Essential Stock for an Embroidery Shop

Every year,  when we do trade shows,  we always meet some newbies,  people who are just starting out and looking for advice. Often,  they’re swimming in a sea of possible equipment and supplies and mystified about what they need and what could be useful. For those starting out,  or for those who are looking to get their shop equipped with the basics,  we present this embroidery starter kit list.   This list details the items we think a well stocked shop should have.   For the purposes of this list,  I will provide the name of the product and a brief description of the reason we believe it’s an essential item.  The aim of the list is to help those who are stocking their shops get the basic items they need to do almost any embroidery job.

The List

Thread – We sell Iris UltraBrite Polyester Machine Embroidery Thread  and recommend stocking at least your core colors in large cones.   Your core colors are the colors you use regularly,  the ones you replace most often.  For most shops that’s generally between ten to twenty colors.

Stabilizer – Yes,  a shop can get by with just one type of backing,  a lot of shops do that successfully.   We recommend,  however,  taking advantage of the specialty backing options that are available.  Here’s what, in our opinion,  a well stocked shop should have when it comes to stabilizer.

  • Cutaway – A medium weight cutaway will get you through almost any situation when cutaway backing is required.   Medium weight,  when it comes to stabilizer is generally considered to be 2.5 ounces.
  • Tearaway – Two types of tearaway will generally appear in a well stocked shop.  One would be a light weight tearaway suitable for use with shirts.  The other would be heavy weight tearaway that can be used with hats.
  • Poly Mesh – Yes,  this is a lightweight cutaway,  but it’s designed to be used with lighter weight fabrics and to hold a lot of stitches.   It can greatly improve the appearance of embroidery on flimsier fabrics.
  • Adhesive Backing – A must for the times when you want to embroider items that are hard to hoop.  Can also be useful to hold stretchy or slippery fabrics in place.  Adhesive on one side topped with release paper.
  • Water Soluble – This is a topping,  but a must have if you’re embroidering anything with a pile like towels or fleece blankets.   Used to stop stitches from sinking into the fabric.

Bobbins – For commercial embroidery machines bobbins generally come in L or M sizes.  Paper sided and MagnaGlide magnetic bobbins are two popular types.  Some people prefer magnetic bobbins because they say they hold tension better.  When purchasing bobbins,  don’t forget you’ll also need bobbin cases.  Plain works with magnetic bobbins,  a no backlash spring bobbin case is often great with paper sided bobbins.

NeedlesNeedles come in sizes from 65/9 (smallest) to 90/14 (largest).  Many people use a medium size needle,  a 75/11, for most jobs.  Keep in mind that needles also come in sharp and ballpoint options.   Sharps are for thicker fabrics.  Ballpoints are great for fabrics which are more delicate and which have fibers that could tear easily.

Accessories – There are a ton of accessories out there that can be purchased,  but these are the ones that we think every shop should have.

  • Thread Clips – For clipping jump stitches and making things look nice
  • Seam Ripper – Yes,  at some point you will need one. For ripping out stitches gone wrong.
  • Cleaning/Lint Brush – You’re doing your daily machine maintenance, right?
  • Machine oil – Really,  you’re keeping the machine cleaned and lubricated, right?

The main thing to remember,  when stocking your shop,  is that there are a lot of options out there.  Trial and error might be required to find out what options work best for you.   Don’t be afraid to ask for samples or advice.  We’re always happy to help.

Why It’s Fun

youth-active-jump-happy-40815Anyone who has had anything to do with running a business knows the pain of the days when nothing about the experience is fun.   Equipment breaks.   Supplies don’t arrive in time or arrive too soon.   The customer doesn’t like the artwork you produced.   The customer has ideas that aren’t really possible unless you had a time machine and an army of shirt decorating robots.  Your price is too high.   You turn time is too long.   Your employees don’t show up.   There’s a lot of reasons why having a business can be tough day to day.   So why do we do it?

There are a lot of reasons, but,  sometimes,  it’s just because of the days when it’s fun.

Because of the days when a blogger tries a string art kit you created and likes it.    Or the day when a crafting guru does a video demo of the new Color Your Own Mug Kit that is just perfect (and positive).   It could be the day when one of your many lovely Facebook friends, unprompted,  speaks up and recommends your company or your products to another who is asking for a recommendation.

Perhaps it’s the day when someone takes some products of yours and does something totally new and awesome with them.    Or you get a note or an e-mail in which you’re told that a product you carry inspired someone to do something they’d never tried before, and the result was better than they’d ever dreamed.   It’s definitely fun the day a you get to solve a problem;  recommending a product that helps someone out of a jam and makes their life easier.

Fun is always in the mix in when new products and possibilities arrive on the dock.   Maybe you come up with a kit that could help quilt shop owners sell remnants of fabric in a fun (and adorable) way.   Or perhaps you add some markers that extend the possibility and creativity of sublimation to a new customer base.    Maybe, one day, some cuddly rag dolls show up on your dock,  and suddenly there’s a whole new range of cute with which to play.    The almost best part,  when something new shows up,  is wondering what your amazing customers will do with these new products.   The best part is finding out.

It’s certainly a good day when you can solve a problem and help someone out.   Maybe you’re at a craft or trade show answering questions for someone who is just starting out.   Perhaps you share your knowledge and expertise in Facebook groups or on Twitter.  Maybe you write a blog, or two,  where you share knowledge and information gained from years of experience.   Some days it’s just taking a minute to encourage someone who is experiencing one of the tougher aspects of being in this industry.

So,  yeah,  running a business can be tough,  and there are days when you’re going to wonder why you’re doing it and if it’s worth it.   Those days aren’t the ones that matter though.   The days that will stick in your memory are those days  when everything goes well and you feel like you’ve done good work and made a difference.  That’s when it’s fun,  and worthwhile.

We’ve told you about some of the days when running EnMart has been fun,  but we’re more interested in hearing about your best days.   What has made running your business the most fun?   Share your answer in the comments.    We look forward to hearing what you have to say.

How To Apply for Wholesale Pricing from EnMart

Like many suppliers,  EnMart offers wholesale pricing to those customers that qualify.   In our case,  wholesale pricing is a percentage off the public price,  the price anyone can see if they came to our homepage and click the start shopping button.  The public prices are freely visible, and can be seen without logging in or creating an account.

Wholesale prices,  on the other hand,  can only be seen once a customer has applied for a wholesale account and been approved.  Once a customer has been approved,  wholesale prices are visible only if the shopper is logged in.  Otherwise all pricing will reflect the public price.   This keeps our wholesale prices private,  so that any of our customers who wish to resell any of our products will not have to worry about their customers seeing the prices at which the goods being sold were purchased.

The application process works as follows:

  1.  Go to the EnMart homepage.   On this page,  you’ll see four buttons.   The one on the far righthand side says, “I need a business log-in”.  Click that button.
  2. Once the button is clicked a form will appear.  There will also be a text box which explains the steps we had to take to get around our $25 minimum order requirement.  The upshot of the explanation in the box is that you will not be charged $25 for applying for a log-in.
  3. After you’ve read the explanation,  go ahead and fill out the form.  MAKE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR TAX I.D. NUMBER.  Applications for wholesale pricing without tax i.d. numbers will not be considered.
  4. Complete the form and click the “Submit Order” button when done.
  5. Once the form has been submitted,  we will review your information. During normal business hours,  most people are notified of approval or denial within an hour or less.   On weekends and after normal business hours,  approval and notification will take longer.
  6. After your account has been approved,  you must remember to log-in before shopping.  This will allow you to see wholesale prices.  If you shop and fill your cart without logging in,  you will not see wholesale pricing until you log-in at checkout.

NOTE:  You can also reach the wholesale account application form from any page by clicking the “Wholesale” button on the top menu.

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The Benefits of Crafting

We all know that crafting it trendy right now.   Whether it’s turning something that would be trash into something new and usable,  making wearables instead of buying them,  creating items to express your personality,  or just finding a fun activity for a rainy day,  creative arts involving quilting, embroidering and other sorts of thread or yarn crafts have never been more popular.    The great thing for those who do those activities, whether it’s for business or fun or a combination of the two,  is that crafting has been shown to have a lot of benefits beyond resulting in a beautiful finished project.

One big benefit of crafting is reducing stress.   The repetitive motions required by some crafting projects induce a state that’s almost like meditation.    Activities like knitting have been shown to help people with anxiety disorders cope with their anxiety issues.  Just taking the time to focus on a project and relax can have huge benefits when it comes to lessening stress levels.  Reduced stress leads to lower blood pressure,  better sleep,  a reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes and a greater quality of life.

Creating things,  whether it’s through using a craft kit or making your own design from scratch has also been shown to improve mental function and head off age-related mental decline.  Studies have shown that people who do activities, crafting among them,  that keep their minds active have a much better chance of avoiding problems like dementia, loss of memory or cerebral atrophy.  Crafting provides challenges to the brain and keeps the neural pathways stimulated.  One clinical trial showed that the benefits of activities like crafting can last up to 10 years.

Working on a crafting project also has mood elevating benefits,  and can help those who are dealing with depression.   Crafting stimulates the reward center in the human brain,  causing it to release dopamine,  a natural mood elevator.  There is pleasure in the process of creating and then pleasure in seeing the finished project displayed or worn.  Obviously,  crafting is not a substitute for therapy or medication if the problem is on-going,  but it can be a part of a concentrated program of treatment.   For those who are simply having a blue mood or a bad day,  crafting can help brighten things and provide focus and a sense of accomplishment.

Crafting also has a wide variety of social benefits.  People who quilt or knit or hand embroider often meeting in circles or guilds to share their work and offer tips and help to each other.  There are Facebook groups for things like quilting,  knitting and embroidery.  Local quilt shops or yarn shops often offer classes where crafters can meet others who enjoy the same activities.   Crafting also offer a way to be social to those who might be more introverted or uncomfortable in a social setting.   Doing a craft offers a point of commonality and an easy way to interact with others.

If you’re interested in gaining some of the benefits of crafting for yourself,  we can help.   Check out our Pinterest boards for craft tutorials and ideas for crafting projects.  For those who want a project they can complete in a few hours,  our Pretty Twisted Craft Kits are a great option.  Finally,  if you’re looking for supplies for machine embroideryhand embroidery or crochet,  you can find those on our site as well.

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How to: Order from EnMart

order-onlineIt occurred to me the other day that we put tools in place to make it easier for our customers to order and to take advantage of pricing levels and other incentives,  but what we think is easier might not appear the same way to those who are buying from us.   So,  I started looking at the site through the eyes of a customer,  and trying to figure out,  if I were new to the site,  what I could grasp easily and what might be harder to figure out.  Once I had my list,  I decided to put a blog post together,  to help those of you who buy from us get the most of your EnMart experience.

Wholesale Pricing:  Wholesale pricing is available to those businesses that have a tax i.d. number and who apply for a wholesale account.   If you do not apply and your account is not set up for wholesale pricing,  you will not see those prices nor receive them at checkout.  To apply for a business log-in,  you can click the “I Need A Business Log-in” button on the home page,  or click the “Wholesale” button in the top menu on any other page of the site.   You must submit your tax i.d. number to be considered for wholesale pricing.  Once your application is received,  it generally is approved quickly.   You will be notified by e-mail when your wholesale account is activated.   To see wholesale pricing,  make sure you log-in before you shop.

Pricing Levels: There are some products which only have one tier of pricing,  which is wholesale pricing.   Often this is because it is a product which wouldn’t interest the general public,  is one that can’t be seen by the general public,  or is a product that has an industry wide or manufacturer mandated price that we need to meet.  Things like thread,   backingblank patches and bobbins do have both public and wholesale pricing,  so having a wholesale log-in if you’re qualified for one is a good option.

Shipment Times: Our goal is always to ship every order as quickly as we can.  Most orders,  if they contain goods we can simply pull off a shelf will ship same day,  if placed before 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.  Things that need to be made,  like blank patches,  have longer lead times for shipping.  When there is a lead time,  it will be noted on the page for the item.   Order shipment speed may also be impacted by the volume of orders received.

Sales Tax: By law,  EnMart is required to charge sales tax in Michigan,  Illinois,  California,  Nevada,  Georgia and New Jersey.  When someone applies for a business log-in,  if they are in one of those states,  the approval e-mail will also contain an attached form,  which must be completed and submitted back to EnMart for an account to be made tax exempt.   If the form is not completed and on file,  we must charge sales tax.

If you ever have questions about anything pertaining to EnMart,  you can always feel free to contact us. We want your shopping experience with EnMart to be a good one,  so feel free to reach out if you need any assistance.

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How To: Vinyl and Rhinestones on a Cubbie

Please note:  The manufacturer of Cubbies does not recommend that Cubbies be used for anything except embroidery.   This was an experiment that an EnMart customer did that we wanted to share with you.

WeIMG_3897 have long maintained that Cubbies are about a lot more than just birth announcements and can be decorated in a variety of ways,  some of which don’t involve thread.  Today we’re going to prove that to you,  by featuring a Cream Dumble,  decorated by Brandi Womack of MommaWombatCreations.   This adorable little guy is decorated with both rhinestones and vinyl.  Best of all, Brandi provided us with some hints and tips on how you can create your own decorated Dumble or other Cubbie, using these materials.

The infinity heart was a design that Brandi created herself,  because she couldn’t find an existing design that she liked.  At first the heart and the infinity symbol were intended to both be vinyl,  but Brandi decided to add a little bling to the design by creating the infinity symbol from rhinestones instead.   Templates were created using a Silhouette Cameo.   Sticky flock with hotflex tape was used for the rhinestone template.  The vinyl is Siser Easyweed.  The vinyl was pressed to the ear using a heat press set at 310 degrees.  It only needed to be tacked in place, so it was only pressed for a few seconds.  The rhinestones required that the temperature on the heat press be bumped up to 325 degrees and required a press time of 25 seconds.

The other ear has a vinyl monogram featuring the initials of both Brandi and her husband.It was created offset in two layers.  It was pressed at 310 degrees to tack it into place and then pressed for a full 22 seconds to secure it to the Dumble.  Please keep in mind that pressing temperatures will vary based on the type of vinyl used for the project.

Finally,  Brandi added the jaunty bow around Mr. Dumble’s neck as the finishing touch.   The bow was created using ribbon and floral wire.   The first step was to fold the ribbon end over end and then twisting floral wire around the middle of the folded ribbon to hold the bundle together.  Then the ribbon was fluffed until it achieved the desired fullness.  After that,  a longer piece was cut to go around the Dumble’s neck,  using a noose like loop.   Additional floral wire secured the bow to the loop for the neck.  The wire was trimmed as short as it could be to match the length of the ribbons. Once the wire was trimmed,  the bow was slipped over the neck,  and the ends of the ribbon were trimmed to a length that suited the size of the Dumble.

This is a great design for an anniversary or wedding gift,  and would be a treasured memento for any couple.   It also goes to show that vinyl and rhinestones can be an elegant way to decorate a Cubbie.

To see more of Brandi Womack’s work,  visit MommaWombatCreations on Facebook.

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Happy Independence Day

4thOfJuly

 

 

EnMart will be closed on Monday,  July 4, 2016 in honor of Independence Day.   We will resume normal business hours on Tuesday,  July 5, 2016.

We wish everyone a happy and safe holiday!

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Thanks for 2015

be-thankfulSo,  a year has passed.    We’re sitting here in the last day of 2015 and everyone is writing best of lists or top whatever lists and trying to sum up the year that’s almost gone before we start the year that’s almost here.  I’ve written best of or top whatever lists in the past so this year I wanted to try something a little different.

Basically,  I wanted to say thanks.

Thank you for supporting EnMart in 2015.   Whether you ordered product,  recommended us to someone who was looking for a service or item we offer,  or left us a review,  we appreciate your support.  Anyone who runs a business knows  the hardest thing to do is to build a customer base that likes what you do and keeps coming back.   We’ve been extraordinarily lucky in that regard and I’m grateful for that.

Thanks also for making this such a great year in social media.   EnMart started the year with roughly 1500 fans of our Facebook page and we’ll be ending it with just over 8000 fans.    Something similar has happened with our Twitter feed and the constant stream of repins tells me our Pinterest boards are alive and well.  We’re so pleased that so many of you have taken an interest in what we have to say.    We will,  hopefully,  keep entertaining,  enlightening and educating through social media in 2016.

A big thank you to those who challenged us this year.   We pride ourselves on being a resource for those just starting out and those who have been in the game for a while.    We appreciate your questions and your suggestions for what we could do next and what we could do better.    Just like any other business,  we learn and grow partly because that’s what we have to do to meet the needs of our customers.   Thank you for expressing those needs to us and sticking with us while we worked to learn what we needed to know to meet them.

Finally,  thank you for making us excited about 2016.   We’re expanding into new markets,  trying new trade shows (and some old favorites) and looking forward to seeing where 2016 takes us.   We will be off on January 1 to celebrate the New Year,  but we’ll be back on January 4,  ready for a new year and the surprises and successes it will bring.   Happy New Year to all of you and may 2016 be your best year ever!

EnMart East is On the Move

Cardboard box package on wheels

EnMart East,  our location in New Jersey,  is moving to a new facility.  As of 1/4/16,  they will now be located at the following address:

8555 Tonnelle Avenue
Unit 306
North Bergen, New Jersey  07047

The phone number has also changed.  The new phone number is (201) 662-1816.

Orders may still be placed by calling the toll free number – 866-516-1300.

Local pick-up will be available at the new location.

EnMart Extras: What’s Ahead in 2016

time-flies-400x298It’s hard to believe that 2015 is almost over.   In some ways it seems like yesterday was the DAX Show in Kansas City or Quilt Market in Houston.   Still,  we have less than a week until it’s 2016,  so I thought today might be a good day to preview some of what we have in store for the upcoming year.

First,  did you know we’ve added some new Dumbles to our product offerings?   We now have yellow and gray and will shortly have mint green as well.  The new Dumbles are as adorable as the old ones,  just in gender neutral colors that would work for almost any nursery.

Second,  in 2016, screen print supplies will be added to the list of products EnMart offers.  We’ll start with test sheets and sprays most likely,  and then move on to other products as we find suppliers.  EnMart’s parent company, Ensign Emblem,  has been creating screen printed emblems for industrial laundries for years,  so expanding EnMart into screen print only makes sense.

Third,  we’ll be updating our notions.   Scissors have always been a weakness for us,  since we’re picky about the quality that we offer.   Luckily we’ve found some that we like,  along with some needles and supplies for hand embroidery and crafting and crochet that we think are top notch.   So all that will be added to the website and available for purchase.

Finally,  we’ll be at some new shows this year,  and some old favorites.   EnMart will be in booth 751 at the TNNA Show in San Diego in January,  and at the VDTA Show that same month.   We’ll also be exhibiting at all the DAX Shows this year,  and I’m sure our show schedule will get more crowded as the year goes on.

We look forward to seeing and talking with as many of you as we can in 2016.  It’s going to be a great year!