Tried And True Advice To Help You Reach Your Profit Goals

If you’re just getting started with your very own embroidery business, or if you’ve already converted your hobby into a business opportunity, these tips are for you. There is hardly a better feeling than taking something you enjoy doing and turning a profit from it. You get to do what you like, and people get to enjoy the fruits of your creativity and labor.

embroidery business owner

Given we used to do commercial embroidery for fortune 500 companies and produce over a million pieces of embroidered goods per year, we want to share some tricks of the trade with you that have helped us maintain and grow our business for many years.

Thinking of starting your own business but don’t know where to start? Check out our 5 crucial steps to starting an embroidery business here . We also recommend reading our how to set up shop for a home embroidery business article to create a workspace without taking up much space. 

To keep your business growing and help you make better use of your embroidery income, we have come up with a few tips to help you maximize your profits.

It is important to remember that your business’s success and its profitability rely on the systems you put in place. Read our financial guide to help you start and succeed in your embroidery business here.

For example, how and where you order your thread, what sort of tools you use to save time, and machine quality will impact the amount of time your machine will remain up and running. The more time you spend embroidering and avoiding costly mistakes, the more profit you can generate.

1. Buy in Bulk

Once you’ve chosen a thread brand that you like, it’s time to purchase all the colors. As a professional, you should have all the colors you might need. It costs time and money to buy thread and stabilizers as you need them. It’s better to have everything you need on hand rather than waiting and potentially losing an order.

Buying thread in bulk

The best way to do this is to compare prices between sellers like Amazon and the thread brands you like. There are many third-party websites and retailers that offer discounts on bulk purchases and free delivery.

Taking the time to look at bulk deals from third-party sellers could save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. The most important thing to consider is the time saved. The less time you spend online purchasing individual colors every week, the more profitable your business can become.

embroidery thread

Remember to also get larger thread spools when possible. Small spools often cost more per yard of thread than larger spools and you have to change them more frequently while embroidering which equals less time your machine is actually running.

Pro thread tip: Don’t rethread the needle every time.

Not having to rethread your needle each time a spool runs out is a time saver. Instead, check out the video below to find out how to change your spools  without rethreading the needle. We also suggest buying bigger spools, as the more thread on the spool, the longer the usage. Using these suggestions will save you time, and in return make you money. 

Buying stabilizer in bulk

Check out our blog here on the various types of stabilizers you can purchase if you’re unsure of which ones to go with. For those of you who are more tech-savvy and product aware, you can sometimes find some great deals on eBay. Otherwise, stick to trusted online retailers and once again, buy larger rolls.

bulk stabilizer

2. Find and Use a Good “Blanks” Store

When you begin embroidering large quantity orders, you’ll need lots of garments to embroider on. Whether it’s shirts, hats, hoodies, or aprons, you can find online stores that offer “blank” or unbranded versions.

Using brand name shirts or hats can become very expensive.

bulk clothing

As an important note as well, you might want to test out your designs first before using your customer’s product. Especially if they want embroidery added to a brand name product. Having a trusted “blanks” store will save you money and offer peace of mind.

We know that it is vital to test embroidery threads before making a bulk purchase. It is equally important to test clothing before putting in a large order. Purchase only one or two articles of clothing to see how they feel and fit before buying a large supply. When it comes to fabrics and how they interact with thread and embroidery, there are three main categories based on how certain fabrics are produced; you can find out more about them here. 

Pro tip #1

If you are sourcing new products from vendors, remember to do a “wash-test” with the design embroidered on the garments first, before you commit to stocking inventory. This will prevent any nasty surprises when a customer orders embroidery work on your selection of garments. 

Even though the manufacturers might claim the shirts or garments are pre-shrunk, this doesn’t necessarily mean the garment won’t shrink. This way, you can say with confidence that the shirt will look and feel as desired after its first wash.

There is nothing more displeasing than a product that is ruined by its very first wash. I think we can all relate.

Pro tip #2

We strongly recommend test embroidering the design in the thread colors selected by the customer, onto the chosen garment, with the specified placement for large contract orders. Have the customer review and “sign off” on the order before beginning production. That way, you can be sure the customer knows what they are getting. 

It is no secret that some customers can have difficult characters. By making sure the customer knows exactly what their order of one thousand embroidered hats looks like, you can prevent an extremely costly mistake.

Quick (not so fun) Story by John: “We had a large order of caps for one of North America’s largest beer manufacturers in the 1990s. They ordered 14,000 caps for a festival they were sponsoring. The artwork they sent us had a spelling mistake in it, as the event was in Montreal and all the text was in French, we did not catch the error. Two vowels were accidentally inverted, all 14,000 caps ended up in the trash. Thankfully, we got them to sign off on a sample (like is suggested above) before we began mass production. This small act saved us tens of thousands of dollars as the fault was then legally theirs, instead of ours.”

3. Use High-Quality Embroidery Designs

Perhaps the most important ingredient in maximizing your profit is the use of high-quality designs. When using low-quality designs, you run the risk of breaking needles, bird’s nests, and wasted time. It’s a no-brainer.

high quality embroidery design

The finest products in any market all have one thing in common — attention to detail. No stone is left unturned. Taking a short cut and using low-quality embroidery designs is like trying to build a house on mud. No matter how good it looks on paper, no matter the quality of the supplies, it will fall apart, or at the very least look poorly built and unstable.

Customers will be able to see and feel that something is wrong (especially if the design is “bullet-proof). They might be too polite to say anything, but rest assured they won’t want to come back for more. It’s one of the single most worth-it investments you can make to impress your customers and have sought-after products. We want to make this easy for you.

Although our designs and the artwork we use are visually stunning, what really makes them stand out is the quality. Being created by the world’s most awarded embroidery digitizer, we guarantee that no matter which design you download from our site, it will run smoothly on your machine from start to finish.

Learn how to digitize your own designs

If you’d like to take your skills to the next level, you can learn how to create your own embroidery designs (which is called embroidery digitizing). It is crucial to learn the right skills and approach to design creation. That’s why we offer a digitizing course to help you achieve your goals.

Learning how to digitize on your own is respectable and ambitious. Our course teaches you what you need to know in the order you need to know it. No more looking for YouTube videos or scouring through six thousand word articles to find that piece of advice you’re looking for. It’s all right here in our Digitizer’s Dream Course.

embroidery digitizer

Our Digitizers Dream Course is available for up to ten different software brands. If you’ve purchased a few high-quality designs and are excited to start creating your own, this course is guaranteed to get you there.

Now if you’ve never tried digitizing before and want to see if it’s for you, I suggest you try our Free Embroidery Digitizing Challenge. We’ll provide you with a demo version of Hatch embroidery software and a series of bite-sized video lessons that’ll have you create 6 designs yourself! Click here to learn more and enroll 100% free now. 

Hire someone to digitize designs for you

When you begin to learn how to digitize, it might take some time before you can create your own high-quality designs.

In that time, you’ll still want to create your own designs, so hiring someone or purchasing high-quality designs is a viable option. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.

digitizing embroidery

Things to keep in mind when hiring a digitizer or digitizing your own designs

Finding a quality digitizer in today’s market is difficult. It will come down to trial and error, finding someone who provides both visual quality and soft production-friendly designs.

Whether you are purchasing previously digitized stock designs, doing it yourself, or hiring a digitizer, poorly digitized designs will cost you time and money. A poorly digitized design will have the most significant impact on your bottom line. The longer a design takes to embroider, the fewer goods you can sell.

Even designs that look “good” can be poorly digitized. Every unnecessary trim in an embroidery design costs you 120 stitches of downtime. A design with 50 unnecessary trims is an additional 6000 stitches of run time in production. That’s profits falling off the table.

Click here for some additional information on hiring a digitizer.

Having the right embroidery software for lettering & monogramming

Having the right embroidery software can save you tons of time and money! ESA fonts for example (which come with Hatch embroidery software) join closest points, can be utilized with auto-fabric assist, and are 100% node based and adjustable. To learn more about the difference between different types of embroidery fonts (BX, Truetype, ESA, etc), be sure to check out our Complete Guide to Machine Embroidery Fonts.

Pro tip from John Deer: No matter which software you use, here’s a quick video that’ll show you how to increase your production, and hence profits, with embroidery software when you get “name drop” orders.

Setting up one file with multiple names stacked on top of each other with a color change after each name will save an incredible amount of downtime during production. If individual files need to be loaded the machine is sitting idle the entire time, plus loading a file can take up to 40 seconds.

4. Get Your Hooping Right

Hooping is another vital element of successful design implementation. Many headaches are caused by simple hooping mistakes that could have easily been prevented. Again, more errors mean either more time/materials wasted or unhappy customers, which both equal less profit.

hooping station

Consistency in design placement is a priority with production and quality. Every item must be the same if you have an order for 24 shirts with a left chest design placement.

Now I could dig into a whole article about proper hooping, but hey, we’ve already done that with our Complete Embroidery Hooping Guide! It’s jam-packed with hooping tips, tricks and secrets.

As a business owner though, or someone running a few orders for profit, aside from the techniques taught in the article above, our biggest secret to headache-free hooping lies with the Echidna Hooping Station. It uses a board and magnet system to get your garments and hoops perfectly in place before embroidery. Not only is it easy on the wrists, it makes hooping easy and less frustrating!

Any product that helps you save time and hassle will provide a return on your investment, and we genuinely believe that this is one of those products. Check out the Echidna Hooping Station here and see what it’s all about. 

5. Your Machine Makes All The Difference

You have great designs. You have the right thread. Your hooping skills are expert level. What is the one thing that stitches it all together? Your machine. The very device you use to make all of your hard work come alive.

This is a valuable investment. Maximizing profit isn’t all about marketing and tweaking sales tactics. Yes, those things are essential, but not everything. A big part of becoming more profitable is — I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it — your ROI or return on investment.

ROI comes from your machine

The more often your machine is down, the more often you are fixing problems with thread, speed, or tension, you aren’t embroidering. If your machine is continually not running due to small or large issues, you are taking hard-earned profits and using them for repair rather than reinvesting into yourself or your business.

In the heat of the moment, it might not seem like a significant issue, but it can cost thousands in the long run. In other hobbies or businesses, you can get away with taking shortcuts on equipment. We do not advise this if you want to have a profitable machine embroidery business.

There are many machines out there, and we could discuss them all in length, but it wouldn’t serve as a tip for profitability. If you are here to make yourself more profitable, you are here to know which machine will help you reach that goal.

The ZSK single head sprint machines

These machines have been around since we started our business in the 1950s. ZSK knows how to build a great, lasting machine. Purchasing a machine that will last you over 30 years, runs faster in production, and produces quality results will end up paying for itself.

zsk embroidery machine

ZSK likes to go beyond production and delivery. They don’t just make machines to turn a profit. They have teams of engineers in Germany, continually improving and innovating machine embroidery technology for you and your business specifically.

They are committed to customer care and even finding custom solutions for individual needs. This is the kind of support that is essential to an embroidery business of any size. You don’t have to worry about problems or issues with your machine. You can focus on what you have to offer to your customers as an embroiderer, your creativity and talent.

Apply These Tips In Your Business

We are committed to helping you succeed. One of the best things you can do for your business and increase profitability, is to increase the value you offer to your customers.

You want to spend more time talking with your customers, understanding their needs, and helping them achieve their wants and desires to turn a real profit. That’s how any business works. A company that prioritizes profit doesn’t provide the best value to its customers. A business that improves its systems as a benefit to the customer will maximize profits.

Using these tips will help you make your embroidery process more efficient, allowing you to spend more time doing what you love, and in turn, providing your customers with the value and service they deserve.


P.S. Want to learn some of the industry’s top embroidery business secrets to increase your profits? We’ve partnered up with the NNEP (National Network of Embroidery Professionals) to launch a new How to Make Money with Embroidery Webinar! This webinar will go far beyond the basics we mentioned in this article and show you some proven advanced techniques that’ll help skyrocket your success and increase your profits! Click here to learn more now.