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Multi-Needle Monday: Staying relevant in the marketplace

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Join me in a new ongoing series for Multi-Needle Monday!  My focus will be how to track the needs of customers, locate new products and embroider the items. Each week I will offer an in depth system for keeping your product offerings fresh and unique.


Successful business owners understand the importance of staying relevant to the marketplace.  What does that mean?  It means you need to know your customers.  Listen and engage with them to understand their needs and wants and how you can provide goods and services that speak to their interests.  Think about it.  You like to be around people that take interest in you.  They seem to anticipate and understand what you like, what you don’t like and need.  It’s the same in business.  Listen, engage and respond!

As an embroidery business owner you should have a good idea of the demographics of your customers. Not all businesses are the same; decide on your market and proceed with incorporating new products.

You have great opportunity at your fingertips.  As an embroidery business owner you are serving your local community.  Look to resources that can give you an understanding of what your community needs. 

Resources include:

  1. Local newspapers
  2. Community magazines
  3. Local churches and ministries
  4. Libraries
  5. Community colleges and universities

Additional Ideas:

  1. Businesses relocating to your city: Companies relocating to your community means a new market of residents moving in to your area.  Many will require realtors to help find homes—and when they do find a home—wouldn’t it be nice if the realtor offered a simple embroidered housewarming gift?  If I’m a new homeowner, I’d feel warm and fuzzy with that kind of treatment!  Remember, it’s all about serving the interests of others.  The embroidered item doesn’t have to be overly personalized—it could just have the year or the word “Welcome”.
  1. Local retail shops: Perhaps there’s a local bakery in your community.  They might need embroidered aprons.  Even coffee shops need their fancy aprons embroidered with names.  It will take some legwork to establish relationships but if you’re committed to growing your small business, then it must be done!
  2. Students:
    Consider items students will need and want, including:
  • “Back to school” supplies or “Off to College supplies”
  • Football season means – t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, scarves, etc.
  • Fundraisers, banquets, special events, graduations
  • Vacation Bible School: think t-shirts or tote bags


For this post, I’ll take a look at the back to school season.  I am gearing up for the back to school season already. I know, I know, summer just began!  But you have to source the products, make samples and sell the items to customers.  And all of this takes time to do it right.

My concentration is for the upcoming college student, because my daughter will be a college freshman and I have a number of customers in the same situation.

I will be sourcing a handful of new items this week:

  1. Towel/shower wraps-terry cloth or velour terry with Velcro closure.
  2. Laundry bag – drawstring style.
  3. Cosmetic and toiletry bags.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Key factors to remember when selecting the products:

  • They have to be good quality.
  • They need to be profitable after embroidered.
  • They need to be easy to stitch.

As you gather more information from the vendor take into consideration that popular colors can sell out quickly. If possible check on current stock levels and order accordingly.  Also keep in mind that popular colors will vary depending on the market you are in.

Through some online searches I have discovered a vendor that sells all of the above items (which saves on shipping costs) and can place small quantity orders.

The idea that business owners have to order items by the dozens is out of date and not true. There might some small discounts offered if ordering larger quantities but realize if these items do not sell this can many dollars wasted.

Order one item of each product to check for quality and ease of embroidery.  Re-order in a variety of colors.  (I have discovered three or four color choices is sufficient for most products).


Dont forget to visit my Craftsy class “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business”, and save with a $10 coupon on the link below.







  • joanne

    Great advice Marie! There’s nothing like the voice of experience and your recommendations for zeroing in on niche markets is right on target. There are so many potential customers for custom embroidery!

    • Anne Johnson

      Any chance you might share with us the online vendor you found in your search to get all of the items mentioned for your back to school blanks?

  • Annette Winters

    Name of Vendor

  • Annette Winters

    Would like name of Vendor.

  • Karin C

    Great advice – thoughtful, timely, relevant and creative! Thank you!

  • Dawn Miller

    Thanks for the great advice!

  • Susan Frost

    The vendor is Sewphisticated Stitcher

  • Aimee Aimee

    Thank you for a great explanation. I was looking online for a similar idea and really appreciate it
    3D Puff Embroidery Digitizing