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The Friday Blog Round-Up 1/28/11

28th January 2011

The Friday Blog Round-Up 1/28/11

Wow, you can tell it’s been a busy week when you only have time to write one post and that’s a round up post.  I hope to get back to my more regularly scheduled blogging next week.  In the meantime,  here is some other good stuff to read.

First up today,  a note about a great cause supported by the NNEP.  Every year at the NNEP trade show in Ohio,  they do something called the Do Duds Apparel Drive.    They take donations of clothing, tote bags, blankets etc. which are then given to shelters.   It’s a great cause,  so if you have any inventory you can donate,  please consider it.

Second on the list,  we have a post for all you retailers out there.  Nicole from Retail Minded tells us how to effectively double merchandise products.   If you have some products you think are worth double exposure,  or if you want to try and increase sales of some slower moving products,  check this post out.

Third on deck today is a post from Robin’s Edge that is tailor made for me.  I’m pretty good at social networking online,  but not so great at doing the whole network thing in person.   As I’ve mentioned in other places,  I’m kind of shy about promoting myself.  Luckily,  I have Robin’s tips to help me next time in a networking situation in the real world.

Fourth up is a post from Sewing for Cash about the fact that how you handle your employees can make or break your business.    This post outlines some scenarios that can cause problems when a business goes from one employee, or from the owner staffing everything,  to more employees.  If you own your own business and are thinking of adding additional employees,  check this post out.

Finally,  I wanted to wish the other blog in the EnMart family a happy first birthday.  Sublistuff turned one year old this month.   While there is still a lot that I want to do with that blog and with sublimation in general,  I’m pretty proud of how the first year turned out.

posted in Around the Blogosphere | Comments Off

21st January 2011

Friday Blog Round-Up 1/21/11

First up today,  Black Duck Inc weighs in with “3 2010 Trends We’ll See Again“.  I’ve always been rather fond of the tonal embroidery or tone on tone decoration myself.  I think it looks really cool.   I’d never heard of Laser Etched Polar Fleece,  but that sounds like a cool trend too.   Apparently my word of the day is cool.  Sorry about that.

Second on the docket today, is yet another post from Kathleen Fasanella.    This post is called  “I am stupid and so are you” and it’s about the fact that imprecise or incomplete marketing messages don’t get the job done.  As a marketer myself,  this post really rang true to me.    She makes a good point.

Third on the list is the announcement that NNEP has a venue and a date for Embroidert Mart South.    This show will be on July 29-30, 2011 in Houston.  EnMart exhibited at this show last year and it was great!  I’m looking forward to exhibiting again this year.

Fourth up today,  Marie and Graham are asking “how do you overcome designer’s block“.  Because I’m a writer, I’m also adding writer’s block to the question.  If you do creative work,  how do you keep the ideas flowing and avoid getting blocked.  Please take a moment to stop by Marie and Graham’s blog and share your ideas with them.

Fifth in the batting order , it’s Robin’s Edge, with a post about what she calls “secret squirrel type business profiles”.  I think that may be my new favorite phrase.  Anyway,  the point of her post is that you have to make it easy for your fans/followers/friends to connect with your company.    If they have to wait for you to friend them or allow them entry,  they may move on to someone else.  It’s a good point.

posted in Around the Blogosphere | 1 Comment

19th January 2011

3 Embroidery Myths Busted

I’ve recently become quite obsessed with the show Mythbusters.   I’ve never considered myself much of a science geek,  but I love how the show tests things and finds the truth, and the science,  behind myths we’ve probably all heard a million times.  While I would never consider myself a Mythbuster,  since that seems to come with a desire to blow things up as often as possible,  I figured, in honor of the show,  I could bust a few embroidery myths here on this blog.

Myth #1:  Cheap supplies save you money – I know it can seem counter intuitive,  but buying inexpensive goods is not always the best way to save money.    Cheap thread can have more breaks,  which causes more downtime for your machine and a longer production schedule.  Cheap backing may be lumpy or paper thin, and you need to use more sheets to stabilize your fabric.  If buying less expensive or lesser quality goods causes you to use more,  or slows down your production,  you’re not really saving much at all.

Myth #2:  You should stick with the brand that comes with your machine – We hear this a lot from people who are just starting out.  When you ask them why they use the brands they use,  they say “well, that’s what came with my machine”  and simply take as a given that what came with their machine is the best option out there.   Quality and value may be one reason that samples are included with a new machine,  but it’s not the only one.   Samples may be included because the machine supplier sells that brand.   You might receive samples with a new machine because a supply manufacturer and a machine manufacturer worked out a deal.   The best way to know what works best for you and your machine is to try a lot of different brands.  Manufacturers don’t always know best.

Myth #3:  Rayon thread will always have a better sheen than poly thread – This myth stood the test of time,  until trilobal polyester threads were created.  Trilobal polyester filaments are triangular in shape, and reflect the light differently than regular polyester filaments.   This difference in light reflection creates a polyester machine embroidery thread that has a far brighter shine than ordinary embroidery thread.    If you want a durability of polyester thread,  combined with the shine of rayon thread,   use a trilobal polyester thread, like Iris thread,  for your embroidery.

I’m sure there are a lot of embroidery myths out there,  and I’m thinking this might be a fun series to run every once in a while.  If you have any embroidery myths you’d like us to bust,   or to confirm,   leave them here in the comments on this blog,  or contact us and let us know what myth you think needs testing.

posted in Embroidery Questions | 3 Comments

13th January 2011

4 Reasons to Visit EnMart at ISS Long Beach

Most of you probably already know that EnMart will be exhibiting at ISS Long Beach next week.  We will be in booth 1655 and we’d like to invite everyone to stop by and visit us.  To entice you into stopping by,  I thought I’d list five reasons why taking the time to visit us is a good idea.

Reason 1: Great prices, great service, 4 locations – EnMart works to keep our prices reasonable and affordable.  We have a terrific customer service department,  and offer technical help as well.  We also have four locations across the United States,  so local pick-up is available in some areas,  and Ground or two-day shipping is available for many areas.   EnMart is fast, convenient and knowledgeable.

Reason 2:  EnMart West is now in California – In late 2010,  EnMart West moved from Reno, NV to Paramount, CA.   The new EnMart West location is close to Los Angeles and offers much faster shipping to residents of California, plus convenient pick-up options for those who live near LA.   If you’re looking for fast shipping and a supplier in your neck of the woods,  the new EnMart West should fit the bill.

Reason 3: Iris Thread – EnMart is the exclusive commercial distributor for Iris Thread in the United States.   Iris Thread is colorfast, washfast, durable and offers vibrant color and shine.   We also sell it at a price point that should suit most budgets.   If you’re looking for a thread that runs well and won’t break the bank,  stop by and learn more about Iris Thread.

Reason 4: We offer embroidery and sublimation supplies – More and more companies are expanding from sublimation into embroidery or from embroidery into sublimation in an effort to maximize efficiency and profit.  If you both sublimate and embroider,  EnMart is your one stop shop for all the supplies you need for both decoration disciplines.

If you will be in Long Beach next week,  please do stop by and see us  in booth 1655.   Tom and Wayne will be manning the booth and I know they are looking forward to seeing everyone at the show.

posted in About EnMart, Trade Shows | Comments Off

10th January 2011

Valentine’s Day Values

If you work in the garment decoration or promotional products industry I know it seems like one holiday is barely over before you’re thinking about the next.   We just finished with the Santas and presents and fir trees of Christmas and now we’re already on to cupids and cherubs and hearts for Valentine’s Day and shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day.    If you’re readying your inventory for the next big holiday,  EnMart has some items that can help you stock your shop with hearts and shamrocks without breaking your budget.

First, of course,  are EnMart’s thread palettes.  Our Valentine’s Day palette offers all the pink and red your hearts could desire.   We also have a palette stuffed with green for St. Patrick’s Day and a pretty pastel palette for Easter.   Each thread palette contains 5500 yard cones of Iris polyester thread in some of our most popular colors.

Second on the list we have our heart shaped sublimation blanks.   We have a heart shaped sandstone coaster, a heart shaped ceramic ornament, and even a heart shaped metal pet tag.   If you’re also in need of ink with which to print your blanks,   EnMart is currently offering free ground shipping on all sublimation ink.

Third, we can’t forget our blank patches.   While it is a special order item,   we do have a heart shaped blank patch.   Order these in pink and red and turn anything into a Valentine’s Day gift.

Finally,  don’t forget Ntrans Screenprint transfers.   Durable, colorful and easy to apply, these transfers are perfect for adding a little bit of screenprinted love to a variety of items.   Whether it’s heart and flowers or the wearin’ o’ the green,  these transfers will stand up to washing and drying while retaining their color and smooth hand.

posted in Sublimation, Thread | 1 Comment

7th January 2011

The Friday Blog Round-Up 1/7/11

First up today,  Angie from AKDesigns has a embroidery software comparison up on her blog.   If you’re thinking about buying an embroidery software package,  you may want to check out her comparison first.  It could save you some time and money.

Second on the list today, is Kathleen Fasanella, who answers the question “Should You Start a Clothing Line?”  I tend to like Kathleen’s work because she lays it on the line and tells the truth about what it takes to start a line and what the risks are when you do start one.  It’s good advice.

Third up, we have a post that features one of my favorite pet peeves, bad customer service.  This post comes from Michelle Bell of ASI.   Her story about the bank is particularly amusing in a shake your head sort of way.   It’s really sad when a company can’t take the time to serve the people who keep them in business well.

Fourth on deck is a piece on textile price increases from the NNEP blog.   We all know that textile prices have been a bit volatile lately.  Jennifer Cox from the NNEP has included some tips on dealing with the ups and downs of textile prices in this piece.   If you sell decorated garments,  take a minute to see what she has to say.

Finally,  a big woo hoo to Odd Guy Art!  The company is now placing their shirts in retail shops.     They are also looking for more retail venues,  so if you’d like to see Odd Guy Art in your town,  let them know which stores they should approach.

posted in Around the Blogosphere | Comments Off

5th January 2011

Why Do You Use The Supplies You Use?

One of the biggest obstacles for any company is getting customers to try their product.  This is especially true if the product is something that is new to the marketplace.   People tend to get settled into routines or comfort zones.  What they use works,  and they know its quirks and they’re confident of the outcome they’ll get if they use a particular backing or thread or bobbin.  Trying something new ups the risk factor a little,  and risk isn’t always a good thing, particularly when you’re in business.  It’s better to say with the tried and true.  Except, of course,  when it isn’t.

When we ask people who aren’t currently EnMart customers why they use the product they use,  the answers generally fall into one of three categories:

  1. It’s what came with my machine and I figured the manufacturer knew best
  2. I’ve always used this thread/size of backing/type of bobbin and I know it works
  3. I’ve got my machines and color charts set for these particular items and changing would be too difficult

All of these answers are valid,  but none of them are really a barrier to trying something new.

Answer #1 is based on a sort of faulty assumption.  Companies form strategic partnerships for a lot of reasons.  One of those reasons may be that the manufacturing company does really feel that the products made by the other company in the alliance are really the best.   Sometimes the supplies come with the machine because of a cross promotional deal or because they supplying company pays to have the manufacturer include the supplies with the machine.   There may be many different reasons why certain supplies arrive with a particular machine,  so don’t assume that, just because one thing arrives paired with the other,  you can never use anything else if you want optimum performance from your machine.

Answer #2 is a very common answer, and I understand why it’s one we hear from a lot of embroidery business owners.  Business is about balancing risk.   If you know that something works well,  why change a winning formula?  One the surface it seems very logical,  but when you look deeper, you can see there are lots of reasons to change a winning formula.  Maybe something new will be more economical.  Maybe it will perform better than what is currently being used.  Maybe the new product will have a wider selection or better durability or other features that your customers will like.  Sticking with the tried and true is safe and easy,  but safe and easy isn’t always the way to grow your business.  Sometimes you have to try something new.

Answer #3 probably reflects the attitude of anyone who has gone through color matching.  It isn’t easy and it isn’t fun.   Our goal at EnMart is to make the process as painless as possible.   We have our online conversion engine to help you convert the colors you usually use to Iris thread colors.   Our customer service staff and account executives will help with color matching as well.    Changing from one type of thread or backing or bobbins doesn’t have to be difficult.  Just let us know what you currently use, and we’ll create a list for you with all the EnMart equivalents.

Changing suppliers doesn’t have to be hard or stressful,  and it can have a lot of advantages.  If you would like to know how EnMart can help make changing suppliers easy,  give us a call, and we’ll explain.

posted in Embroidery Questions | Comments Off

3rd January 2011

Word on the Street

I wanted to start off the new year by putting to rest a rumor that my sales force is telling me has been making the rounds among our customers and potential customers.   It has to do with where our parent company, Ensign Emblem, does business and with whom.    Since I like to start the New Year off with a clean slate,  today seemed a good day to put that rumor to rest.

For those who may not know,  EnMart is part of the Ensign Group,  which is spearheaded by Ensign Emblem.   The Ensign Group was formed to allow Ensign Emblem to create subsidiary companies to further develop products and services that Ensign thought could be useful or profitable, or hopefully both.   EnMart is the first company in the Ensign Group, and was created to sell Iris thread, bobbins, backing and other machine embroidery and sublimation supplies.

EnMart was, in part anyway,  created because Ensign Emblem knows embroidery.  Embroidery has, after all, been a primary business of the company since Ensign Emblem was founded in 1974.   Because EnMart’s parent company offers embroidery services,   however, some people are saying that means EnMart, or at least the company that owns EnMart, is in competition with EnMart customers.   In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

Ensign Emblem sells very specific products to industrial laundries,  the people who rent or sell uniforms to large companies.  We’re talking millions of embroidered garments and emblems a year, it’s true,  but only for industrial laundries.  Ensign does not provide embroidery services for schools or churches or government offices or restaurants or any of the other companies or entities with which our customers would work.   We deal only with industrial laundries and only in a very specific marketplace.

The thing about rumors is that they’re essentially smoke and mirrors, there only needs to be a grain of truth to make them seem plausible.  In this case,  the grain of truth is the fact that Ensign Emblem does embroider.    Where things go off the rails and the truth becomes rumor is when the fact that Ensign embroiders becomes the “fact” the Ensign Emblem is in competition with the customers that buy from EnMart.    One thing does not necessarily equal the other.

And that, my friends, is no rumor.

posted in About EnMart | Comments Off

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