Happy Japan and Xtreme Tech Pro Embroidery Machine Sales, Service, and Supplies

Celebrating 21 Years in business

Starting an Embroidery Business


So you are thinking of buying an embroidery machine?

Working for yourself can stimulate your creative talents and be incredibly rewarding while allowing you to work from home keeping those overheads to a minimum.

Among today’s many home or small business opportunities, the embroidery business offers entrepreneurs like you, a tremendous career in a booming industry.

More and more corporate dollars are pouring into promotional products, fueling the embroidery business. Sporting organization’s use embroidery on their garments and bags.

Just think about it, every company, store, organization or cause is a potential customer for your embroidery business!

Plan promotions ahead of time:
White sale, ski equipment, sweaters, turtlenecks, winter wear
Washington’s Birthday, Lincoln’s Birthday, Valentine’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day, Easter wear, baby items
Luggage promotion, canvas tote bags, team uniforms, school fund Raisers.
Mother’s Day, robes, aprons
Graduation, wedding, Father’s Day (men’s shirt and tie Monogramming)
Beach wear, towels, terry robes
Back-to-school, totes, backs packs, school jackets, baseball hats
School and church fund raisers
Linens for Thanksgiving and the Holidays
Time to have customers thinking about Christmas gifts


Corporate Accounts
Product launches, promotional items
Local Businesses
Employee work wear
Sports Teams
Team strips, Baseball caps, Merchandising items

This is just a tiny selection, there are hundreds of thousands of possibilities!


Markets to consider:
Ad Specialty Firms Air Shows
Amusement Parks Animal Shows
Bands Bath & Linen Shops
Car Clubs Casinos
Children’s Clothing Concert Promoters
Hotels, Interior Decorators Little League Teams
Local Bar & Restaurants Schools
Ski Resorts Sporting Goods Stores
Summer Camps Uniform Companies


What can I sew on:
Aerobics Wear Aprons
Award Ribbons Bath Sheets
Blouses Car Mats
Christmas Stockings Coat Linings
Dancewear Dog Collars
Golf Bags Jackets
Monogram Shirts Name Tags
Pillow Cases Robes
Sweat Suits Towels

10 Steps to Embroidery Success.
A successful new embroidery business requires a number of ingredients that you can control; your hard work, your creativity and your choice of equipment/distributor. But before you start embroidering your first garment, you will need to review a few important steps.

1. Planning your business:
Creating a blueprint (business plan) for your business is the foundation for your success. You need to set goals and establish benchmarks for your growth. Over time, you’ll find out what the market demands of you and how you’ll fit in. Embroidery shops come in all sizes, from a small home business to giant production factories.
You’ll need to decide what type of shop is right for the type of business you want to do.
Good planning will help you establish a strong foundation for continued growth and success.
Remember, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”

2. Target the Market:
You will need to learn about the competition and decide how you can be different. You’ll need to find your niche and locate potential customers. You can do this by checking the yellow pages, Chamber of Commerce, finding resources at the library or on the Internet. Once you have found potential customers, you will need to develop a marketing plan to sell your talents.

3. Select the right machine:
More equipment options are available today than ever before. Developing a relationship with a full service distributor that has a complete support network to help your business grow. We at Dr DTG & Embroidery have this experience.

4. Selecting software:
You want a package that is user-friendly, yet has enough features and capabilities to help you get the job done on time. Depending on the level of software you choose, you should be able to do everything from sewing monograms and lettering to creating sophisticated and colorful designs. Look for software that you can build on as your expertise grows.

5. Financing equipment:
Where do you go for money? Your savings or your family and friends? Do you borrow money from your bank, or find out if you qualify for a SBA loan? We have a leasing company we work with but the best source of finance is generally your own bank with which you have history and they usually offer you the best rates.

6. Training:
A key component of your success is training, training and more training. You can never learn enough about the latest trends, software, materials and machines. Quality education from a distributor should be comprehensive and include more than just machine and software training, they should offer you on-line support too.
Seminars can help keep you up-to-date with all of the latest industry developments and offer you a great opportunity to network with others in the business.

7. Finding the best supplies:
You want to provide clients with the best possible finished products. Your hard work, top-level machinery and intuitive software will help you get there. But, supplies and accessories will make your work shine. You need to use top quality threads, needles, backing, and all the other items from a full-line supplier. We will give you a list of suppliers.

8. Customer service:
Once you have a customer, make sure you service them to the best of your abilities. Walk them through a project, use quality materials, and deliver on time. Be their counselor, their advisor. After all, you now know the embroidery business. Make sure that you are the expert they turn to every time for all of their embroidery needs.

9. Make the business grow by finding new opportunities:
After you have established your business, continue to think about expanding it by finding new customers or offering new services perhaps laser engraving or screen-printing.
If you begin as a home-based operation, you may expand to a small kiosk in a mall or a storefront. Each location is different and the customers of each expect different services. Whatever course you select, use every tool available to seek and secure new business. Make sure you are dealing with a distributor who will be there with you for the long run. Make sure that they have the ability to truly help you as you expand your business.

10. Upgrade you business:
Whether or not you move from a home-based business to a large factory or anything in between you will want to expand your business. To be successful, adding machinery will be necessary to handle larger and more complicated orders. Whether it is a single head, four head or even a 16 head, Dr DTG and EMB is the partner you can trust.


Retail / Home Production Cost Analysis
Number of Heads
Cost 1 2 4 6
1 Day Labor ($12.00/hr. x 8 hours) $96.00 $96.00 $96.00 $96.00
Average machine cost $13,500 $19,500 $29,500 $36,500
Monthly Payment (60 months @ 10%) $266 $393 $563 $755
Daily Payment (Monthly payment / 30 Days) $12.09 $17.86 $25.59 $34.31
Daily Labor + Machine Payment $108.09 $113.86 $121.59 $130.31
1 2 4 6
Time it takes to sew an average design. (6,000 stitch pattern 3-colors @ 700 stitches per minute) The average corporate logo will be about 3000-5000 stitches. Top machine speed is usually 1200 stitches per minute. Time is allotted for re-loading the garment onto the machine and the extra time it takes for the machine to trim the thread and change colors. 9.6 min 10.1 min 10.6 min 11.1 min
1 2 4 6
Total items produced in one day. (420 minutes (7 hours) divided by time for 1 item) 43.75 83.16 158.48 227.00
Production Cost/Item (One days operation cost divided by items produced, including .04 per item for thread & backing) $1.96 $1.12 $0.65 $0.50
Retail Pricing 1 2 4 6
Embroidery Profit (6000 stitches x .80 per 1000 x daily production less production cost) Retail pricing will vary depending on location and customer. We took a good average of this criteria and came up with .80 per 1000 stitches. $124.25 $306.02 $657.69 $976.10
Total Daily Profit
1 2 4 6
With garment profit: Hats $554 $1,136 $2,237 $3,246
Cost = $3     Retail = $13                        Profit = $10 + Embroidery
With garment profit: Polo Shirts $812 $1,634 $3,185 $4,608
Cost = $8     Retail = $24                        Profit = $16 + Embroidery.
With garment profit: Jackets $1,285 $2,547 $4,923 $7,105
Cost = $28   Retail = $55                       Profit = $27 + Embroidery.

Note: Above garment profits will be reduced for large orders and/or to compete with other embroiderers.

How to purchase an embroidery machine


Purchasing an embroidery machine takes time, research and patience. This is going to be your future business, and with any luck, a good income. Treat this like looking for a new job. Take the time to find the right company with the right machine and the right training, support and warranty.

Take a look at the information and tips below to be better informed. Then call one of our knowledgeable salespeople, or our technicians if you have any further questions.

Information about commercial embroidery as a start-up business.
Sewing Head
Embroidery machines are sold by the number of sewing heads, and sewing needles. The number of sewing heads indicate how many items or garments can be embroidered simultaneously. A machine can have 1,2,3,4,6,8,12,15,16,20,24, or 30 heads. It is a single piece of equipment with multiple heads on it.

How many sewing heads do I need?
1-head machines are usually purchased for start-up businesses that will embroider less than 20 garments per day. A 1-head machine can embroider about 40 garments per 8-hour day. This is based on a 4,000-6,000 stitch design. Calculate roughly 10 minutes of machine time to sew a 5,000 stitch design. There are approximately 1,000 stitches in 1 square inch. An average size logo on a shirt or hat is 2″x3″ or 6 square inches or 6,000 stitches.
Sewing needles
Each sewing head has 1-16 needles. If a machine’s model number is 1202this usually means that it is a 2-head machine with 12 needles. A 1501 model would mean 1-head, and 15 needles, and a 906 would mean 9-needles, and 6-heads. Not all manufacturers use this method to label their machines but most do.

How many needles do I need?
Less than 10 years ago most machines only had 9-needles at most. Most of the designs that you embroider will have less than 6 colors, and most machines can handle more than 100 color changes. So if you embroider a design with more colors than you have needles, you will just change out the thread as the machine is sewing and the machine never stops. However it is very convenient to have more needles for a couple of reasons. If you have a regular client that uses the same colors all the time you can leave those needles loaded with those colors, and not have to change them. Also on some heavy materials like leather, and treated canvas it is recommended that you use sharp point needles, so you could leave the sharp point needles on the machine all the time for those items.
Trimmers – Devices found on most machines manufactured after 1990. They trim the threads between color changes, jump stitches, between block lettering, and at the end of the design.
Cap System (Cap Frames, Cap Driver, Cap Gauge)
Devices found on most machines to do embroidery on a finished cap. This is an attachment that will rotate around the sewing arm and hold a hat for sewing. This is the best way to accurately sew a large design on a hat. Older machines would press the hat down flat and sew it. This method could only sew a small design (less than 2″x 2″) and would appear skewed because the design was not following the curvature of the hat.
Cap Frame
Cap frames are the attachment that holds or hoops the hat for sewing. Cap frames come in 3 sizes; Standard, semi-wide, and wide-angle. Standard sews an area of about 2.5″ x 5″, semi-wide sews an area of about 3″ x 7″, and wide-angle sews an area of about 3″ x 14″. Most manufacturers now only offer the wide and semi-wide cap frames. However, after market suppliers still manufacture standard cap frames for all machine brands.
Wide-angle would seem to be the best choice because of the larger sewing area, but savvy machine operators will tell you that standard cap frames are much faster to hoop. So you will find that high production facilities will always have standard cap frames. You can always put the hat into a regular tubular hoop to sew the side of the hat. The only thing you could not sew with a standard or semi-wide cap frame is one continuous design that is longer than 5″ or 7″ respectively.
Cap Driver
The cap driver is the item that attaches directly to the machine and rotates around the sewing arm. You attach the cap frame with hat to this driver while on the machine.
Cap Gauge
This is attached to a table close to your machine, and is used for hooping hats. You attach the cap frame to the cap gauge, open the cap frame, load the cap or hat into the cap frame, then move the cap frame with hat loaded over to the cap driver on the machine.
Tubular Frames – Frames or hoops that are especially designed to sew on garments that are manufactured in a tubular fashion i.e.: tee-shirts, sweat shirts, golf shirts. It also works well with jackets. The opposite side of the garment hangs below a cylinder arm and is out of the way of the garments on the other heads. In the case of a jacket the front and arms would be out of the way.
Software – Embroidery software is specifically designed for the embroidery industry. It is designed to generate stitches and output the information in a language that will communicate with the embroidery machine. Software such as Corel Draw, Arts & Letters, etc. are great for generating graphics but do not generate stitches and will not write to a file that an embroidery machine understands. There are several types of software sold to people with embroidery machines. They generally break down into 3 basic categories. Each manufacturer offers different features within these categories however.
Lettering – This software is intended to give you the ability to type in the lettering you want to sew and output it to a disk or directly to the machine for the machine to sew it. It usually has the ability to distort the lettering and is usually inclusive of several font and symbol styles. It also will allow you to add lettering to an embroidery design.
Editing and lettering – This has the same features as the lettering software, but in addition allows you to edit an embroidery design. Sometimes when you are using a stock design, you may need to change the color sequence or add/remove a stitch or two. You may also take parts of two different designs and combine them to make one design and so on. Often when you have a design digitized it becomes necessary to make some minor changes to make it sew better.
Digitizing – Usually incorporates all of the above features but also includes the digitizing features. This allows one to input a design via a scanner or a digitizing tablet and create stitches.Note: Most people who sell equipment agree that it is not advisable for people without experience with embroidery equipment attempt their own digitizing prior to having some experience with the equipment. The digitizing process is the most critical part of the whole process and generally speaking it is best to use experienced digitizers until you have gained the experience with the equipment. Generally speaking the companies that offer this software can be upgraded from one level to another.
What do I need to be in business? 
Most of the companies that sell equipment will usually package everything you need together but it may be helpful to look at the individual parts of the package.
Embroidery machine
Usually the sale of machines include all of the standard hoops/frames that you will need to get started. Generally the manufacturer will offer additional hoops that you can buy as you need them. Usually there are cap frames and 2-3 sizes of hoops sold with machines and these are sometimes enough but may not always be. Generally when hoops are included, there are 2 of each size for each head.This will allow you to hoop a garment while one is sewing and then you can re-hoop the machine more quickly.
Machine Accessories
There are many accessories available for your machine, and business. While not necessary, they will make your job a lot easier. Below is a list of common accessories.
Hooping board
Hooping boards are great for placing the embroidery in the exact same place on multiple shirts. It speeds up the process dramatically. Click here to see the hooping board.
Jacket sewing kit
If you plan on sewing a lot of heavy jackets, or blankets, or canvas bags, you need a sturdy double height hoop to hold the garment, and a table on the machine to support the garment. Click here to see a jacket sewing kit
Clamping system
The clamping system can actually eliminate hoops altogether. But this system really shines when you need to sew on the back of a hat, or on a purse, or in a pocket on a computer bag. Because the clamp reaches into an opening like a pocket, you can move beyond the seam or zipper to clamp the product.
Click here to see the clamping system
Software – generally this is one of the three categories mentioned above. We generally recommend that unless you have embroidery experience you would be better off purchasing the automatic digitizing packages. Most of this software comes in Windows XP versions. Some companies that sell this software will want to include the computer in the sale, but there are others that do not.
Computer – Most of the software will work on a Windows 98, 2000, & XP computer and most of the time, if you have a computer you would like to use, it will usually work. There have been times when the software we sell will not work correctly on all PCs. Some companies such as Packard Bell make their computers in such a fashion that they are not compatible with Embroidery industry software.
Supplies – This would be an assortment of thread, backing, topping material, scissors, sewing snips, machine oil, bobbins, needles, etc. Also it is a good idea to have some sort of hooping device. This is a work aid that makes hooping garments easier.
Stock Designs – While stock designs are not required, they may prove to be most helpful. There are several companies who offer collections of designs. Some of the larger companies furnish nice color catalogs with detailed pictures, sizes and stitch counts of these designs. They become excellent sales tools and options for your customers who may find a stock design that would work and you could offer this design to you customer as a quick solution and it would be less expensive than a custom digitized design. We also find that by having one of these collections it helps you develop marketing and sales opportunities.
Ok, I know what machine and supplies to buy, what’s next?
Machine Insurance
Insurance for your machine and software is mandatory if you are leasing your equipment. So if you plan on leasing, start shopping for insurance because not all insurance companies will cover commercial machines that are in your home.
Business License
A business license is issued buy the city your business is in. It can be purchased from your local City Clerk office, or even purchased online.
Fictitious Business Name Statement
A fictitious business name statement is an article placed in a specific local newspaper. When you purchase your Business license, they will tell you which local paper to place your ad in. The ad will simply read that you will be starting a business at a certain address, under a certain DBA
Business checking account
Within 24 hours after you place the ad with the local newspaper, you will be allowed to open a business checking account
Resale certificate
This sales tax license is purchased from your local State Board Of Equalization. It allows you to purchase items from suppliers without paying tax. Some suppliers of garments will not give you the best discount unless you have a resale number.
Contact all of the garment suppliers to receive catalogs from them. Most suppliers will have catalogs that will have no pricing in it so your customers can view the catalogs.
The first thing you will do after the training is over, is create some samples of your work to display. Sew out samples of text available for names, a few corporate logos like McDonalds, Century 21, and sew out a few large designs of the local school mascot, or sports team.
Many of the garment suppliers also offer a starter kit or display kit of garments at a discount for your garment display.
Ideas For Marketing Embroidery
Items To Embroider
Ad specialty
Advertising agencies
Baby bibs
Art shops
Baby blankets
Baby Clothes
Boat Shows
Bridle Shops
Car races
Car shows
Book bags
Boxer shorts
Cat Shows
Business cards
Canvas bags
Clothing manufactures
Christmas stockings
Dog clothing
Craft shows
Direct mail
Dog collars
Fabric to frame as art
Dog shows
Flea Markets
Golf Bags
Golf bag covers
Gift Shops
Golf club head covers
Horse Blankets
Gun Shows
Horse Shows
Horse bridles
Knit shirts
Interior Design
Internet Marketing
Leather goods
Magazine Advertising
Mall Kiosk
Military name tapes
Military patches
Military Stores
Monogram Shops
Military stripes
Personal Shoppers
Napkin holders
Retail Shops
Pillow cases
Santa hats
Screen Printers
Ski Shops
Seat covers
Sporting goods
Ski caps
Sports leagues
Tack Shops
Sweat shirts
Sweat pants
Tailor Shops
Team Wear
Table clothes
Tourist Shops
Trophy Shops
Table runners
Tennis racket covers
Uniform Centers
Tennis shoes
Turtle neck shirts
Woven Shirts
Wrist bands