Monday, March 20, 2017

Madeira Webinar Features Two Techs Talking Machine Maintenance




Laconia, NH – On Wednesday, March 29, Madeira USA will host a webinar for embroiderers that will feature certified machine techs, Brian Chase and Marcia Chabot. With combined embroidery experience of over 50 years, each will be sharing information with listeners on the topic: Basic Machine Maintenance: Little Things Make a Big Difference…and May Save Big Bucks! Both technicians currently offer installation, service, maintenance of and training on embroidery machines. The webinar will include information on:
  • Establishing a maintenance schedule
  • Single head vs. multi head concerns
  • What tools and cleaning supplies to have on hand
  • Where to apply oil and grease
  • Cleaning the bobbin case
  • Proper thread tensioning
Madeira USA is much honored to have these two knowledgeable technicians make room in their busy schedules to share the basics of maintaining an embroidery machine with our customers. According to Brian Chase, “Very often, it’s the little things that can make a big difference. And by big difference, I’m talking about expensive repairs. Once an investment of dollars is made in a machine, the investment of time to keep that machine running smoothly is well worth it to your business.”
And bringing perspective – and appreciation – to the years of knowledge that will be shared in this webinar, Marcia Chabot points out, “Back in 1983 when I first began as a multi-head machine operator, there were no computers … automatic cutters and trimmers were unheard of … and machines were programmed with hole-punched paper tapes!”

The webinar will be held on Wednesday, March 29 at 2:30 EST. Our webinar classroom holds 500, so please click here to register soon and sign in five to 10 minutes early on the day of the webinar. You will have the opportunity to type in your questions and have them answered by these experts. As with each of our webinars, all questions will be collected, answered and emailed out to those who register.
For reader/customer contact regarding the webinar, please use contactus@madeirausa.com.

Editors, please note, for additional information about Madeira USA, please contact Alice Wolf, manager of education & publications, at 800 225-3001, ext. 107 or awolf@madeirausa.com.

About Madeira:
Founded in Freiburg, Germany, in 1919, Madeira is a global leader in the production of high quality embroidery threads for the decorated apparel and home fashion markets. The Madeira product line includes the industry’s largest selection of specialty threads, E-Zee Backing & Topping™ products, plus a complete line of bobbins and accessories. Today, Madeira services its clients from operations in the USA, Europe, Africa, and key Asian markets. Madeira USA ships from 14 Customer Service Centers in the U.S., more locations than any other embroidery supplier nationwide. For more information, visit www.madeirausa.com.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Play Ball! Tips for Embroidering on Caps



It’s one of the first signs of spring you’ll hear, along with chirping birds and lawn mowers…Play Ball! And what accompanies playing ball? Baseball caps! One of the staples of the embroidery business, embroidered ball caps are customizable, collectible, and clearly revenue producers. As your cap business scales up, here are some tips to keep in mind…

Avoid Distortion
In preparing to embroider on a paneled cap with a seam running down the middle of the front, apply heat or steam to the seam in order to break down the sizing in the fabric and soften the seam. It will be easier for the needle to penetrate the layers of fabric. In designs that fill in over the center seam, an underlay of zig zag stitches secures the cap to its stabilizer and makes for a more even surface for stitches to fill.

Digitizing
Cap designs need special planning at the digitizing stage. Digitize from the center…out, and from the bottom…to the top. This will allow less movement during stitching. Keep your design in registration by stitching each individual element to completion rather than completing all fill, then satin, then outline stitches.

Hooping
The profile of your cap will determine the size of the design you are able to apply. Hoop the cap frame as tightly as possible. A 270 degree cap frame can be used when the sides, as well as the front, of the cap are to be embroidered.

Needles
A Titanium needle will add extra strength. Or a Teflon® or other non-stick coated needle will cut down on the friction between needle and cap fabric. Or, you can apply a light coating of silicon spray to enhance stitching. A #75/11 sharp is a good choice for caps.

Thread
For prolonged exposure to sunlight, a 100% polyester embroidery thread is your best bet. For complex designs without the fear of fading from sunlight, rayon would be a good choice. A sturdy 50 or 40 weight metallic thread can be used for highlighting or special effect.

Stabilizers
Cap backing is available in both pre-cuts and rolls. Pre-cuts are usually 7” wide to accommodate just the front of the cap, or 12” to stabilize the sides as well. Stabilizers are usually 2.5 or 3.0 ounces in weight. For embroidering the back strap of a cap, use Stick-On stabilizer. For best embroidery results, always use a stabilizer on caps!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The 3 Enemies of Time Management, or, Where Did I Leave My Keys?



Whenever I see the term, “Time Management,” I laugh, ha ha, because to me, Time Management is every bit the same type of oxymoron as “Jumbo Shrimp,” “Deafening Silence,” and “Open Secret,” to name a few. (Someone suggested “Happily Married” but that one didn’t make sense to me – isn’t that right, Dear?).

There's no such thing as time management! So why should you read the rest of this blog? Because there is such a thing as self-management and that's the key to making time your ally rather than your enemy. Time really can't be managed. You can't slow it down or speed it up or manufacture it. It just IS. Time management is MANAGING YOURSELF when following some basic time management principles.

Here are all the things you need to do to become Master/Mistress of your time!


1. Find out where you're wasting time.
Many of us are victim to time-wasters that steal it.
2.  Create time management goals.
For example, you're not going to take phone calls from people you don’t recognize on caller ID between 8:00 AM and 12:00 noon.
3. Implement a time management plan.
Yeah! Right!
4. Use time management tools.
A software program such as Outlook, for instance, lets you schedule tasks easily.
5. Prioritize mercilessly.
You should start each day prioritizing the tasks for that day; if you have 20 things to do for a given day, analyze how many of them you really need to do. 
6. Learn to delegate.  
Share the load.
7. Establish routines and stick to them as much as possible.
While crises do come up, you'll be more productive if you follow routines.
8. Set time limits for tasks.
For instance, reading and answering email can eat up your whole day if you let it.
9. Be sure your systems are organized.
Are you wasting a lot of time looking for files on your computer? Take the time to organize a file management system. (Let me know when you get this done and I’ll let you do mine.)

Ok, we both know you’re not going to do any of this stuff! So here’s what you can do: Work on controlling the following three things and you’ll be more productive and less frustrated.

Procrastination:
Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in “Democracy in America” in 1835, “Procrastination is the thief of time.” Then marketers at Nike came along and said, “Quit making excuses, putting it off, complaining about it, worrying about it. Suck it up. Hold on tight, say a prayer, make a Plan and JUST DO IT!

Interruption:
One study shows it takes about 25 minutes to get back into the swing of things after you’ve been interrupted. Try to manage interruptions. For instance, before 12:00 noon, determine that you’ll take phone calls from Mom, your daughter (900 miles away in college) and 3 important business contacts AND NO ONE ELSE!

Distraction:

This is best illustrated thusly:

Recently, on a day off, I decide to go out and water my garden. As I turn on the hose, I look over at my car and think it needs to be washed. As I start toward the garage, I notice mail on the table that I collected from the mailbox earlier. I decide to look through the mail before I wash the car. I lay my car keys on the table, put the junk mail in the trash bin under the table, and notice that it is full. So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the rubbish first. But then I think, since I’m going to be near the post-box when I take out the rubbish anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only one check left. My extra checks are in the desk in my office, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the bottle of Diet Coke I’d been drinking. I’m going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don’t accidentally knock it over. The Coke is getting warm, and I decide to put it in the fridge to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye – they need water. I put the Coke on the counter and find the reading glasses that I’ve been looking for all morning. I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I’m going to water the flowers. I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and spot the TV remote control. Someone left it on the kitchen table and I realize that tonight I’ll be looking for the remote control, but I won’t remember that it’s on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the front room where it belongs, but first I’ll water the flowers.

I pour some water in the flowers, but some of it spills on the floor. So, I set the remote control back on the table, get some paper towels and wipe up the spill. Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day: the car isn’t washed; the bills aren’t paid; there is a warm bottle of Coke sitting on the counter; the flowers don’t have enough water; there is still only one check in my check book; I can’t find the remote control; I can’t find my glasses and I don’t remember what I did with the car keys. Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I’m really confused because I know I was busy all day, and I’m really tired.

I realize this is a serious problem, and I’ll try to get some help for it, but first I’ll check my e-mail.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Spend an Hour on November 30th with Lee Caroselli and Madeira USA


If the holidays tend to increase your sales, inspire your creativity or simply push your buttons, you may want to sit in on a webinar on November 30th. Embroidery industry icon Lee Caroselli-Barnes, whose digitizing has won her not just awards, but the adulation of the industry, will be joining Madeira USA to talk about “Threads of the Season.” Since ‘tis the season to be thinking of snowmen, stars and random sparkles everywhere, Madeira USA and Lee will team up to talk about which threads you should be thinking about these days.

Since the temperatures head south, but not all of us can, using the heavier, 12 weight threads that contain natural wool or cotton fibers, are a nice way to go for holiday designs or for customizing gifts. Madeira offers a wool blend (Burmilana) and a cotton blend (BurmilanaCo), both 12 weight threads, that are ideal for this time of year. The webinar will include how to alter a stock design, or one you may already have, to accommodate these heavier threads.

Using shading and color blending, Lee’s specialty, will also be covered. With the ability to personalize or customize gifts, the images of the season on scarves, hats, gloves, make for very appropriate gifts. Doing up some samples and making them visible to your walk-in customers might do wonders to stir the imagination. Whether its color blending, or accomplishing shading through the use of combining matte finish with lustrous thread, it’s all about increasing your knowledge and what you have to offer your customers.


Ultimately, making an ordinary design extraordinary is the ultimate goal of this upcoming webinar. The link below will make it easy for you to register. Grab a cup of the warm beverage of your choice…turn the machine off…put your feet up…relax and see what Lee and Madeira USA have to share. Increase your embroidery know-how by adding to your arsenal of threads that you are aware of, can run with ease, and even up your price by up to 20% for the added value.

To reserve your seat for the webinar, click here.


Friday, October 28, 2016

You’re Going to Have Lunch Anyway, Why Not Take a Customer?



The Law of the Lunch

There are very few things in business that are as important as the business lunch, about which absolutely nothing can be found in textbooks, MBA programs, seminars or conferences. The business lunch is a respected institution, virtually mandatory, and universally conducted according to a fixed ritual.

He or she who does the inviting does the paying! Conversation starts and for a long while remains in the area of seemingly idle chatter (also known as “jibber – jabber” or “chit – chat”) about personal interests in recreational pursuits, entertainment media, family matters, and mutual acquaintances. And don’t forget children and grandchildren, the Super Bowl and March Madness, the weather (but stay clear of politics and religion). Business is finally and gradually crept up upon while carefully avoiding any implications that the lunch exists specifically to enhance the lunchee’s opinions about the lunchor and the lunchor’s assessment of the lunchee (do we like each other?).

The business lunch and its rituals are based on the established fact that important buying decisions are rarely made on price alone or only on technical support, customer service, delivery, technical specifications or vendor competence and reputation. The lunch exists to learn about things that aren’t said, to help to establish and strengthen relationships of personal trust and understanding, to create commercial friendships and compromises, to facilitate favors hoped for and favors given, to go beyond technicalities and legalities in getting and supporting some sort of sale.


So don’t disparage it or miss the opportunities they can present.