Are you Branding yourself a specialist in a specific market? It is hard for any small embroidery shop to grow or even survive unless you are marketing to a Niche or a Specific Market. Let me ask you some questions that may help you to think about your current situation:
- Do you sometimes feel trapped in your Embroidery business?
- Are you an embroidery business owner with a struggling small shop?
- Do you have issues trying to make enough money to pay all of the bills at the end of the month?
- Do you have employees that get paid and you still do not have enough left over to take a paycheck for yourself?
I understand just exactly what you are going through. That scenario described me perfectly for many years as I continued to struggle. It just did not matter how much work came into the shop, I still was not making enough money to make ends meet.
The main problem was that I was going after the wrong market! I was doing contract embroidery for sporting goods stores and promotional products dealers. I was continually growing in this market, but my prices were not high enough for me to make a living doing contract work. I was told that I could not market to retail customers because I would be stepping on the dealers‚’ toes, so to speak, so I stayed inside of my shop and just kept working. I thought that if I had enough volume this would work, but it truly did not. Doing contract work alone can work for large shops with many embroidery heads, but for small embroidery shops you need retail to balance out the mix. Are you branding yourself a specialist in the right market?
Afraid To Raise My Prices
My embroidery shop was well known for high quality work and good customer service, but like other embroiderers, I was afraid to raise my prices. I just knew if I did that I would lose the work! I felt so trapped and I really did not know what to do.
My accountant said to either raise my prices or go out of business. This was very difficult for me to do. I loved what I did and I knew that I was good at it but he was right! It was ridiculous to continue in this manner and be the only one in the shop not getting a pay check!
With the help of my accountant I created a new pricing structure and raised my prices. Did I lose customers? Yes, I did, but it was customers that were with us only for our low prices. I did not lose the customers that were with us for out high quality embroidery.
Created A Plan To Sell Retail
Even though I was told that I could not sell to the retail market, I created a plan to start selling my products and services to retail customers. I decided to go after a market that we were not servicing through our sporting goods stores or the promotional products dealers. I opened up a small retail location and increased my selection of gift items. I had been selling gift items with monograms but it was small single items, not any type of volume.
Are You Branding Yourself a Specialist In A Niche Market?
My Son-in-law was a police officer so I had the state police logo digitized and embroidered some sample items that he thought would sell. He took these items to some of his meetings and conferences and I started receiving orders from the other police officers. Soon the word spread and I started selling Police Corporate Wear to all of the other Police agencies in our area and throughout our state. I visited the other agencies and arranged meetings to find out exactly what types of items they would like to have available to them to purchase at retail.
I started carrying a small selection of embroidered items in my retail shop for the local police agencies to come in and purchase on the spot. This included caps, t-shirts, golf shirts and casual jackets. I required a Police ID card for the sale of this merchandise and I created ID cards for the police officers to give to their wives, parents and husbands. This worked out very well and helped to bring in profits and it also brought in a lot more sales for monogramed gift items.
I had finally found my niche; a market that was not being serviced that clearly needed servicing! Are you branding yourself a specialist?
How Do You Find A Niche Market?
The answer is, you do not find a niche market, you create or carve out a niche market! It is hard to survive in today‚’s marketplace competing for the same business that every other embroiderer is competing for. You must find an area of the market that you can specialize in; one that other embroiderers have overlooked or aren‚’t willing to service. In this way, you can brand yourself as the specialist for that specific market.
You can quickly become the leader in your chosen market and will have less competition if you market to a specific niche rather than trying to compete with the masses, so, are you branding yourself a specialist in a specific market?