February '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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24 || P R I N T W E A R F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 ERICH'S EMBELLISHMENTS FIND YOUR FOCUS You can be pulled in myriad di- rections by each creative project's possibilities. Though experimen- tation is good, not every project, product, or technique is meant to be part of your business. Define the needs of your target customer, play to your strengths, and focus on things that fit that mold, espe- cially while you are establishing yourself in business. Always question new ventures requiring an equipment purchase. If you aren't profitable with your existing equipment and the mar- ket for the new process is unclear, give some attention to your core work before taking on the ex- pense. Adding equipment or pro- cesses can enhance your offerings and profit. It's just more common that we'll be dazzled by a new cre- ative toy than we'll need to buy a new item to bolster business. You must know to whom you'd sell a new product or process well before you buy in. I know scores of em- broiderers with dusty collections of unneces- sary equipment who wish they had been more purposeful with their growth. KNOW YOUR COSTS Many early commercial embroiders underprice their work because they feel unsure of their skills, doing so at the peril of their businesses. This is especially true when they've made capi- tal investments and have regular lease payments looming. When setting your price, you need to know what it costs to run your machine, keep a roof over your head, and roughly know the cost of your materials. You must be able to esti- mate how much time is involved in a given job and calculate a price that not only accounts for costs but pays you a wage for the work you do and includes profit for the business. You can't do that adequately if you don't know your costs in materials, overhead, and time. These samples were created and sampled on a home machine to show that standard com- mercial work is possible, even if it's not feasible to do production for a business on these small machines. Everything from patch-making to appliqué is still possible, albeit at a smaller scale.

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