Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Becoming A Commercial Embroiderer

The only real difference between commercial embroidery and home embroidery is the fact that commercial embroidery is made to be sold. You may not think that this is a big difference, but it truly is. When you are embroidering as a career, you are creating for someone else and when you are finished, the embroidery is theirs. You can lose minutes, or even hours, of time contemplating the infinite designs, techniques and uses embroidery affords, and this is the fun and exciting aspect of embroidery if you are creating for pure enjoyment. It is the danger if you are trying to make a living. This is the quandary - to put enough of your-self into your work to make it exciting, but not so much that you get lost in it. This is just one of the ongoing creative battles you will have with yourself. The other is to design for your customers and not yourself. There is difference between quality and taste. When you are embroidering for sale you must always create a quality product, but it doesn't necessarily have to be designed to suit your own taste. If you can remember to keep your customer's needs at the forefront of your design decisions, you will stay on the right track. Additionally, a new factor is introduced that is called a profit. If you don't make a profit, you really aren't in business. To ensure a profit you have to make sure that you charge more than the embroidery costs to make. One tactic is to find the right customer. Everything is relative, so a price that is exorbitant to one can be reasonable and fair to another. Take something as simple as an embroidered pillow. As an embroiderer you can offer something uniquely designed to not just coordinate with a room, but to actually act as a design force to tie together disparate portions of the design. This way your custom embroidered accessory becomes an indispensable part of the room as well as being a bargain at any price. Another way to lower costs is to design with cost reduction in mind. You can lower embroidery time by reducing stitch count and by replacing large filled-in areas with applique. You can also reduce design time by incorporating stock designs rather than digitizing your own unique designs for every product. What embroidery can achieve - whether it is enjoyed as a hobby or as a business - is to produce something totally original, essentially from nothing. The only things you need are skill and imagination, and if you posses these two gifts you can satisfy the needs of even the most discriminating customer. Add to this the ability to scale back your projects to fit within a budget and you will corner the market.

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