you what your core colors would be. You can also download EnMart’s Dynamic Dozen thread list, if it is similar to your own.
Thread conversion doesn’t have to be a chore that sucks up hours of time and causes headaches. EnMart, or rather our parent company, has had a lot of experience over the years with converting from one thread brand to another, and we’re old hands at making the process as pain free as possible. We’ll be happy to share our expertise with you.
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