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Looking for some advice on startup, please help.

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Old November 26th, 2010, 01:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
silverdrgn silverdrgn is offline
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Default Looking for some advice on startup, please help.

Hello to all, I wanted to post my situation here to see what kind of feedback I can get. I have a friend that runs an airbrush, screen printing, and heat transfer shop and he was asking me if I was interested in joining him in business with enbroidery. I don't think it is a bad idea. Many of his customers ask about embroidery but he does not have the financial backing to invest in a machine. I may be able to do so but I will need some assurance before I jump in and buy a machine that will put me in debt. I also don't want to ruin myself by entering into a business agreement with a friend... things may turn ugly but that is why I am here asking about advice. Please provide general information on machine types for embroidery from uniforms to jackets with custom design. And possible errors business-wise I may make by just buying the machine and putting it in his shop. Thank you all in advance, it is greatly appreciated.
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Old November 26th, 2010, 11:22 AM   #2 (permalink)
bigfranksports bigfranksports is offline
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Default Re: Looking for some advice on startup, please help.

Never go into business with a friend or family member.

Frank
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Old November 27th, 2010, 01:36 AM   #3 (permalink)
dubiat dubiat is offline
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Default Re: Looking for some advice on startup, please help.

I agree, it puts a serious strain on the friendship. I know this from personal experience. Now, I have an embroidery business inside a family members retail store, but separate from their business, and I just pay a percentage of my profits as rent. Everybody stays happy.
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Old November 27th, 2010, 12:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
SunEmbroidery SunEmbroidery is offline
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Default Re: Looking for some advice on startup, please help.

I agree, especially if you would be putting your machine in his shop. Can you locate the machine on your property and work out an agree to do his jobs? That would allow you to market for your own business. If you do his work make sure you discuss what types of jobs you'll take (item type, quantity, turnaround) and what you won't do. Sometimes when embroiderers start they are asked to do a lot of odd, unprofitable jobs that no one else wants so you want to avoid that.
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Old November 29th, 2010, 12:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
silverdrgn silverdrgn is offline
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Default Re: Looking for some advice on startup, please help.

Thank you all kindly for all of your advice thus far. I have thought about doing something similar mentioned by dubiat. I have discussed the matter of only paying a percentage of my profits to the already established "artshop" for lack of a better descriptive word. Business for him is ok and alot of his customers ask for embroidery and I hoped I could fill that void.

Thanks for the heads up on the unprofitable jobs SunEmb, I figured that if I were to setup a general and custom design plan for work done by the machine it would work itself out but I have no idea what to charge. I would not be able to afford rent on my own place so unfortunately the only option available is to place the machine in his shop.

I am skeptical b/c other people have keys to his shop. there are I think three others that can go in and out as they please. He may trust them but for me this is a huge investment and I don't trust easily due to past events. I still have not even decided on what machine manufacturer I can trust for quality and reliability...

I will definitely keep your words in mind Frank lol. I just met this guy, he is a friend of a friend so I think we are starting a legitimate business relationship with friendship to be built afterwards.

any further help or advice on a machine or a general range of startup costs, inital goodies to purchase with machine like extra hoops or special shaped hoops that would come in handy would help. Thank you all again, your guidance is very appreciated and makes a weary person feel better about making a decision.

Last edited by silverdrgn; November 29th, 2010 at 12:37 PM.
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Old November 29th, 2010, 05:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
Eric Eric is offline
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Default Re: Looking for some advice on startup, please help.

Allow me to reiterate everyone elses previous statements ... Never go into buisness with friends and/or famiy.

However, in an attempt to answer your furhter questions about machinery and jobs here goes.

Machines: I personally would tell you to buy either a Tajima or Barudan. I own both. Both of them are great machines, I probably favor Baurdan a little more so, just because they seems to behave better on the extremely fine details. OK, now in effort to give you an un-biased opinion on machines here goes.

Barudan: Japanese made, awesome machines, nothing bad to say. I LOVE their cap system, due to their rounded arms.

Tajima: Great machines as well, the "M-Series" controllers are probably a touch more user friendly than Barudan.

Toyota: Basically a tajima, with a few less bells and whistles (that you probably don't need anyway)

SWF: Korean made machines, Cheaper, many of their parts are based of Tajima "old school" technology, the new LCD controlled ones I find to have an overly compliated control, everything is in a menu, and a sub menu, they run fast, still nice, but I haven't seen the fine detail quality come out of them like others. I can't endorse them, let's call it a bad experience, and leave it there. lol

Melco/Amaya: No matter what they say ... They ARE NOT MADE in USA. They are ASSEMBLED in USA. Start taking off covers and looking at solenoids and boards, they are mostly made in chine. Although, I have never owned one, I have heard some REAL horror stories about them. Melco reels you in with a cheap price, but then they've got you with their funky proprietary file formats and stuff like that.

ZSK: German made, fast, reliable, nimble, but if you have something go wrong, they are a FORTUNE to fix. Also there is no universal timing on them (unless they've changed that in recent years) so in other words, every machine comes with a "timing gauge" if you ever need service, and you loose that ... in so many words ... you're totally screwed.

Brother: Good machines as well, Japan mande, not super common, however I did own a 4 head back in the day, was one of my first multi-head machines actually. I don't really have much bad to say about it, other than the bobbins, while yes, they do use the Jumbo-M bobbins, tensioning them can be a bit funky. If you use them, you should really use the magnetic core ones, this will help greatly.

Happy: Like using a jackhammer to embroider, lol. They are LOUD machines, their control panel desperately needs an update, and they are all in all quirky.

There are others out there too: Ricoma, Meistergram, Schiffi, Prodigi, I'm sure I'm forgetting some, but the moral is ... stay mainstream manufacturer.

Now as far as cost: This is going to hurt, and I'm sure there will be some rebuttals to this, but, I am going to say $20,000. Here's why. We all know that there are wants, and there are needs. I am saying that number bracing you for "impact" so to speak. I'll try to take this one thing at a time again.

Machine: For your first machine, buy new, reason being, if you buy new from the manufacturer, you get usually a 5 year warranty, and they will train you for free. They will teach you the basics and the not-so-basics and get you started, then if you find the need for another machine down the road, then you can buy used, cause you already know how to run it, so you're not buying a machine off craigs list, getting it home, and then saying to yourself ... ok, now what? Lets assume you buy a Tajima, NEO which is a good starter machine, it doesn't have the LCD screen, but its VERY easy just the same. You should be able to pick one of them up in the neighborhood of about $13,000 (I hope I'm still current on that assumption)

Software: You really do not need some fabulous or elaborite digitizing suite, start small, get a nice lettering & editing software that will allow you to do name drops and make very minor adjustments to files. You can easily send your logos out to a digitizer and have them done, then just mark them up a few bucks and charge it back to your customer. I'm going to say, you'll probably end up spenindg in the neighborhood of $1,000 for a nice setup here. NEVER under ANY circumstances buy used software, 99% of companies will NOT offer you upgrades or support for a re-sold or used product.

Hardware: Most machines come with everything you need to get started, 2 of each of the popular hoops 12cm's, 15cm's, 18cm's, some sort of jacket back hoop, and cap frame and driver. If you do a lot of heavy or odd things like dog collars, golf bags, ultra heavy canvas jackets, you may want to invest in a clamp system, Those are about $1,500, but not really a need.

Thread: It goes quick, and adds up faster than you think! For round numbers sake, lets say you have 30 colors and at about $7 (industry average) a cone thats $210 for one set of colors, not to mention you will probably want to have at least a few cones of each on your more popular colors. Trust me, its VERY easy to blow $500+ dollars on thread just by doing the, one of these, two of this, oh, thats a cool color. I've done it MANY times. lol

Other supplies: There is cut away stabilizer, Cap backing, tear away in different gauges and textures for various things, this all adds up as well, not to mention bobbins. There is spray tack for applique (if you get into that) there is spot remover, which is cheap and very handy. Oil. Spare needles.

Hoopmaster: This is a Godsend, and its a minimum of $1,000 for a complete set, while you may not need a complete kit for every hoop, its going to be at least $800. This is the board that helps you hoop things square and uniform every time. You really DO need this, just adjust once, hoop your shirt and go, then every time you re hoop a shirt you just make sure the garment is pulled down, and presto! Hoop. Same place, every time.

There are a million more goodies you can buy. Its very easy to to crazy here. Again, perhaps $20k is an exageration, but its a good number to prepare you, so you don't have "sticker shock" lol

Hope I've shed some light on a few things for you

Let me know if you have any other questions!
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Old November 30th, 2010, 02:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
silverdrgn silverdrgn is offline
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Default Re: Looking for some advice on startup, please help.

Eric your post was very very helpful. I really appreciate the time you took to explain all this. I did some reading and youtube video watching... I was very interested in the Brother Entrepreneur PR-1000, it is a 10 needle system in its 3rd generation I think so most of the important bugs have been worked out. I contacted a local dealer today and they stated they would help provide more info on their product. Toyota Tajima and Barudan seem like great machines so I will keep reading on those but I am definitely interested in the brother. I wanted to keep it more around 15k but I expected this to be that kind of investment. lol, sticker shock is something I will always get haha. Thank you again for all the great advice you guys have provided.
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Old December 12th, 2010, 10:54 AM   #8 (permalink)
Jerri Ann Jerri Ann is offline
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Default Re: Looking for some advice on startup, please help.

I know several people who went into business with their friends (best friends for years) and ended up in court. Don't do it. What if he goes into bankrupcy or someone sues him? You will go down with them .

I have had alot of sales people over the years wanting me to move my machines to their place of business. Just one the other week. First I am not going to have a boss. And lose my freedom.
No way. I want control of my time , my work , my prices and my profit.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 12:50 AM   #9 (permalink)
azsandy azsandy is offline
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Default Re: Looking for some advice on startup, please help.

Thank you Eric, this is really helpful info. I am still trying to research this before taking a plunge, so your post was appreciated.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 02:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
nametags nametags is offline
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Default Re: Looking for some advice on startup, please help.

My 2 cents!!

No on going in with anyone! Period!

No, don't put it ( your machine) in his store. If he wants it, then let him give you a display space, and let him take orders for you and you quote them back. I'd have to think really hard about even doing that. The minute you move in and give him some control you're done. He'll make deals you won't know about.

Machines; we bought the Toyota 9100, a good one, our first, so I have no comparison. Easy to use for us.

Accessories:
Hoopmaster or All In One Hooper,,,,,I've used both, both are good.
Clamp Hoop: a must for bags,,,get at least 2 hoops.
Fast Frames: Very nice,,,,but limited. Worth it if you got the extra cash.
Hoops: get several different sizes. You'll need them, and then buy extras of those you use most. You should get some with your machine.
Thread: You should get some,,it'll take a bit to find out what you need most. The basics buy in 5K cones. The odds, get the small ones.
Backing: get the basics,,,but, make sure you get sticky back, and water soluble. They're a must.
Digitizing: find a few, and make sure they all give free first designs. You'll just have to trial and error this area.

There's more,,,but, out of time.

Good luck.
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