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Multi-needle Monday: Rush Order Madness

After returning from a beautiful vacation and trying to get back into work mode, I received a call from a good friend, neighbor and parent of a boy’s lacrosse player. Somehow the volunteer parent who was supposed to order the senior gifts for the sports banquet dropped the ball. The banquet was being held the next evening and the parents were disappointed and desperate for a personalized team gift. They requested 17 items, one for each senior boy on the team, of anything I could embroider. This is when I always seem to come to the rescue. Unfortunately I did not have enough time to order blankets from my wholesale vendor and embroider the 17 items in time for delivery in exactly 27 hours. However I live approximately 3 miles from a number of big box stores and I was hoping I could find something appropriate for the gifts. In the past, the teams have ordered blankets, sweatshirts and duffel bags with the athlete’s name and new school/college name.

My daughter and I were on our way to BJ’s Wholesale club to purchase groceries and I happened to check out the plush blankets they had in stock. BINGO! Gorgeous plush blankets in a few colors were on sale for $8 each! Lindsey and I dug through the shelves and yes, 17 gray blankets were found. The gray color is a perfect backdrop for a variety of thread colors and is a bit masculine.

I took a photo of one blanket and texted it to my friend for approval while I shopped. After she replied we loaded all of blankets in a cart. The blankets will be embroidered with the college name and the player’s name in the colors of the new school. Let’s just say people were giving us some strange looks as we proceeded through the store with a car entirely full of gray plush blankets!plushblanket1BLplushblanket2BLplushblanket3BLplushblanket4BL

My first reaction to the phone call was to just say I could not fill the order, but as a mom and parent of recent graduate and athlete I wanted to help. I made a nice profit even if it was a rush order. The blankets turned out great and the parents were thrilled that I could help with such a short notice.

When working on a rush order if you are a business owner; remember the following:

  1. Make a profit
  2. Charge a rush fee
  3. Get all names and information in writing not over the phone. (email or text)
  4. Plan and simplify the embroidery design as best as possible –guide the customer and direct them as to what font/embroidery design will stitch quickly and look appropriate on the specific fabric.

In the finished photos you can see I used a college block type font for the text in a generous 1 ½ inch tall size. I also added an extra underlay to hold down the plush fibers and I increased my density to .40. Always stitch a simple stitch out on a similar weight fabric (not on a final product). Use a water soluble topper to hold down the fabric’s nap.plushblanket5blplushblanket6BL

Join me in my Craftsy class “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business” with Marie Zinno.

Click the link to save with this coupon.




  • Francine Meyer-Drasutis

    That was so nice of you to take care of the kids. They look very nice.

    • Marie

      Thank you Francine.

  • Judith Clauss

    What a great save. The blankets look great! Well done!

  • Pati Akers

    AMAZING!!! Thank for encouraging all of us that we can do this also with organization and fortitude!!
    You’re always such an inspiration to we that are still learning!

    • Marie

      Thanks for reading the blog. I’m glad you like the story.

  • Terry

    Marie, you sparkled at the Stitching Sisters event I went to in Portland so this story about you stepping up to save the day doesn’t really surprise me, but it does inspire.

    • Marie

      You are so sweet! We always enjoyed our events. I’m glad you like the story.

  • Becky Thompson

    Super Zinno to the rescue! Those look great! And it’s a gift those kids will have for the rest of their lives…that’s so nice. I’ve had my Brother PE 770 for several years now and am just beginning to feel fairly comfortable with it. So last weekend I picked up a Baby Lock Ellegante 2 on Craigslist for $2,500 – Never Used! Like ZERO-stitches-never-used. Time to start making some money on my new baby (after a trip to the doctor for a tension adjustment though). I’m going to enroll in your class. Thanks!

    • Marie

      Good luck with your new machine. I’m glad you enjoy the blog.

  • Peggy (mOm)

    Looks like they turned out great! Rush orders can be very stressful so you have to be able to have a good handle on the order from the beginning thru to the end of the job. I was wondering on that blanket what was your stabilizer used on the back of the blanket. Also want to say that I enjoy you sharing and giving us great tips for better embroidery. Thanks!

    • Marie

      I usually would use a poly mesh cut away, but this time I used a soft tear away because the design was not very dense.

  • Donna Fecteau

    Thanks for sharing a great story. I never would have thought to look at BJ for an embroidery item!

  • Karen S

    Thank you for sharing all the tips you have learned over the years.I really enjoyed your Craftsy class.

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  • Bruce

    Thank you for sharing this.