Customer Spotlight: Black Duck Inc.

cs_blackduckincName:  Erich Campbell

Business:   Black Duck Embroidery and Screen Printing

Anyone who knows anything about machine embroidery probably knows about Erich Campbell and Black Duck Inc.  He is the digitizing guru who creates the fabulous works of art for which Black Duck Embroidery and Screen Printing is known, as well a sharing his expertise at www.erichcampbell.com.   He writes for Printwear Magazine and for Mr. X-Stitch.  Erich is a huge advocate for the industry and always willing to share his knowledge and abilities to help others.   I’m honored that he took a bit of time from his busy life to answer some questions about the work he does,  the company for which he does that work, and why he does business with EnMart.

Please describe your work.

EC:  I am primarily an embroidery digitizer,  but our company does everything from small to large scale screen printing on manuals and automatics,  all manner of embroidery,  heat-printing, sign-making, sublimation and digital transfers, all in house and with our own art staff.

What do you like best about what you do?

EC: Creating solutions that delight people; creative problem solving is satisfying in itself,  but being able to do so in a way that allows us to both exercise our love of commercial art and design and supports people in our local community makes our work an absolute joy.  We have customers tell us that we are seen as the shop to seek out if no other shop can handle your work or is willing to try.   We are artists, experimenters, and we work well together.

What is the biggest challenge you face in doing your work?

EC: Doing the work that we want to do and are good at doing and making sure to keep it profitable and responsive;  probably the hardest thing to do is pull away from the work of production to make sure our business is current,  keeping up with technology and promoting itself to the right audience.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing your industry as a whole?

EC: It’s a massive cultural shift that’s causing challenges for all of us – the shift toward individual personalization is difficult, but doable, whereas the continuous pressure to deliver more quickly, almost instantly, and to produce a better product with a high-quality decoration at a commodity price can be tough.

Were you always creative?  Did you make things as a child?

EC: I would say that I come from a long family history of makers – I wasn’t always enamored of the visual arts, though.   I can draw passably well,  but I didn’t while away my time drawing when I was young.  I did, however, carve wood,  build things,  play with construction toys,  work on machine and cars with my mechanic father,  help my mother who at times worked as a seamstress,  and last,  but certainly not least,  I was always a writer.  Language was my first creative venture, and remains a favorite outlet to this day.

What one tip would you give people starting out in your field?

EC:  Be ready to fail and forgive yourself,  then learn to control your variables and test.  You will destroy a garment.   You will have to sample things more than once, and you will make mistakes.  Accept it,  then learn by degrees to let it go.  Analyze your failures and take what you’ve learned to heart; measure everything, and apply what you learn.  You will grow by leaps and bounds once you do; you will be a sponge at first, absorbing everything,  but it’s in the experimentation and doing that it will all solidify and become real.

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If you could travel back to when you started in this industry,  what piece of advice would you give yourself?

EC: Never get comfortable.  Try more, execute faster,  and be less conservative with your ideas.  An idea is nothing until it is executed, and there is rarely a “perfect” time to try.  Get more things to market and give them their season; you never know what might stick.

What is your favorite leisure time activity?

EC: That’s a tough one;  I’m a big movie watcher and reader,  but I also love hiking, drawing and teaching where I can.  When you do what you love,  leisure and work sometimes bleed together,  even when they are tiring or difficult.   In truth,  I do work quite a lot though.  I often joke that there’s just a break between my first shift (work at Black Duck) and my second shift (writing and teaching for the industry).

Why do you buy from/work with EnMart?

EC:  EnMart has tested quality product and the best customer service;  I’ve never had a problem ordering by any method of contact, and I can always trust the products that I ordered will come in,  as ordered,  on time.   EnMart is reliable and saves me time.

What EnMart products do you use most?

EC: Sublimation inks and papers, blank patches, and Q-104/102 water soluble topping and backing.

Why do you use these products?

EC: EnMart has always been our sublimation partner,  and they carry top quality Sawgrass products as well as their own tested brand of transfer paper;  their added service and support is fantastic and makes the difference.   Q-102 is great for making our own in-house custom shaped emblems,  so it’s a natural fit for us as well.

You can find Erich and Black Duck Inc.  on the following social media sites:

Facebook

Twitter

Google+

Pinterest

Instagram

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Customer Spotlight – Tricia Maloney

triciamaloneycustomerspotlightName:  Tricia Maloney

Business:  Orphan Quilt Designs by Tricia Maloney

Website:  http://www.orphanquilter.com

Blog: http://www.quiltwithaview.blogspot.com

Tricia Maloney is a quilt designer, author and teacher.   She has written three books about quilting, Orphan Block Quilts, A Russian Journey in Quilts, and her latest book,  coming out in November,  I Love Precut Quilts,  which is available for pre-order.   We are proud to say that our Iris Thread is used to create some of the quilts in that book,  and we’re excited to even have a small part in the creation of Tricia’s work.  Tricia will also be doing demos in the EnMart booth,  booth 1365,  at Quilt Market.  We’re excited for her to share some details about her new book,  her experiences with quilting,  and her experiences with Iris Thread.  Before, however, that happens,  we thought we’d let you get to know Tricia a little better here.

What do you like best about what you do?

Quilting is never boring.  One day I might be working on my computer designing or writing or connecting with people.  Another day I might be piecing or quilting at my sewing machine.  Yet another day I might be lecturing or teaching.  Sometimes I do all three in the same day.

I also love connecting with people.

Did I mention the fabrics???????

What is the biggest challenge you face in doing your work?

Time is my biggest challenge – there’s never enough of it.  I have a tendency to take on a lot of projects all at once and sometimes I get a little frazzled, but everything usually works out just fine.  If only I didn’t have to sleep……

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing your industry as a whole?

Rising costs of fabric, supplies, books, patterns, etc.  The more costly things get, the more quilters have to make tough decisions about their buying practices.

Were you always creative?  Did you make things as a child?

Yes, I’ve always been afflicted with creativity.  LOL!  I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making things.

As a young child, I used to love to draw toy catalogs and write the descriptions of the toys.  Later I wrote stories and poetry.  I made dolls and even some of my own jumpers and dresses.  I made my first quilt after I graduated from college and it’s been an exciting ride since then.

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Was there a mentor or someone in your field that helped you when you were starting out?

Yes, when I began to seriously think about writing a book, I had the opportunity to talk to a local designer who had just written her first sewing book.  She very graciously connected me to her editor which eventually led to the publication of my first book, Orphan Block Quilts.

What one tip would you give people starting out in your field?

I would tell people not to be afraid to fail.  You just have to pick yourself up and try again because there’s really no failure in trying.

What are your goals for your business?

I want to see my business grow steadily over time.  I plan to write more quilt books, work with a greater variety of magazines and other publications, and I want to get back to designing fabric collections.

If you could time travel back to when you started in this industry, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

I would tell myself to do my homework.  It’s so very important to know what’s trending right now and what’s coming in the future.

What’s your favorite leisure time activity?

I enjoy reading a good book, preferably something that will make me smile.

Why do you buy from/work with EnMart?

The products are high quality and the service is friendly and efficient.

What EnMart products do you use most?

I discovered Iris Ultra Quilting Thread around the time I started my new quilt book, I Love Precut Quilts!.

Why do you use those products?

I was very impressed with the quality of the thread.  It was strong yet easy to work with for both piecing and machine quilting.  I’m really excited about the new colors, too!

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Customer Spotlight: G. Barner Quilts

CS_G.BarnerQuiltsName:  Greg Barner

Business Name:  G. Barner Quilts

Website:  www.gbarnerquilts.com

Greg Barner creates fabulous quilts in a variety of styles.  His work is bursting with color and geometric shapes.  Visit his site, www.gbarnerquilts.com to see a wonderful gallery of his work.  You can see a small selection of his wonderful quilts in the picture gallery in the middle of this post.  He also instructs and gives classes in the art of quilting.  Here’s what he had to say about his craft,  the industry and why he uses EnMart products.

What do you like best about what you do?

GB: I started quilting fourteen years ago when I needed something to do that was creative, mathematical and involved problem solving.  Quilting fit the bill.  When my mother retired she took up quilting for others and I would help once in a while. When I neared retirement I knew I needed something to fill my spare time so I took up quilting with the intention of seeing how good I could get and doing some instructing.  I continue to work at getting better and I have done quite a bit of instructing around the area.

What is the biggest challenge you face in your work?

GB: I like the challenge of learning new techniques and patterns,  but I also like creating my own patterns,  especially abstract patterns.  In fourteen years of quilting I have not lost interest in learning more.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing your industry as a whole?

GB: There are a lot of quilters in Michigan,  especially Northern Michigan.  The biggest challenge is to continue to grow as an industry,  involving more people in quilting,  particularly the younger generation. Another major challenge is cost,  mainly the cost of fabric which continues to increase.  If the pattern continues it will make it difficult for some people to continue because they can’t afford the fabric.

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Were you always creative?  Did you make things as a child?

GB: I have always been doing something creative.  Growing up I was involved in vocal music and drama as well as sports.  I taught elementary school for forty years and tried to be as creative as possible in my approach.

Was there a mentor or someone in your field that helped you when you were starting out?

GB: My quilting is mainly self taught (trial and error a lot of the time). I do have an extensive library of quilting books and magazines for ideas. I have found shop owners and other quilters very willing to help me improve.

What one tip would you give people starting out in your field?

GB: I would encourage people starting out to pick smaller and simpler projects to learn with.  This would allow a person to experience more techniques in a shorter time and perhaps with less frustration.

What are your goals for your business?

GB: My goals for the future are to continue to experiment with new patterns and techniques.   I would like to create more of my own patterns.

What products sold by EnMart do you use most, and why?

GB:  I was introduced to Iris threads a number of years ago by an embroiderer. I piece (sew) with the Iris Ultra Cotton thread and I quilt almost exclusively with Iris thread.  My long arm works really well with the Iris UltraBright polyester thread and customers like the look of it.  I have tried other threads,  but my long arm quilter prefers the Iris thread.

Note:  If you’ve visited the EnMart booths at AQS Paducah or Quilt Market in Houston,  you’ve seen Greg’s work.  He very graciously allows us to display his quilts in our booth at these shows.

 

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