May '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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7 2 | Printwear M ay 20 1 4 20 1 4 M ay Printwear | 7 3 to determine the lesser density needed for thicker threads and the greater density used for thinner threads," she elaborates. Here, it is important to embrace the little changes. "Achieving setup and digi- tization modifications are well within an experienced embroiderer's capabilities," Hatton points out. He goes on to explain that some specialty threads, such as poly- ester glow-in-the-darks, don't require sig- nificant changes from a standard polyester. In this same spirit of making simple modifications, it is also necessary for se- lecting needles. Needle requirements change depending on the specific thread. "Using the correct needle type is extreme- ly important," emphasizes Brooks. When working with mixed or twist threads, for example, she states that a topstitch nee- dle, which has an elongated eye, is best. "Metallic needles are made specifically for metallic thread and do make a difference," she adds. Hatton goes on to list other specifics for metallic thread, stating that it is rougher than other threads, which can pose prob- lems. "To minimize production interrup- tions with metallic embroidery threads, make sure your equipment is in excellent running condition," he advises. He adds that softer materials and backings run with fewer interruptions, especially at slower speeds, when using metallic. The speed factor is another adjustment that Brooks pays particular attention to: "There are a few specialty threads that require a slower speed," she points out. It may seem that losing a little extra time could be detrimental, but that's not nec- essarily the case. "The end result will be worth the extra time it took to stitch it, as specialty threads allow the decorator to form a niche in their market," she says. A PlAce in the SPotlight Being a part of a niche market is just one benefit of using specialty threads. The big reason to utilize them, though, is the profit. "Specialty effects cost more when it comes to investing in the specialty thread, but they also allow embroiderers to charge twenty to twenty-five percent more for the finished product," Wolf explains. On top of that, the finished product also serves as word-of-mouth advertising, bringing in referrals and creating more customers. Ultimately, it is the customer looking for something unique that will drive profits. Thus, Brooks emphasizes that it is import- ant to show clients every option that will make them stand out in the crowd. "Show- ing your customer several options done in different thread styles will make you more money and create loyalty," she states. Some options that will keep custom- ers coming back include mixing specialty thread with other decorating methods, such as screen printing. "Mixing media can make the difference between 'OK' and 'OMG' for a customer," Wolf laughs. More serious- ly, this also ups the profit, as mixed-media decorations add value to the end product. In the end, it's all about pushing past the comfort zone and taking on new challeng- es, big or small. To that point, Wolf says taking the time is well worth it: "From changing needles, to re-threading the machine, to stitching out the same design with a few different set- tings—set aside the time, and the results will pay for the time spent." specialty embroidery threads pw PW_MAY14.indd 72 4/17/14 9:52 AM

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