The 7 Key Steps of a Procurement Process

A strong procurement process is key to the financial efficiency of any business. It aids in paying the right price for goods and services, minimises delivery times and helps you choose the best partners to work with your business. 

How a procurement process looks is completely dependent on the size and type of business. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach for companies, it needs to be completely tailored to a company to ensure that maximum efficiency is achieved. 

Whether you’re looking at documenting a procurement process from scratch, or you feel that your business needs to reassess theirs, this post will outline 7 key steps you should follow. 

 

Step 1 – Identify Goods or Services Needed

Your procurement process should start when you realise that you need to obtain goods or services from an outsourced company. With this in mind, your first step should be looking at the whole business and recognising the needs of each department. 

By doing this, you’re presented with a great level of visibility of all the spending that’s required in your company. Therefore, you can outline the areas of the business that you can look at saving money and cutting costs. 

 

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This stage of your procurement process is where you’ll set your budget. 

For example, if an embroidery business was just starting out, in this stage they’d outline how many and what type of embroidery machine they’d need. Or, if a larger embroidery business was expanding, they’d come back to this stage and assess what machine they needed to meet customer demands and needs. 

 

Step 2 – Consider a List of Suppliers

Finding the right supplier for your business is vital, so it’s not a decision that you should take lightly. If you choose to work with the wrong supplier it could have a knock-on effect throughout your whole business. 

Not only could you end up paying more than you should for your goods or services but the delivery times may not be suited to your business – which could delay your business operations. 

Your suppliers are your partners and you wouldn’t enter a partnership without doing your research, would you?

So, when you’re looking at your suppliers you should weigh up your options. We recommend that you make a list and compare all the different options on offer. That way, you can compare the competition against each other and can see the different areas in which they excel.

 

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Here are some ideal traits that a top supplier should have: 

 

  • Accountability
  • Production capabilities
  • Ease of communication
  • Ethics
  • Prioritising building relationships

 

For example, an embroidery machine, whether it’s your first one or an upgrade, is quite an investment. Not only are they your most expensive cost but they’re your most important commodity, without them, you can’t produce your products. Plus, you need one that’ll cope with your customer demands, so you should compare an array of different options from suppliers. 

 

Step 3 – Negotiate Contract Terms with Selected Supplier

After you’ve made your decision on which supplier to work with, you need to negotiate your contract terms with them. This stage is important as you want to agree on a price that’s fair for both parties and that you’re both happy to work with. 

Contracts don’t only cover pricing either. The scope of the whole project – terms, conditions and timelines of delivery are all areas that should be taken into account. You should always keep a copy of your contract so that you can refer to it  should anything not be up to your expected standard. 

 

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Analysing previous contracts are a great way of scoping where you can streamline your costs and save money. If you feel that you’ve agreed to a too high a price point in the past or have agreed on unrealistic terms, then learn from your mistakes going forward with your negotiations. 

An embroidery company may have a contract with several suppliers. After all, to be able to embroider their products they’re going to constantly need a refreshment of stock and materials. So, rather than having to manually order them each time, a rolling contract can save time and may incur certain discounts too. 

 

Step 4 – Finalise the Purchase Order

Once you’ve submitted your contract to your supplier and both parties are happy with the detailing, it’s time to finalise your purchase order. Your purchase order is a document that outlines:

 

  • A description of the goods or service 
  • Total costs 
  • Quantity
  • Approval of workflow 

 

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When you’ve approved your purchase order, it signals to the finance team to release the details to the supplier. That way, they then have access to all the key bits of information that they need. For example:

 

  • Reference number (should they need to chase anything up)
  • Agreed on payment terms
  • Any other key information they require

 

This document shows a further agreement between the two parties. Whereas a contract agrees the whole collaboration, purchase orders tend to contractually agree to individual jobs. A purchase order is typically sent via email. 

Using the embroidery business example again, when they require an upgrade to a machine they’ll have to get internal approval for their request to upgrade. So, a purchase order will be prepared including the description of the new machine, pricing and any other details. 

Once approved, the finance team will then share the purchase order with the supplier who’ll begin to prepare the order and sort payment. 

 

Step 5 – Receive Invoice and Process Payment

Once your supplier has received your purchase order, you’ll receive an invoice from them detailing the agreed price and instructions on how to pay. On this invoice you’ll find details of your order too, so make sure that you keep a record of them for any future reference necessary. 

Depending on what you’ve agreed in your contract you’ll have a certain amount of days to make the payment. A lot of businesses offer 30 days credit notice, which gives you leeway to make the payment if you can’t do it at the time of the order. However, it’ll depend on what you’ve agreed between you and your supplier and the strength of the relationship between both parties. 

 

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We recommend that you pay your invoices when you receive them. This saves any potential problems in forgetting and maybe incurring extra costs for being late. Plus, your supplier will appreciate the fact that you pay on time, every time. This will stand you in good stead and will establish a top rapport between both parties.  

Having a great relationship with your supplier is massively beneficial when working within an embroidery business. From time to time they may include extra materials at little or no cost due to your loyalty. Or, should anything, unfortunately, go wrong and you can’t make your payment, they’ll look favourably on you if you have a good track record. 

 

Step 6 – Delivery and Audit of the Order

Again, depending on what terms you’ve agreed in your contract your delivery will arrive soon after your purchase order has been sent in. You should always keep a record of when the order is delivered in relation to when you ordered it. That way, you can keep track of whether your supplier is sticking to their agreed delivery times. 

If they’re not, then you have a proven record of them not holding up to their side of the bargain. And if it shows that they are, then happy days!

You should always double-check the order upon arrival too. The last thing you want is for you to come to carry out a job and the product that you thought was there turns out it hasn’t been delivered.  could lead to you letting your customer base down for something that wasn’t your mistake. 

So, when your order arrives, take your invoice and inspect the delivery. If you notice that something is missing, then contact your supplier as quickly as possible to rectify the problem and reduce potential downtime. 

 

 

For example, if an embroidery company orders an upgrade on their machine to cope with new customer demands and it’s delivered with a missing part, they’re going to be affected in various ways. Firstly, it could affect their production and delay orders going out. Secondly, the delay will affect their contracts with customers and may leave them unhappy and wanting some form of compensation or refund. 

 

Step 7 – Maintain Accurate Record of Invoices

Be sure to keep a record of all your invoices and payment records. In case of any audits carried out, you then know exactly how much you’ve spent throughout the allotted time and can categorise them to analyse your spending even further. Keeping all your invoices is key to working out whether you’re overspending or sticking to your budget. 

 

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For example, if an embroidery business looks back at their records and sees that they’re overspending on materials they could decide to look for a new supplier. Or, if they review their spending to find they’re overspending on machinery and equipment, it could be an indicator that the brand they’re using isn’t suitable for their demands and needs. 

 

Streamline Your Business Spending With the Right Equipment

So now you’ve established that a solid procurement process can seriously help you cut business costs. Which is something that every business can benefit from, right? Well, one of the best ways to cut costs is to invest in the right equipment and tools for the job. 

As the saying goes, “buy cheap, buy twice” and it’s no different in the embroidery business either. Your embroidery machine is your most valuable asset and is something that you definitely shouldn’t try and cut corners on trying to get it cheaper. 

But which one is right for your business? Well, don’t worry if you’re not sure. We’ve put together a free handy comparison to help you get a feel for which one would suit you best. Download it today.

How To Start a Fashion Business – A Beginners Guide

In 2018, the fashion industry contributed a massive £32 billion to the UK economy. That figure alone shows the scale of competition that you’d be up against. But that’s definitely not something that should put you off. 

If anything, that figure should spur you on further. The support that millions of fashion brands receive around the world shows that it’s possible for brands to make their own way within the industry. 

Working within the fashion industry is a desirable feat. In the movies it’s portrayed as glamorous parties, beautiful models and wild parties, however, for the majority, it’s nothing like that. It’s hard work, long hours and a whole lot of passion but it’s so rewarding when it all comes together. 

This post will explain everything you need to know about how to start a fashion business and will include top tips on how to continuously grow your brand. 

We’ll cover: 

 

Understanding the Fashion Industry

Setting up your own business in any industry can be daunting. However, due to the incredibly competitive nature of the fashion industry, it’s completely normal for businesses to feel intimidated and a little overwhelmed when first starting out. 

Don’t worry, this is completely natural.

The industry is difficult to break into. And due to the nature of trends coming and going, when businesses do get their moment in the spotlight it’s never for long. 

Before starting your fashion business, you need to be aware of everything that the industry may throw at you. You should also be aware of the role that’s expected of you as the business owner. 

A lot of your role will be spent multitasking and managing your time effectively. As the owner, you’re responsible for setting the business up and managing the raw materials and fabrics. You’re also responsible for drawing up a business plan, finding a manufacturer and managing the expectations of your customers and suppliers. 

 

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How to Start Your Own Clothing Line

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be mega-rich to start your own clothing line. Not every photoshoot has to feature the likes of Kylie Jenner and Miley Cyrus, you can carry them out in cost-effective ways too. 

When starting your own clothing line, you firstly need to identify a market need for your product. It’s pointless creating a product that the market doesn’t need, the demand for it isn’t suddenly going to appear out of nowhere. Successful products are catered to a demand from the market. 

For example, Jacamo was created from a need for plus-size men’s clothes within the market.

You need to know your target market inside and out. Once you’ve identified the target audience that you’re going to approach, you need to get into their frame of mind and think about the products they’re going to be interested in. Not only this, you need to think about the way in which they buy and the struggles they’re currently facing too. 

Find a factory that you can trust. Ideally, the factory will be local so that you can visit often. You’re relying on your selected factory for your production, so you need to be able to rely on them heavily. That’s why you need to take this decision seriously and make sure you make the right choice. 

 

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What Research Do You Need to Do

To come to grips with the industry and the market that you’re entering into, you should research your favourite brands and companies. You should visit the websites and brick and mortar stores of these brands to get a real feel of their brand and the way they go about their business. 

This is just the start of the research that you need to do. 

You need to think about how your brand and style is going to bring a breath of fresh air to the current market. Why are people going to choose your brand over the current ones dominating the market? For example, is it your price point or your unique designs?

As we mentioned earlier, you need to know your target market. Who are you designing your products for? Why are you designing them? Think about the value that your products add to their lives and why they’d buy your brand in the first place. 

The last part of the research phase is the prototype. Firstly, you should sketch your designs out on paper or digitally to generate your ideas of what your product is going to look like. Once you’re happy with the designs, it’s time to bring them to life to show potential buyers. 

 

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What Equipment is Required?

The equipment that you’ll need to invest in will depend upon the product range of your fashion business and the expected growth that you’ve forecasted. The bigger the business, the more equipment that you’re going to have to buy to cope with customer demands.

No matter what style of fashion you’re targeting, there are certain items of equipment that you won’t be able to survive without. These are: 

 

Sewing Machines

Nobody is expecting your fashion brand to be making your clothing garments with a needle and thread in hand. The turnaround times would be incredibly impractical and unrealistic. A sewing machine is a must-have to make quality products. Depending on the size of your business, you might need a number of these. 

 

Embroidery Machines

Embroidery is a staple throughout many different fashion styles. It gives a regal impression and makes the product look classy, as opposed to a transfer that can cheapen a quality garment. Crests and lettering are often embroidered on clothes due to the durability and longevity of the method. An embroidery machine is necessary for the intricacy and detail that embroidery requires.

 

The Right Materials

You’re going to need to buy a wide range of materials to cover all the range of your products. Materials will differ in prices, with some being far more expensive than others. If you want to create a product that oozes class and quality, you’ll want to avoid the cheaper materials. 

You should have an in-depth knowledge of which materials to buy and what quantity you require for your products. The last thing you want is too much excess material or not enough.

 

How to Fund Your Fashion Business

Creating your business plan is key to helping fund your fashion business. One of the main purposes of your business plan is to present it to banks and investors for a loan or grant. It also outlines the main objectives and long-term goals of your company. 

Your business plan will contain your budget and the financial forecast of the evolution of the business. Depending on how your company develops, you can adapt and change the plan to see fit, as and when. There are two main ways that your business can be funded: 

 

  • Money from equity investors. This method is where various people provide cash to invest into your company. In return for their cash, they’ll gain shares in your business and will receive dividends of the business’ profits. They can also offer you expertise ad tips to help drive the business forward. 
  • Bank loan. The money you borrow from the bank will have to be paid back. And it’ll often include interest too. The monthly cash flow of your business will need to account for the monthly payments and the interest on top too. 

 

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These aren’t the only two ways to fund your business. If you’re lucky enough to have family or friends that believe in your business, they could invest some cash into it. Or some organisations can offer grants and sponsorships to new start-up businesses. 

 

Ways to Market Your Fashion Business

Without the proper marketing of your products, your fashion business will never reach its potential success levels – if any, that is.

In modern times, social media holds such a valuable place in today’s society. So, you need to utilise it to your advantage. However, you need to be careful about how you approach it. Just like a target market, each platform has it’s ideal demographic that uses it, so you should reflect this in your approach. 

For example, Instagram is a great platform for small businesses to show off their products. It visually allows you to promote your brand and services across your profile. However, it’s a hard place to drive sales as the platform doesn’t allow live links in image captions currently. 

If you’re opting for a multi-channel social media approach, you should update your content regularly. Make sure that the content is different across all platforms, as the information is absorbed differently from channel to channel. Also, listen to your followers and take on their feedback.

You don’t need a massive budget to effectively market your products. In fact, there are plenty of free tools that you can use to make the most of your marketing. The key across your marketing is consistency and transparency, modern consumers value both of these.

 

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How to Start a Fashion Business With the Right Equipment

Your equipment is one of the most important factors within your fashion brand. Without the right equipment, you can’t turnaround the products efficiently. And if you’re not able to do that, people will go elsewhere where they can get their garments quicker.

It can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to the right equipment for your start-up fashion brand. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve created a free comparison guide that can help you choose the right embroidery machine for your business. 

Download it below today.

Thinking of Starting an Embroidery Business? Here’s our Guide

Embroidery is a hobby that’s forever growing in popularity around the world. And because of this, it’s no surprise that a lot of people are starting up their embroidery business. The industry is experiencing a significant boom period. 

It’s never been easier to set up your own embroidery business. Whether you’re starting from the spare bedroom in your house or on a bigger scale it can be a profitable move. 

But before you embark upon your embroidery-based journey, there are plenty of things you must consider. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. This post will explore everything you need to know about starting an embroidery business from scratch.

We’ll cover: 

 

Why Should I Start an Embroidery Business?

If you’re passionate about embroidery, one of the main reasons that people start their embroidery businesses is because of their sheer love for it. 

If you can go to work every day and work with your biggest passion, can you really consider that as work? Having a job that you love is something that a lot of people can only dream of.

If you’re not thinking of entering into the industry for the love of embroidery, then maybe the profitability of the industry might take your fancy. 

But why is the industry so profitable? 

Well, embroidery is everywhere. Everybody buys embroidered goods, especially businesses. Uniforms that are embroidered have more of a regal impression and look a lot classier than a transferred print. 

Embroidery is also a lot more durable and long-lasting. So, there’s always a demand for embroidered goods – and that’s international, not just across the UK.

The scope for growth in the embroidery industry is also massive – which is the main reason why embroidery businesses are growing in popularity. 

A lot of people like the flexibility that comes with owning your own embroidery business. You can be your own boss, which means that you can work your own hours and not have to report to anybody. 

The freedom and flexibility of your own embroidery business allow you to take on as much work as you desire – you take control of your own growth. 

 

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What Skills Are Needed?

Before you start your business you’ll need to weigh up whether you have the correct skills or not. If you don’t, that doesn’t mean you can’t start your embroidery business. 

It just means that you’re going to have to recruit a team of staff that will help you achieve your goals and grow your business. 

There are no specific qualifications that you need to take care of the production side of the business. Machine operation and knowledge of the different fabrics and stitching will come from extensive training and experience – there are different techniques of embroidery dependent upon the materials used.

Good quality embroidery products can be rooted back to the design phase. So, you’re going to need to be a design-focused person. If you can’t produce strong designs to the customer, then they’re not going to trust you with the final product, are they?

With the advancement of modern technology, designs aren’t limited to what you can get down on paper. A lot of machines work hand in hand with design software, so basic computer design knowledge and the ability to operate design software is necessary.

Once you start up your embroidery business, you’re now an entrepreneur. Which means that you’re going to have to possess business operation skills too. Embroidery companies tend to operate on quick turnaround times, so your time-management skills are going to have to be on point.

To run a successful business you’re also going to need strong communication, general management and planning skills – all three are strong foundations of any business.

 

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What Equipment Will I Need?

Of course, this will depend on the size of business you’re looking to set up. And also, you need to take into account how much you’re expecting to grow – this will help save money in the long term. 

Any embroidery business will need an embroidery machine. There are plenty of different options on the market and this will be your most valuable asset, so don’t take the decision lightly when choosing one. Choosing the wrong embroidery machine can be costly to your whole business. Not just financially, but operationally too. 

You’ll also need the materials that you’re going to be embroidering. This depends upon the range of service that you’re looking to provide to your customers. Many types of items can be embroidered on.

If you have the budget, your business will operate more efficiently if you can purchase a full stock of materials that are ready to go when ordered. Items that are popular within the embroidery industry are: 

  • Caps
  • T-Shirts
  • Polo Shirts
  • Shirts
  • Jackets
  • Sweatshirts

When thinking of popular items to stock up on, think of the types of customers that are always looking for embroidered goods. For example, sports teams, fast food restaurants and charities constantly require embroidered clothing. 

You’ll need access to a computer and a printer for your designs. Plus, for those intricate and advanced designs, digital design software can ensure that they’re always professional and up to the highest standards. 

 

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Where Should I Operate From?

Again like your equipment, where you locate your business depends on what size of business you’re starting up. Growth is something that should massively dictate where you decide to operate from. 

Renting business purposes allows you to choose the right workshop to meet your business needs. Rather than working from home, workers will be more focused and more productive a proper workplace. 

There are so many distractions at home that can grab your workers attention. For example, 76.1% of remote employees have worked with the TV on. 

 

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If you can rent a property in a busy area, you’ll also drive more interest from the public just from footfall. If you’re in the public eye, your signs and banners need to be physically striking so that they catch the eye and get noticed. 

Like anything, there are also disadvantages to renting premises. Renting a property does come with extra costs. The rent itself, electricity and utilities are all costs that are involved with letting a premises. 

You’ll also have to work outlined hours. Operating out of hours can disturb the surrounding neighbourhood Plus, if you’re located in a public place and are always seen to be closed, it’ll give off a poor impression to the passing public.

When looking at a premises, you should consider what you can afford as an initial start-up investment. You should also consider whether the premises is big enough for your equipment and whether there’s scope to grow when you expand. 

 

How Much Will it Cost to Start an Embroidery Business?

The main cost of starting up your embroidery business will be the investment into your machinery. So that you can produce complex logos and intricate designs you’ll need to purchase a commercial embroidery machine and digital design software. Plus, you’ll need to pay for the training to be able to operate the machine

Start-up costs will differ depending on the size of your business and how many customers you’re expecting to have. Smaller businesses will only require a single-head embroidery machine, whereas larger companies will need a multi-head machine to cope with more pressing customer demands.  

  • An average single-head embroidery machine costs – £5000.
  • An average multi-head embroidery machine costs – £9000.

 

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As we mentioned earlier, if you choose to rent your premises you’ll have those extra costs too. These costs will vary depending upon location, size of the premises and any local taxes that are included too. 

Your materials will also be an expense when starting up. The cost of them will vary from supplier to supplier and it’ll depend on how many units of products you buy too. It all depends on what products you’re deciding to embroider.

 

Is There a Gap in the Market?

As we’ve established, embroidery is everywhere. 

And the fact that a lot of embroidery businesses are starting up can lead to potential business starters thinking “how am I going to differentiate from my competition?” or “why would a customer choose my business when there are plenty on the market already?”

Well, don’t let these thoughts put you off. 

We’re not saying that if you buy yourself an embroidery machine you’re guaranteed success. It’s hard work, but it can be very rewarding should you be prepared to put the graft in. 

What will differentiate your business from the competition is your knowledge. Whether that’s knowledge of your products, embroidery in general or amazing commercial designs. Knowledge is power and knowledge is what will make your business a success. Strive to be the best and it’ll trickle into the way you operate your business. 

 

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Are There Any Legal Requirements?

With any business start-up, there are legal requirements that they must adhere to. And setting up within the embroidery industry is no different. 

You don’t need any specific licences to own and operate an embroidery company. However, you may need insurance should anything go wrong. To see which type of insurance that’s available to your business, click here.  

When you’re deciding where to base your business, you need to consider whether the premises meets health and safety regulations on. For the full regulations you need to consider, click here.

If you’re employing people, then there’s an extra set of regulations that you need to adhere to. Your responsibilities include payroll, pensions and National Insurance tax. To see the full set, click here

You should register your business with HMRC and make sure that you’re VAT registered too.

 

Make Your Embroidery Business a Success With the Right Equipment

There’s a reason why embroidery businesses are becoming increasingly popular in modern times. Embroidery is everywhere and the need for embroidered clothing is endless. Your creativity can plug this gap for many different organisations. But you need to make sure you do everything right. Especially the things you can control. 

Your equipment is your trump card within your business. So, it needs to be perfect for your company. There are loads of different options that’ll suit any kind of start-up embroidery business. 

If you’re not sure which one is the right one for your business, don’t worry. We’ve created a free comparison to help you with the decision when the time comes. Remember, your machine is your most valuable asset, so you mustn’t rush when choosing one for your company. 

Download your copy today. 

10 Actionable Ideas for a Startup Printing Business

Over the past few years, the printing industry has been more popular than ever and has been going through a serious boom period. In fact, the industry is said to grow to a global value of £4.5 billion by 2023.

That being said, due to the popularity and advancement in technology, it’s never been easier to set up a printing business – and a lot of people are taking the opportunity.

Customised printing is popular all over the world. So, there’s a massive market that you can take advantage of should you produce and promote your products correctly. 

Not only this, with the help of online printing software and other aids, you have the opportunity to grow your business quickly. 

With the increasing competition within the industry, you might be left wondering where your window of opportunity for your product could be. But digital textile printing still makes up less than 5% of the global industry, leaving a great market share that can be targeted by you.

So, this post will present 10 great ideas for a startup printing business for you to take inspiration from. 

 

1. T-Shirt Printing

From company uniforms to stag and hen parties, the scope for t-shirt printing is so widespread. And it doesn’t stop there. 

Everybody wants to put their spin on things, especially their fashion sense. So, wearing a custom tee is the perfect way to do so. Even if it’s not their design, people love designs that are unique and not mass-produced, so it’s a top opportunity. 

Your designs need to be perfect. If you can boast a strong design, then you’re already halfway there to making your printing business successful. Think about it, you wouldn’t wear a t-shirt with an ugly, poorly created design on the front, would you? So, you can’t expect your customers too either. 

It’s never been easier to print your own t-shirts either. There are plenty of businesses out there that can offer simple online design software at super competitive prices. 

Then, all you need is the perfect embroidery machine that’ll guarantee top-quality results. 

 

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2. Mug Printing

Everybody has that cupboard in their house or office filled with mugs, don’t they? This is living proof that mugs are always popular with people. 

Whether you’ve bought them or received them as a gift, mugs will always be a staple in peoples’ homes. You’re not going to start drinking your coffee out of a pint glass, are you?

This is why mug printing is an easy go-to when starting up a printing business. There’s always a demand for them. Plus, there’s little investment that’s required to get your business off the ground. 

All that’s required is a plain mug, the printing equipment and the design tools. And then you’re away and free to put your stamp on your mugs. 

Like t-shirts, mugs are a great way of expressing feelings and letting your personality shine through. In modern times, we’ve seen a surge of mugs with inspirational quotes on or copied photos of loved ones – which make great presents. 

So, if you’re interested in making things for others to enjoy then try printing your ideas and designs on mugs for your printing business. 

 

 

3. Business Cards

Businesses are constantly spreading the word about their products and services. And business cards are the perfect way for them to include all of their important contact details. 

They’re also a longstanding method that businesses use to enhance their brand image. Each company will want to give off the best impression of their company, so a well-designed business card will make it look like they’re well-established and professional.  

A poorly designed business card can leave companies being remembered for all the wrong reasons. If you can’t get your business card right, the chances are that it’ll look like you’re not capable of carrying out a bigger job correctly either. 

The whole point in having a business card is that people can easily read and access your contact details. If it’s poorly designed and not easy to read, it’ll likely be completely ignored and maybe even throw away. 

Businesses are always in demand for well-designed business cards, so there’s definitely a market there for your printing business to have a look at.

 

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4. Greeting Cards

There are many occasions where greeting cards are sent and received. Whether it’s a birthday or simply to say thank you for something, there’s always a greeting card that’s suitable for the occasion. 

Greetings cards are very sentimental. People often keep them as mementos and they usually include a touching message inside. So, with that in mind, you wouldn’t want to send or receive a cheap, poorly designed one. 

With a constant need for greeting cards, there’s an opportunity there for your printing business to explore. They’re personal, so if they can be customised with customers’ designs and messaging, the chances are that they’ll be increasingly popular too.

 

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5. Labels and Stickers

Labels and stickers are apparent in the majority of goods made globally. They’re so important, so there’s always a strong demand for them from around the world. It’s a market that you can take advantage of and one that doesn’t require too much investment either.

After all, products are incomplete without the inclusion of labels or stickers. Plus, they’re invaluable to the promotion of a brand, so businesses will be willing to spend on them. Which is a great position to be in for your printing business.

A well-designed sticker can have customers instantly relating to your business, just from the colours below. So, businesses will no doubt outsource the help to make sure that they’re spot on and done by a professional. 

 

labelsattachedtoclothesinashop

 

6. Signs and Banners

With the rapid emergence of technology within marketing, it’s easy to discount signs and banners. However, they still have as much pulling power as they ever have. Which makes them a great idea to target startups.

Signs and banners need to be memorable for them to be as effective as possible. People will bypass business’ banners and signs multiple times a day, so they need to be able to catch the eye every time and live long in the memory too. 

Businesses buy banners for events because they’re reusable. So, the quality of materials used needs to be strong and durable. But overall, banners tend to be made out of vinyl, which is easy to come by and is typically inexpensive – two great advantages of targeting signs and banners for your printing business. 

 

largeformatbannerprinting

 

7. Leaflets and Flyers

Just like signs and banners, leaflets and flyers are two marketing methods that have stood the test of time. Their main purpose is to provide the reader with as much information as they can, whilst still being well designed and clear. 

They’re still used in modern times, despite email marketing taking over the newsletter world. They’re super easy to print too, which makes them more appealing than some of the other ideas. 

Innovative printing methods on a brochure, leaflet and flyer give off a great impression to the recipient. It shows that a business has invested money into producing them, not just done them on the cheap as a quick win. 

Strong quality materials used for a business’ marketing efforts give a favourable reflection on how they’ll work too. If they use top-quality materials in their marketing, they’re likely to do so in their overall work too. 

 

manhandingoutleaflets

 

8. Wallpaper

The majority of houses, bars and restaurants will feature wallpaper throughout. People love to put their own spin on things, especially their interior design, so by looking to roll out wallpaper by your printing business could be a good angle. 

In a time where wacky-designed feature walls are commonly featured in a lot of places, there’s never been a better time to get your designs printed onto wallpaper. 

Giving the customer a customisation option too is a great idea. Whether it’s a loving portrait of the family or an inspirational quote that they all love, people love to customise their own houses and make them feel like their own true, cosy home.

 

manhangingwallpaper

 

9. Mobile Phone Case Printing

In modern times, mobile phones never leave the majority of people’s hands. Plus, they’re super expensive. So, to be able to stay connected with the world and protect a very expensive accessory, phone cases are a godsend for most people. 

Phone cases are a great way for people to express themselves. Quotes, different colours, cartoon characters, sports teams and many more emblems and logos can be found on them. 

Phones are only going to get more popular. And they’re likely to get more expensive too. So, looking at phone case printing for your business could be a great way to start expanding quickly. 

Plus, like with any accessories, fashion trends come and go. And phone cases aren’t exempt from this. Each year we see people rocking the latest trend of phone case and then moving onto the next one when they become less popular. 

 

phonecaseslinedup

 

10. Shopping Bag Printing 

We’re well and truly in the middle of the “bag for life” era, aren’t we? Which is great for the environment that we’re reusing bags for shopping, but would you rather carry around a supermarket designed one or a custom-designed one with your twist? 

We know what we’d rather do. Which is why we feel that customising and printing on shopping bags is a great product to roll out through your business. 

Not only are these bags saving the environment, but they’re also a walking advertisement for your business. 

Whether it’s being flaunted around the local supermarket or being used in the city, if your designs are strong and your brand name is on there it’s definitely cheaper than paying for a billboard.

 

shoppingbagontable

 

Find Out More About Startup Printing Businesses

In modern times, printing businesses are enjoying a real moment in the sun. So, now you’ve toyed with a few ideas after reading this post, it’s time to actually get the wheels in motion. 

However, it’s not a case of coming up with an idea and just running with it aimlessly. There are a lot of things to cover and think about before you expand into different markets. 

One of the main things to consider is what equipment and tools you’re going to need. There are various printing machines that you could use to benefit your startup. To help you get a feel for which one would suit your business best, download our free comparison today.

 

commercial embroidery machine

4 Best Commercial Embroidery Machines For Your Business in 2019

Choosing a commercial embroidery machine is one of the most important decisions within your business. So it shouldn’t be taken lightly. After all, they are by far the most important asset to your business. But which one is best suited to your company?

These machines are designed in all different models and sizes to cope with the needs and demands of your customers. There are many different factors that you should take into consideration before investing to make sure that you definitely pick the right one. 

You need to make sure that the machine you pick is the perfect fit for your business as a whole, not just in one particular area. For example, you might pick one with an ultra-fast speed, however, if you don’t use the rest of the features, you’re giving yourself unnecessary costs. And that’s something no business wants. 

This post will help you discover what to look for in a commercial embroidery machine and display 4 of the best options available to you.

 

How to Determine Which Commercial Embroidery Machine You Need

When beginning your search, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • How big is my business? Also, what type of business are we? 
  • What are my production needs? What’s the maximum and minimum capacity my business can work at? 
  • What are the main needs of my business? And what are the main demands of my ideal target market? 

 

commercial embroidery machine

 

There are no two businesses that can answer the above questions identically, which is why there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach that works when buying these machines. 

Your market segment will also determine what kind of machine you’ll need. From bed manufacturers to clothing embroiderers, within each segment, businesses will produce all different kinds of products. So, what works for one definitely won’t work for another.

When weighing up your options, the key features that you should consider are: 

  • Number of heads and speed. Will the machine be able to operate at a speed that’ll allow you to comfortably complete your orders? And is there room to build on this too?
  • Size. Is it big enough for your products? Will it fit in your workspace? Is there room for another should you grow?
  • Colours. How many colours can the machine offer?
  • User-friendliness. Is it easy to operate? Is there another language function?
  • Connectivity. Can it connect easily to the design software?

 

 

Commercial Embroidery Machines Suitable for Startups

When starting out, businesses are at their smallest in size and production and they’ll look to grow on this. 

And the commercial embroidery industry is no different. There are plenty of options available to startups. Let’s look at a few.

 

1. Happy Japan HCH-701P

 

basic single head commercial embroidery machine

 

This product is the entry-level machine from the ever-reliable Happy Japan range. Durable and intelligent, this machine is the perfect choice for sole traders and shops who are just starting out in embroidery.

The machine comes with a huge package of features that allow embroidery to be as simple as possible, yet produce advanced results. It’s compact body and brilliant high-speed performance is enough to impress anybody. A top choice. 

This model is ultra user-friendly, which makes this model even more attractive. It’s easy to see why so many entry-level embroiders opt for this machine. 

It’s key features are: 

  • Number of heads: 1
  • Maximum speed: 1000 revs per minute (RPM)
  • Needles: 7
  • Tubular embroidery area: 285mm x 290mm
  • Low-profile cap frame (optional): 67mm x 180mm
  • Colour LCD touch screen control panel

 

2. Happy Japan HCS2-1201

 

larger single head embroidery machine

 

This machine is just as compact as the HCH series is a great choice for any startup embroidery business. It has been designed with industry use in mind, with heavy duty drive systems and additional needles. 

With professional stitch quality, this machine is capable of creating impressive results. There’s a reason why it’s Happy Japan’s longest standing model.  

You won’t have to worry about spending too much on maintenance and repairs with this option. It’s built to last and the quality of the parts ensure that it’ll last you a long while.  

The key features of this machine are: 

  • Number of heads: 1
  • Maximum speed: 1000 RPM
  • Needles: 12
  • Maximum embroidery field: 285mm x 290mm
  • Memory capacity: 40 million stitches
  • Colour LCD touch screen control panel

 

Commercial Embroidery Machines Suitable for SMEs

Once you’ve started making headway in your chosen industry, there may come a time where you need to expand and add further machines to your production line. Again, there are many options for you to consider. Here are two of our main picks. 

 

Happy Japan HCR3-1506

 

six head commercial embroidery machine

 

It’s easy to see why this model is a bestseller by businesses of this size. It packs so much production power in a small space – just 10 feet. Which is ideal for those businesses that need to expand immediately but don’t want to shell out on a location that is far too big for them. 

If you’re looking for efficiency, then look no further. This machine has no problems in being run day after day for long periods at a time, perfect for you to be smashing through those orders. 

Reliability is a key characteristic of your commercial embroidery machine. And in the HCR3-1506 you certainly have that in abundance. Without your machine, you have no means of creating your product, so it’s crucial that it can be relied upon. 

It’s key features are: 

  • Number of heads: 6
  • Maximum speed: 1200 RPM
  • Maximum Flat Embroidery size 450mm x 500mm 
  • Tubular Embroidery Area : 420mm x 440mm
  • Free PC connection software
  • Machine memory 40 million stitches – up to 250 design can be saved
  • USB and LAN network port

 

Commercial Embroidery Machines Suitable for Large Businesses

Things may seem pretty hectic at SME level, however, larger businesses still need to be able to embroider on a larger and quicker scale. Here are two of our favoured picks for 2019. 

 

Happy Japan HCR3-1512

 

twelve head commercial embroidery machine

 

When your production reaches this level, durability and reliability become all the more important. Which is why the Happy Japan name is always a good place for your business to look at for their commercial embroidery machines

12 heads allow you to turnaround the biggest of orders in minimal time, without any form of a lapse in quality. The steady structure and the advanced technology of the HCR3-1512 allows for the most premium quality embroidery. Which is why this machine is so popular with larger businesses. 

It’s key qualities are: 

  • Number of heads: 12
  • Maximum speed: 1200 RPM
  • Maximum Flat Embroidery size 450mm x 500mm (360mm)
  • Tubular Embroidery Area : 420mm x 440mm
  • Machine memory: 40 million stitches – Up to 250 design can be saved
  • USB and LAN network port
  • Automatic thread trimmer
  • Automatic colour change

 

Be Sure to Make the Right Decision When Deciding

As we mentioned earlier, you should take time when deciding which machine you’re going to choose. 

It’s a huge thing that can change the outcomes of your business, so we strongly advise you that you don’t rush and take it lightly. 

Extensively researching and comparing your options puts you in the best position of making the right decision for your business. Save yourself decision-making time, and seek with confidence the knowledge from a credible supplier source –– that can serve your business from start-up commercial level machines through to those built to aid your growth and larger production jobs.

Our Used Industrial Embroidery Machines [Updated Every Month]

When it comes to choosing a used industrial embroidery machine, you need to be able to have full trust in who you’re buying it from. 

After all, your embroidery machine is one of the most important assets to the success of your business, so you’re going to want to ensure that it’s the right one for you. 

You may feel that buying used machines is a waste, as the people who’ve sold them have had it’s best years out of it. However, you’d be wrong. 

Buying used machines is an alternative way of getting the equipment you require for a cheaper price point. Obviously, there are poor versions and poorly looked after models in the used market and you want to stay well clear of these. Especially if you approach an untrusted buyer, that is.

This post will show how Midwest can help you and your business. Plus, it’ll display the range of used industrial embroidery machines that we have on offer too.

 

Check Out Our Range of Used Industrial Embroidery Machines

Barudan 4 Head Embroidery Machine

 

Used Industrial Embroidery Machine

 

Irrespective of size, Barudan products suit every kind of business. Renowned for extreme precision and high-quality production, this machine is one of Barudan’s most popular products and it’s easy to see why. 

Some of the main features include: 

  • Machine dimensions: 122 x 29 (inches)
  • Number of needles: 15
  • Max speed: 1000 stitches per minute (SPM)
  • Design input: USB
  • Flat sewing field: 17.72 x 20.47 (inches)
  • Cap sewing field: 2.95 x 14.17 (inches)
  • Operation box: LED Control Panel

 

Happy Japan HCR 1508

 

This large embroidery machine is rigid and large in appearance, suitable for your larger embroidery jobs that require a wider area to work with. Not only does it allow for larger jobs, but it also allows you to work on thicker, stronger materials like leather. 

The material you’re working with might change, but the quality of your work certainly won’t. This large machine also reduces vibrations and noise, which again allow for the best possible quality when working. 

Other main features include: 

  • Number of heads: 8
  • Number of needles: 15
  • Embroidery area: 17.71 x 14.17 (inches)
  • Thread control system
  • Maximum output: 40,000,000 stitches
  • Multilingual operation

 

Happy Japan 1206

 

midwest embroidery machine

 

For the highest quality embroidery, the Happy Japan 1206 has 3 different modes for you to choose from. The flat, cylinder and cap sewing modes are the perfect range to choose from should you be needing to work with different materials.

The embroidery machine is incredibly user-friendly and connects up with the editing software super easily. Plus, it’s big construction style means that businesses can get the maximum utilisation from their sewing fields. 

Other key features are:

  • Number of heads: 6
  • Number of needles: 12
  • Maximum speed: 900 SPM
  • Field area: 17.71 x 14.17 (inches)
  • Memory: 259,000 stitches 

These are just three of the main bestsellers that we currently have in stock, to see the full range – click here

 

Here’s What Our Customers Have Said

Going above and beyond for our customers is something that at Midwest we’re seriously passionate about. We strongly believe in providing the best customer service to complement our wide range of impressive industrial embroidery machines. 

 

wimbledon embroidery midwest

 

“Our second-hand 6 head machine was delivered on time within the week as promised. Nothing was too much for the engineers. Even moving my existing 6 head machine to make a little more room.

There are many machinery suppliers out there, but not many like Midwest appreciate how valuable time and having a working machine when you need it is. There’s only been one occasion in 3 years when I’ve had an issue with a machine, and the team were there the next day to get us back up and running in no time.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend these machines and Midwest to my fellow colleagues within the industry.” 

Mark Robinson, Director of Stitch-It.

 

Why Choose Midwest?

midwest logo

First of all, our reputation speaks for itself. Over the last two decades, we’ve worked hard to build an enviable relationship that our clients can trust.

Our area of expertise isn’t just in sales either, but also after-sales support and an all-round top service. 

As the UK’s leading embroidery machine distributors and proudly the only stockist of the ever-reliable Happy Japan range, you can definitely put your trust in us. 

Buying an embroidery machine from us isn’t just a purchase, it’s in fact, an investment that will help grow and evolve your business. 

We’re passionate about all things embroidery, in particular, the machinery. So, we want to help you achieve the best results you can at great affordable prices. 

Your embroidery machine is what helps create your most valued commodity, your products. So, in order to create the perfect products and meet customer demands, you need the right machine for your business. 

Not only do we stock the right machines, but we’re experts in the field too and offer full after-care support once you’ve bought your machine. Should need any assistance, we’ll be on-hand to help you get back up and running. 

If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us and one of our expert team will be available to assist you.

fashion business

A Step by Step Guide to Writing Your Fashion Business Plan

Are you a fashion business looking to expand? Or, are you looking to grow organically from within but not sure on how to get started??

You need to have a plan. Considering all of the different factors that make up a successful business is crucial, but so too is ensuring you have a comprehensive and detailed business plan.

A successful fashion business plan is a step by step live communication tool that provides alignment throughout every sector of your business. It forecasts where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.

It doesn’t just address the financial aspects; it’s a comprehensive guide that will help you to pinpoint the people and support you’ll need to achieve success.

Let’s focus on the essential anatomy parts of what should be included in your plan:

  • The Overview: Your Executive Summary
  • The Overall Goals and Objectives of Your Fashion Business Idea and Plan
  • Understanding Your Fashion Market and Competitive Landscape in Depth
  • What will it Take to Deliver: Implementation of Your Fashion Business Plan
  • The Financing: How You see Your Fashion Business Growing and the Need to Forecast 

Remember that your business plan for the fashion industry should be fluid; enabling you to incorporate and adapt as you move forward to reflect any changes as you progress. 

Firstly, Before we Begin: Why do I Need a Business Plan for my Growing Fashion Business?

fashion business plan

Without a plan, you’re going in blind. You’re left constantly guessing and you have no idea if you’re heading in the right direction.

A detailed and carefully thought out fashion brand business plan offers you focus and acts as a guide. In particular, for the fashion industry, you should look to set it out into seasons over a period of approximately three years. 

You’ll likely spend those years reinvesting back into your business for things such as hardware and software to improve your efficiency and capabilities, which will mean that profitability will likely occur outside of this timeframe.

A good business plan should be accessible, highlight every area of focus and clearly state your strategy.

The Overview: Your Executive Summary

This is a vital cog to your fashion business plan. It essentially becomes your pitch and should in length be a maximum of a page.

An executive summary acts as your business overview and will incorporate all aspects of your plan but in a concise manner; considering key factors and points.

You should be able to easily real this off to anyone who asks about it or is interested in your business in a succinct and exciting way. For example,  a future investor if you decided you needed investment.

Include your products, services and relevant experience that you bring to the business and how that will drive growth. Not forgetting to include the part that upgrading technology and vital equipment such as commercial embroidery machines will play.

The Overall Goals and Objectives of Your Fashion Business Idea and Plan

business plan goals and objectives

 

This section is where you outline your main ideas. What makes your ideas different? Are they unique from your competition?

You want to be able to showcase your vision, objectives and goals here and bring to life your ideas.

It’s prudent to research your target market to ensure that you create a strategy that will work within your chosen niche. Think about what your target market will expect from you and how you’ll achieve it with your approach and branding.

You’ll need to be able to specifically answer:

  • What is your segment?
  • Who is your intended customer?
  • What pain are you resolving for your audience? 
  • Why is your audience going to want what you’re selling? Why should they care?

For example, are you in the contemporary fashion business? Are you in luxury? Or, perhaps you want to close the gap between value and price? Don’t necessarily look at the high end if your product is better suited to the affordable market and could perform better in a different segment.

It’s important whilst putting together your vision and mission that you look to provide details of how far your expansion is planning to go. Include your location and your intended reach and scale. For example, are you intending on being a national or global brand?

The structure of your plan should match the core values of your business. Although your executive summary comes first, it’s likely to be written last after you have fulfilled the other aspects of your business plan.

Understanding Your Fashion Market and Competitive Landscape in Depth

This section requires depth and understanding to your fashion business plan. You’ll need to identify how big your target market scope is and how quickly it’s growing. Here you should promote confidence in those that are going to be with you on your journey. 

For these people, not only will they commit to their role but they’re an extension of your business and fashion brand. They’ll be your team members, directors, consultants and suppliers of resources. If you’re looking to grow organically without outside investment, then you’ll want to ensure that everyone is behind your vision and can approach your growth from the same motivations.

You’ll want to then think about:

  • Your competitive advantage in the fashion business: have you identified one?
  • Your target audience: can you surpass your customer’s expectations? 
  • What are you producing: are you looking to produce more of the same or are you looking to diversify your range?

If you’re stepping into a fast-moving fashion market then you’ll be greeted with different opportunities than a slower-paced segment. This is because the available market share will vary and how much of that share you can realistically gain.

It’s important to analyse your competitors within your chosen area. Plan to offer an edge over your competitors in order to make your business stand out. The service you provide and your purpose is just as valued as the product you offer.

What will it Take to Deliver: Implementation of Your Fashion Business Plan

implementation of a business plan

So, you now know what you want to do, but how are you going to implement it? What’s your action plan? This is where you can break down all of the factors into actual specifics.

All aspects at each stage need to be clearly thought out and addressed, such as:

  • Staff: consider how many employees, plus, what skill set and experience at each stage will you need? Along with the cost, what will be the roles and responsibilities of each staff member?
  • Resources: How will technology play its role here and what additional materials are needed in order for you to complete your fashion process.
  • Space: do you have enough space in your current outfit for the staff and resources you’ll need in order to be able to grow? 
  • Marketing and external consultants etc: what outside expertise will you require to achieve your goals at each point in the plan?

This will be the largest part of your plan. Breaking down each season with careful planning is important. You should look for your outgoings and continued costs to be covered in your plan by gained business accounts.

A SWOT analysis can also be useful here in highlighting any areas that you may need to work on to ensure your greatest opportunity for business growth and success.

The Financing: How You see Your Fashion Business Growing and the Need to Forecast

This is a vital section where outside assistance would be useful if not imperative. This will show how you’re going to grow and finance the venture. If you plan to do so organically you need to be able to provide a profit and loss forecast.

Think about the overall period of time for the profit and loss statement. It should include total revenue, costs and expenses incurred over each specific time period. Your cash flow statement will look at the ups and downs of income of actual cash flow and equivalents into the company.

A long-term plan, especially in the ever-evolving fashion business, will need to be re-looked at as your business scales. You should take into consideration that profitability will occur after the initial stint of reinvestment back into your growing business.

To Conclude: Plan Well for Your Growth and Expansion Within Your Fashion Business

Your fashion business plan is a map of flexibility stating clearly and extensively every detail, including the carefully considered steps of how you will achieve your goals.

The fashion business is a competitive marketplace,so you have to nail all of the fundamental basics of your plan action each phase –– in order to progress and propel your business towards successful expansion and growth.

embroidery capacity

Upgrading to a Multi Head Embroidery Machine for Your Business

Upgrading to a Multi Head Embroidery Machine for Your Business

embroidery machine for your business

Are you at production capacity with your current single head embroidery machines? 

Is your single head machine now struggling to keep up with the increase in demand for your embroidery, fashion, education and sportswear industries and you’re considering an upgrade? 

Continue reading “Upgrading to a Multi Head Embroidery Machine for Your Business”