Embroidery Talk Has Moved!

Not Goodbye, Just Au Revoir

25th September 2015

Not Goodbye, Just Au Revoir

smiling business people waving handsThe first post on this blog was written in October 2007.   That’s 8 years ago.    In 8 years,  a lot can change and, as time has gone on, the whole concept of what this particular blog should be has expanded and grown.   When we started Embroidery Talk,  EnMart was just beginning and we had no idea that we’d one day be selling sublimation supplies,  and crafting threads,  and quilting threads and have plans to expand even further.    While our sublimation news and information eventually migrated to SubliStuff,   we’ve been trying to stay true to the original subject matter of this blog,  all the while realizing that we needed to expand the areas about which we talked,   as we now had a much larger array of products to discuss.

The reality of the situation is that EmbroideryTalk is growing older,   there have been a lot of developments in WordPress themes since it was set up,   and the poor blog is already carrying a pretty heavy weight with 500+ posts.   Add to that the fact that EmbroideryTalk has now expanded to encompass QuiltingTalk,  and CraftThreadTalk,  and a host of talk about other products that we didn’t even dream we’d be carrying in 2007,  and it quickly became apparent that while the current blog was useful,  and should stay in place,   our ongoing blogging efforts needed to find a new home.

The good news is that we have found a new home for our blog.   We call it Threaducate,  and that’s what we intend to do there,  educate our customers and friends about thread,  machine and hand embroidery,  quilting,  crafting,   as well as the supplies that go along with the thread.     All the topics and themes that, we hope,  made EmbroideryTalk useful and fun to read will migrate to Threaducate.   We’re simply expanding our knowledge base and opening up our subject matter,  while creating a space that also reflects EnMart in 2015 and can be easily read on tablets and phones as well as a desktop computer.

Right now, Threaducate is still a work in progress,  and the look of it will change.   The content,  however,  will remain true to the goals we laid out in our first post here on October 2, 2007.   They were as follows:

Our hope is that this blog will become a reference both for our customers and for others who machine embroider or work in the field of apparel decoration. Our other hope is that, by providing you with a resource, we will also be able to introduce you to our company and the products we sell. We have used our connections and searched the world for premium products which we will make available at prices that will suit any budget. Our EnMart Store and the products we sell there will be one of the topics this blog covers. Other topics will be dicated by the questions we are asked, information that I find on other blogs, forums or sites, and our own experience.

In the posts to come you will find hints, tips, stories and opinions. We think of this blog as the beginning of a conversation. We’ll talk and, hopefully, you’ll talk back. We encourage discussion and questions, and will do our best to be a useful resource.

I’d like to think,  almost eight years after those paragraphs were written,  that this blog has accomplished the goals we set out back then.

I also look forward to carrying those goals on to Threaducate.

We invite you all to join us there.

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17th July 2015

EnMart Extras – New Products

new product coming soonOne of the things that any company that wishes to grow needs to do is to add new products and enter new markets.   EnMart is always working to expand our product offerings,  but 2015 has been/will be a banner year when it comes to adding new products and entering new markets.   We’re very excited about what’s coming and what will be added to our website.   We hope you will be too.    Here are some things that are coming soon.

Screen Print Supplies – EnMart’s parent company, Ensign Emblem,  has a screenprint department,  so we’re familiar with screenprint.   It made sense to use that knowledge and expertise and add some screenprint items to our existing inventory.   We’re starting out with screen print test sheets in 14″ x 16″ and 16″ x 18″ in blank and white.    We’re also planning to add spray adhesives and screen openers and other screenprint related products as well.   We’re currently in negotiations with well known suppliers and hope to have additional products in the screenprint area to offer to you soon.

Craft thread and hand embroidery supplies – Hilos Iris,  the company that manufactures the machine embroidery thread we carry,   also makes craft thread, perle cotton and floss for hand embroidery.   We’re excited to be able to offer these products to our customers as well.    This is another area in which we’re also connecting with other suppliers to bring in tools and accessories that will be useful when crafting or doing hand embroidery.

Additional quilt thread colors – Hilos Iris is planning to bring out 12 new solid color quilt threads in 2015.   We’ve been working on putting color choices together and finding swatches of the right colors to send for dye testing.   We’re excited to be expanding our quilting thread palette with these additional solid colors.  And yes,  for those who have been asking,  we are working on seeing if it is possible to get some additional variegated colors as well.

Embroiderable stuffed animals – Cubbies and Embroider Buddies are well known names in the industry.   EnMart is excited to announce we now will be carrying both lines.   We will also be working with some friends of EnMart to create some new designs and potential new uses for these adorable embroiderable animals.   The animals will also be available in our trade show booths at the 2016 shows.

New products, or products we’re considering adding to our store will always be announced on social media and here on this blog.   If you have a suggestion for something you think we should carry,   you can leave it on our Facebook pageTwitter feed,  or in the comments on any post from this blog.

 

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25th June 2015

Actual Advice: Best Backing for Towels and More

Advice-2One of the things we do often here at EnMart is answer questions.    The questions cover a variety of topics,   from what sort of product to use for a particular job,   to what we use or recommend,   to questions about running a business or using social media.    In the course of a day,   an awful lot of questions can be asked and answered,  but the answers only benefit the one person who asked,  and that didn’t seem quite fair.   To address that problem I’ve created another sporadic series that will appear semi-regularly on the EmbroideryTalk blog called “Actual Advice”.   In this series,  we will detail an actual question or questions asked by a customer  and than share the answer here so everyone can benefit from reading it.

We’ll be covering two questions today.

The first is about what backing to use on towels and fleece blankets.   The customer in question had been using tearaway,  but was finding it tough to weed out all the stabilizer, and didn’t really like the finished appearance after the backing had been torn away.    She was looking for another option and had thought maybe a washaway would do the trick.  She was looking at Badgemaster,  which was,  as they say,  in the right church,  but in the wrong pew.   Badgemaster would dissolve in water,  but really isn’t designed to be a stabilizer with fabric.    What was needed was a cutaway washaway like our Q-102.     EnMart’s Q-102 stabilizes the design,  and then the excess backing can be dissolved with water,  leaving a smooth surface.   It is ideal for towels or blankets or anywhere that might allow the back of the embroidery to be visible.

The second question has to do with color matching of thread.   We do have a conversion engine on our website where we have conversions from several popular thread brands to Iris,   which is useful,   but we tend to recommend another way if you want a true color match.    The best way to color match a thread,  in our opinion is to compare actual color to actual color.    In other words,  get a swatch of the two colors you want to compare,  and put them side by side in natural light.    This will give you the truest representation of the colors and the match in question.   Trying to match an actual color against a color on a computer monitor or a printed sample won’t work well because monitors and printers can skew colors.    Your best best is always to match actual to actual.    If you do need actual Iris UltraBrite Polyester color swatches,  you can always get a thread chart for use when converting colors.

So,  that’s our actual advice for today.   If you have a question you’d like us to answer,  please leave it in the comments,   or ask us on our Facebook page or Twitter feed.

posted in About EnMart, Embroidery Questions | 1 Comment

19th June 2015

And the Crickets Chirp

crickets chirpingI’ve never been sure why crickets chirping is supposed to be a sound that signifies silence and nothing happening.   There’s a cricket that lives in my garage on occasion and having him around is anything but quiet.    In any case,  crickets chirping is an accepted symbol for places where a long silence has settled,  so it seems appropriate for this blog,  which has been silent most of this year so far.   For that I apologize.    I do see some light at the end of this tunnel though.  Even though we’re now halfway through the year  I figure we can still salvage 2015.     I just need a plan.   And,  possibly,  the help of those who read this blog.

First,  the plan.

When I started this blog,  I tried to write a post several times a week.    I was building a blog and an audience,  so it made sense to do it that way back then.   Plus,  when we started,  there was an entire new company and a lot of new products to introduce,  so I had blog post fodder for years.  Now,  8 years into this blog journey,   my responsibilities have expanded,  my available time has shortened,  and producing a post several times a week isn’t really feasible.   So the schedule needs to be more reasonable and achievable.    I’m thinking two posts a week is reasonable,   with an optional Friday Blog Round-Up twice a month.   That’s a total of 10 posts in an average month,  and I think that’s a reasonable and attainable goal to set.

Now,  the question is what those 8 posts a month should be.   Sometimes, of course,  I’ll talk about what we’re doing here,  new products were introducing,  changes we’re making,  whatever we’re doing to make EnMart a more attractive company from which to buy and with which to work.   I’m going to call those posts – EnMart Extras,  since they’ll be little extra glimpses into what we’re doing.   I also know that posts about how to use our products or how to approach a particular job are always useful,  so I think I’ll start another series of posts called “How Do I?”  – which will deal with exactly that,  how to do or use something applicable to the garment decoration business.   I’d also like to,  when possible,  open this blog to the voices of other people in our industry,  and I think we’ll call those Wisdom Wednesday posts,  which will appear,  naturally, on Wednesday.  Finally,  since it is my particular bailiwick,   I’d like to resurrect Marketing Mondays,  which is when we’ll talk about social media,  marketing and selling.   Obviously,  every category won’t appear every week,  but I’ll try to post something new at least twice a week,  with an optional third post,  a Friday Blog Round-Up,  every other week.

So, that’s the plan,  EnMart Extras,  Wisdom Wednesday,  Marketing Mondays,  and How Do I posts,  two a week,  every week.   In order to meet this goal,  however,  I will need help from the readers of this blog.    The first bit of help I need is suggestions.   What would you like to read about on Marketing Monday?   What burning How do I question has been churning through your brain?   What person in the industry would you like to see writing a Wisdom Wednesday post?  Share you suggestions here or with me on Facebook or Twitter.

The second bit of help I need is reading and commenting.   One of the drawbacks of writing a blog post or an article that people rarely talk about is how lonely it can be.   You craft your work,  and try to create something worthy of someone else’s attention,  and then all you hear is silence.   So,  I’m asking you to take a few moments to read and comment when you see something new on this blog.   I promise to do my best to make it worth spending time here.   I hope you’re willing to allow a bit of your time to be spent.

 

posted in About EnMart | 3 Comments

20th January 2015

What to Expect in 2015

to-do-list-padIt constantly amazes me how fast time flies.   At the end of this month I will have been Director of Marketing for Ensign Emblem and EnMart for 9 years.   This blog is just over seven and a bit years old.    This will be post # 572 on this blog,  which adds up to quite a lot of words.

In the time this blog has been around,  our goal has always been to educate people,  both about machine embroidery and about EnMart, who we are as people and who we are as a company.   We’ve given you inside looks at why we sell the thread we sell,   why we do (or don’t) offer specials and sales,   and even the story of how EnMart came to be.    We’ve also published posts that we hoped would help embroiderers do what they do better – whether it was translating print into embroidery,   embroidering on specialty materials,   or   simply providing a round-up of helpful and interesting posts from the blogosphere.    Our goal has always been to educate as much as it has been to entertain,  with the side benefit of helping you to get to know us and EnMart a little better.

Although I like to think we’ve met our goals for this blog,  I do want to keep it fresh and new.   So,  since we’re now seven and a bit,  I figured it was time for some updates.  The look of the blog may change,  that hasn’t been decided yet,   but I do know some other changes will be happening soon.   Here’s a preview of some of what’s coming:

  • Updated blogroll –  There are many good blogs on our blogroll,  but there are also many good blogs not currently listed.  We’re going to sift through the blogroll and try to make sure we’re including the most up to date and interesting blogs about our industry
  • Return of the series – I’ve written series about embroidering on different fabrics,   using different backings,  and even how to market your business.  Most of those were written back in 2010 – so it’s time for them to be updated.
  • More business, marketing and social media tips – It would be lovely if running a decoration business was just about decoration,  but it’s not.   A business owner must also know how to marketing,  provide good customer service,  manage their business and, these days,  manage social media.   We’ll talk about that here too.

I am open to suggestions as to what you’d like to see here,  and when you’d like to see it.    You can either comment here,  contact me on one of our social media platforms,  or simply send me an e-mail.   I’m looking forward to revitalizing this blog in 2015.   Hopefully you’ll come along for the ride.

posted in About EnMart | 1 Comment

31st December 2014

Happy New Year!

happy new year2EnMart will be closed Thursday, January 1 in honor of the New Year’s Holiday.

We will return to work on Friday, January 2, 2015. 

All orders placed on Thursday, January 1 will be shipped when we return on Friday, January 2.

Happy New Year and here’s to a prosperous and creative 2015!

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23rd December 2014

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas We wish you all a happy and safe Christmas.

EnMart will be closed on Wednesday, December 24 and Thursday, December 25, 2014 for the Christmas holiday.   We will reopen on Friday, December 26, 2014.

All orders placed on 12/24 – 12/25 will ship on Friday, 12/26 when we resume normal operations.

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25th June 2014

Changes

change ahead 2When EnMart first became a company,  in late 2007,   we had one plan,  to supply the best thread,  stabilizer and other embroidery products to the commercial embroidery marketplace.   Fast forward to today,  and some six and a half years (give or take) since EnMart began,  what we do and what we are has changed.   We now sell sublimation supplies.   We sell quilt thread and FabricMaker and are looking at expanding into other quilting related items.    We are exploring new markets and encountering new customer types and the simple site that started it all is beginning to need a bit of an upgrade.

In the next few months we will be making upgrades and changes to our website.  If you want the quick version of what we’re doing,  here are the bullet points:

  • EnMart is splitting the store in two.
  • One site is for businesses, and the other for everyone else.
  • Businesses must use a login, and get custom pricing.
  • Everyone else can buy from us now from the public site.
  • If you already have a login you can still use it.
  • Always go to www.myenmart.com and choose the login option that applies to you.
  • If you are a business and don’t have a login, you need to contact us to get one.
  • If you are not a business, you can shop with or without logging in.

Log-ins will still be required for all customers checking out,   but you will only need to log-in before shopping if you are a customer who is eligible for special pricing.  The front end log-in option will be implemented soon.  Pricing structures will be put in place some time after the log-in option goes live.  You can find a complete description of the changes we’re making and the reasons behind them on our FAQ page.

Making these changes  will benefit everyone involved.    The log-in and customer category functions will make sure that every customer receives the proper pricing for their type.    It will also allow a wider group of customers to purchase from EnMart which means some people who were previously turned away will now be able to buy.   This structure will also help us ensure that we’re not trespassing on the territories of any customers who buy from us to sell to the end user.    The changes will also allow us to keep everything on one site, instead of having different sites aimed at different categories of customer, which would have gotten confusing for everyone.

As always, we encourage you to offer us your feedback about these changes.   You can comment on this post, send an email to info at myenmart dot com, leave a message on our Facebook page, send us a message on Twitter or call us and let us know what you think. We appreciate any feedback you can give us, and it will certainly be considered as we move forward with these changes.

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9th June 2014

Why EnMart Sends E-mails

mailing listWhy is EnMart sending you email? Are we spamming you? Did we buy a list? We get these questions sometimes, so we thought it was time to explain ourselves, and let you know why you just might want to keep on receiving the messages we send.

EnMart, as a rule, sends out three types of email messages. They are:

  1. Order confirmations/updates, sent out automatically by our online store
  2. Direct correspondence, such as quotes, information, notifications, questions, or answers
  3. Mass emails, such as special offers, sales, or other general information

For the purposes of this post, we are addressing the third type of email.

First off, we would like to emphatically state that we do NOT buy lists to send mass emails. We don’t like those kinds of emails either. Our emails are ONLY sent to three groups of people. Those who have:

  1. Placed an order with us at some point in time in the past
  2. Attended one of the trade shows where we exhibited
  3. Indicated in some other way such as via our Facebook signup page that they are interested in receiving our emails.

A lot of people don’t realize it, but when you attend a trade show, somewhere in the papers you sign or in the information you receive is a statement that you are giving permission to the exhibitors to contact you via email. After all, that’s one of the main purposes of a trade show – to connect vendors with existing and potential customers.

Trade shows are mutually beneficial. As a customer, you want to find new products and vendors, information, or meet with your current suppliers. As an exhibitor and vendor, we want to meet with you, our customers, and we want to gain new ones. Sending emails out to trade show attendees can sometimes reach people we missed, or people who may have stopped by and forgot about it.

As an advertising medium, email lets us keep costs low and also offer occasional discounts, product offerings, or other potential benefits to you. Since mass email and social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) are the ONLY methods EnMart uses to notify you of these special offers, if you are not following us or receiving our emails, you will miss that limited time free shipping offer, or the % discount, etc.

We’re not machines auto-emailing you. We are real people, and if you reply to any of our emails, you will reach a real live person and not one of those “do not reply” mailboxes that drops your message in to a bottomless black hole. We do our best to keep the number of emails down to a minimum of around 1-2 per month. If you don’t want to receive them, it is very easy to stop them and we honor your unsubscribe requests.

We use Constant Contact to send out all mass emails, and there are very strict rules that we must adhere to. All these emails have a very convenient “Safe Unsubscribe” link at the bottom. With a few clicks you can unsubscribe from any or all of our lists, and we’ll never email that email address again. We couldn’t even if we wanted to – Constant Contact prevents it. In fact, if you later want to start receiving emails from us again, you’d have to either go back to Constant Contact and change your settings, or come up with a new email address.

While we do make every effort to reasonably target our potential audience with relevant email content, it can appear to be a bit of a shotgun approach at times, and you may receive something that doesn’t pertain to you personally. For those emails, we apologize and beg your indulgence.

Sincerely,

The EnMartians

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10th April 2014

Why We Don’t Offer Free Shipping

free shippingAs it does several times a year,  the question of free shipping has come up again.   It’s a perennial question,  and one that we’ve generally replied to with a resounding no,  except in the case of an occasional special offer.   It’s also a question that has been debated in the halls of EnMart several times.   Our conclusion has always been that offering free shipping wasn’t that much of an incentive.   Here’s why we think that’s the case:

  • Free shipping doesn’t increase orders, in our experience. When we’ve offered free shipping in the past,  we haven’t seen a substantial increase in orders.   What seems to increase orders much more is when we offer discounts on buying multiple items or offer special packages from a particular product category.
  • Free shipping at an order cost threshold doesn’t increase orders, in our experience. When we’ve offered free shipping if the order meets a certain price level,  we haven’t seen more orders occurring on that level.   From what we can gather,  the free shipping offer doesn’t necessarily entice people to buy more than they would have purchased anyway.
  • When we’ve offered a free shipping special,  many people neglect to use the code or meet the threshold to get free shipping.   We have tried free shipping specials in the past in an effort to see if this type of offer spurs a greater percentage of orders.  We often find that people either do not use the free shipping code,  or neglect to purchase at a level that will get them free shipping.   Other types of specials that we’ve offered seem to have much better response rates.
  • We work hard to keep our shipping rates low.   We have deep discounts from Fed Ex (our primary carrier) and have introduced USPS Priority Mail as a shipping option as well.   Our shipping rates are, so far as we can determine,  reasonable,  and we do adjust the rates if shipping estimates are higher than what we consider reasonable.
  • We offer our customers the option to ship on their own accounts.  Customers can select the “Use my account” shipping option and ask us to ship on a corporate or personal account.

All that said,  the free shipping question does pop up pretty regularly,  which leaves me wondering if it’s worth examining the whole idea of free shipping again.    So,  I wanted to ask all of you who are EnMart customers,  what do you think about EnMart having some sort of free shipping program?  Would it motivate you to buy more or buy more often?   If we did have such a program,  how do you think it should be structured?

EnMart always is willing to listen when our customers speak,  so we’d really like your feedback on this.   Please share your thoughts in the comments.

 

 

 

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