Shopping around for creative talent is not always an easy task. This applies across the board from photographers and artists and writers to craftspeople in all disciplines—including embroidery and garment printing.
Finding a provider is difficult because you have to identify someone with the proven skills to do the work you want. Some people who sell embroidery or garment printing have never used an embroidery machine or a garment printer. They are order takers. It’s done all the time and it’s not bad, but as a consumer you would do better relying on someone with “hands-on” knowledge about the intricacies of the craft.
If you don’t have any experience or personal recommendations of providers to go by, one good indication is to check out the quality of their websites. Do they sound authoritative? Is the website helpful? Do they do the work in-house? Can they be reliably contacted at a physical location? Do they provide verifiable testimonials?
Another good indication is to talk with them. Are they friendly and helpful or are they pushy? Do they listen to your concerns and ask good questions about your creative project or do they seem to take over and tell you what you should want? Do they act more like consultants or salespeople?
Once you have selected someone to do your embroidery or printing, here are a few tips on maximize your success. While these specifically relate to our business at Creativity On, there should be general tips to glean to make your experiences with other providers more useful, too.
1. Accentuate the positive
We love pleasing our clients with our work. We want each of them to be fully satisfied. It thrills us when we see customers’ faces light up when they first set eyes on the work we did for them. We work best when our customers are excited about the work knowing how much we care about each order, large or small.
2. Build a team spirit
We will go the extra mile to do work for a customer when we know that we have been entrusted with a meaningful creative responsibility. Engage the provider’s spirit by treating them as if they were a member of your creative team. We always say that we look good when our customers look good in the apparel we provide; that is our pledge to the team spirit.
3. Define what you want
Some customers come to us with a precise vision of what they want. That’s great! Others have only a vague idea and ask us to make creative decisions for them. We’re happy to help with layout and design work yet customers should expect to pay art fees for extensive revising and reworking.
4. Know the design elements you need
Sometimes people need very precise design elements because it’s part of their corporate image. If you want something written in a specific font, get the name of the font (and perhaps be prepared to send a copy of the font file.) There are thousands and thousands of fonts from hundreds of providers in the world. Similarly, if you require specific colors, like an exact shade of blue, be prepared to provide the color formula, such as R=10, G=153, B=255.
5. Best prices and best value
We understand that everyone wants the best price. We love giving great prices. However, we are also focused on great value. Clients sometimes buy sale items at stores that turn out to be unsuitable for embroidery or printing. We’d be happy to discuss with you various options so that you get the best value for the best price.
6. Have approvals lined up before you order
Sometimes customers leave our shop very pleased with the results they asked for. Then they come back later with design changes a boss or an approval committee require. While we think some revision is reasonable, the more you can pin down exactly what you want with everyone who needs to have a say, the quicker we can offer a finished product. Changes cause delays and sometimes incur added costs.
7. Give as much lead time as possible
While we specialize in rush orders and fast turnarounds, the creative process often requires “think time,” especially for original designs or unusual tasks. Product availability may also be an issue. The more time you give us before your “need by” date, the better we can serve you.
8. Testimonials and recommendations
When you are pleased with the results, one of the best ways to show your appreciation is to write an unsolicited testimonial or recommend the provider to friends and colleagues. While doing this is a favor you give to the provider, it also earns you bonus points on future orders. Knowing that you support their business in a very tangible way, the provider will be more eager to keep pleasing you.