May '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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20 1 4 M ay Printwear | 6 3 STITCH SOLUTIONS by JENNIFER COX Jennifer Cox is the president and co-founder of the National Network of Em- broidery Professionals (NNEP), a professional organization for apparel decora- tion business owners. NNEP supports the success of NNEP members with best practices, ideas, sources, solutions, volume buying benefits and services. Cox was recognized as a Top 50 Small Business Influencer and Community Choice Leader by Small Biz Trends in 2013, is recognized as one of the industry's "Most Creative Thinkers" and repeatedly ranks in the top 40 on the industry's "Power List." Reach her at or go to 6 2 | Printwear M ay 20 1 4 A t the NNEP (the National Network of Em- broidery Professionals), we receive a high number of calls and emails from people con- sidering starting an embroidery business or adding embroidery to their existing business. Over the last two decades, I have developed a list of what you should know or decide in order to launch a successful and profitable embroidery operation. While this is not intended to be an Embroidery 101 primer, what follows are the keys that will likely determine the lev- el of success you are able to achieve within the first year or two as an embroiderer. EquipmEnt Everyone asks, "What machine should I buy?" My response is always the same: "The com- mercial machines that are now available are all quality machines, they create gorgeous em- broidery. I think you need to be asking different questions." Try instead: What kind of training do I get with this machine? There is a key difference between "train- ing" and "education." Training is provided by the machine manufacturer or the com- pany from whom you purchased the ma- chine. It is when you learn what buttons to push to make the machine function. Education, on the other hand, is the pro- Start an embroidery Business | | | | The embroidery business is about making customers happy. Learning to master the trade and provide exceptional quality is the key to that goal. (Images courtesy ana Hen- derson, EMbroidery Exceptionally Made) PW_MAY14.indd 62 4/17/14 9:49 AM

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