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The Friday Blog Round-Up 5/25/12

25th May 2012

The Friday Blog Round-Up 5/25/12

First up in the “this is cool” category,  we have the burgeoning tradition of sports uniforms that honor the military.   As I’m not really a sports fan,  I didn’t know that teams even did this,  but I think it’s awesome.   It’s also awesome that Stahl’s gives decorators the ability to duplicate the professional team uniforms for local teams.   The camo look is a great addition to your decorating arsenal.

Second on the docket is a post from the Retail Minded Blog containing tips for early-stage entrepreneurs.  This tips I like best are don’t pay attention to people who don’t understand what you’re trying to do and don’t feel all is lost if your business doesn’t take off as every event is a learning experience.   This post contains some common sense advice and is a good read for those who are just starting to build their businesses.

Third on the list is Urban Threads, which is celebrating its fourth birthday by giving away presents.   Starting May 28 and continuing through the end of the week,  they will be giving away a different item to four lucky winners each day.    The giveaways look pretty awesome to me,  and it’s definitely worth dropping your name in the hat if you like products from Urban Threads.

Fourth on the list are two posts from the Designs in Machine Embroidery blog.   First we have 12 Household Tools for Machine Embroidery and then we have its sequel, 10 Household Tools for Machine Embroidery.  What’s nice about these posts is that they take simple things you may already have lying around your house and show how they can be used for embroidery.

Fifth on the list is a blog that will probably only appeal to the history wonks like me,  and a writer who does what she can to make history come alive.  The blog is Wonders & Marvels, and the writer is Beth Dunn.  I greatly enjoy her posts, particularly her post about Eleanor of Aquitaine and her post about the possible reason for the founding of the British Museum.  If you enjoy reading about the quirky and funny bits of history we don’t always get to hear,  you should definitely check this blog out.

Finally,  I just wanted to wish everyone a great weekend and to send thanks from everyone at EnMart to all those who have served and do serve this country in the military.   We appreciate your service and your sacrifice.

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22nd May 2012

Growing EnMart

One of the challenges of growing a business is figuring out how to grow it in the right way.    We all know about companies that have expanded beyond their core competencies or products and paid the price for it.    There are also, however, companies that sell a wide variety of products and have done very well.   It’s all in how you go about it,  and about whether or not the choices made are handled properly and make sense for both the company and its customers.

At EnMart,  one of the things we’ve always been firm about is the fact that we don’t want to be the company that sells everything and knows nothing about what we sell.   Our current product offerings are items that we use every day and understand.   We know how much of a problem inferior thread can be,  or how much difference the right weight and type of backing can make to a stitch out  because we’ve embroidered countless items over the years.   We understand the frustration of an image that gets blown out or the problems inferior sublimation paper can cause because we’ve dealt with those issues ourselves.   We’ve been where you are,  and we understand the joys and frustrations that come with running an embroidery or sublimation business.

That said,  we also know that expanding into new markets is one way to keep EnMart growing.    We’ve considered carrying rhinestones and supplies for rhinestoning.   We briefly looking into carrying direct to garment printers.   There has been talk of vinyl and associated products as well.  If we do expand into something with which we are not personally familiar,  my guess is that we’ll do it by forming alliances with companies that are familiar with the products and do handle and use them daily.   While we want to expand into new markets,  we also want to preserve the commitment to education and experience that has always been a hallmark of EnMart.   One way to continue to maintain our level of hands on expertise is to find allies or partners who can fill in the gaps in our knowledge.

In the end,  our main commitment is to you, our customers, and serving you in the best way we can.   Part of the reason that I wrote this post was to ask what you think about us expanding into new markets, and how you would like to see us do that.   If you have any thoughts on this subject, please share them in the comments.   We would love to know what you think.

posted in About EnMart | 2 Comments

18th May 2012

The Friday Blog Round-Up 5/18/11

First up we have a post from Erich Campbell about how to avoid letting a need for perfection get in the way of shipping product.   We all understand the need to put out our best work,  but if you’re dithering over every little detail you won’t be putting out any work at all, which certainly won’t be good for business.  Erich outlines some tips for avoiding this problem in his post.

Next on the list is a post by Seth Godin giving advice on how to make money online.   I love a lot of things about this post, but I think the best thing is that the first piece of advice is “stop Googling things like, “how to make money online.” “   Making money anywhere,  online or offline, takes a lot of hard work and thought and effort and guts.    It also takes community and support, which ties in nicely with his last point.   I highly recommend this post to anyone who wants to build a business on the Internet.

Third at bat is a post from Brass Tack Thinking about how to be an expert without being an ass.    I’m a huge fan of people who are knowledgeable and willing to share what they know,  but they’re not cocky or arrogant about it.    Everyone deserves respect and admiration for the work they’ve done and the skills they’ve learned,  but there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about publicizing what you know.   This post details the right way.

Fourth on the docket is a post from Jay Fleet about how to plan presentations.   Now anyone who has given a talk to a professional audience knows it’s a long way from the index cards and transparencies that were used in high school (o.k., when I was in high school, now they probably use laptops and PowerPoint).   Jay suggests a new way to structure your presentation, and gives you a step by step guide to creating that structure.  I’m definitely bookmarking this post and referring to it the next time I have to build a presentation.

Finally, we have a post from Erika Napoletano, aka Redhead Writing.  I love her posts because there’s a lot of common sense in them, and also some salty language (so be warned).   This particular post is about the fact that not everyone will like what you do,  and if you’re going to succeed in business you’re going to need to be o.k. with that fact.    Sometimes you might even (gasp!) listen to those who don’t agree with you or don’t like what you’re doing and see what you can learn.    This post is a good reminder that we can’t please everyone and trying to do so will only make us nuts and probably lead to less than our best work.

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17th May 2012

Enter This Contest!

For the last week or so,  I’ve been talking about the Stitches Golden Needle Awards.    I wrote a blog post about it for the DecQuorum blog.   I mentioned the contest on the EnMart Twitter Feed and referenced links to the contest information on the EnMart Facebook page.  You might be wondering why I’m doing everything I can to spread the word about this contest when EnMart has no stake in the outcome.  We won’t be awarding prizes.  No one from our organization will be entering work.   So why am I pushing the contest so often?   Well, there are a couple reasons.

The first is that I think the Golden Needle Awards are a good thing for the machine embroidery community.  Any event that spotlights outstanding work,  points out innovations and rewards those who put a lot of time and effort into being the best at what they do is something worth promoting.   Machine embroidery can be,  I think, something that people take for granted, or something that gets reduced to a left chest logo when people think about it at all.  Contests like the Golden Needle Awards showcase the best of what’s being done and allow people to see that machine embroidery goes far beyond a left chest logo,  while also helping them understand that a left chest logo can be a work of art all on its own.

Second,  I know some of the people who have judged the awards in past years,  and I know how much time and effort they put into making their decisions.   If you’re looking for a critique of your work that is both fair and exacting,  you can’t go wrong if you enter this contest.  It’s not a popularity contest, it’s about finding the people who are doing great work and spotlighting that work,  while also explaining what makes it great.   The people who judge this contest don’t take the responsibilities of judging lightly.   They want to find and reward the best,  while also helping those who may still have a way to go get a little further in their individual journeys understand what they need to do to take things to the next level.   Not to be cliche,  but they care  about the craft of embroidery and about the embroiderers who enter the contest.

Finally,  everyone can benefit from entering this contest,  whether you win your category or not.  If you win,  it’s certainly a line item on your list of reasons why people should hire you.   You also get spotlighted in Stitches Magazine, which is great publicity.   If your design doesn’t place,  you still get valuable feedback which will help improve your skills,  which is no small thing.   Entering the contest is definitely a good idea,  and there’s still time.  The deadline for entries is May 21, 2012.

posted in Machine Embroidery News | Comments Off

11th May 2012

The Friday Blog Round – Up 5/11/12

First up today we have a post from Stahl’s about their CutUps – clip art that you can buy for your vinyl cutter.   Some of us aren’t great at creating our own art (raises my hand) or sometimes can’t think of what to create.   This collection offers over 1200 designs suitable for heat applied graphics, so you’ll always have art available and ready for use.

Second at bat we have a post from Bonnie Landsberger,  which celebrates the 25 anniversary of Stitches Magazine by telling a bit of Bonnie’s history.   I find stories about how people started out to be fascinating and this one is a good one.   Plus, this post highlights how much help and advice Stitches Magazine imparts to the embroidery community.   Lovely read, as usual.

Third,  those of us who are affiliated with Stitches in some way have been talking a lot about the Stitches Golden Needle Awards recently.   We definitely want to encourage everyone to enter their work.    If you’re wondering how the Awards are judged,  Erich Campbell, who has been a judge for the competition,  provides some insight into the process in his latest blog post.   It’s definitely worth a read if you are considering entering.

Fourth on the docket we have a post from Nimah at Urban Threads,  writing on the Designs in Machine Embroidery blog.  Her subject is embroidering clothes for men that don’t feature fish, deer or golf balls.   Now,  let me be clear, there’s nothing wrong with fish, deer or golf balls,  but there are also a lot of other options for embroidering men’s clothing  and some of them are very cool.   If you do,  or would like to do,  a lot of embroidering clothing for men,  this post is a must read.

Fifth on the list is a post from Brass Tack Thinking that deals with the subject of when you should offer your expertise and knowledge for free.   I’m sure this is a question that most of us have encountered at one time or another,  whether it’s an expert embroiderer helping a novice embroiderer figure out a problem,  or a marketer giving someone advice on pumping up their Facebook page.    The answer, at least in this post,  is that working for free has to be strategic, and you have to consider what benefits will accrue before you make the decision about whether or not to let someone pick your brain.

Finally,  we have a post from Six Pixels of Separation which discusses the reasons you should and shouldn’t blog.   I love this post,  mostly because of what it says about why you should blog (really) and for what it says about the dirty truth of blogging, which is that it’s not easy and that building a compelling voice and an audience takes a lot of work and dedication.   A blog can be a great communication tool for any business,  but it’s also work.   If you’re thinking of starting a blog,  read this post, and then give it some more thought.

And, as a P.S. today,  I have a book recommendation for you.   Occasionally, in the Round-Up,  I’ve linked to posts from a blog called The Bloggess.   The author of that blog,  Jenny Lawson,  now has a book out.   I bought the book last week and I can tell you it’s hilarious.  If you like the blog,  you’ll love this book.  There were places in the book that made me laugh so hard I cried.  It’s the perfect summer read, and I highly recommend it.

posted in Around the Blogosphere | Comments Off

7th May 2012

Introducing EconoTear

We at EnMart always try to do two things when we select a new product.  The first is to make sure it will be useful to our customers.   The second is to determine if we can sell the product at a price point that is reasonable for those that purchase while still generating revenue for EnMart.    When we find a product that meets all the criteria,   we’re always happy and excited about introducing that product to you.

Today I want to introduce the latest stabilizer product we’ve added to our inventory,  a backing we call EconoTear.  It is a 1.7 oz. backing,  and is a moderate quality tearaway.  Like all EnMart tearaway backings,  EconoTear is designed to tear away from your embroidery once you have completed your stitch out.   It tears cleanly,  and holds stitches well.    EconoTear is a non woven backing designed for general use,  and is recommended for sturdier fabrics.

Because EconoTear is a moderate quality tearaway,  it has a lower price point than some of the other EnMart tearaway products.   Currently,  EconoTear is available in white and packaged in 500 piece packs in the following sizes:

As this is a new product,  all three sizes are currently only stocked in full in the Traverse City location.   Our New Jersey,  Georgia and California locations currently may have a limited stock of the product, but will be stocked in full with EconoTear as sales increase.   If you have any questions about this product, or if you would like to request a sample,  please contact us for further information.


posted in Backing/Stabilizers | 2 Comments

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