Sew What?Custom Designs

Owner: Taylor Calvetti
Company: Sew What? Custom Designs
Address: N3305 County Road M Lot 160 West Salem WI 54669
Phone: (608)881-4777

Tell us a little about who you are and what you do:


My name is Taylor Calvetti and I am a 29-year-old, self-taught embroiderer from Lacrosse, WI. I live with my girlfriend, our 9-year-old son, 3 cats, a chinchilla, and a guinea pig!

Besides embroidery, my passions are music and the great outdoors!  I have been doing embroidery for just under 3 years now and I have been loving (almost) every minute of it!

I had an image that I wanted turned into a patch and after some looking around I quickly discovered that I would be paying a hefty amount for this custom order. So I went out and I bought a $300 sewing machine from Wal-Mart and decided I was going to make this patch myself. That’s how it all began!


What was your biggest hurdle in getting started?


I am 100% self-taught so my first biggest hurdle was just learning the program.

The training videos provided were great, but there are many aspects of the program that the videos did not cover in-depth so I had to do additional research.

Also, I don’t send my designs out to a 3rd party to be digitized, I do all my own design work.  So when someone sends me an image I sometimes have to vector the image (turn the image into line art) then send the image to the stitch program and set all the stitches manually, one node at a time!


How do you decide what Markets to go after?


When I was first getting started with embroidery I decided to go after a market that I was already familiar with. I have a few very talented artist friends that are in the music festival scene, so I approached them and asked if I could turn their art into patches.

After making a few patches for them I started getting a bunch of requests to turn other people’s art into patches. Since then I have done a lot for friends, family, and local businesses, and more recently have been doing realistic patches of people’s cats and dogs.

I’m in a few Facebook groups geared towards pins and patches and they have a big influence on my work because that is where a majority of my customers come from! Facebook has been huge in growing my business!


What technologies do you Use?


I use Liberty Stitch Era 17 for a stitching program and Adobe Illustrator for image editing and vectoring.   I have been known to pick up a pencil or pen as well, so every once in a while I will draw something up and turn it into embroidery!


What did you get from ColDesi and why?


I have an Avancé 1501 c 15 needle single head embroidery machine!  When I started doing embroidery 3 years ago I was on a single needle home embroidery machine that was very limited with what it could do.  So I started doing research on machines.

I wanted a reliable machine from a company that I could trust.  When I first contacted ColDesi they were very helpful and answered all my questions very promptly.

Even after I sent my payment ColDesi continued to do a great job answering all of my questions and helped put my mind at ease.  Another reason I chose ColDesi was because of the training and support you get with the machine!


How do you set your pricing?


I always ask the customer for an image first.

The price heavily reflects how complex the design is, this gets me a good idea of what I’m about to get into. Once I get a picture I ask what size they had in mind.  Once they give me a size I send them a price scale that would reflect the amount of work that would need to go into the project.

Some designs are just a few letters or words, other times its a complex artistic design that will take quite some time to digitize and stitch out.

There are a lot of factors to consider when pricing.  I always ask myself, “Would I pay that?”  and if the answer is no I try to adjust the price, but I also have to make sure I’m not losing out.


What products do you sell that other apparel decorators might need?


I make patches, I can embroider on baseball caps, stocking hats, bags, t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets and more! I also do vector work so I can turn a drawing into digital artwork/linework!


What’s next for your company?


The plan is to upgrade to a bigger multi-head machine so I don’t have to turn big jobs down!

What advice would you give someone just starting out?


Don’t ever think like a small business, bring those big ideas to life!   Use every “failure” as a learning experience, there is always something to learn from every challenge!


How do you reach out to new customers?


I join a lot of Facebook groups and then target the main subject of the group.  For example the cat group I’m in, I have been selling lots of cat patches to the people in the group and draw them into my group!  If there is ever a chance to post a picture of a patch I have made I jump on it!


What are your greatest achievement in your business and the reason why it is all worth it?


My greatest achievement is opening an LLC.   Being my own boss is a dream come true!  I put in 10-15 hour days but it doesn’t feel like I’m working because I love bringing ideas to life with embroidery!


Where are you with your business now?


Etsy is my main sales platform right now and all my sales are coming from me sending a customer a link.  Etsy is not doing a good job of getting people to see my shop so I am going to be designing my own website.  Etsy also takes a good amount of money from you off each sale so I think its time to start up my own website and cut ties with Etsy!

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