EnMart’s Tips and Tricks for Success

Every company is different,  and each has its own way of doing things,  and its own little insider secrets.  Since the end of 2018 is close at hand,  I figured it might be a good time to share a few tips for getting the most from your relationship with EnMart,  so you can start 2019 off on the right note.

Tip #1:  Look for the discounts and the specials –  Iris UltraBrite Polyester Thread,  the king cones anyway,  definitely falls in this category.  Did you know if you purchase 12 or more in any combination of colors you will receive a dollar off per cone?  That takes the wholesale price of a dozen cones from $76.20 to $64.20.  There are also quantity discounts on certain items as well.   Make sure to check the “Qty Breaks” tab on the sublimation products and on blank patches.  Purchasing a few more items than planned could be very helpful to your budget.

Tip #2: Sell what others don’t sell – EnMart offers a few products that other suppliers don’t offer.   One such product is the Iris Thread mentioned previously.  Another product that is available only from EnMart is the Remembears.  Offering a product your competitors don’t offer gives you an advantage in your particular marketplace.  If you seize the opportunity early,  you can lock in and dominate the customer base for those products.

Tip #3: Order early –  We at EnMart pride ourselves on our speedy shipping and strive to get orders for goods that don’t need to be manufactured out the same day. If you want prompt shipping of your orders,  it’s best to place them as early in the day as you can.   Our official cut off time for same day orders is 2 p.m.  In practice we may stretch that a little,  but it’s still always best to order sooner rather than later.

Tip #4: Time Issue – Talk To Us – We know that sometimes orders get placed at the last minute, or a customer brings you a rush order and you need supplies now.  We’re familiar with the panic that can cause,  and we’re willing to help,  if you let us know.   If you have a time sensitive issue with an order,  put a note on the order when you place it,  or contact us to let us know about your needs.  We can’t promise to be able to meet every request,  but we certainly can’t meet any of the ones we don’t know anything about.

Tip #5 – Follow us on Social Media – Want to be the first to know about specials or sales?  Eager to hear about new products before your competitors?  EnMart generally spreads any news we have to share through our social media feeds or by e-mail.   Follow EnMart on Facebook or Twitter,  or visit our boards on Pinterest to stay up on what’s happening at EnMart.  You can also join our mailing list to be sure you receive our e-mails.

Why Having a Consistent Thread Matters

I’d guess everyone who works with thread in any fashion has their likes and dislikes when it comes to thread brands.   When you’re just starting out,  it’s hard to know which brand will serve you well and meet your needs the best. Some people buy thread based on what came with their machine.  Other embroiderers work more with colors they need to match rather than thread brands they like.  Certainly there are those who buy based on price, and the cheaper price always seems to win.  One thing that isn’t often considered,  but should be,  is how consistent the thread is.

A consistent thread is one that retains the same properties over time.  The hues of the dyes used to color the thread don’t change.  The tensile strength of the thread remains constant.  The cost of the thread stays reasonably steady.  The quality of the thread doesn’t vary from lot to lot.   What you got when you used the thread for the first time should,  if the thread is consistent,  be the same as what you get when you use the thread for the thirty-first time.  Being consistent is important for thread for several reasons.

Reason 1: Colors don’t change –  Anyone who’s matched a color for a customer knows the importance of color consistency.  Once you find the perfect color to match their logo or graphic,  you need that color to match every time you do an order.  Customers,  as we all know,  can be very picky about color matching.  The last thing you need is a thread color that changes a bit with every dye lot.  A consistent thread will maintain color integrity across dye lots.  The dye recipe will be precise and will be precisely followed.

Reason 2: Strength and durability – An inconsistent thread will have weak spots,  areas where the fibers are uneven or aren’t as thick.  It won’t hold tension as well and may be more prone to thread breaks.   A consistent thread, on the other hand,  will be even, without weak spots.   It will sew smoothly and thread breaks will be limited, and more likely due to design issues than the quality of the thread.  Consistent thread also generally causes far fewer thread breaks,  which results in much less downtime for production.

Reason 3:  Price – Consistent thread is unlikely to be the least expensive thread on the block,  but the quality will be worth paying a slightly higher price.  It’s also unlikely that the prices for a consistent thread will fluctuate much,  since the manufacturer will have sourced quality supplies and ensured their supply chain is secure.  While the price may be adjusted to reflect inflation or changes in the economy,  overall the price should stay pretty steady.

Reason 4:  Sew-out –  A consistent thread will sew out the same every time you sew a design.   It won’t sew perfectly one time and become a knotted mess the next. A thread you can rely on is one that can be predicted,  one that you know will create embroidery that will satisfy your customers.   If you constantly have to adjust tensions or mess with the machine to get the same results as a prior sew-out,  you’re losing time and certainly adding to your stress level.

In the end,  a consistent thread is one that performs the job for you best over the long term.   Yes,  a thread that stays consistent probably won’t be the cheapest option,  but a higher price will be more than justified by the faster production,  stable color and pain free sew-outs.

Core Colors

Let’s face it,  most embroiderers do about 80% of their embroidery with a few core colors.   Black, white,  maybe a red and a blue,  maybe some colors specific to logos in their area,  but most embroidery is done with a fairly consistent palette.  The rest of the thread embroiderers buy is for one offs,  jobs that may only happen once,  which are special requests from a customer,  or which may be small jobs which won’t use an entire cone of thread.  That thread may never get used again,  and generally forms what we call the “thread museum”,  the colors that are always on display,  but rarely,  if ever, used.    With care and proper storage,  that thread can last forever,  which is nice,  but not vital.  What really matters is the thread that accounts for the most expenditure of budget and stitches per garment.

We know that, for many embroiderers,  converting from one thread manufacturer to another is like going to the dentist.  No one really likes doing it,  and you may not do it at all unless you’re in pain.  Our parent company has gone through a conversion process a few times,  so we understand it can be a big undertaking.  We also know it can be very worth the time and effort.  Because we understand what conversion involves,  we’ve also developed some tools to help make the process easier.

One tool is our online thread cross reference converter.  We’ve already done the conversions for a lot of the popular thread brands in both polyester and rayon.   All you have to do is access the converter and search for the brand and number you want to convert.   If we have an acceptable match,  you’ll find the number you need and can click it to see the Iris Thread match.

Another option for conversion is to contact us directly and ask for our help.  We have decades of experience in color matching and can easily help you convert your colors.  All you would need to do is get us a list of the core colors you currently use and want to convert, and we would do the rest.  We even understand digitizing and setting up colors for embroidery machines,  so we may be able to offer advice and support in that area too.

Remember,  too,  that converting your core colors is less work than converting your entire thread museum.  Since your core colors account for roughly 80% of your embroidery work,  those are the colors that will turn most frequently.  If you are interested in obtaining a sample of Iris Thread to try or in converting your current thread inventory to Iris,  talk to your account executive or our customer service staff about what programs may be available.

Customer Spotlight: Judy Hansen

Name:  Judy Hansen

Business:  Quilt Shop of DeLand (Quilt Shop and Pattern/Book Company)

Website:  http://www.quiltshopofdeland.com

Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/Quilt-Shop-of-DeLand-Inc-137627432655

Judy Hansen is a quilt shop owner,  an educator,  a designer and an effervescent ball of energy and enthusiasm.  She has owned Quilt Shop of Deland for the past 16 years. Judy is also an author,  having written three books on quilting and creating over 75 patterns.  She has also designed over a dozen colorful fabric lines.  We’re proud to say that Judy will be sharing some of her skills and knowledge with those who visit EnMart in booth 2312 at Quilt Market.  Judy believes that “an educated quilter is just more fun!”  and she will be helping to create both fun and educational moments in our booth.  Before you stop by booth 2312 to see her at Market,  you can learn a bit more about her here.

Please describe your work.

JH:  I have owned the Quilt Shop of DeLand for 16 years.   It has been an incredible journey!  We started out in a small 700 square foot store,  but now own a 3,000 square foot building.  My inventory includes all the items you would expect in a quilt shop,  but our specialty is how we package our offerings and how we treat our customers.

What do you like best about what you do?

JH: Oh that’s easy  – the quilters walking in the door!  I love customer contact and interacting – having fun with the ladies and occasionally guys who quilt.  I love hearing their stories, who they learned to quilt from, who they are making a quilt for and I love my shop staff.

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

JH: For me,  finding enough hours in the day to do all the things I love.   I taught school for 20 years before opening the shop and I love to teach quilting but only do it on a large scale now, generally at Guilds,  Houston Quilt Market Schoolhouse and AQS Shows.  I also love to design fabric,  and am now with Blank Fabric.   I also design patterns and write books.  I am a big multi-tasker so somehow it all gets done.

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

JH: The economy can be a big downer…many of my customers are retired and, of course,  their lifestyle comes first.

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

JH: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to draw.  I was also so fortunate to have my grandmother live with us.  She taught me to sew from an early age.

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

JH: I had a lovely mentor who owned Quilter’s Marketplace in Florida since the early 80s.  One of the very first shops in the state.  She was generous with her time and advice when I was opening and we are still friends.

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

JH: Do your research,  write a business plan.   It can be as simple as:

Who:  Who is your customer,  what age,  where will you find them,  this will guide advertising.

What: What do you want to sell?  If you want to sell fabric mainly,  have classes.  Also, price range,  what do you want people to say about our prices when they walk into your shop.

When: When will you be open, and will you sell online as well.  Remember your family will be impacted by these choices too.

Where:  A biggie! Location and surroundings can determine a lot.  Do you want to be a discount mart?  A classy shop?

Why:  Why are you opening this business? Passion can only take you so far.  Many business owners start with zero staff and work 24/7.

What are your goals for your business?

JH: To continue to be one of the best shops in the nation!  I love staying up to date, and our motto is: “the newest,  the latest, and the very best products and service”.

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

JH: I hired knowledgeable quilters at first,  but I soon found out that employees don’t need to know everything about quilting.  What they do need is to love people and be enthusiastic about quilting.

What is your favorite leisure time activity?

JH: My family and spending time with my 3 little grandbabies  — all under 4.  And reading!  I love novels,  mysteries and quilting themed books.  I am also a fabric designer so I draw every chance I get.

Why do you buy from/work with EnMart?

JH: That’s easy,  they have a fantastic product that my staff, customers and myself all love.  A big plus is their customer service department and easy order website.

What EnMart products do you use most?

JH: I teach free motion quilting on the home/domestic machine and I love, love, love the 50 wt. cotton!  It’s wonderful to both piece and quilt with and the variegated colors are awesome!! The polyester – over 300 gorgeous colors – is great for embroidery which is a new love of mine,  and great in the bobbin too.   Iris thread is a real bonus with selling machines too.  The thread performs beautifully when we demonstrate stitches and we give a free spool with their machine to start them off with the best.

Why do you use these products?

JH: Quality is the key in quilting – you are stitching at high speeds and don’t have time for breakage or poor performance.   Iris is simply the best product we have found for our quilting.

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Time Travel Tuesday: Which Thread is Best

extra-35-picAmong the eternal questions that plague the machine embroidery community,  the question of which thread is best is probably the one heard most often.  Sometimes the question involves what type of thread works best,  and sometimes it centers more on which brand of thread is best,  but the answer required always centers around a comparison and a qualification,  something has to come out on top as “the best”.

A couple decades ago,  the answer to the which thread is best question,  at least when it came to type of thread,  would have been rayon.  Made from regenerated cellulose,  rayon was the thread of choice for a lot of embroiderers back in the day.   It had great shine and made embroidery pop,  but it wasn’t necessarily a strong thread,  or a washfast one.  Still, for a long time,  it was the only game in town.

Polyester,  in the time when rayon was king,  was primarily a matte thread,  dull and not considered a show piece thread.  Over time, though, manufacturers,  like Hilos Iris,  started working on creating a polyester thread with shine.  They also worked on strength and durability,  using trilobal fibers to make the thread both stronger and shinier.  The result was a polyester thread that could beat rayon at its own game,  a thread that equaled rayon in shine,  but exceeded it in colorfastness,  washfastness and strength.   While there are still die hard rayon users in the embroidery world,  a lot of embroiderers have switched to polyester.

Once an embroiderer settled on what type of thread to use,  the next question to be answered was which brand was best.   As with the rayon/polyester debate,  the choices for a brand of thread started out narrower and expanded over the years.  Madeira and Robinson Anton are brands that have been around for a quite a while.  American and Efird has been around for over 100 years.  Coats and Clark, in one incarnation or another,  has been around for quite a while as well.

As time went on,  new brands entered the market place.   Iris thread,  a trilobal polyester was introduced to the American market in 2007.  Fil-Tec introduced their Glide thread.   Companies started bringing in and selling cheaper thread from the Pacific Rim.  Suddenly,  embroiderers were spoiled for choice.  The question about which thread was best was heard more and more often.

The simple answer to the question of what thread is best is this:  the best thread is the thread that works most efficiently for you.  Different threads will sew out differently depending on what machine is being used.   The fabric being sewn, and how the design is digitized can also have an impact on how well a thread works.  The durability, colorfastness and washfastness of the thread should also be considered.   Thread breaks that slow down productions,  or colors that run can lead to lost business and lost time.

The biggest mistake embroiderers make,  in my opinion,  when considering which thread is best for them is placing price at the top of the list of things to consider.  Many shops may operate on strict budgets and price will need to be factored into the purchasing decision,  but placing price before how the thread sews out,  or giving price more weight than the durability of the thread, or settling for a thread that isn’t colorfast because it’s a thread that’s cheap accomplishes exactly the opposite of what’s intended.  Not all cheap thread is bad thread,  and not all expensive thread is great thread,  but the likelihood that a thread that costs more will also have more time, effort and quality materials in its construction should not be ignored.

One way to gather data for your decision about which thread is best for you without breaking your budget is to ask the thread manufacturer for a sample you can test.   Most manufacturers or distributors will be happy to send out a sample.   If you’d like a sample of Iris thread,  please contact us and we’ll be happy to get one out to you.

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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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