Printwear

December '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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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 jennifer@nnep.com or go to www.nnep.com. F or an embroidery business owner, one of the most common frustrations is when a custom- er walks in with an item for embroidery. This is frustrating because the item may be poorly made or of low quality, making it a less-than-ideal candidate for embroidery, and there's always a risk that some- thing could go wrong when working on another's product. Embroidering that existing product also means a loss of profit because there's no markup. After having another tough conversation with an embroidery business owner about this issue, I had a startling aha moment. We simply present ourselves as embroiderers rather than product suppliers who can also add logos, designs, and monograms. By only positioning ourselves as embroiderers, our customers believe that means they need to bring the products to us for embroidery. CREATE A NEW MESSAGE With one simple shift in your mindset and marketing, you can change how your busi- ness is perceived by your community. Shape your marketing message around your custom products—your stadium blankets with monograms and mascots and your golf shirts with company logos. Shift the focus to the product, and then add the description of how it can be decorated at the end of the sentence. For example, you can say, "We do em- broidery." Or you can say, "We offer one- of-a-kind products that are customized with logos, designs, monograms, and more." The difference may seem like "to-may-toes" and "to-mah-toes" to some, but the difference is significant. From there, shift the conversation about embroidery even more. When asked what A New Conversation One small change can make a big impact 5 6 | PRINTWEAR D EC E M B E R 20 1 4 Instead of selling on em- broidery, sell your busi- ness as a customized product supplier. This helps paint a complete picture to clients and avoids the risk of working on a client's good. (All im- ages courtesy the author)

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