This month Peter Wright, managing director of Amaya Sales UK, directs his advice at printers who could be missing out on work by not offering embroidery as an option.
You’re a printer of garments either screen, DTG, transfer or vinyl. You are being asked to do embroidery but are put off by the unknown and have been told it’s a long learning curve.
This is definitely not the case if you buy from a reputable dealer who will give you the correct level of training.
If you don’t offer embroidery, you stand a good chance of losing your print customers. Many embroidery companies will also have a garment printing operation. So, stop losing customers and consider setting up in embroidery.
I have offered below some guidelines on what to look for when adding embroidery to your print business.
Choosing a machine
First, you need to find the correct machine that will provide you the base for a profitable add on business. Please don’t go for the cheapest machine around or a semi domestic one.
The machine needs to be able to produce a level of production and be able to work for long hours if required. Look for a machine that is easy to add on to because I promise you, once you start in embroidery, and give a good service, work will grow at a fast rate.
The first decision is ‘how many embroidery heads do I require’? You can buy one heads, two heads, fours heads and so on. However, it might be easier going for a modular system, in this way you can dip your toe in with a single head and then easily add on when your production demands.
This sort of system is more expensive in the short term but will more than pay for itself when you add extra machines (heads). When you add heads, it becomes a multi-head and controlled by software that quickly allows you to switch the machines from individual to inline.
For example, if you have a four head modular system you could have all machines embroidering the same job or split the jobs up. This makes the modular system much more efficient, giving much higher production. Given this, although the modular machines are a little more expensive your return on investment will be much faster.
If you are buying a used machine, again go with the recognised dealer for that machine. If you buy privately, the chances are the training will not be up to scratch or will not exist.
Please choose a machine supplier that has a reputation for excellent customer service. Most suppliers offer or include delivery, installation and training.
On a new machine you should be offered at least a 12 month warranty, make sure understand the small print. A good warranty should include free site visits and parts, do not go with a company that asks you to return the machine to the supplier for fault diagnosis. Training on the machine is very important, together with telephone support and production training. You should be offered at least a full day of training, this can be split into two days. Training is an ongoing situation so ask the supplier, what happens if you need more training.
Embroidery design creation
Being a printer you will probably by using CorelDRAW or Adobe for your design work. If this is the case, you can purchase automatic digitising software that will convert you vector design into stitches.
This is not the be all and end all but, in most cases, will be acceptable with a small amount of editing.
Ask for a demonstration or ask for an online demo. I would suggest buying this software but also using an outside digitiser. These outside companies usually charge around £15 to £20 a design and will send the file by email.
You will find that some designs are quite easy for you to create, so do the easy ones and send the more difficult to the professionals. As you become more experienced you can gradually reduce the amount you send out.
One very important point is that you receive good and ongoing training from the supplier. It’s also a good idea to purchase the software form the machine supplier so that they are totally compatible.
Always use the best thread available, it’s not expensive per design so please don’t go for the cheapest. Also, do not use second hand thread, you have no way of knowing how old it is. A common cause of thread breaks is old thread.
The same reasoning applies to backing and bobbins. Your supplier should be able to advise.
Some popular extras are: cap frame system, special frames, framing systems.
Cap embroidery is now very easy with the best machines and is a lucrative part of the business. Do not be put off by comments by embroiderers that live in the past.
There are many special frames available from clamping systems to Fast frames. A new one as just been released called the Fast Clamp Pro, this can be used on football boots, shoes, bags or any hard to frames items.
Ask your supplier to demonstrate a good hooping system like Hoopmaster. This is essential in alignment and tensioning of the garment when framing.
So, add embroidery to your business and grow your customer base.