Owner: Kim Langevin
Year Established: 2000
Decorating Technique: Rhinestone and Embroidery
Type of business: Rhinestone Transfers and Garments, Embroidery Garments
A Success Story Close to Home at ColDesi.
How did you get started in your Business?
Many years ago I moved to Florida from Wisconsin and got hired on where my mother was working at the time in a choir robe factory. I ended up in the embroidery department and stayed for 16 year. After becoming a supervisor I really started to see the change in commercial embroidery machine technology. When I first started, the machines we used were still using papertapes, then they went to cassettes and then finally floppy discs. After so long with that company I then decided I wanted to do my own embroidered apparel and went to work for a small company, and within 6 months I decided I had to have my own machine. In order to bring in some stable income while I got started, I took a job as a receptionist with ColDesi, where I bought my SWF embroidery machine. That just got me interested in doing rhinestones too! After I worked at ColDesi and saw the CAMS rhinestone machine and how much money people were making with them, I bought one! But the real news is that about 6 months after that I upgraded to the 1V-6P and was making enough to go back out on my own.
What technologies do you use?
I currently have 2 single head SWF machines, a compact 1501C and full size 1501T, a CAMS 1V-6P rhinestone machine with Hotfix Era software and a vinyl cutter.
Why did you choose those machines?
I purchased my SWFs because I wanted buy from a company that has been around awhile, has great customer support, and accessibility of parts. I have been very happy with everything at Coldesi since I bought my first machine from them in 2000. The same goes for my CAMS. One of the main reasons I upgraded from the 1V-2P to the 1V-6P within a year is that ColDesi offers a 100% trade up program so I didn’t lose anything on that initial investment.
Where do you buy your supplies?
It’s no surprise that I get them from Colman and Company. They’re really convenient and close to where I live so I can just pick up supplies when I need them. I know that’s a luxury because most businesses can’t just run down the street to get bulk bags of Hotfix rhinestones or a roll of embroidery backing, but they ship same day most of the time too. And their people are great.
What markets do you go after?
The first market I want into was embroidered corporate apparel for small and large businesses. These were mostly local to my area, and I did that for many years. I also worked with a screen printer that I subcontracted to so I could offer that as well. But since getting my CAMS machine I have done mostly custom rhinestone transfers and not so much apparel. Now that after all these years I have finally had the time and to get a website up I am still doing custom transfers but am wanting to focus on bling apparel for dog lovers. It has always been what I love to do best.
What was your biggest hurdle getting started?
For me it was cold calling sales. I hated it and it scared me to death. So when I first started I let all my family and friends know I was in the apparel decorating business. Pretty soon the only advertising I did was word of mouth, and for the most part it still is today. If you do quality work and have great customers service that is the best advertisement. Some of my customers that I started with in 1996 are still with me.
What products do you offer that might be good for other ColDesi customers?
Well, if you are an embroiderer or custom t-shirt shop that doesn’t do rhinestones I can work with you on doing custom transfers. It can be a really profitable business. Or if you are thinking of getting into the apparel business but aren’t ready to buy a CAMS machine, I’m the perfect person to work with because I’ve been where you are.
What’s on your equipment wish list next?
The ProSpangle machine! It’s so much faster than rhinestones and I love the look and feel of the end result.
Interested in starting a custom apparel business?
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