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Introducing Q-104 Water Soluble Topping

18th September 2012

Introducing Q-104 Water Soluble Topping

Those who follow EnMart on Facebook or who attended the NNEP Embroidery Mart in Nashville may already know about Q-104.  For those of you who don’t,  I thought it was time to do a blog post and let you all know about this revolutionary new topping and the great effects it can help you create.

First, let’s start with what Q-104 is and what it does.  Q-104 is a water-soluble felt topping for machine embroidery, perfect for creating vintage-styled, loose three-dimensional designs. Using Q-104 is simple, with most designs that feature fairly wide satin-stitch elements requiring very little alteration to achieve a three-dimensional effect.  Your imagination is the limit as to the textures you can create.  This topping dissolves easily in water leaving behind only the embroidery.

If you’re familiar with puffy foam,  Q-104 can help create a 3-d effect,  but is not exactly  the same sort of thing.  Designs do not need to be digitized specifically for Q-104,  nor does the excess topping need to be torn away once the embroidery is done.   Q-104 is water soluble,  so submersing your finished embroidery in water and agitating it will cause the topping to melt.  For best results,  running the embroidery through a cycle in your washing machine is recommended.

Creating a design for use with the Q-104 water soluble topping is relatively simple.  First, designate which portion of your design will be three-dimensional and execute it in a fairly wide satin stitch.  It’s easiest to always plan for the Q-104 to run last. If you have multiple 3-d elements in different colors, you can use the same piece of Q-104 for all 3-d color changes.  Because Q-104 washes away completely, you don’t have to worry about colored support material.  Just remember to stitch your two-dimensional elements first.

Q-104 can be used to create a wide variety of designs and effects.  Depending on the length and tightness of your stitches,  you can create small puffed letters,  or larger designs with a looser 3-d effect.   The only limit on what you can do with Q-104 is your imagination.  To request a sample,  contact us and we’ll be happy to send you one.   If you do create something awesome with Q-104,  send us a picture,  we’d love to see what you’ve made.

posted in Backing/Stabilizers | 2 Comments

6th September 2012

What Sort of Posts Do You Want to Read?

EnMart’s EmbroideryTalk Blog has been in existence since October 2007.   There are 500 + posts on the site and we’ve covered everything from business tips to embroidery tips,  to a bit of sublimation,  before we started the SubliStuff blog.  After almost five years of writing for this blog,  I have to admit I’m sometimes a little bit at a loss for new ideas or topics we haven’t covered.  I also realize that posts written 2 or 3 years ago may not have been seen by people who are reading now.

All this information is really leading up to the question in the title of this post,  what sort of posts do you want to read?   Would you like to resurrect Marketing Monday,  where I wrote a post about how to market your business every Monday?  Would you be more interested in seeing the return of Business Tips Wednesday,  where I talk about how to run a decoration business?  Do you want to see more posts that deal with the ins and outs of running and marketing a business?

Or, instead, would you prefer to see posts about how to use our products?   In 2008,  I did a series on machine embroidery needles.  I’ve done a couple different series of posts on embroidery stabilizer.   I believe there have also been a couple of posts about embroidering blank patches.    We could also discuss the uses of specialty threads,  how to sew with metallic thread and a wide variety of other product related subjects?   Is that the sort of thing you’d like to read.

Finally,  there are the posts about EnMart itself.   Why we charge sales tax and where.   Why we sell what we sell.   Little tidbits about our customer service philosophy and the daily life in our offices.  Do you enjoy reading the little glimpses into EnMart and how we operate?  Do those posts make you more inclined to trust us as a company?

I realize that ultimately it’s my job to pick subjects and create content for this blog,  but a little guidance from those who read the blog is always helpful.   If you have a suggestion for a post I should write,  or a series you would like to read,  please leave it in the comments.

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30th August 2012

Sales Tax and EnMart: What You Need to Know

We have been getting a lot of sales tax related questions lately, so I thought it would be a good idea to go over how sales tax works and why we handle it the way we do.  I know this is a confusing subject for a lot of people,  so I’m hoping I can make things a bit clearer.

The first thing you need to know is that EnMart charges sales tax in Michigan, Georgia, California, Illinois, New Jersey and Nevada.  We do this because our parent company has a physical presence in each of those states, and so the states require us to remit sales tax to them.  The information on how to legally avoid being charged sales tax is included on our policies page.    Although we provide this information on our policies page, we still often get questions about why we charge sales tax, how to avoid paying sales tax, and why we charge sales tax in the states where we charge it.   To answer these questions, I present an EnMart Sales Tax FAQ, which will hopefully answer many of the questions people may have about sales tax and EnMart.

Q 1:  Why do you charge sales tax?

Companies  are required by law to charge sales tax on orders originating in states where the company has a physical presence.

Q2:  What are the states in which you have a physical presence?

Ensign Emblem, EnMart’s parent company, has facilities in Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, California, Illinois and Georgia.  EnMart charges sales tax in all those states, regardless of whether or not the Ensign facility is also an EnMart facility as well.

Q3:  Is there any way to be declared exempt from paying  sales tax?

Each state has its own rules about how sales tax must be handled.    Many states offer an option to resellers of providing a resale or sales tax exemption certificate to the companies from which they purchase.  Once the company selling the goods has the certificate on file, they can exempt the purchasing company from sales taxes.   EnMart provides links to the relevant sales tax forms on our Policies page.

Q4:  I’ve already sent you my sales tax exemption number.  Why is EnMart still charging me sales tax?

Completing the form or sending us your tax exemption number is not enough.  To comply with the law, EnMart must have the relevant form on file in our offices prior to exempting any customer from sales tax.  Forms can be faxed to us at 888-946-7583 or e-mailed to info at myenmart dot com.   We must have the form on file in our offices before we can declare a customer tax exempt.

Q5: I’ve provided the relevant form.  Do I have to remind you I’m exempt every time I place an order?

No.  Once the form has been provided, the account status will be tax exempt.  Any orders you place from then on will not be charged sales tax.

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24th August 2012

The Friday Blog Round-Up 8/24

Before I start in with the round-up,  I just want to say that I know posts have been a little sparse here lately.  I apologize for that.  I can only plead a full schedule and a slight case of writer’s block.  I hope both will be better soon.   In the meantime,  here’s a round-up post that will showcase some great things other people have been writing.  :-)

First up,  we have a post from All Things Embroidery that points out the need to consider embroidery when you create a logo.  This post makes several very good points as most people still tend to design for print and don’t consider how their logo will be rendered in other disciplines.    I definitely agree that simple is better when it comes to logos.  The EnMart logo is simply the name of the company and boxes of color, and that works fairly well with almost anything.   Sometimes not getting fancy is the best way to go.

Second on the list we have Erich Campbell’s advice for coping with an unproductive day.   I’m sure all of us have schedules that are filled to the brim and a day where you feel like nothing is getting done can be a disaster.  Erich has some tips to help you put the lost day behind you.   His best tip,  as far as I’m concerned anyway,  is the advice to let it go.  I tend to be one of those people who beats myself up over not getting things done,  so the advice to just release everything and start fresh in the morning really resonates with me.

Third on the docket is a fabulous piece from Urban Threads about men and embroidery.     They interviewed Jamie Chalmers,  also known as Mr. X Stitch, and it’s a great interview.   We all know the embroidery world tends to be geared toward women,  but there are a lot of men, the aforementioned Mr. Chalmers and Erich Campbell, for two,  that embroider and work in the industry as well.  I love what this article says about making the craft of embroidery more inclusive and also the fact that it points out that embroidery doesn’t always have to be kittens and teddy bears and lacy borders.

Fourth at bat is a post from Peter Shankman about the fact that your customer service doesn’t have to be awesome every single time,  it just has to be better than what people expect.   He says, and I agree, that most people are used to being treated awfully by companies these days,  that simply making an effort to be nice may be enough to tip the scales in your favor.  If you make an effort to go beyond that and actually be helpful,  you may be well on your way to creating customers who will adore your company,  and spread the word about it everywhere they go.

Fifth in the line up is a post from John Morgan about six ways that people sabotage their success.    The thing that gets me about this post,  other than the fact that he makes good points with all the ways he names,  is number 6.  Lack of confidence is a killer.  It’s a cliche,  but a true one; you have to believe in yourself before anyone else, including your customers will believe in you.   If your business isn’t quite going where you want it to go,  take a look at the six areas John mentions and see if you’re doing anything that might be sabotaging you meeting your full potential.

posted in Around the Blogosphere | Comments Off

10th August 2012

The Friday Blog Round-Up 8/10/12

First up today is a post from Black Duck Inc. spotlighting the amazing work Erich Campbell did with EnMart’s Q-104 product.  I am consistently impressed by Erich’s artistry and skill,  as well as his dedication to getting a project done right.   He’s absolutely correct when he says he was first on my mind when I was looking for a partner for this project.   Just look at what he created for us.    What more could you want?

Next up,  from Design in Machine Embroidery we have the Intermediate Embroiderer’s Bucket List.  I imagine many of the people who read this blog have already done a lot of the stuff on this list.  If there is one you haven’t done,  maybe you should give that particular task a try.  It’s always good to expand your knowledge and skill set.   Also, if you’re just starting out in embroidery,  you can check out the Beginning Embroiderer’s Bucket List.

Third at bat today is a post from Joyce Jagger about pricing your embroidery.  Questions about price and how to price embroidery work are staples on every embroidery forum I’ve ever seen.   The biggest problem seems to be that people don’t feel comfortable charging what they really should charge for their work,  or they don’t know how to determine a fair price.   Joyce can help you if you’re having those problems.

Fourth on the docket is a post from Erich Campbell about pathing, and what a difference it can make in your production time.   Since our parent company does embroidery I understand that time is definitely money, and the faster you can produce a design,  the better off your business will be.    Erich explains how proper pathing can help reduce production time.  As always it’s useful information,  and illuminates the process of embroidery just a little bit more.

Fifth on the list is a post from Retail Minded which could be very helpful to those who own a brick and mortar store.  Negotiating leases can be tricky,  and this post has some tips that will help you do a better job when you negotiate.  Getting the best deal on leasing your space can have a big impact on the success or failure of your business,  so it pays to understand how leases are typically negotiated.

Finally, we have a post from Peter Shankman about why having haters is a good thing.  I like this post for a lot of reasons,  but especially for points #4 and #6.   The fact is that anyone who does anything even a little outside the box will have detractors and people who don’t like what they do.   I’m with Peter in thinking that having haters is a sign that you’re actually doing what you should be doing and shaking up the status quo.   I like that idea.

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9th August 2012

Trade Show Questions

When the NNEP Embroidery Mart in Nashville ended,  EnMart finished its trade show schedule for the year.   There is one more show,  the IFAI Expo in Boston,  but that show is not aimed at machine embroiders or sublimators,  so I tend to put it in a separate category.   We had a lot of fun at the shows this year,  and it was lovely,  as always, meeting customers and potential customers,  trading hugs with friends and helping people learn more about machine embroidery and sublimation.

After every trade show season ends we generally take a few steps back and look at how the year went.  We discuss booth sizes,  what we had in the booth and what we didn’t have,  and how what we had meshed with the items for which people were looking.   Our goal is always to have what our customers want,  but booth size tends to limit the amount of things we can bring.    This brings me to my first trade show question of this post,  if you did see us at a show this year,  was there anything that we sell on our website that you wished we had showcased in our booth?

One new thing we did try in 2012 was handing out sample request cards instead of actual sample bags.  This saved people who visited our booth from the task of having to carry yet another bag around the show,  as we  send the samples right to their homes.    The goal is always to get people the information and samples they want in a timely manner, without burdening visitors to our booth with a lot of extra stuff they may not want or need.   Response to the sample cards has been very positive.   If you did visit our booth at one of the shows,  what did you think of the sample cards?  Did you turn yours in after the show?

Finally we should talk about the in booth demonstrations.   In 2012 we had both an embroidery machine and sublimation printers with a heat press in the booth.   People seemed to like seeing the Iris Thread run and being able to see the printers and the press at work.   For 2013 is there anything additional we should be adding to the booth?   Would you like to see us do more seminar type demonstrations,  or even do a seminar at a show?

As always,  we enjoyed seeing everyone this year,  and sincerely thank all of you who took the time to stop by our booth to say hello or to learn more about EnMart.  We appreciate your interest and look forward to seeing you all again in 2013.

posted in About EnMart, Trade Shows | Comments Off

1st August 2012

The Company that Thread Built

I may have told this story before,  but not for a while, I think,  so today seemed like a good day to tell it again.   It’s a story I tell several times at every trade show I work,  mostly because people always ask why we sell the thread we sell and use the thread we use.  For those who are new to this blog or to EnMart,  the thread we use is called Iris Thread, manufactured by a company called Hilos Iris.   We started using the thread in 2007,  and the company that sells it,  EnMart, was officially formed and named late that same year.

People who are not familiar with the thread often ask us why we chose to work with Iris Thread when there were other more well known brands that we could have used.   The answer to that is simple.   Our parent company, Ensign Emblem,  has been in business since 1974.   Over the years we’ve embroidered millions of emblems and used tons of thread.   You name a brand,  at some point it has likely run on our machines.    We’ve tried them all and, in the end,  discovered that Iris Thread suited our needs best.   Iris thread simply works.

Why does Iris work for us,  and why will it work for you?  There are a couple of reasons.  First,  the Iris UltraBrite Polyester is durable.  In our experience it has less thread breaks than other threads.  It is also wash fast and color fast.   If you work with garments that are going to be washed time and time again,  or exposed to harsher washing conditions,  that’s an important point.   The Iris poly thread also has a great sheen,  something that was historically only available from rayon thread.   Finally, there’s the color palette.  299 colors from light to dark and soft to vibrant.

I also can’t forget to mention Iris Dazzling Metallic Thread,  the thread that turns metallic thread haters into metallic thread lovers.    As many of you already know,  sewing with metallic thread can be a challenge.   Iris metallic thread greatly reduces that challenge.  I can’t tell you how many people have tried a sample of our metallic thread,  and then told me how great the thread was and that they’d never use another metallic thread after using ours.    Quality shows,  and our metallic thread is built to sew smoothly and add a pop of sparkle and shine to your designs.

We all know that it’s your choice what thread you choose to use and that I could go on for several more paragraphs and still not change your mind about what’s currently running on your machine.  The proof is in the pudding,  or in this case the thread,  and so I invite you all to request a sample of our Iris poly thread or our Iris metallic thread and see for yourself.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain,  so contact us and ask for your sample to be sent today.

posted in About EnMart, Thread | Comments Off

13th July 2012

The Friday Blog Round-Up 7/13/12

I think I did a Friday Blog Round-Up on Friday the 13th a few months ago as well.   That seemed to work out o.k.

First on the list today isn’t a blog post,  it’s a product announcement from EnMart.    We have released the details of a top secret project on which Black Duck Inc’s Erich Campbell and I have been working.   The product is called Q-104 and it’s a water soluble topping which creates a 3-D effect with loose stitches.  This stuff is awesome! You can see all the details and pictures on EnMart’s facebook page.  If you want to stay in the loop as to when Q-104 will be available,  make sure you like our page if you haven’t already.

Second on deck today is Erich Campbell’s great post about taking photographs of your work.   All the photos of the Q-104 that are on the EnMart Facebook page (not to put in another plug) are the work of Erich and his wife, who is a photographer.  They take beautiful photos and the tips Erich gives in his post will help you do the same.

Third at bat is a post from Retail Minded about how to revitalize the downtown shopping district of your town.   As big box stores have come in,  a lot of smaller boutiques and specialty shops have faded into the sunset.  Many downtown districts are now a sea of empty storefronts or stores that are open but not kept up very well.  The whole atmosphere provides a less than exciting shopping environment.    Nicole’s post offers some ideas for turning your downtown area back into a place where people like to shop,  and most of them are quite easy to implement.

Fourth on the docket we have a post from Urban Threads showing the results when the same designs are hand embroidered and machine embroidered.   Like them, I don’t want to get into an argument about which discipline is better, because I think both hand embroiderers and machine embroiderers create awesome work.   I just like this post because I think it’s fun to see how different methods and different people interpret the same basic design.

Finally,  I want to point you to a post about a couple named Herb and Dorothy.   I love this post because it points out the fact that if you’re willing to forge your own path and do your own thing,  you can create an extraordinary life.   For those who don’t know Herb and Dorothy Vogel are a couple who had a modest middle class life.  What made them special is that they had a love of art,  and they collected it,  one piece at a time until they had 4,782 works of art in their apartment.   Eventually they donated it all to the National Gallery of Art,  but that’s not the important part.  What’s important is how and why they did what they did.   Apparently there’s a documentary about them.  I’m definitely going to find it and watch.

posted in Around the Blogosphere | 1 Comment

12th July 2012

How EnMart Finds New Products

Those of you who like our Facebook page (and what’s not to like), already know that tomorrow we will be announcing a new product which will be debuting at the NNEP Embroidery Mart the end of this month.    Since one of the uses for this blog is to give you an inside look at how EnMart works,  I thought it might be fun to give you a little information about how we find new products,  and how we choose what gets added to our product offerings.

Information about or offerings of new products can come from any number of places.  Our suppliers,  of course,  offer us new products as they become available.   EnMart customers often suggest products they would like to see us carry,  and we always take those suggestions into consideration.   Sometimes,  because hey, what company doesn’t,  we’ll see something one of our competitors has done and think it’s cool and work to do something similar ourselves.   We also have had products added to our line or created as a result of a good old fashioned brainstorming meeting,  where we sit at a table and bat around ideas for new products and packages.   Inspiration can come from anywhere.

Once we have a new product under consideration we’ll look at how it fits in with existing product lines and with our existing areas of expertise.  One of the great things about EnMart is the fact that we have access to a lot of experts,  both on our own staff and among our supplier partners and friends of EnMart.  This gives us the ability to evaluate a new products from several angles,  and helps us ensure that what we offer is the best product we can offer.

Finally,  once a product has been tested and discussed,   we will add it to our product offerings.    The quickest way to learn about any new product offerings EnMart may have is to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest.  You should also bookmark our website,  as the latest information will always be there.    Also,  if you have a product you’d like to suggest that we consider for addition to the EnMart product line,  you can always leave a comment on any of our social media pages,  or this blog,  or simply contact us with your suggestion.

posted in About EnMart | Comments Off

6th July 2012

The Friday Blog Round-Up 7/6/12

First on the list today we have a post called “The Cost of Creativity” which is about how to calculate the costs of running your business for a year.  It’s fairly simple to do,  but knowing these costs and what you need to bring in to cover them is the best way to keep your business open and successful.   Creativity is definitely a part of the embroidery business,  but business is a part of it too,  and you need to know the numbers to keep your business running in the black.

Second at bat today is a bucket list for new embroiderers from Eileen at Designs in Machine Embroidery Magazine.    This list details some things that every new machine embroiderer should try and hopefully master.   I think my favorite is number 3,  simply because it looks cool.  There will, apparently, also be a bucket list for advanced and expert embroiderers coming out in another blog post sometime soon.

Third on the docket,  we have 10 tips to help increase embroidery production from Joyce Jagger.  Some of these are fairly simple,  but they’re so simple they may be the things that people forget to do.   I like the tip about stopping production early on Friday and doing preventative maintenance on your machines.   I also like the tip about duplicating tools.  You should never be running all over the production floor looking for scissors or some other tool you may need.

Fourth in the queue is another Urban Threads Featured project post,  this one on how to make embroidered shoes.  Even though I know I will never attempt any of these featured products,  I love seeing what other people do and this project is no exception.  Making your own shoes from scratch and embroidering them is very cool.   I also love the step by step tutorial for others who might want to try the process.

Fifth on the list is a post about what you’re willing to do with the followers you have on any social media platform.   The message of the post,  which I love,  is that you,  as a business,  have a responsibility to those who follow you.  Doing things like asking people to follow or like you to get a prize,  tweet about a product in order to get that product, or really to do anything that isn’t motivated by serving the people who are willing to give you their time and attention.  It’s about respect and authenticity,  and once you start shilling to your followers for your own gain,  you’ve lost both.   Lots to think about in this post.

posted in Around the Blogosphere | Comments Off

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