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Merry Christmas and Holiday Hours

20th December 2012

Merry Christmas and Holiday Hours

merry christmas 3We wish you all a happy and safe Christmas.

EnMart will be closed on Monday, December 24 and Tuesday, December 25, 2012 for the Christmas holiday.   We will reopen on Wednesday, December 26, 2012.

All orders placed on 12/22 – 12/25 will ship on Wednesday, 12/26 when we resume normal operations.

We will also be closed on Monday, December 31 and Tuesday, January 1, 2013.  

                                                                                        Happy Holidays!

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26th November 2012

Embroidery Machine Maintenance

It’s the holiday season and many businesses have embroidery machines that are stitching away at a fierce pace.   I’ve also heard of several businesses that have a backlog of orders and need their machines to keep running at top speed until the holiday rush is over.   In all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season it’s easy to forget that your machines need to be maintained,  but you shouldn’t neglect this important task.   A well maintained machine is one that keeps running and a machine that’s running is one that’s earning money for your business.   Of course,  any complicated maintenance or repairs might best be left to a professional,  but here are some small things you can do to keep your machine performing at its peak this holiday season.

Small thing #1Keep your machine lint and dust free – Dust and lint can cause problems with your power supply and with how the machine runs.  Make sure you keep a can of Clean Jet near your machine.   Lint brushes are also handy to have and useful for cleaning out the small crevices.

Small thing #2 – Keep your machine oiled – Proper lubrication will help ensure your machine runs smoothly.    White sewing machine oil can be used for lubricating large moving parts.   A zoom spout oiler, which also contains white sewing machine oil,  is useful for smaller or hard to reach areas.

Small thing #3 – The H Test – The H test will help ensure that your tensions are set correctly.   To perform this test,  set your machine to sew out the letter H.  When you look at the back of your sew out,  you should see 2/3 embroidery thread and 1/3 bobbin thread.  If you see a different ratio,  then your tensions are most likely off.

Small thing #4 – Clean your bobbin case –  This step is a simple thing but can make a big difference in how well your machine holds tensions.   Lint and dust can accumulate under the tension spring and should be removed.  Used the edge of playing card or a business card to clean away the debris.   Do not use anything metal as that could cause damage to the bobbin case.

 

 

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21st November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

EnMart wishes all our customers, fans, and friends a happy Thanksgiving.

On the list of things for which we are thankful,  you all rank at the top!

We will be closed on Thursday, November 22 and Friday, November 23 in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Normal business operations will resume Monday, November 26.

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16th November 2012

The Friday Blog Round – Up 11/16/12

First up today we have a post from All Things Embroidery about copyrights, and how to handle them.  The rule of thumb is usually this,  if you didn’t create a design,  and you don’t have the rights to use it if someone else created it,  than don’t use it.    A lot of us who write about this industry have covered this subject at one time or another,  but a reminder never hurts.  Copyright is a big issue both for anyone who creates,  whether they’re the original creator,  or the person using the design or post or whatever to create something else.

Second on the list is a post from Erich Campbell advising all of us creative people to cut ourselves some slack!   His recommends that all of us who do creative work remember not to be so hard on ourselves and not to expect perfection right out of the gate.    It is,  he says,  about giving ourselves the space to follow blind alleys and attempt things that don’t work,  trusting that we’ll finally find the right path.  It’s a good reminder for all of us,  certainly for me.   Being creative is tough enough without adding the burden of our own expectations to the mix.

Third at bat is a contest from Urban Threads.    This contest only goes until lunchtime on Monday so you’d better enter fast.   It’s pretty simple,  just select the Urban Threads design pack you’d like to win and pin it to your Pinterest account.  Make sure you use the required hashtag and that you only pin one pack.  Multiple entries with the hashtag will not be counted.  Contest ends at noon central time on Monday.   If you’ve been waiting to buy a specific Urban Threads design pack,  this contest is a great chance to get that pack for free!

Fourth on the docket is the news that Pinterest has created business pages.  I love this and have already converted the EnMart account over to a business page,  but thought some of the rest of you may need instructions to do the same.  Luckily, Hubspot has provided a tutorial on converting your current profile into a business account as well as some information on how to promote your account once you’ve created it.  Pinterest can be a great marketing tool for decoration companies,  so be sure to check this out.

Fifth in the round-up is a post from Chris Reimer from Rizzo Tees.   He has a great sense of humor and I love what he does with the fact that some people will take any current event or common experience and build a blog post around it.  His post, distinctly tongue in cheek,  tells us what proctology exams can teach us about social media and it’s both funny and insightful.  If nothing else,  it spotlights the absurdity pegging a post on the last big thing that happened rather than creating original, thoughtful content.

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9th November 2012

The Friday Blog Round-Up 11/9/12

Wow,  I’ve been kind of a slow blog updater lately, haven’t I?  Sorry about that.  I am going to try and get my posting schedule back in gear.  First, however,  we’ll have a post where I mostly link to what other people have written.  Hey,  this is good content I’m spotlighting, and you’ve got to start somewhere, right?

First on the list today we have a post from Joyce Jagger.  Marketing can be tough for any small business owner,  so Joyce helps out with some tips on creating a basic marketing piece.    I especially like her advice about creating a solid description of who you are and what you do and making that the core of all the marketing you do.   Sending out the same message time after time helps that message stick with those who hear it.   There’s a lot of good advice in this post,  so I hope those who have marketing questions will take some time to read it.

Second at bat is a post from Stahl’s about the history of campaign t-shirts.    The t-shirt for Nixon would definitely get you noticed!  I think it’s interesting that campaign t-shirts have been around for longer than people might think.    It’s crazy to think of all the bumper stickers, campaign buttons and t-shirts that were made for political races in years past.    It’s also crazy to think how much some of those shirts would be worth now.  In any case,  this post is a fun little trip into a bit of political campaign history.

Third on the docket we have a great post from Retail Minded about setting your business’ holiday return policy.   Hopefully holiday sales will be big for everyone,  but with larger sales figures you also have a greater chance of having things returned.   This post gives a very comprehensive outline of things you should consider when formulating your return policy,  and also when you’re enforcing it and communicating it to your customers.   Reading this post could save you a lot of holiday return grief this year.

Fourth in the line up today is some amazing work by an artist named Cayce Zavaglia.  I first saw her work courtesy of a post on the Urban Threads blog,  and her stuff is stunning.  She does hand embroidered portraits which are amazingly realistic.   There is also a video about the artist and her process, which is quite fascinating,  included in the post.  I can’t imagine the time and painstaking work it must take to create something like this.   I am constantly amazed by what people can do with thread and needles.

The fifth post today is from John Morgan.   This post deals with 12 reasons why entrepreneurs fail.   Now, no one likes to think about failure,  and certainly no one wants to think their business will fail,   but we all know that the reality is that businesses do fail.   John’s post outlines some of the reasons that a business could fail and gives you some tips on how to avoid those traps with your business.

Finally, to wrap up today’s post,  we have a post from Redhead Writing  about how your brand should reflect your personality.  Too often people try to fit themselves into molds because they think that’s how business “should” be,  or how a business owner “should” act.   The reality is that the most successful businesses tend to take on the personalities of their owners and that’s not a bad thing.  Being true to yourself and making your business a reflection of that will be more comfortable for you and for your customers as well.   It’s an interesting message.

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26th October 2012

The Friday Blog Round-Up 10/26/12

First on the list is a blog post about the importance of pathing.  I have to admit that I know next to nothing about digitizing,  but this post made a lot of sense to me.   A poorly digitized design is going to cost you time and ultimately money,  and it makes sense to understand why.  This post will help you do that.

Second at bat is a post from Joyce Jagger about hosting a customer appreciation night.  This is a great idea, especially around the holidays.   A customer appreciation night is a great time to suggest gifts,  showcase new decorating techniques and a perfect way to thank you customers for supporting you,  while also encouraging them to spread the word about the work you do.    As Joyce also points out,  you don’t have to have a brick and mortar storefront to host a customer appreciation night,  a conference room in a local hotel or motel can work just as well.

Third on the docket is a post by Bonnie Landsberger at My Two Stitches.   As with all of Bonnie’s posts,  this one combines nature, embroidery and makes you stop and think.   I love Bonnie’s description of getting mad at the Girl Scouts,  sending an angry e-mail and then realizing that maybe she’d misunderstood.   Those sorts of things happen to us all,  but Bonnie uses this incident to remind us all that choosing our words carefully is a good thing,  and that knowing all the facts before getting angry is usually best.  It’s a fun read.

Fourth in line is a post from Erich Campbell on digitizing for non-digitizers.  It stands to reason that not all those who run an embroidery machine will have the ability to digitize designs as well,  but Erich provides a few helpful tips the even non digitizers can use and follow.   Sometimes just knowing how to do a few simple things can save you a great deal of time and money.   Erich’s post will provide you with the ability to understand and perhaps perform some easy digitizing tasks.

Fifth up is a post from Six Pixels of Separation which is nominally about the Lance Armstrong scandal,  but which is really about how we handle social media these days.    Lance Armstrong had previously used social media quite regularly to talk to his fans and followers,  even doing things like inviting anyone around to join him on a run.   Now,  since he has become embroiled in scandal,  he has stopped talking,  possibly for legal reasons, and the silence is deafening.   Social media is a double edged sword, and you can’t just be open and friendly when things are good.   Your brand is still out there and still needs defending even when things aren’t going well.   The message here is that you have to keep talking,  even if the subject matter isn’t to your liking.

Finally,  just because I like this post and what it says so much,  we have a post from Erika Napoletano about the difference between polite and respectful.     Leaving the actual event discussed in the post aside,  I think what resonates with me when I read this post is the idea that you can disagree and still be respectful of the other party in the disagreement.  Nowdays,  particularly in an election year,  there is so much name calling and mud slinging and division,  that it’s refreshing to think that people could disagree on who to elect yet be respectful about that disagreement.   I’m all for more respect and less polite.  How about you?

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16th October 2012

When Bad Customer Service Goes Worse

Because part of my responsibility here at EnMart is overseeing customer service,  I know how hard providing good service to corporate customers can be.  A lot of customer service reps are hampered by rigid rules,  the inability to make decisions and a chain of command that often doesn’t want to handle problems.  It’s also tough to provide top notch customer service when you’re handling a large number of customers.   After a while,  if you have a large volume of calls,  the customers start to feel like numbers,  not people with problems, and it seems easier to shunt them along the line than to try and handle their issues.   Despite understanding all of that,  there are still times when I am dumbfounded and frustrated by just how bad some companies can be when it comes to customer service.

As some of you may already know,  EnMart has four locations across the United States.  One of those locations is in Lawrenceville, GA.   Our Georgia plant, and all the other EnMart and Ensign Emblem plants,  currently have phone and internet service through AT&T.   Recently the bill for our Georgia plant jumped,  mid contract,  by over $150 a month when no new services had been ordered.  Naturally we called to see what had happened,  and discovered that we were being charged for an unordered and unnecessary DSL line.   Being frugal people,  we asked them to cancel the line we didn’t need and hadn’t ordered,  and were assured this would be done and our current service would not be impacted.   Then,  you guessed it,  they canceled the line we actually use,  and left our facility in Georgia without internet access for a day and a half.

When we discovered that they had turned off the wrong line,  we of course called to request that mistake be rectified,  which seemed, even if AT&T isn’t exactly known for great customer service,  pretty simple.  Just turn the right line back on again.  Unfortunately,  simple was the last word I’d use to describe the process of getting our internet restored.   There were phone calls.  There was a posting on Facebook.   There were “escalations”  which  got us to the “Office of the President” and the “Executive Level” but didn’t get us our internet access.   It was a frustrating mess from start to finish and though some people did seem to want to help,  no one seemed to be able to do much that was actual help.

I guess, in the end,  good comes out of any experience from which you learn something.  In this case,  I learned,  just from listening to those directly involved,  how frustrating it can be when you have a problem and can’t get any help.   I also had a new appreciation for how annoying it can be when you are shunted ever higher up the corporate ladder but your problem still doesn’t get solved.   In the end we got our internet service back and our facility in Georgia is now humming along as usual,  but our relationship with AT&T may never be the same.

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12th October 2012

The Friday Blog Round – Up 10/12/12

First up from Designs in Machine Embroidery is a tutorial on embroidering ribbed knits.  I love tutorials that are easy to follow and which allow you to expand your product offerings and this one does both.  Plus,  the designs being stitched are from Urban Threads,  a company which I think does amazing designs, so that’s an added bonus.

Second on the list we have a post from Joyce Jagger about the value of gift giving for your business.  Many businesses add a small freebie or additional gift with their orders,  but Joyce’s post shows you how to use gift giving most effectively.   She makes a great case for the idea that a gift will have a small cost for you but a great value to the recipient.

Third on the docket is a terrific post from Erich Campbell about avoiding cupping or substrate distortion.  I always enjoy Erich’s posts because they teach me something new and help explain the craft of machine embroidery to me in a way that is easy to understand.   The behind the scenes look at how machine embroidery works that he gives us is unique and a huge benefit.

Fourth at bat is a new collection from Urban Threads Evenfall Lace.  If I do ever decide to take up machine embroidery myself  I’ll probably go broke buying all of Urban Threads designs and this new collection is no exception.  It’s pretty and delicate and mysterious all at once.   As I said on the EnMart Facebook page the other day,  if it were me,  I’d buy some Badgemaster and some of EnMart’s cool access threads and start stitching.

Fifth on the list is a post about the power of saying “we screwed up and we’re sorry”.  In this case,  the admission comes from Apple, and the product is their Apple Maps product.   Sometimes the best thing you can do is admit your mistakes or errors and apologize and try to help your customers get the experience they need and want whether it’s from you or someone else.   It’s likely this approach will help you keep customers,  as all anyone customer really wants is an acknowledgement that there is a problem and reassurance that steps are being taken to solve it.   Apple did a masterful job of doing just that  and I applaud them for it.

 

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28th September 2012

The Friday Blog Round-Up 9/28/12

First on the list today is the advanced embroiderers bucket list from Designs in Machine Embroidery Magazine.  I have to say, some of these suggestions look like they’d be tricky.    I would think that embroidering on a sheer ribbon and putting in a zipper with an embroidery machine would be especially tricky.   Why don’t those of you who are advanced embroiderers give these ideas a try and then let me know the level of difficulty involved.   Since I’m not even up to the rank of novice embroiderer at this point,  I doubt I’ll be trying any of these myself any time soon.

Second on the docket is a post from Fashion Incubator about the three rules of tradeshows.   Although the post is talking more about shows for designers who want to exhibit their apparel,  the advice and the rules also apply to embroiderers and suppliers who are purchasing space at shows like ISS or DAX or the NNEP shows.    I think the best advice is rule 1, know the show before you exhibit.   Walking a show and seeing what it’s like and who goes to it will save you a lot of wasted money and time.

Third at bat is a post from My Two Stitches.  It’s nominally about a walk in the woods,  but what I really think it’s about is the artistic eye.   I know a lot of artists and have several in my family,  and my experience has been that they tend to see patterns where others don’t.    I love Bonnie’s description of the weathered trees and the dead wood and the patterns and shapes she sees there.   The best thing about Bonnie’s posts, in my opinion,  is that they make you feel like you’re with her walking through the woods, and that she’s just leaning over to point out what she sees.    Since I don’t have the artistic eye myself,  I love it when others share their vision.

Fourth in line is the post that Erich Campbell wrote about his Trendsetter Award.    Those of you familiar with Erich know that he’s an incredibly talented guy who is always trying to push the boundaries of machine embroidery,  and that he’s also always willing to lend a hand or some advice to those who need it.   Being named as a Trendsetter couldn’t have happened to a nicer or more humble guy,  and this post is proof of that.

Fifth up is a post from Urban Threads featuring an awesome embroidered jacket that a customer made.  If you’ve read this blog or the EnMart Facebook page for any length of time,  you know I’m a big fan of Urban Threads and their designs.  This jacket is awesome and just goes to show what can be created if someone is willing to put in some time and effort.

Finally,  I wanted to mention a post from Peter Shankman about saying yes vs. saying no.   He makes the point in his post that it’s easier to say no and that saying no often seems safer,  but that saying yes is what can bring new and wonderful things into your life.   Posts like these always make me think, so I thought I’d share this one with you.

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26th September 2012

New Specialty Threads From EnMart

EnMart is proud to announce that we have added two new specialty threads to our website.   One of these is a thread that many customers have asked for over the last few years.   The other is a thread that we thought was fun and unique.

The first new thread is EnMart’s UltraGlow Glow in the Dark Thread.    This thread is 100% polyester and,  as the name implies,  glows in the dark.    It is available in six colors,  and does not,  as some threads do,  glow with the radioactive green glow that you often see in pictures of glow in the dark thread.  The glow of these threads echoes the color of the threads in their non glowing state.    To make the threads glow,  they must be exposed to sunlight or house light.   The glow can last for hours if the thread is put into complete darkness.    This is a fun thread for kids clothes, and certainly for Halloween decorations or costumes.    We know that a lot of people have been wanting us to add this thread to our product line,  so I’m happy to announce it is now available.

The second new thread is EnMart’s Sunsational  Solar Active Thread.  This thread is designed to change color when exposed to sunlight.   In the absence of sun,  the thread appears white or a relatively light color.   When exposed to sunlight,  the thread changes to a more vivid color.    The color change will last up to 6,000 times,  which is most likely the life of the garment.  Sunsational thread is available in 5 colors.

EnMart does add new products on a fairly frequent basis.  If you want to keep updated about what’s being added or what’s on the drawing board,  you can subscribe to this blog, like our page on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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