In commercial embroidery, when it comes to quality, you can still use the best supplies and keep your reputation for being frugal.
Saving a few pennies on cheap commercial embroidery supplies may wind up costing more in the end.
When calculating costs of commercial embroidery, supplies are always an important question. There is a natural tendency for some embroidery shops to use only the least expensive supplies. Searching for the best bargains on thread, bobbins, and backing is one easy way for a shop to save a little money.
However, when performance suffers from broken threads, puckering and other quality issues, is saving a few pennies worth the effort? Are you really saving by going cheap?
Although there is nothing wrong with being frugal (after all, we are talking about profits), you still can get the best supplies without hurting your bottom line.
When you crunch the numbers on basic supplies, you can find out the true costs of commercial embroidery. With a little smart shopping, the best can be certainly within reach of any budget.
Thread is the foundation of commercial embroidery, and it is often the least expensive part of the process. Most high-quality threads come in 5,500-yard cones and costs around $7-$9 per cone. Each cone will produce about 1 million stitches.
For example, Madeira Polyneon threads are $7.39 per cone, making it about $.007 per 1000 stitches. Switching to a 1,000m Royal Polyester mini-cone, with a 200,000-stitch output, will increase costs to a little over $.01 for 1000 stitches.
Of course, for large production runs, purchasing cones is the best value, but having a few spools on hand should not dramatically affect production costs. What can start pushing up costs is when you run out of thread in the middle of an order, and having to buy a few emergency spools.
It is never fun to run out of thread in the middle of a project. On top of lost production times, going to a local retail fabric store to pick up thread, which usually comes in 1,100-yard cones, will cost $5-$6 each. At 200,000 stitches, you will be paying $0.03 per thousand stitches. Not a massive obstacle to get the quality you need.
Specialty threads can certainly affect your budget, especially when used in large designs. Some manufacturers charge $20 or more for a cone of metallic thread, at $.06 for 1000 stitches! For a heavy jacket back design needing 20,000 stitches or more, that could add about $1.20 per unit.
At Colman and Company, Royal Metallic Threads are much more affordable options. A majority cost a little more than $9.80 per 2500m cone. This is about $.02 for 1000 stitches.
With the right supplier, you can give your commercial embroidery customers the best polyester threads, with superior strength and less breakage, and still maintain your reputation for being frugal. You can create remarkable commercial embroidery and remain competitive in your prices.
When it comes to bobbin prices, buying the best hardly makes a dent in your costs.
The top bobbins at Colman and Company are the Coats Tru-Sew Filament Polyester, made with high-quality continuous filament threads. Even at a cost of less than $60 per gross, a premium price means your bobbins are only $.008 for 1000 stitches. Getting the finest quality is hardly a budget buster!
Of all your commercial embroidery supplies, the backing will be the most expensive. However, putting it into context, the cost becomes less of a factor overall. The costs of pre-cut stabilizing squares are straightforward to calculate by just dividing the total price by the piece count.
Buying a 500-sheet pack of Hollingsworth & Vose 2 ounce 6”x 6” will set you back about $17. These pre-cut squares are a multi-purpose all direction tear away, that works well for large stitch count applications. It washes off easily and keeps the stitches locked. Of course, the price depends on the type and style, but using this example, you are paying only $0.033 per sheet.
Even with a cutaway backing, pricing is still remarkably affordable. The 500-sheet pack of Hollingsworth & Vose CutAway 2.5 oz. the multi-purpose backing is less than $20 per pack. This backing also works well for heavy stitch count applications and is a good choice for golf shirts, sweatshirts and more. In addition, it will only cost you $.038 per sheet.
Many people get backing by the roll and then cut what they need. You might save a little more than buying pre-cut squares, but frequently using rolls leads to a little more waste.
Add the cost of quality thread, bobbins and backing for a typical 7000-stitch left-chest logo runs around $0.16 per design, using high-quality thread and backing.
The bottom line is that you do not need to skimp on supplies. It is always good to get an excellent deal on a thread and backing, but buying cheap supplies will probably cost you more in the end.
Cheap threads break more often and prompt frequent tensioning issues. Saving a couple of dollars on a cone (less than a penny for every thousand stitches) will cost much more in lost productivity and labor costs.
Skimping on supplies will not do you any favors, especially if you do not buy with quality in mind. In commercial embroidery, even the best is not expensive to start with!
When choosing quality commercial embroidery thread and supplies such as bobbins, needles, backing and more, Colman and Company—suppliers of Royal, Madeira and Firefighter polyester threads and supplies—is your best place to start. Visit them at ColmanAndCompany.com or call 800-891-1094.
Do you have tips on how you provide the best quality for your commercial embroidery business? We would love to hear them! Tell us in the comments.
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