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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Why your embroidered items cost as much as it does……

(I should say first off that this mainly applies to us small businesses)

Customer, so you want a custom/personalized embroidered item.  Before you start with the “OMGs”, the “WOWs” and the “so and so boutique must be crazy” when you get your quote, please consider this……

Many small businesses, especially those now starting off, cannot afford to put out huge sums of money to buy supplies wholesale which is where you are most likely to save $$$

Do you have any idea how much work goes into an order?  And I am not even talking about those of us who handmake the product then embroider it.

Look at this…

Stabilizer to hoop the item(Goes on the wrong side of the item.  Now there are many different kinds.  Tear Away, Cutaway, water soluble, etc. then you have the different weights for different items – light weight, medium, etc. you get the idea.



You need your blanks.  Whether it’s blank bodysuits(onesies), blank towels, blank burp cloths, blank whatever.


Blanks and a decent amount of it is needed.

Water Soluble Topping


I know many people say to hell with this for t-shirts and bodysuits, but I believe it is absolutely necessary for a more professional look.  It is a must for towels.  What does this do?  It makes sure your stitches don’t sink into the fabric.  Towels have a high pile so it’s absolutely necessary.

Now on the t-shirts, I notice the stitches are smoother and much neater that shirts that are embroidered without.  How do I know?  Some of my samples I skip that step.  While the average consumer may not notice the difference, many of us do. 


After (3)

This is barely a fraction of my thread.  I keep a lot of thread in all different colors so that my customers can have their stuff stuff in almost any color they wish. 

After (10)

I also need regular machine and serger thread since some of the smaller items, like a premie bodysuit, I have to basically disassemble then stitch it back together. This is just easier for me

Anyway, moving on, so we have to hoop your item, which explains the hopping fee if you ever were told about it.


So your custom order is off the embroidery machine and ready to be finished. 

Again I know some “boutiques” that will actually send a product to the buyer like this.  Zero backingDSC_0628


Your item( t-shirt/Bodysuit) should have a cover over the embroidery.  While there are many different kinds, they all serve the same purpose, to avoid itchiness and discomfort.  I do this even for Appliques.  It just isn’t comfortable, but that’s just me.



Here is one option and there has been no comp. from the company for me to do this Smile

Pellon Fusible Tricot.  When purchased by the yard, it will run the seller $3.49.  Not cheap at all.  For me, every single t-shirt, bodysuit and embroidered handmade beanie gets this applied to the back of the embroidery. 

This has to be ironed, so guess what else we need to factor in….


……..electricity usage/prep time Winking smile

This is the black fusible Tricot, there is also white.


Most of us anyway, apply this to the back of the shirt so that you, the consumer doesn’t have to experience discomfort when wearing your custom item.


When the item is completed, it is now time to be packaged

Let me explain postage rate. Many people don’t seem to have a clue at the recent costs.  So I’ll run it down really quickly.

For something like this, a small keyfobDSC_0510will probably run me the lowest shipping rate.  Shipping rates for 1st Class domestic packages start at $1.69

That is just for shipping.  Packaging must be purchased or made like I do occasionally for the smaller items

If you are nervous about your handmade envelope surviving USPS…hahaha, wrap your entire envelope in clear packaging tape.  Take your time and do it neatly.  The result will be a lovely envelope that looks laminated.

One of my handmade envelopes

Envelope (1)


The typical padded envelop is the choice for many of us.  But business owners hear me out.  Lots of boutiques get custom boxes and shipping supplies, those are expensive!  You do not have to go that far if your funds are limited.  This way you pass on some savings to your customers.  I do!

Customers, Regarding your shipping/handling fees, the average toddler shirt will be about 3 – 4 oz maybe more depending on what embroidery is done.  YES, the thread and stabilizer, especially on dense, large designs such as this one……


will add weight to the item, so will large Applique designs on a shirt or bodysuit.  Right there you are looking at $2.00 and we haven’t even factored in the envelope.

Again, if these are not purchased in bulk, the tshirt sized padded envelopes, the 8 1/2” by 11” that come on a 5 or 6 pack I believe are $5.00 or so.  We are up to $3.00  Factor in the sometime and wrapping supplies, reasonable shipping for 1 tshirt going USPS 1st class domestic would be about $3.25 – $4.00 depending



Instead invest in some curling ribbon & tissue gift paper.  It will cost you less than $10.00  Get a bunch of different colors. 

I once read an embroiderer say, “I never wrap up my orders when I ship them.  Nobody does that for me when I order”.   WRONG WRONG ATTITUDE to take.   Don’t rob your customers of a wonderfully pleasant experience because you have a bad one.

The majority of customers are women.  I don’t know about you, but I love opening presents. Make your item look as if you took some time please. 


So while the outside may look like a plain manila envelope, when they open it, make it look like a gift.  Let them know you care and you are thankful for their business.


Do you know how I know whether or not my wrapped item is ready to go in an envelope for shipping?  My 4 yr old baby girl always walks in my room when I’ve finished wrapping up an order and asks: “momma, who is that present for?” and that’s how I know it’s ready Smile

Signature stitched


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