Owner: Laura None of your Beeswax
Year Established: About 10 years ago
Type of Business: Bling, Embroidery, Sublimation
Website and Phone Number: It doesn’t matter – we’re too busy to do anything else!
Undercover Bling Business.
If you are just starting out in the custom t-shirt, embroidery or bling business you are DEFINITELY going to want to read all about Undercover Bling and Embroidery business that we spoke to today!
ColDesi has been helping entrepreneurs, work from home Moms, weekend business warriors start their own apparel decorating businesses since 1998.
That 15 years in business has seen a LOT of real successes, not only on the local business stage, but on the national and international stages as well. AND we do our InBusiness: Success Stories pretty often in order to educate and inspire our future and existing customers.
The reasons that people agree to be interviewed, written about and promoted vary, but one of the most important reason is that they usually get some kind of business from it. Many of you that read these will decide that buying transfers instead of making them, ordering embroidery instead of creating it is better for you. Or that there’s a pizza franchise or BBQ restaurant in your future instead. Not so with our mystery business today!
Undercover Bling – not an actual business name by the way – they wanted to remain anonymous!
Why? Because they do not need or want any more business! This couples work-from-home, 18’x18′ sunroom turned workshop produces enough business to keep them happy just from local spots and word of mouth!
Tell us a little about who you are and what you do
Well, I got a gift of an embroidered baby blanket about 10 years ago that I loved and thought “I can do that myself!”. That’s when I headed down to the local WalMart and bought a little Brother embroidery machine and started my business. It didn’t take long at all before I outgrew that tiny 4×4 hoop and upgraded to a commercial embroidery machine, and not too long after that before I got my second one!
Now I do sublimation, embroidery and BLING with my new ProSpangle machine and it’s just great! I only work with schools, local sports team moms and community theater groups near my town, and I get plenty of business from them.
How did decide on what markets to go after?
That was easy. I started off with the the community theater people. My daughter was already a part of one and did several plays every year, and I noticed that none of the kids had anything to carry their show stuff in. So I embroidered a big bag for my daughter with the Play’s name, the Year and her Role in the play and pretty soon everyone in the cast wanted one. And then I took that idea to another community theater, and it it just kept going.
Those bags cost me just $14 to buy, then I sold them for $49 each – and there are about 10 plays every year for every group. THEN I said well, how about a hoodie with the same thing on it , and a t-shirt that their parents or fans could wear with that on it and that just took off.
After that I started thinking that I could do the same thing for Schools.. and I did! Then I got the ProSpangle machine and just took bling into all the same places and it really took off!
Will you tell us how you do your marketing?
I have a Facebook page, but no website or brochures or anything. It’s all me, or word of mouth. My daughter and husband used to just roll their eyes because I’d be out at the grocery store and see a Mom with her new baby and just had her my card and say “you’re going to want something personalized for that baby!”. So everywhere I went I made sure to give just about everybody a business card and tell them what I did.
But one of the best things I do is use the baseball Moms and Teachers to sell for me. Especially easy since I got the ProSpangle to do bling!
Teachers: The schools all have Fridays where you can where a school t-shirt as long as it’s got the name or the logo on it, and the teachers all do that. So I’ll pick one teacher and do a bling shirt for her with the school mascot on it – but to get it she’s got to keep it in the breakroom or the library or whatever works in that school, and have a sign up sheet next to it so other teachers can order. At the end of 2 weeks, she brings me the order sheet AND the money and she gets a free shirt! I’ll do that a couple of times a year at each school, and they always ask about a Halloween Shirt or Christmas Shirt or something else like that too, and then I’ll do it all over again. I can also do the shirts for the men with sublimation too.
Baseball: I do the same thing with Baseball Moms. They ALL want to look cute! So now I’ll do ProSpangle bling shirts with the team logo on the front and for just a little extra will put their kids number on the back. I pick one Mom as a model and if she shows off the shirt, takes the order and brings me the money she gets a free shirt too! And boy do they love that I can bling the caps now too! I’ll make 500% profit on a hat with the bling on it and everybody wants one.
But with the sport folks I really do follow the whole season and match their schedule. So I find my baseball mom models in the Spring before they get started, offer something new for the playoffs, or if they make it to championships. So just like the schools, it’s all seasonal and you have to be organized about that.
Tell the story about your ProSpangle machine
My family and I were traveling for another reason and there just happened to be a trade show in town. I walked in the show with my husband and daughter and the FIRST THING I saw was ColDesi’s ProSpangle Bling Machine. I couldn’t take my eyes off all that bling, and I told my husband that this was going to be our next thing. So I called my bank on the spot and while I was in the ColDesi booth told him that I would pay off the machine in 12 months.. even my husband thought I was crazy :). We ended up buying it that day.. and it only took 10 MONTHS to pay for itself!
I didn’t even have to go out and look for any new customers. I just showed off the new products and started using teachers and baseball moms the way I said and it just is doing great! THAT”S why I don’t want any more advertising! My husband just retired and now is helping me in the business and we make plenty and really enjoy it.
What was your biggest hurdle in Getting Started?
I wasted a lot of time and money starting with the cheaper consumer embroidery machines and just trying to get the least expensive thing I could. If I had to do it all over again I would have bought one of ColDesi’s 15 commercial embroidery machines right away. I wasted so much money on hoops! And all the supplies and software that comes with it and the time it saved would have been worth the $10,000 or $11,000 the new professional ones cost.
With the ProSpangle my biggest hurdle was learning the software. I don’t have any experience with software or digitizing because I always outsources that in my embroidery business, so there was a learning curve. But Allen and Sammy at ColDesi were a great help – I just can’t tell you everything they did! But I can really use the software now and do all my own designs, even the complicated ones.
So what advice would you give someone starting out?
Don’t start cheap like I did. I wasted too much time and money going from one piece of equipment, then buying the better one, then buying the better one when I needed that. And also that when you find your market, if it’s a good one you don’t need to keep looking, just find more things you can do for those same people like when I added bling!
Also, I get my spangle supplies and everything from Colman and Company. I might be able to find supplies for some of my things cheaper, but I figure that the manufacturer has got the right supplies figured out and it’s not worth losing business over a bad product to save a few pennies on something.
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