Little Things Mean a Lot

Whenever two or more people are gathered together, there is always the delicious possibility that the sharing of ideas will result in a new marketing tip or a way to lighten the work load. It’s a fact that just being in the same room with others who are passionate about the same things leads to energy and the always welcome revitalization of interest in our chosen profession. Recently a colleague and I offered some classes at my studio that focused on different kinds of cutters and multi-media applications. Pat Baldes of Personalization Solutions (the multi-media queen) flew in from Michigan to lend her expertise and the two-day classes were full of fun and, best of all, that welcome sharing of ideas.

We had a great mix of people and in between demonstrations and instruction we had time to share tips and tricks about every phase of business—from managing to financing, from embroidery to mixed media ideas and techniques. Networking is one of the very best parts of any gathering, and we used our time—even at dinner. 

I am always on the lookout for interesting and useful things not only to use in my own day-to-day embroidery world, but also to share with my readers here. So here is a serving of what we shared and learned.

 A Marketing Tip        

 The best marketing tools are ones that show our customers what we can do as well as share our information about our company.  A trip around the table for introductions and an exchange of business cards presented a good example of just that. Jane Cibulskas of National Embroidery and Transfer Services, Ltd who came from Berea, Ohio for the class handed each of us a felt business card holder which contained two of her cards (one to keep, one to share with someone else…a great way to spread the word.) The card holder is embroidered with the initials of her company, a spray of flowers and a colorful border. It is a pattern that she found on the Internet and is simple to make as even the construction is accomplished with embroidery.

We all know that customers love to touch embroidery—and that some don’t really understand exactly what it is we do. So a card in a card case that not only tells who we are and how to contact us but also gives a sample of our excellent stitching is a creative way to cover all the bases. Thanks, Jane, for sharing your successful marketing tip.

 A Quality Control Tip

 Removing traces of water-soluble topping is always a subject for discussion on the free forum, Embroidery Line (www.EmbroideryLine.net). People are always eager to share their quick and easy ways to clean up that design for a quality presentation to the customer. In my book, Professional Embroidery: Stitching by Design, I list quite a few of these tips, but Sue Hager of Embroidery by Sue in Pasadena, Maryland, came to our class with a new idea.

She was bearing gifts for the teachers. Better than an apple, too!

She handed each of us a little black plastic tube with a sponge tip and while we gazed perplexed at this new “tool”, she explained. It’s called a dauber and can be found at stamping supply stores. At www.stampinup.com the dauber is sold in packs of a dozen..  Just dip it in water and gently rub over any remaining water-soluble topping to remove traces, especially between small letters and details.

The hollow tube fits on your finger like a thimble and it’s an easy way to accomplish a tedious task. Thanks, Sue!

 A Lighted Tip

 While shopping for supplies for our class, I came upon a sign in an aisle at the local Big Lots advertising a new kind of tweezers for sale. I use tweezers to help thread my embroidery machine needles as well as to grab threads for easier trimming (and even remove water-soluble topping or tearway backing from designs) so I am always on the look-out for new and better.

TweezLight tells the customer to “throw some light on your tweezing with the new, patented, TweezLight.” (This is one of those why didn’t I think of that moments!)

The light is shed by a long-lasting LED and the batteries (the hearing aid variety) are included—and said to last six months. There is also a lifetime warranty and an offer of free sharpening (just pay shippingJ). They are made of stainless steel and are water resistant. If you don’t have a Big Lots in your area you can find them at www.tweezlight.com.

Anything that lights the way and makes things easier to see is welcome in my world! Add this item to the forehead-mounted flashlight. I wrote about in an earlier column—or a cap with lights sandwiched in the bill—and you will really be able to light up your life…and your workspace.

 Open Wide

 Weeding away the excess fabric is an unavoidable part of using a cutter and applying cad cut materials. A sharp tool is needed for the task and they can be pricey.

Jane Cibulskas, who was an office manager in an oral surgeon’s office in her former life, shared with us that she uses dental instruments for her weeding needs. forAsk your dentist to recycle to you any old tools he is replacing or any “disposable” type of dental picks that he might use in his practice.

You can also buy metal “tooth picks” at the drug store. I found a travel size one with a cap and a chain.

 And the Tips We Shared

 Rosemary Bosworth of Skipjack Apparel in Belle Haven, Virginia, attended our classes as well. She had a CAD cutter sitting idle in her shop for five moths. She wrote when she got home, “When I returned home (from the class), I had a sample to put together for a heat press quote.  I printed the logo on transfer paper using my ink jet printer, cut the logo out with my CAD cutter and applied it to a T-shirt with my heat press.  I was ready for my meeting with the customer in record time. I couldn't have done it without the knowledge that I obtained from this class.  I also got the job!”

Education and sharing by networking are two of my favorite things. With this column and my Internet forum, it is fun and fascinating to research and share different ideas that keep our business sense sharp, our creative juicing flowing and our professionalism at the top of its game.