Featured Friday, Information, Inspiration, Instruction 10/19/18

Because Autumn is winding down (in some places),  Winter is closing in (not quite yet, please), and it’s the end of another work week,  I thought I’d share some of the things that have amused me, inspired me or educated me recently.

First on the docket,  a cool way to create a hand embroidered look with machine embroidery.  Many people like the timeless look of cross stitch,  but don’t want to count the stitches.   This post from Creative Machine Embroidery Magazine discusses how to create the look of cross stitch on your embroidery machine.  It’s a pretty extensive tutorial.

Second on the list,  the news that there is now a way to create sublimated items without a sublimation system.   Our own Tom Chambers tells you all about how to sublimate without a sublimation system in a terrific blog post on the SubliStuff blog.  Tom has been writing a couple of posts a month about various sublimation topics for that blog,  so if you do sublimation or are interested in learning more about sublimation,  it would be a good idea to bookmark the SubliStuff blog so you can come back to it later.

Third at bat,   a post from Erich Campbell,  part of his Ghost and the Embroidery Machine series for the Mr X Stitch blog.   In this post,  he’s talking about how to make machine embroidery and digitizing accessible for everyone.   He gives some great ideas for how people on limited budgets can learn the skills they need to start their own machine embroidery businesses.  It’s a terrific post that outlines many of the options available to those who are interested in embroidery.

Fourth in line,  although I don’t usually plug posts I write myself when I do these round-ups,  I’m going to make an exception this time.   I did a series on pricing for this blog and I think,  if I do say so myself,  it’s worth a read.   Part 1 talks about gathering data.  Part 2 talks about actually setting prices and how to communicate pricing info to your customers.   Part 3 talks about dealing with customers who want to argue or negotiate price.

Finally,  I need to point out this video of the 2RegularGuys podcast today.  The guests were Carolyn Cagle from Strikke Embroidery and Luiz Vitor Neto Mendes from Vitor Digitizing.   It was a fantastic and fascinating interview with a lot of food for thought in it.  Definitely worth a watch,  and I’m not just saying that because Carolyn called me one of her favorite people in the world at the end of the interview.  The link takes you to the video on Facebook.   When it’s available on their site as well,  I’ll update the post.

Featured Friday – Information, Inspiration, Instruction

Since it is Friday,  it seemed like it would be fun to do another Featured Friday post.   One thing I do want to mention,  before I spotlight other people’s work,  is the fact that we’ve been posting a blog post a day, every day during the work week,  here at Threaducate or at our sister blog, SubliStuff. We’ve worked to create a lot of great content,  and it’s definitely worth your time to go read.

That said,  on to what I think are the posts you should be reading this week.

First up,  although they’re on the Threaducate blog,  these posts,  Finding the Right Machine for You, Part 1 and Part 2 were written by Katie Wubben of Trouble Me Knot Embroidery.  Katie runs a screen print shop,  an embroidery shop,  lectures at the DAX Shows and sells Melco embroidery machines.  She knows her stuff and these posts show that.  She’s definitely a great guide if you’re looking to purchase a machine.

Second in the batting order is a post from Creative Machine Embroidery Magazine,  about how to use metallic embroidery thread.  I’m honestly not sure I agree with all their tips, and some I’ve never heard before (put thread in the freezer before embroidering) but I think there’s enough here that could be useful to include it in this round-up.   Also,  keep in mind that the quality of the metallic thread can matter greatly.   The Iris Metallic Thread that EnMart carries has been known to turn metallic thread haters into people who sew with metallic thread regularly.  It’s just that good!

Third in the rotation is a post from Marshall Atkinson of Atkinson Consulting called “Accountability is Binary“.  Honestly,  I’d love this post just for the name,  but what it says is marvelous too.  The post basically leads you through setting up procedures for your shop and how to get the best out of any department.  As the title implies,  there is a correct way and a wrong way to do things.  This post tells you how to set up procedures that will help your people do the correct thing.

Fourth at bat is a post I think I might have shared in a previous round-up,  but it’s such a useful post I want to share it again.   This post from Erich Campbell deals with embroidery on substrates that have a texture,  towels,  fleece, that sort of thing.  There is an art to doing embroidery on these types of substrates well,  and Erich’s tips will help you master that art.  If you want to go for the graduate course in taming textures,  you can also read Part 2 of this series.

Finally,  a post about ways,  9 ways specifically,  to promote your website.  Since almost every company has a website these days,  this is useful information.  Not sure I agree with all of their tips,  but they not only provide the tip,  they provide action items to help you implement the tip.   Definitely a good read for those who are looking to bring more visitors to their website.

Featured Friday: Inspiration, Information, Instruction

It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these, so for those who aren’t familiar with the concept,  “Featured Friday”  is a reincarnation of the “Friday Blog Round-Up”  which came from the EmbroideryTalk Blog and basically was a post where I linked to interesting items I’d found that I thought would be helpful to our readers.  “Featured Friday”  allows me to share all the neat stuff I find with all of you and hopefully provoke some discussion or new projects you can share with us all.

First up,  some tips on optimizing your production space for all you people who offer sublimated goods.  As we all know a well organized and regulated shop will often have a higher production rate than one that has to search for supplies,  or work in a disorganized mess.  These tips will help you get the most out of your workspace and your supplies.

Second on the list,  an introduction to a quilting technique that may seem quite familiar to some machine embroiderers.   The technique is called trapunto.  It involves two layers of fabric are embellished with hand stitching and then wool batting, cords or yarn are inserted between the two layers creating a raised surface.   The result looks very like 3D embroidery.   You can see examples of this type of work and get some instructions on creating the effect at the CME Blog.

Third at bat,  a post from Erich Campbell,  discussing that age old problem,  what to charge.   He approaches the issue from a different way in this blog post,  pointing out ways to make your embroidered product stand out or how to increase the product’s perceived value.  The approach makes a lot of sense,  and could be very helpful to those who are struggling with how to justify the prices they charge.

Fourth at the plate,  a post from Peter Shankman on why fear can be good for you.  No,  he’s not talking about fear of snakes or alligators or psycho killers approaching your shower,  he’s talking about the type of fear that stops you from giving a speech,  or approaching the new business prospect or buying that new piece of equipment.   Fear of that type,  according to Shankman,  is a sign you should go forward,  and serves to keep you sharp and focused on your goal.  It’s a good way to think about this type of fear, and may be a way to get past it,  and move toward your goals.

And finally,  just because it’s fun,  an ode to screenprinting written by Marshall Atkinson.  First it was my “Night Before Christmas” sublimation parody,  who knows what will be next.  An embroidery epic?  A rhinestone rant?

Featured Friday: The St. Patrick’s Day Edition

First of all,  Happy St. Patrick’s Day to everyone.   Are you all wearing your green and planning pub crawls later in the day?  Second,  it’s been a while since I’ve done a Featured Friday post,  so I thought I’d go over what Featured Friday is for those who may be new to the concept.   On Featured Friday,  I curate a list of blog posts or other items that I think will be helpful to people in the industries that EnMart serves.   It’s really just a list of stuff I think those who read this blog will find interesting and/or helpful.   Simple as that.

First up,  from Eileen’s Machine Embroidery Blog,  we have instructions on correcting a monogram mistake.  If you embroidered “SLT” and it’s really supposed to be “SLP” – this is a post you need to read.   Eileen leads you step by step through the correction process.  Even if you use a different software than she does,  the tips should still be helpful.

Second on the list is an examination of what Stahls’ calls 12 hot trends for 2017.  While it appears these trends are primarily dealing with vinyl,  most of what they talk about could be translated to other decoration mediums.  Mixing fonts,  adding shine with metallics and putting logos in non-standard placements are all trends that can be created using almost any decoration technique.  Definitely a lot to think about in this post.

Third at bat is an interesting post from Retail Minded about how to handle political divisions in the workplace.  The last election was contentious and people on both sides have strong views.   This post covers how to deal with people expressing those views in their day to day work lives.   It’s a very relevant post right now,  and the tips it gives can help keep your shop stress fee,  at least when it comes to political topics.

Fourth on the docket,  for the quilters among us,  a story of trying something new,  designers who say “draw your own” and buying fabric that you don’t remember buying.  I love the description of having the memory of buying one fabric and being shocked when the other fabric is received.   I think that’s a common thing for a lot of quilters,  along with fixating on finding just the right fabric to create what you want to create.   I’m sure many quilters will find what this post describes familiar.

Finally,  from Seth Godin,  we have a post about building your organization from both the top and the bottom.  I love this post because of what it says about leadership and about how much attitude matters when building a team or a workforce.   There are also some great tips for how to lead and how to create an organization that treats the people on the lowest rungs of the company as the foundation,  not disposable.   This is definitely worth a read.



Featured Friday 7/15/16

megaphoneWith all the problems in the world right now,  it seemed like a good day to spotlight some of the good that’s happening in the world.   People sharing knowledge is always a good thing,  and we’re lucky to have so many smart people out there who are willing to share what they know.

First to share knowledge this morning is Eileen from Eileen’s Machine Embroidery Blog.  She’s talking about stitching in ombre, a look I really like.  I’m with her in liking this look.  It’s visually interesting and doesn’t seem like it would be that difficult to do.

Second on the list is Stahls with a great post about different ways to get ready for football season,  if you’re the shop outfitting the team.  From two-a-day practice uniforms and athletic wear to sports bags,  Stahls has decoration suggestions that are sure to make your local football team happy.  It’s definitely time to start thinking about back to school,  and this post covers one aspect of decorating school apparel.

Third in line at the knowledge drop today is the Retail Minded blog,  with a discussion about rebranding and when it’s time to do so.  If you’re considering a rebrand for your business,  make sure it’s happening for the right reasons.  This post talks about some reasons to rebrand and how to refine your vision of what they new brand should be.   If you’re thinking your business image needs an upgrade,  this is a great post to read.

Fourth on the docket is a piece from the Purple Daisies Quilting blog,  which talks about the cost of all the free knowledge that people are sharing.  The post makes a good point,  people who love their craft and want to share it,  also love to share knowledge,  but sometimes sharing that knowledge is their business as well.  This post recommends trying to support those who are teaching you for free by purchasing their products and supporting their work.  I think it’s a good recommendation.

Last up,  I want to share a post from Seth Godin called “The Flip is Elusive“. With all that’s been happening in the world,  and because I’m kind of a crusader at heart,  I’ve been thinking about how we can change the world for the better,  and I think this post answers that question quite well.   It’s not about big and flashy.  It’s not about making others wrong so you can be right.  It’s about persistence,  and trying to understand what others are saying.  If we keep showing up day after day and try to make our little piece of the world better,  I believe we will succeed.


Featured Friday 6/10/16

iStock_000012611933MediumIt’s been a while since we’ve had a Featured Friday post,  so I figured today was a good day to do one. I have some new, good information to share with you,  so let’s get to it.

First up is a post from Eileen’s Machine Embroidery Blog about how to handle rush orders.  A rush order can create stress in a shop,  but it can also be profitable, and a great way to build credibility and gratitude with a business owner or event runner,  if you can get their order to them quickly.   The blog post makes good points,  one being this,  make sure to get all information in writing,  not over the phone.   When people are in a hurry, they make mistakes,  so having things in writing protects both parties.

Second on the docket is a post from Retail Minded about the new overtime rule and how it may impact businesses.  The focus of the article is retail stores,  but the advice it gives would apply equally well to decoration businesses.  I think the best advice in the piece is to start dealing with this now,  so your business isn’t blindsided in December.

Third at bat,  although I don’t usually promote my own writing in this series,  is a post I wrote for our sister blog, SubliStuff, about how to sublimate a Cubbie.  We’ve tried the process and know it isn’t that difficult to do.   It also may add another profit center to your business. We are also in the process of having some decorators test rhinestones and vinyl on Cubbies.  We’ll share the results of those tests when we have them.

Fourth on the list is a post from The Bling Blog by Sparkle Plenty which details 10 rules for working with your spouse.  I know of a lot of decoration businesses that are run by families or spouses, and it is a special kind of balancing act.  This post gives some good tips on how to keep work at work,  and how to make sure the business doesn’t take over the entire relationship.

Finally,  we have a post from the UnMarketing Blog about the fact that anything you put on social media,  whether you say it is personal and not in any way connected to your company or not,  reflects on your company.   That certainly is true for anyone who owns a company,  and often applies to employees as well.  It’s lovely to think that a small disclaimer can make personal and business separate,  but it can’t and it won’t.   The best way to handle this is to assume everything you say reflects on the business you work for,  and speak accordingly.   If you don’t choose to do that,  then be prepared for the consequences if you say something you shouldn’t, because there will be some.

Last but not least,  another plug for EnMart,  but it involves a really good sale,  so you don’t want to miss it.   We’re currently running a special on our sublimation systems for the month of June.  We’re offering free ink,  a sale on bypass trays and more.   If you’re thinking of buying a sublimation system it’s definitely worth check out.

Featured Friday 1/22/16

iStock_000012611933MediumI’d like to make these posts more of a regular thing but,  when I think about it, I realize that having them appear once in a while is more effective.   If I wait and save up all the good stuff I’ve seen and read,  the posts have more force when I finally make them live.   See,  there is a method to my madness.  (Insert evil laugh here).

First up this week is a great post from All Things Embroidery about sticking to the rules you’ve made for your business.  Chances are that those rules were made for a reason and most likely are in place to help you avoid stress and extra work.   It’s tempting to bend or break the rules,  especially when a customer is pressing you to do so,  but the rules are there for a reason.  This year,  resolve to remember that,  and keep to the rules you have in place.

Second on the list is a great post from Eileen’s Machine Embroidery Blog about getting your embroidery space organized.   I’m sure this is something that is on everyone’s list,  but it’s often tough to know where to start.   This post gives some good ideas for where to start organizing,  and how to go about it.

Third on the docket,  caps can be a profit center for many businesses,  but embroidering them isn’t always easy.   Joyce Jagger offers 9 rules for easy cap embroidery which will help make embroidering hats a simpler task.  All the tips are good,  but I think the one I like best is the one about always using cap backing when embroidering a hat. I’ve seen hat embroidery turn out poorly because the stabilizer wasn’t heavy enough for the job.  If you’re working with hats,  this post is definitely worth a read.

Fourth at bat is a terrific post from Retail Minded that asks “What is Your Company’s Customer Service Persona“? The post outlines five customer service approaches and details the strengths and weaknesses of each.  If you see yourself or your company in one of these personas,  it might be a good idea to take a minute and see if the analysis of strengths and weaknesses match up to your experiences.

Fifth in the rotation is a post from John Michael Morgan spotlighting 10 books every leader needs to read.  I’ve heard of most of these books,  but haven’t read them myself,  so I guess my reading list has just gained a few more entries.   If any of you have read any of the books on the list,  comment and let us know whether or not they were helpful.


Featured Friday: 11/20/2015

iStock_000012611933MediumThis is the inaugural Featured Friday for the new blog,  so I thought, first,  I would remind people that Featured Friday is really just a renamed import from the old blog.   On EmbroideryTalk,  Featured Friday was called The Friday Blog Round-Up,  but regardless of what it’s called on either blog,  the idea behind it remains the same.   This post is where I gather up the best ideas,  tips and hints, and blogs posts I’ve seen lately and share them with you.

First up,  we have a post by Joyce Jagger,  detailing why watching your machine do a sew out can help your business and shorten your production cycle.  This post details a lot of small issues for which you should watch and explains why noting these issues and fixing them is important.

Second on the list and bringing some holiday cheer,   we have a post from Stahls with 10 holiday gift ideas.   I think my favorite is the Ho cubed sweatshirt,  although it took me a minute to get the joke.   I’m a writer,  not a mathematician,  so I forgive myself for not getting the math joke right away.

Third at bat is a post from StitchWork about how to run a successful family business.  Since EnMart and its parent company, Ensign Emblem,  are family businesses,  this article made a lot of sense to me.  Although I am not a member of the founding family,  I’ve seen how the owners of Ensign and EnMart negotiate working with relatives and keep family time and business time separate.   I think the tips in this article are spot on.

Fourth on the docket is not just one post,  but a series.  Anyone who has read the previous incarnation of Featured Friday knows how much I love Urban Threads designs.   This year they’ve created an entire gift guide which details gifts you can make for the different people in your life.  Definitely some fun ideas on the list already,  and it will only grow as the weeks go on.

Fifth in the rotation is a post from Peter Shankman about networking and how most people are doing it wrong.  I like the idea of approaching networking with a “what can I do for you” mindset instead of wondering “what can everyone do for me”.   This is a good article for everyone to read, because we’re all networking all the time, whether we realize it or not.

Finally,  we have a post tailor made for the marketer in me,  that asks a good question,  what do you want your content to do.  Sometimes we get so caught up in creating content that we forget to think about the message we want that content to send and the response we hope that content will get.   This post is a great reminder that just creating content isn’t enough,  we need to consider our intent too.